At Visible Logic, we’ve been designing Web sites since we started the company in 2001. Over that time, Web design has become a larger and larger share of our business, as small business owners realize the ROI of Web site development. Over this time, we’ve watched advancements in Web site development, and increased our own capabilities.
Building robust sites for small businesses is more affordable; and more critical.
The recession has forced us all to do more with less and to focus our spending where it will have a strong impact. Here are my thoughts on how a small business owner should move forward with a Web design or redevelopment project in 2010.
- Content Management Systems: Content that is educational, inviting and up-to-date is key to drawing web traffic. We are trying to build all new web sites with Content Management Systems (CMS). That means you the business owner, without any HTML skills, can edit your pages, update images and even reorganize pages. At Visible Logic we have web development partners who work in WordPress, Joomla, Expression Engine as well as have the skills to create completely-custom CMS packages. With open-source platforms, these systems have become more affordable than you might think. A CMS will not only save you money in the long run (compared to going back to your Web firm for updates), it will build your site in a way that is optimized for search.
- Building Web Sites Based on Your Business Goals: 97% of people with online access will search for a product or service before buying. They may use Google to search for a new product offering, or go directly to the Web site of a company they already know. Therefore, even if you’re in a business that generates leads through referrals rather than search, your Web site is critical to your business success. At Visible Logic, we ensure that you get found easily, and once visitors come to your web site, they find what they need. We don’t profess any fancy SEO (search engine optimization) scheme, we are just serious about building effective, not just pretty, web sites.
- Blogs: We’ve seen first hand how our blog is helping Visible Logic’s business. It’s attracting visitors, increasing visibility in search ranking, helping Emily to land speaking engagements, growing our mailing list and more. Yes, it’s time consuming, but can be very effective. If you’re ready to add a blog to your web site, give us a call.
- Branding and Design is Still Critical: It’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with learning about CMS, SEO and Content building. They are all critical to attracting visitors to your site. But if the design is not professional, it’s unlikely you’ll retain the visitors you have. If the design does not match other marketing materials, you’re diluting your efforts. Visible Logic always maintains the highest design standards, while including the functionality to build a robust site.
As a business owner, it can be challenging to figure out what Web developer or Web designer to use. There are designers and programmers who excel in any part of the above list, but some get too entrenched in that one area, and forget about the larger picture.
What do you think are going to be critical to effective Web development in 2010 and beyond?