A guide to putting together a low cost and effective website

In this modern era, you’re nothing without an online presence – it’s how most potential customers will be searching for your services. Creating an informative and well-built website could see your business soar and, despite what you might think, need not be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Jonny Lawrence, digital marketing expert at Logic4training, has some valuable tips for those who are game to go online!

Let’s be honest; if you’re in need of instant knowledge or a service, what do you reach for? Nine times out of 10 you’ll find yourself grabbing your smartphone or tablet to ‘google’ the answer. It’s simple and instantly fulfils our hunger for information. So, if you don’t have a website, how are your customers going to find you?

Apart from the Internet being the ‘go-to’ place to find out anything, modern customers want to research your business prior to engaging your skills, looking for positive reviews and feedback; if you don’t feature in Google, you’re out of the running.

Building a website that covers all the services and capabilities of your business will prove well-worth the effort, and can be achievable for a few hundred pounds. However, there’s a few key areas to consider to ensure your site is successful in engaging, informing and converting your visitors into business.

• Visuals – Use good quality photos as examples of the professional service customers can expect from your business. Pictures are very important – not everyone likes to read, so looking at visual examples of what you’ve done will form a big part of whether they choose your services or not.

Videos are increasingly popular, too, allowing you to get across a far more complex message than in a picture. These can be fun, informative, and demonstrate what you do. They don’t have to be super professional, either, a decent smartphone camera should suffice.

• Get found – As well as a homepage, make sure your website has a page for each type of product or service you deliver. So if Mr Bloggs is searching for ‘electrician, Sussex’ he is more likely to land on a page relating to this. This falls under Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

To be Google-worthy, your site must also have a certain amount of copy, that is updated regularly, so it could be well-worth establishing a blog – it’s a quick and easy medium of keeping visitors up-to-date with what projects you’re working on, relevant news, legislation (if applicable) and other topical issues. Make sure you’re listed in Google maps, too.

However you choose to get a website built, making sure the provider understands SEO and will be building it with search engines in mind. This is more important than how it looks, reads or works – if no one can find it, it’s essentially pointless.

• User experience – Make it easy for prospective customers to contact you! It might seem silly, but if a user has to trawl through too much information, they’re likely to lose interest and click elsewhere. Put your contact details on the contact page, but also on every other page – a ‘click to call’ function is ideal for people browsing with smartphones.

• Mobile-friendly – With practically all of us using smartphones, it is key that your website is mobile-friendly and designed with all types of devices in mind. If it isn’t, then it won’t rate highly in google search rankings, and as already discussed, this will make it hardly worth having a site at all!

Getting your website together will also help you get your general brand in order – logos, information you can use for flyers etc., can all be developed alongside the site. It’s good marketing practice to have a consistent message, so how you’re website looks should also be reflected in any other promotional material you produce.

Get online!

As a small business, building a site from scratch might seem like a daunting task, but ignore it and you could be missing out on business opportunities. If getting a website up and running is something you’ve wanted to do for some time but not had the tools or assistance, there are plenty of affordable solutions.

For a monthly fee, DIY website builders allow users with little technical know-how to create attractive, professional websites. You can design your own pages using one of their templates, and put your own stamp on it by dragging and dropping visuals, changing typeface etc. Alternatively, you could use a web-build company who will take care of everything for you. Some will guide you through the design and build process, while removing the hassle of admin – they’ll even have you up and running in as little as 48 hours!

Logic4training, which provides training for plumbers, electricians and heating engineers, has partnered with SoleTrader.com to offer 15 per cent off its professional website package. Visit www.logic4training.co.uk for more information.

Jonny Lawrence is a digital marketing expert at Logic4training