As you may know, most consumers these days google something before buying it. Sometimes they just want to locate the closest store, gym or salon. Or maybe they want to find the cheapest price for a certain hair wax or spa treatment. And sometimes they don’t even know what it is they’re looking for.
No matter the reasons, visibility online is a no-brainer for a small business owner in 2016. So if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, perhaps now’s the time to set up a website for your business. As Head of Organic Acquisition at iZettle, I’ve found that this is a common request from our customers.
Naturally, the first step is choosing a domain name that matches your brand.
Let’s say you’re the proud owner of Jenny’s Massage. If you’re aiming for a global market, you should definitely go for jennysmassage.com. If your market is limited to the UK, settle for a .co.uk-address. You’ll get better SEO results that way. If available, you should buy both domains – they don’t cost much.
But what if jennysmassage.com isn’t available? Well, if that’s the case, you should actually consider abandoning the brand name in favour of a new one instead of settling with unintuitive alternatives like “jennysmassages” or “jensmassage”. Own your online presence and aim for brand consistency.
And while we’re on the subject of inventing or re-inventing brand names. Small business owners often put their activity in their brand (like old Jenny’s Massage), and this could be favourable from a search engine point of view. If people are googling “massages” your site will have an advantage.
But if you’re looking to develop long-term brand awareness and a possibility for future franchises, you might want to consider building a unique brand name with the potential to expand from its origin. Think Apple, Nike or Google. You should aim for a short name that’s easy to remember and search for.
But remember that nothing is settled until you have actually purchased your domain name.
Now it’s time to decide on the website’s infrastructure.
Ask yourself what the purpose of your site is. Is it to actually sell products and services online? Is it to display the vision of your enterprise, or should the site mainly serve as a digital business card with your address, phone number and opening hours?
If you provide a basic product or service, it could be enough with just one single page. But if your business is more extensive, you should consider dividing the necessary information into subpages. A separate page for pricing, portfolio, booking and contact details will get you better SEO results.
Think of what you’d normally look for on a website and start from there. Create the basic site structure with a pen and a paper. This means half the job is done.
Whenever you’re ready, it’s time to start building!