Part Three: Taking Your Biz Online in 2015

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at
This February, as part of a four part series, we’re teaching you everything you need to know to help you put the proper planning and foundations in place to bring your business online and, most importantly, make it a resounding success. In today’s instalment, we’ll teach you how to go about designing and building your website.
When running an online business, your website is crucial to your company’s success. Because you don’t have a physical location, your site is considered to be your online storefront, and so it’s important to ensure that it’s customer-friendly and as good as it can be.
Who should design your website?
These days there are several services and packages that allow you to design your own website, but the key to ensure your website is successful and is able to compete in the online marketplace is to ensure it looks professional.
Doing it yourself vs. hiring a designer
With the wealth of services and software available today, it’s possible for even the most inexperienced Internet user to create their very own website. Often, your web hosting company will have agents on hand to help you get set up and will assist you in installing WordPress, which has grown from a blogging platform to a full-service content management system that allows you to design and run a basic website. There are many ‘themes’ you can purchase online for your WordPress site (at a cost) that you can then install and modify as you wish. To learn more about WordPress, visit the WPBeginner website.
If you can’t find a customizable theme that works for your business—or if you don’t want the hassle of having to design your own website—consider hiring a professional designer. A simple Google search will bring up web designers in your area, or if you’re looking for a competitive price, try looking up freelancers on Elance or to help build your site. When hiring a designer, always ask to see their portfolio and body of work, and if you’re using one of the sites mentioned above, be sure to check their ratings and past projects.
Writing copy that sells
In the online world, less is usually more. Write your web copy assuming that you have only a few short seconds to grab your readers’ attention and make them browse the rest of your site. Web browsers are typically impatient and are never further than one click of a button away from leaving your site, therefore it’s very important that you create a reason for them to stay.
Tips for writing great web copy:

Keep it simple: Your website isn’t the place to show off your extensive vocabulary; your goal is to communicate with your customers in a simple, concise manner.

Arouse interest with compelling headings and titles: The heading is arguably the most important element to any web page. Why? Because Internet users typically scan, and the first thing they’re likely to read is your heading. Where possible, try to keep headings to eight words or under. Be clear, to the point, and avoid prepositions and adjectives.

‘You’ and ‘your’ trumps ‘we’ and ‘our’: One of the most powerful ways of writing enticing sales copy is to speak directly to your reader. Be conversational and use language like ‘you’ and ‘your’ as opposed to ‘we’ and ‘our’.

Solve a problem: Throughout your web copy, you should try and focus on how your product or service is able to solve your customers’ problems or make their lives better.

Incorporate keywords: If you want your site to be found when people search the Web, use words your target readers use. Before you begin to write, sit down and think carefully about the keywords you’re going to use, then carefully weave those words and phrases into your copy.


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By Andrew Patricio

February 18, 2015