Published By:
Brandon

How to Set up Your Small Business Website in Sarasota

Published On:
August 15, 2021

In today's digital age, all small business in Sarasota needs a website. Yet, many local businesses still do not have a website. According to most estimates, eighty percent of all small businesses in the United States don't have a website. Consequently, they are not able to reach their full potential. In this guide, we will discuss why you need a website, how to set one up, and what it can do for your business.

A website is the most crucial digital marketing tool for a small business. A professionally built site where visitors can readily see what your company is all about will help bring potential customers and clients to you directly. Small businesses don't need to invest in expensive advertising campaigns if they harness the power of good web design due to how cost-efficient and accessible it is. 

Simply put, if you own a business, you should have a website. If you have a website, you should promote it. If you promote it, you should be tracking the results. If you are not tracking the results, you are not doing it right.

How to set up a website (DIY)?

There are many things to consider when setting up a new website. You must make sure you have a great design and content and optimize your website for search engines. Not only that, but you also must make sure it will be easy to update and maintain. Our recommend process for launching a great website(for the non-techie) will be below. You can also download a pdf guide.

Step 1: Getting your business goals, structure, and plan on paper

  • This is the beginning of forming a CTA (call to action). This is often (surprisingly) an overlooked phase. Your website and call to action change according to what services you offer and what best speaks your client's language.

Step 2: Creating a Brand that can communicate with your ideal customer

  • Your long-term goals determine your brand. Will you sell your business in the future? Then Johns lawn care may not be the appropriate brand. If you plan to expand your services beyond one thing or area in the future, then "Best Sarasota Landscaper" may not be a suitable brand.

Step 3: Getting Your Domain Name

  • In today's online world, domain name and branding should be one step. A domain name is an address in the bar (e.g., google.com). A ".com" extension is preferable (unless you are a non-profit or startup).

Step 4: Choosing a CMS(Content Management System)

  • A CMS is software that runs your website. Atrax Designs specializes in building websites using WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world. WordPress is popular due to a few factors:
  1. Its free and open source
  2. Plugins are "one-click to add" extra functionality to your site
  3. Coding may not be required to launch a website.

Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are closed CMS systems. Using them locks you to their platform, and changes to the CMS are decided by a company that has no vested interest in your business. Use cases for these are limited. If WordPress is not a good solution for your business, Shopify (eCommerce) is the next best recommended.

  • Should you choose to use WordPress, you simply need to find a theme (this is the design of the website)(there are both paid and free ones out there) and plugins that offer any extra functionality required should it not be built into WordPress itself.

Points to note:

  • only one theme can be active at any time
  • the more plugins you install, the slower your website will be, not barring compatibility issues between plugins.

Step 5: Choosing Your Hosting Provider

  • Even if you found a great, mobile responsive theme, a good hosting provider can make or break the end-user experience. Invest in your business and pay more than $5 per year hosting, getting a VPS (virtual private server).

Step 6: Getting the Right Design

For WordPress:

  • As mentioned in step 4, a theme controls the overall look and feel of your site. There are thousands of themes available. You want to find a theme with the following:
    • An in-built editor so you can easily change the Site Title, Logo, fonts, and colors.
    • Mobile responsive. It is of paramount importance to get your new site indexed by google. 

Step 7: Website Copy

  • Website copy can make or break a company's prospects. Sometimes it is referred to as sales copy. Your website communicates how good (or not) your company is at making its customers feel. Website copy also makes sure you attract visitors, so they don't get turned away and check out what you have to offer and eventually become a customer. 
  • Your website copy has different purposes that need to be considered carefully before being written, from creating high-quality content that performs well in search engines to writing compelling landing pages and capturing emails through opt-in forms; your website copy has different purposes that need to be considered carefully before being written!

Step 8: Launch

  • Upload all the content to the website, ensure that each page's text structures are labeled as such. 
Ensure search engine visibility is unchecked

Common mistakes to avoid on your website.

Not optimizing the website for mobile phones or tablets 

  • You must optimize your website for as many devices as possible, especially for mobile phones and tablets. For example, when users view your website via mobile phone, the page's text should be easy to read, and the links should be big enough for the user to touch. Fortunately, this is easier than ever today. Choose a mobile responsive WordPress theme.

Not optimizing the website copy for search engines 

  • Website Copy refers to all text on your website. Today, we search for answers to questions that pop into our heads. More often than not, search engines (mainly Google) know your search intent by the keywords and context of what you search. You must ensure your copy is engaging, inspirational, clear, and most importantly, answers questions/ addresses pain points your potential client may have. Otherwise, you're missing out on a substantial part of your marketing funnel that could bring in new clients.

Misuse of industry-specific jargon

  • The best way to optimize web copy is to make it valuable and relevant to your customers. If your customers do not understand what you are saying, you may as well be speaking gibberish. To simplify your web copy, you need to do two things right: 1) Know your customers: know what they are searching for, what their pain points are, what their goals are and how your services can help achieve those goals, how to tell a story that will resonate and engage them with your brand. 2) Write clearly and directly: If you use words that your customers do not understand, you are not helping them. If your copy is full of jargon or uses words that your customers are not familiar with, then it is time to rethink your strategy.

Overuse or underuse of keywords in the text 

  • Always include your main keywords in your metadata, page title, and H1 headers as a standard. For each of these, there is a certain amount of characters that you are allowed to use. For meta keywords, you are allowed about 127 characters - use them all. For the page title and H1 headers, use all the characters available, but for the meta description, try using only 150 characters, keeping in mind that Google will cut off anything after that.

Not writing the content in a way that is easy to read 

  • study done by the National Institute for Literacy found that 43% of adults from 18 to 55 years old have below a fifth-grade reading level. You should write your copy so that its diction is easy to follow, allowing you to connect to a broader audience. Grammarly is a great tool to check your diction for accuracy.

Not including social media buttons

  • Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Linkedin, Pintrest, Youtube. As a small business owner, it can be challenging to choose the right social media platform. Regardless of the platform selected, social media profiles added as links on your website aid with social proof. Links like this can be a double-edged sword, leading visitors away from your site if placed in too prominent a location (such as the website header). Instead, place them in the footer section of your website.

Choosing the right web design company 

For many small businesses in Sarasota, having a website is just a way of doing business. The thought of creating a website from scratch and managing it on a day-to-day basis can be daunting. Some business owners may hire a website designer to create a website for their business, but they discover that maintaining it and updating it is a lot of work.

Choosing the right web designer is tricky. Factors such as price, visual features, and security are all crucial, but how do you know that your chosen company will provide you with everything you need and more? How can we be sure that they're offering outstanding service to consumers?

Simple, check for social proof. Social proofing includes blogs with relevant, high-quality content, google my business reviews, verified clutch.co reviews, testimonials, design portfolios, and case studies.

Website maintenance and development

A recent study from the University of Toronto revealed that a whopping 68 percent of small businesses admit to putting off the maintenance of their websites, even though they know that it's an essential aspect of their business.

Conclusion

The world is going digital, and small businesses are no exception. Today, if you do not have a website, you are already falling behind your competitors. A website gives you a competitive edge by allowing you to easily reach out to your customers and establish a strong brand presence online. We would be happy to discuss your website needs and offer you a quote on your website! Contact us today if you are a small business in Sarasota, FL, yet do not have a website.

Atrax Designs is a Full Service Website Design Agency. We Offer Website Design, Hosting, Security and Digital Compliance.
Atrax Designs has a 5.0 rating on Clutch.co and Google.
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