These days, it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence. But don’t just take our word for it. We chatted to the experts over at Toolkit Websites to get the lowdown on all things web design and how to get started…
Why is it important for businesses to get online and have their own website?
Harnessing the web as a business tool is integral to any company, even for businesses that consider themselves as 'offline’. Every day, thousands of potential customers search the web, for everything from information about a specific product to or reviews.
The web has become so important that it now acts as a business’s shop window. Would you go into a shop on the high street if you couldn't see into it?
Your website acts as the hub of all marketing, so everything from your social media traffic, any marketing mailers you may send out or even simple offline advertising like when you hand out a business card with the website on it. Websites take all this traffic and provide visitors with information and contact options for anyone wanting to interact with your business.
Is it difficult/expensive to get set up with your own website as a small business?
Every website project is different. The cost of a website depends on requirements and functionality. The best thing to do is discuss your exact needs/objectives for your website with your colleagues and leave some room for compromise.
Before you get started, ask yourself…
- What’s my budget?
- Do I need a bespoke or template design?
- Who’s going to write my websites copy?
- Do I need ongoing support and SEO guidance?
- Will I need to be able to update my own website?
- Do I need a domain and email service as well?
It's not the end of the world if you're unsure about how you want the website to look and work, but having key points about your business and an idea of what you want the website to do is a great start. The web designer can come up with the creative, you just need to supply the facts!
What are your top three tips for businesses looking to set up their own website?
Find a web design company that has great reviews in various places, has been around for a while and has a portfolio of work you actually like. This way you can see what other people's experiences were like, if the design quality is up to your standards and be confident they are a reputable company.
Be prepared to dedicate some time to the website project. With the technical knowledge and design skills that come from the web designers, combined with your knowledge and insight about your company, it ensures the perfect website is created.
Provide feedback. Remember, you’re building this website for your business and for your clients, not just yourself. Being honest in your assessment of the work being done is crucial, but it’s also important to question the designer's motive, to ensure you're both on the same page. Open and honest feedback is an important part of building the perfect website. If you can use some feedback directly from your clients, even better!
Once a business is all set up with a website, how can they make the most out of it?
When the project is completed and your brand new website is live it's important to remember that it's not about sitting back and watching it thrive. Your website needs to be tended to, in order to be a success.
First up, you’ll need to do everything you can to optimize your website, so that it shows up in Google’s results pages (known as SEO). When it comes to SEO, to get the most out of your website and to appease Google you must ensure:
1) You upload good quality and relevant content to your site regularly. (Think: blogs, articles etc.)
2) You’re active on social media – and your customers can access your social accounts from your site. Being active on social media helps out with your SEO because it requires you to post fresh and engaging content on a regular basis. You need to ensure that when a customer finds your website and social accounts, they’re up to date, branded and encourage engagement.
3) Make sure you have Google Analytics set up (it’s free) so that you can track visitors to your website and receive statistics from Google about how well your website is performing and highlight areas you need to improve in too.
Tell us a bit about Toolkit and how you can help businesses get started online
Toolkit Websites is a specialist web design company in Southampton, Hampshire. We have over 17 years of experience in successful website design for small businesses and now boast a client base of over 2,000 happy customers all over the UK!
Over the past few years we've held a UK top 3 position in two categories on TrustPilot, Content Management System (CMS) and Web Design. We're currently No.1 and No.2 respectively. We’re incredibly proud of this and are driven by feedback we receive from our clients. We're also a proud member of the Buy With Confidence scheme from Trading Standards:
Thanks to our dynamic team in Southampton we’re able to deliver 5 star rated websites every day and continue to grow as a business in an increasingly competitive market.
At Toolkit Websites, we’re committed to helping you make the most out of your website. Once your website is live we don't leave you in the deep end. We're on hand via phone calls within 3 rings and emails within 1 hour to answer any questions you may have. We also provide all of our clients with a bespoke content management system called The Toolkit. This allows our clients to update their websites themselves whenever they like.
We also assign an Account Manager to all of our recently published clients so they can have a single port of call for any Marketing, SEO or updating queries. Our Account Managers will contact all clients at least 6 times during the year and call within 2 months of a new website going live.
For more information on any of our web design services, please visit our website:
Is your business online, or are you currently working on your website? Comment with your stories below!