Building a website can seem like a daunting project, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact many businesses make things more problematic than they need to be, simply because they try to over-complicate things too early on. The key is to keep things straightforward and focused, and always think from a site visitor's point-of-view.
Read on for some more insights.
Your web pages
All websites need a home page and nearly all will have an ‘About’ page, but there are a few other things you need to think about. For example, do you need more than one product/service page; are you holding any events that people need to know about; do you want to include a news section and/or a blog so you can keep adding content once your site is live?
Try thinking from the user’s point-of-view, rather than your own. What do they need to know to take the next step and enquire? What might put them off? Including the right information is crucial to converting your web visitors into quality leads for your business.
A page with some testimonials or case studies is also useful, so people can see what a great job you’ve done for other people and businesses. You may want to have a few testimonials on the home page as well.
If you are delivering a product, gallery pages are helpful for showing people the quality of what you do. But they must be professionally shot to truly show off your work. Likewise, if you have video content only include it if it's been done by someone who knows what they're doing. Videos should be short (not much longer than 3 minutes) and engaging - long speeches are a no-no.
Calls to action
A 'call to action' is simply a marketing term for anything that allows people to take some form of action, whether filling out a form, making a call or buying from you. Think about what you want people to do when they visit your site and then make sure that appropriate information is included and in the right places. Make sure people have to click as few times as possible to take some form of action, so that you don't risk them leaving your site without doing anything.
Think about your keywords
If you’re writing your own content, then you’ll need to take a breath before launching into it. Before you start writing, spare a thought for your keywords i.e. the words that people might use to find your site. These are crucial for helping you to rank well in Google and other search engines.
To get this right you need to think like a user. Ask yourself: ‘If I was searching for XYZ, then what would I type into Google?’ For example, if you’re looking for a hairdresser then you’ll probably type in ‘hairdresser’ and then the location e.g. ‘Hairdresser Birmingham’ or ‘Birmingham hairdresser’. Think what these terms may be and once you have a list, have a quick check using Google’s keywords tool to see how well these terms are searched for - https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. The site will also list other keywords that are similar to yours to give you some other ideas, so you choose the right ones.
Tip: Once you’ve done your first search tick the ‘Exact’ box down the left-hand side to get more accurate results.
We will help you find the right keywords too, but it always helps to have some input from you on what you think people are looking for when they enquire about your business.
And that brings us to page content...
Page content works a little differently to the kind of copy you would write for a brochure. For one thing it needs to be much more succinct. Whereas you might use 500 words for a page in your brochure, your main web pages need to be much shorter i.e. not much longer than 250 words. And of course they need to include the right keywords.
Don’t worry if some of your sentences sound a little bit strange because you’ve put your keywords in. For example, if you’re a business consultant in Oxfordshire, a sentence that usually reads: ‘We always deliver a personal, relevant service’, could become: ‘Our Oxfordshire business consultants deliver a personal, relevant service’. Don’t go too overboard, but a bit of squeezing for the sake of your keywords is ok.
You also need to make information immediately digestible, so use bullet points where you can. Cut out all those longer words in favour of shorter ones and get rid of any unnecessary words. So you might change: ‘We endeavour to achieve results that are highly favourable to our clients’ to: ‘We work hard to get the right results for our customers’.
Web surfing is pretty fickle. Anyone on your site needs to know within seconds whether you have what they’re looking for, or they’ll quickly go elsewhere. So it helps to have a short strapline/summary of 10 words or less that describes what you do; and this should include your keywords. For example, if you’re a builder in Glasgow you might want to say ‘Affordable building services for Glasgow homes’. Avoid words like ‘quality’ and over-use of other adjectives that quite frankly, state the obvious.
Your web address
If you already have a web address then you’ll need to tell us or your web provider what it is. But even if you have a web address you might want a new one, for example, one that is more keyword-rich to help you rank better in Google. You might choose a URL that specifies your service as well as your location, like www.builderwimbledon.co.uk or one that relates to a specific product. This is something that we can discuss with you.
If you’re starting from scratch then we’d strongly recommend taking this approach to help boost your website up the rankings.
When it comes to images it’s best to use those taken by a professional photographer, or sourced from a site like www.shutterstock.com or www.istockphoto.com where good quality images are available at a reasonable price. Good photos are quite simply one of the best ways to show your professionalism and credibility.
Of course if it’s easier you, just ask us or your web provider to source images for you.
If you haven’t already set up Twitter and Facebook accounts then now might be a good time to do it. Social media shows that you’re up with the latest trends, and also helps improve your web presence. Don’t expect immediate results, but with time and effort social media can do great things for your business. Always engage with others, rather than just broadcasting about what you do, and make sure you post interesting links - both to your own site and others. Again, think about what other people might be interested in rather than what you have to say.
We should have covered the basics, but you’re bound to have some questions about site builds and how they work, so please do give us a call on 01865 989899 or email us on
We’re here to help you whenever you need us.
About the author
Rosie Heptonstall is Clever Business Websites’ marketing manager. She loves websites and working with small businesses, and has spent many years learning about what makes small businesses tick. Rosie also believes that a small business is more interesting and more fun to work for than a large corporation. But that’s just her personal opinion...