Website Trade Secrets: What you don’t know and most “experts” cannot or will not tell you
Do you run a small business?
Whether you already have a website, or are thinking about getting one please, for your own sanity and the sake of your bank balance, read this!
But before we get into website trade secrets, I have a simple multiple choice question for you…
Why do you have or want a website?
- To have something pretty to look at
- To make you feel important
- Because most small businesses now have websites
- Because your competitors have websites
- To have something to show to potential customers
- To generate new business
Answers 1 to 5 will make your website a drain on your pocket and reduce your profits.
Website Trade Secrets: This is a big one
Only number 6 can make your website an asset. So how can a website generate new business?
Well, there are four aspects to creating a website:
- Design – the look and feel of the site, graphics, colours, fonts, styling etc.
- Construction – The process of actually building the web pages and the methods of navigating between them.
- Content – The copy (text), images, videos, calls-to-action, downloads etc.
- Promotion – the process of getting people to visit your website.
Website Trade Secrets: Design
Most small business web designers are pretty good at design. Many of them are trained and highly competent graphic designers. But, they would have you believe that design is the most, (and in some cases only) important part of creating a website. Whilst they are clearly great at design, on this one point they have no idea what they are talking about and they are just plain wrong! Why? You’re in business to make money aren’t you? Ok, so would you buy an ice cream parlour at the end of a cul-de-sac where nobody ever goes, just because it is decorated beautifully? No? I rest my case.
Website Trade Secrets: Construction
Most small business web designers can do this pretty well too. Some are better than others, but on the whole, most make a reasonably good job of it.
Website Trade Secrets: Content (also a big one)
This one enfuriates me. Most web designers working with small businesses ask their customer or client to write the copy for their own website. Why is that a bad idea? Because most small business owners have no idea about how to write compelling content and even less about how to create a call to action. More importantly, most small business owners wouldn’t have a clue how to write content which is optimised for search engines. The result is that their website struggles to attract visitors from search engines and when it does attract them it struggles to convert those visitors into enquiries and sales. This is no fault of the small business owner, (most are great at what they do); it is the fault of their “web designer” who clearly doesn’t understand one of the most vital parts of his own trade. By all means provide notes, product information and bullet points etc., but your web designer should optimise that content for the search engines and also create calls to action for you.
Website Trade Secrets: Promotion (the biggest one of all)
Promotion, or more acurately the lack of it in web design is something I see all the time and it makes me angry. The small business owners I’ve met are among the hardest working people on the planet and they earn every penny of the money they make. So why is it that most so called “web designers” totally overlook this, the most vitally important part of web design?
There are numerous ways to promote a website and drive traffic to it. They include:
- Offline Promotion – Using things like business cards, flyers, newspaper ads and so on to promote your website address.
- Pay Per Click Advertising – This can become very expensive and easily turn into a money pit if not micro-managed.
- Email Marketing – Sending mass emails to opt-in subscribers about your latest offers and the like using email marketing software.
- Search Engine Optimisation – Getting to the top of the natural search engine listings, which is free, but you need to know how to do it.
- Social Media – Using websites like Facebook and Twitter to create a social “buzz” about your business – this too is free.
Quite clearly, the best of these methods for a small business are the free ones; search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media. But then why is it that most web designers either include neither in their work, offer them at an extortionate extra price, or make a total hash of SEO by using techinques that are 15 years out of date and are more likely to get you banned by Google than onto the front page?
Based on my experience I am now certain it is because most web designers who work with small businesses have a very vague understanding of social media and simply don’t understand SEO at all. To make matters worse, they believe they do understand SEO and do it completely wrong – to the detriment of their customers… and then have the audacity to charge for it!!
So do yourself a BIG favour… don’t get ripped off buying a website that doesn’t work. You’re good at what you do, so get someone who understands SEO and social media to build your website for you.
Oh and one final thought… forget all those “build your own” type websites too, because SEO in particular is something that requires very specific and detailed knowledge that no cut and paste, do-it-yourself website system can provide.
Website trade secrets are at best incompetence on the part of web designers and at worst dishonest – in my opinion these so called website trade secrets are all about filling the web designers’ pockets, not yours. You have been warned!
P.S. If you still need convincing, ask your web designer to come and leave a comment on this post about their opinion on website trade secrets and gauge their reactions for yourself.
P.P.S. If you’re one of the web designers I’m talking about, (and you know who you are), I challenge you to explain your website trade secrets to all of us and stop selling chocolate frying pans to hard working small business owners.