If you’re a sole-trader with your own business there has never been a better time to get yourself online. With so many people turning to the internet when they look for a local service you cannot afford to miss out. So, where do you begin and what are your options?
You don’t have to be a web wizard to get your business online. But it pays to do a little bit of preparation before getting started. Have a look around at your competitor’s websites and make note of what works well and what doesn’t. Try to think of things from your customers point of view – not your own. Imagine you’re a customer looking for your services, what information would you be looking for and what might you expect to find?
Getting Set Up
Once you know what you want there are two options available to get a website setup: the D.I.Y. approach or hiring a professional web designer. Doing it yourself and building your own site can be the most fun, letting you learn new skills and giving you some hands on experience. There are plenty of services available that will allow you to choose a template and enter your desired information with relative ease. Beware though, these services can be a little restrictive so if you have some very specific ideas in mind you may find you have to compromise slightly in the beginning.
If you decide to hire a professional make sure you choose someone who’s previous work you like the look of. Put your thoughts and planning across to them – they are the expert in web design but you’re the expert in your own business. A professional designer will be able to create something tailored to you and provide advice and guidance along the way.
Once you’re website is up and running it’s important to avoid the trap of putting it live and forgetting about it. There will always be improvements that can be made – don’t be afraid to ask for constructive feedback from friends, family and customers. Make sure you include the address on your letterheads, email signatures and business cards as well as all your advertising. If you’re already listed in a directory see if they have an online version. This can be a great way to further publicise your services and your own website.
Once you’ve got it, flaunt it! Let the world know you’re online and let your website take care of the rest.
For more information or advice you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org