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Five key signs that your business site needs a MAKEOVER!

The internet has evolved in leaps and bounds over the past ten years and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Social Media, online technology, nbn speeds, and ecommerce shopping among other advances have changed the way people live day-to-day. A commercial website that doesn’t keep up with these changes is in danger of driving away potential customers by conveying the image of an out-of-date business brand that fails to innovate.

So, the question needs to be asked – when was the last time you gave your website a full makeover?

There are some blatantly obvious signs that your site needs some form of makeover and others that are a little more subtle. Here are five of the most important signs that your site needs some serious makeover love:

1. Your site looks and feels like a vintage website from the late ninety’s

If your site is over five years old, it is time for an update. You may be still using your original website, or one created with integrated Flash content (which is no longer supported by browsers) or even worse, a site designed by an employee using Microsoft Word – yes, that Microsoft Word! (I have actually seen this).

Regardless of how old your site is, what’s on it or how it was created, if it doesn’t feel like it belongs alongside the current crop of sites from your competitors, you need an upgrade.

2. The site is not mobile responsive

Everyone knows that mobile internet access has dramatically increased over the past few years but how’s this for a statistic: According to online magazine Fast Company, 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they “can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t right next to them.”

Wow.

Let’s put it simply – if your site doesn’t respond or convert for mobile usage, you are missing a huge chunk of action. Get a mobile responsive site today!

http://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/21-vital-mobile-marketing-facts-statistics-2014-0850425#b8OxdTHcMI12frWx.99

3. Your Social Media feeds are not integrated

Having a Social Media presence is no longer optional for small business. If you want to engage and interact with your clients, you must be on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. On top of this, any post, update, or tweet that you make should be linked through onto your website.

This will serve two purposes: – one, you can create an feed-in audience for your site every time you update your social media and two, you can gather more followers using on-page links. If your site can’t do this, once again, you are missing out!

4. Your content is past its used-by date

One of my pet peeves is visiting a website with blog posts that have an old date on them. Of course, you can cheat and not use a date at all however you are kidding yourself if you think that a potential client with a keen eye won’t notice – Google certainly will. The same applies with your page-to-page content. Make sure your information is always up-to-date and if you can’t commit to a Blog post at least every month (more is better), then maybe you should give that task to someone else on your team.

5. You are receiving little new business referral from your site

How do your customers first get in touch? Do they find you in a phone directory, a newspaper or radio advertisement – or via your website? Conduct a quick survey with customers as they make a purchase – we’ve all seen the instant competition ploy at small business counters. Fill in a survey form (a couple of questions at most) and pop it in the box to win a prize.

Look at and compile the results. If your website is not delivering the customers in a manner that you would expect, then maybe it’s time for the big makeover. Something is not connecting with site visitors and must be fixed to ensure a healthy inflow of prospects to your business.

If any of the points above apply to your site, contact the team at Tropical Coast Web Design today and we’ll take an in-depth look at your old site to determine what needs to be done and provide you with a free detailed report.

Make the most of opportunities online for your small business!

With COVID-19 sending more customers online than ever before and the obvious benefits of having a website, some businesses still don’t understand what can be gained with a small business website.

To be competitive, your business must be easily found and the best way to do that is by getting it online. Get active with a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel or even a fully-fledged website. Put the hard yards into developing an online footprint and it will reap your business the benefits.

So why don’t some SMB’s get this message? Because some small business owners don’t fully understand the possibilities of what can be done with an online presence.

Let’s look at some theoretical case studies that I have observed along the Tropical Coast:

The Local Stationery Store

It’s not as hard as it sounds to take on the big boys here when it comes to online commerce. Of course, some consumers are always going to take the path of Officeworks or the other big retailers simply because of the price (which, by the way, isn’t that much cheaper than our local guy here). To make sales online, our local store should market purely on convenience and speed. They can:

Make all stationery goods available online allowing the consumer to log into an account and place an order quickly.

Ensure that staff fulfil and collate that order within the hour.

Then deliver the customer’s order to their door within a couple of hours – ensuring they have no disruption to their day.

Order by 10am – delivered by lunch. Beat that Officeworks!

The Pizza Shop

One of our local pizza stores already has a great online presence. They also use their Facebook page to promote their business through spur of the moment competitions – “How many pizza boxes are currently stacked over the ovens at Roscoes Innisfail?” – Win a free pizza!

But, borrowing advice from Andrew Griffiths (Australia’s leading small business author), the store could also take advantage of slow nights in the same way. If the pizzas aren’t flying out the door on any given night, they could make an announcement via their Twitter feed or Facebook page by announcing discounted or two-for-one pizzas. There is a backpackers hostel mere metres from their restaurant and there’s nothing more a backpacker likes than a cheap feed! Just get them to follow….

The solo Accountant

What about in a crowded marketplace? How can you stand out when every man and his dog have a website and social media presence too? You do it by being helpful. If you are an accountant, get that site loaded with helpful content.

Everyone hates tax-time. It is easily the most stressful time of the year for businesses (and everyone else too).  An accountant can help to ease the pain during tax time with useful online tools such as:

  • How-To videos showing the completion of a BAS statement.
  • On-site calculators for determining taxable income.
  • Downloadable templates for all manner of money management.

Do a great job with helpful content and the snowball effect will kick in. Soon everyone will be heading to the site checking out the tricks, tips, and tools on offer. The more site visitors that come in and see how helpful you are, the more likely that some will convert into customers.

As you can see, the potential of online marketing is clearly apparent for some businesses. For others, it may take a little creative thinking to draw out the possibilities of getting online and generating a profit.  But today, any business would be foolhardy not take advantage of the online world and the opportunities that are available to them.

If you aren’t sure of the online advantages for your business or organisation, give me a call at Tropical Coast Web Design. I’d love to have a chat about your online presence and see what we can do for your business.

Why does your “small” town business need a BIG business website?

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic limiting access to goods and services at times, there has never been a more important time to invest in a website for your small business.

A website opens a range of online possibilities for small businesses, and benefits that go beyond the bricks and mortar of a physical store.

Even in a small rural community, like Ingham, where I live and work, it’s vitally important to remember that there are no borders to business anymore and technology has made the world a much smaller place. Regardless of who your customers are, they will be searching for you online and if they can’t find your business, you can guarantee they’ll find your competitors instead.

If you need more convincing than that, here’s three clear-cut reasons why your “small” town business needs to get online.

A website expands your business beyond the borders of your community.

With a website there are no boundaries for your business. Once online, your site can sell products and services around the globe – it can even sell them while you are asleep! And, with the multitude of shipping options available nowadays, you can “move” your products very quickly to any destination on the earth.

Why would you settle for doing business with a limited audience when you could go global?

Websites level the playing field for the “little guys”.

Regardless of the size of your small business or its location, your website can compete on the same level as any other business in your industry. You may not have the flashy storefronts of your competitors or the sheer magnitude of their operations, but a website doesn’t have to worry about these things.

Your site can compete on the same level if it offers:

  • An easy-to-use interface.
  • A clear Call to Action (CTA).
  • Helpful service (through contact forms, online videos, pop-up chats, tricks, or tips).
  • High quality products or services.

In short, if your website can deliver the same service as expected from the “big guys”, it has a chance at grabbing customers that would have once dismissed you as “too small”.

You can connect with customers like never before.

Businesses, both large and small, can now build their brands and followers using an effective Social Media strategy. With little effort, you can start a conversation with your customers and, as a result, grow a better understanding of their needs and wants.

Conversely, customers can carry on these discussions separate from your business being involved and, if those discussions are positive, this will help to build the public image of that your brand.

Examples of this include:

  • Fashion products being spruiked by customers on their Instagram accounts.
  • Special announcements being launched instantly on Twitter.
  • A loyal Facebook following (a great source of testimonials).
  • Hashtags leading directly back to the source – your website.

As stated, a properly built and effectively managed website allows a small-town business to build and expand beyond what was traditionally possible. By making your business easy to find, helpful and value for money – you will not only encourage locals to stick with you but may just hook into some lucrative “outside” business and from there – the only way is up!

Five Key Points you NEED to effectively brief your Web Designer

Building a website for your small business should not be a spur of the moment decision.

And yet, as a website developer, I often meet new clients who have decided to build a website for their business but they haven’t yet considered how that site is going to improve their business.

Some still view a website as an online business card and, as I’ve covered in my blog posts before, a website can be so much more if it is planned and implemented correctly. The key to this effectiveness is carefully-considered planning – at every stage along the line.

Before picking up the phone or emailing a web designer for the first time, there are a few key questions that need your attention to ensure that the website development stages are quick and the final website is more effective when it is launched.

#1 What is the Key Objective of the Website?

Very simply, in as fewer words as possible (one sentence if possible), write down a measurable objective for your business website. This single sentence will guide everything else that happens along the way to development your site. The measurement is usually written as a percentage.

i.e. Increase the Monthly Sales of XYZ company by 20%

#2 Who is the target audience?

With point #1 clearly in mind, now look at what kind of site visitor is going to make that measurable objective possible.

Who will be looking for your products/services? Where are they? How old are they? What gender?

Be as specific as you can – this information will help your designer plan and style your site.

i.e. 18 to 60-year-old men interested in recreational fishing around the North QLD area.

#3 What kind of content will your audience be seeking at your site?

After identifying the audience that you want to attract to your site, grab a pencil and paper to map out the type of content that these potential customers will respond do. Will they want to read text blogs like this or would they respond better to video or imagery? Maybe a mixture would work best?

What kinds of information / products / services will they be seeking from you and, most importantly, what information do you want them to have about you and your business?

i.e. Information about the latest estuarine fishing equipment, videos on how it is used, fact sheets on where the fishing are biting….

#4 What are your competitors doing online?

Get this information in conjunction with point #1 – Get online and see what your competitors are doing with their websites. Google all relevant information regarding your target audience. Your top competitors will generally be at the head of the list – What kinds of content are they using? What appeals to you on their sites? What doesn’t?

Although your web developer should do this research as well, it will be highly beneficial to you as your website takes shape and you know what you are aiming for.

#5 What timeframe do you have to complete the site?

Armed with the knowledge that designers work better when given a timeframe (I know I do), when you want to launch your site to the world? Keep in mind, you must be able to “hold up” your end of the bargain and ensure that you can provide the content that the site requires for launch. Even the most experienced developer will baulk at a proposed launch date if they don’t have the content for the site.

Conclusion

By having the above planning completed/documented before contacting a designer, you will also be able to brief them clearly and then ascertain whether they can do the job at hand.

Don’t leave your small business’ website goals up to the designer. Remember that no-one knows your business better than you.

Have you got all the above planning done and are ready to go ahead and contact a designer?

Get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design on 0488 406 050 and we will work with you all the way (and even beyond) to a great, customer converting website for your small business.

Tropical Coast Web Design