Thursday February 4, 2016
Depending on whom you ask, you may get a variety of answers to this question. At ThinkTANK, we say YES to every small business owner that asks us and not just because we happen to build web sites.
It used to be that we gave greater respect to business owners that had a storefront or a physical location versus people that ran a home-based business. That perspective has shifted so that we judge a company's ability to serve our needs based on their web site, its appearance, and its usefulness.
There are many online services promoting their web site building software, services to design your logo for only a few dollars, and print your cards for less than what you'll spend on lunch today. So why not do it yourself? You could, if you have some technical prowess, but just because you can does not mean you should. You will greatly benefit from the perspective of someone from the outside looking in.
“My plumber's stepson's niece is taking a class, can't she do it for me?” Well maybe, but its not as straight forward as that. You might end up with something like this:
It would seem that the Blinkee.com site was not designed by a professional web designer. Even when you deal with professionals, you need to realize that:
- Designers will design something beautiful.
- Programmers will build something logical.
- Marketers will come up with witty and captivating taglines.
You need ALL of these things; a visually stimulating and modern look and feel, a logical approach that will make the site easy to navigate, a strong message that communicates what you're about and what makes you different, but greater still, you need to have goals defining your site's purpose. If you are in business, your web site should educate and inform your audience about your product or service while converting them into a new lead.
If you are a not for profit organization, you need to promote your purpose, your cause, your reason for existing all while getting donations, drawing volunteers, engaging sponsors.
So what do you need in order to get started?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have all the information I want to present online?
- Product list and the details for each product
- Services list and the details of each service
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Values statement
- Contact information
- A bio about you, and/or your company or organization
- Photos of your work, you at work, your team at work, your products, and very important: the problem your audience faces that your product or service solves.
- Do I have the right domain name that reflects what my business is about made up of either the company or organization’s name, an obvious acronym or a domain that relates to the industry?
- What is the personality of my organization and what kind of look and feel will reflect that?
- Do I want to be able to maintain this web site myself?
- Will my audience be viewing my site on mobile devices?
All of these questions are key to determining what you will need to do to get this done.
It is a good idea to look at the web sites of your competitors and organizations in related fields. You will need your new web site to show that you are at the same level as these competitors, or preferably, be seen as superior.
Whether you are considering building your company or organization’s first web site or rebuilding it, ThinkTANK offers a free consultation to guide you through the decision making process.