Web Design & SEO for Small Businesses in Kelowna
So, you’re starting a new business? Awesome! From personal experience I can tell you that it’s equal parts exciting, rewarding, and terrifying. How are you going to market your business? If you’re lucky enough to have a few early customers, you have a little room to breathe once you start. But where will your leads come from after that? How much will you spend on advertising and what sort of return can you expect? Thankfully, the web is making these problems a lot easier to solve.
Let’s imagine you need to find an accountant. How would you go about finding one? If you don’t know one personally, there’s a good chance you would turn to the web. A quick search would turn up thousands of results, but you’re likely to concentrate on the first page (or two?). From there, you might check out a few websites and reach out to the companies that caught your eye.
What does this mean for your business? It means that if you want new leads, you need a great website and you need to get it found. It won’t matter how good you are, how low your prices are, or how hard you’ll work for a client. If they can’t find you online, they won’t call. The web is, beyond a doubt, the Yellow Pages of this era.
Having an attractive website is also important if your business is driven by mainly referrals (which is often the case for accountants here in Kelowna). Potential clients may hear about you from friends and family, but they’re still likely to visit your website before calling. If they don’t like what they see, that referral may not go far.
Web Design For Small Businesses
For many small businesses, a website’s main objective is to generate leads. A clean and professional design combined with attractive photos, useful information, and some testimonials will help establish trust in your brand and encourage visitors to get in touch. This can greatly reduce your need to offer low pricing to attract new clients. It can also help subvert some of the brand caché of your larger competitors.
It can also be an invaluable tool for the day-to-day operations of your company too. An often neglected aspect of web design for small businesses, are the unique features which can help make your operation more efficient. For example, you could:
- Reduce paperwork by posting all of your firm’s standardized contracts online.
- Set up reminders to automatically notify your customers about important dates, sales, and/or opportunities.
- Display a message on your homepage when you’re away on holidays.
- Create a list of frequently asked questions and post the answers online.
These are only a few of the ways that a website can help streamline your business, reduce administrative costs, improve your customer service, and generate new business. Of course, for that to happen, you also need to get visitors to reach your website in the first place.
Search Engine Marketing & SEO
Having a great website is only the first step—you also need to get it discovered. There are plenty of competitors out there and it can be hard to distinguish yourself. A beautiful website will make a great first impression, but it won’t bring traffic by itself and Google will not reward your investment with traffic unless you give it reason to. And if you’re a new business, you’ll have an uphill battle to displace established competitors.
There is no shortage of creative ways to drive traffic to your website, but two methods often stand out as the low hanging fruit.
Search Engine Marketing
The first is online advertising (paid search engine marketing or SEM). With SEM, you build out a campaign targeting your desired keywords and pay the search engine to show your ads ahead of the normal (or organic) search results. With Google AdWords, you get charged each time your ad is clicked and the price is dependant on your competition for that keyword and within the location you select. It’s a powerful way to drive immediate traffic to your website and generate quick leads from people actively searching for your services.
Advantages of SEM include:
- You get immediate traffic from potential clients searching for your chosen keywords.
- You can limit your ads to the time, day, location, and other criteria of your choice.
- Results can be measured with incredible accuracy.
Disadvantages of SEM include:
- SEM is often more costly than investing in slower, more organic methods of driving traffic (see SEO below).
- It is easy to waste money if you have a poorly designed campaign or ineffective website.
- There are no (or few) lasting benefits as the leads you receive disappear as soon as you end your campaign.
- SEM generally requires a larger marketing budget and constant maintenance to refine and dial in the effectiveness of your campaign.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Another option for driving traffic to your website is with SEO. This involves a number of different activities, which centre around creating and optimizing high-quality content that your target audience is interested in. SEO is a long term strategy that can pay off huge for companies that invest in it over time. It’s also an often misunderstood service with a checkered history.
In the early days of search engines a lot of SEO companies took shortcuts to cheat or manipulate their way into higher rankings. As a result, SEO has a reputation as voodoo magic where computer geeks tuck keywords into hidden locations to manipulate search results.
In reality, SEO is about improving the quality and indexability of your content. It requires careful analysis of your website, traffic, and content. SEO specialists work to continually improve quality and readability of your content and the way search engines (and your visitors) consume your content.
Advantages of SEO include:
- Success is cumulative over time as each piece of your content edges higher in search results.
- A long term investment in SEO can be more cost effective than running paid advertising campaigns.
- Results can be measured with incredible accuracy.
Disadvantages of SEO include:
- SEO takes time and a solid strategy for success (in fact, a firm promising quick SEO results can indicative of a scam or improper strategy).
Need help? We’d love to chat.