Small Business Professor: Update Your Website On A Budget

By Bruce Freeman
The Small Business Professor

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Valerie Paik is the vice president of business development at “TAG Online”, a website design firm. Paik says that when it comes to updating your website you should start by taking a look at the PURPOSE of your site and what you want to accomplish.

The Small Business Professor

Q: I know I need to update the website for my small business but I have a limited budget and want to get the most bang for my buck. What should I focus on?

A: Your website is the digital embodiment of who you are as a business operator. It tells everyone what you do and why and how you do it. It’s not only a crucial part of your overall marketing strategy, it’s also a way to interact with your clients and prospects 24/7.

Valerie Paik, the vice president of business development at TAG Online, a website design firm, says the clients of her firm who have had the most success creating effective websites have all had one thing in common: knowing their goal.

So, start by taking a look at the purpose of your site and what you want to accomplish.

Do you want your site to act as a publishing platform that creates exposure and opportunities for you as an expert in your field? Perhaps you want to use your site to generate leads and grow your email list. Or, is your website an actual place to conduct business through e-commerce? Maybe you just want to provide tools for your existing customers.

It’s OK to have multiple goals for your site but make sure you prioritize. And remember, if you don’t know your goals, you can’t measure success.

Once you know your goals, take a look at some of the specifics, starting with the site’s design. A professional design should:

-Be user-friendly, mobile-friendly, elegant and easy

-Serve your goals

-Have a hierarchy of information

-Be consistent with all marketing materials

Once you’ve got the design figured out, you can move on to content.

Whether you write your own (if you go this route, make sure to have someone else proofread), or hire a professional copywriter, make sure the messaging on your site is succinct and simple. About 79 percent of website users skim sites, while only 15 percent read every word, so be sure to use photos and videos to keep users’ attention. Focus on their needs and desires.

Then, when choosing your vendor, consider:

-Ability to update the site yourself

-Ownership of your domain, content and design

-Their experience and expertise. Do you like their work? Can you speak with their clients? How do you feel when interacting with them? The relationship you’ll have with your website company is hopefully one that’ll last a long time.
Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications.

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