By Guest Author Jessica Brauer, Laramie Main Street Alliance
It is no secret that today the world is online, and small businesses are no different. If you think of your website as the digital welcome mat to your customers, many entrepreneurs are operating with very little curb appeal, or worse yet, nothing at all.
A small business’ website with streamlined strategy and clean design has the power to be one of the most influential team members on your staff. While it greets your customers when they’re browsing online, it also acts as a platform to share your unique value, tell the history of your business, introduce your product or service and create an opportunity for customers to build a relationship with you and your staff before they even walk through the door.
Taking on a website project can quickly feel overwhelming and out of the question in terms of time and finances, however website builders like Squarespace, Wix and WordPress to name just a few, are available specifically to make your life easier. These platforms, offering varying levels of features like blogging tools, e-commerce integrations and mobile-friendly design, allow you to build an effective, eye-catching and modern digital presence. In addition to making your life easier they are built to be intuitive for DIY designers, and incredibly affordable.
When it comes time to pick the best website builder for you, take a step back and look at what your needs are, recognizing that what you need may look much different from your neighbor. Here are a few areas to explore while you compare and contrast:
- Budget: How much do you have to spend monthly?
- Customization: How much customization is necessary for the functionality I need?
- Flexibility: How flexible is the design platform and options for coding if your needs include something more complex?
- Technology: How technologically savvy am I/are my staff who will be working with the site?
- Plug-Ins: Do I need any specific platforms to integrate with my e-commerce, email or other services used in my business?
- Customer Service: What kind of support would you like to have available to you?
Regardless of the platform you decide to move forward with, a non-negotiable feature should include mobile-friendly design. A large amount of online traffic will come from customers browsing on the mobile devices, and a clunky site is a quick way to lose a potential sale before they even make it to the door. Fortunately, most website builders are well-aware of the demand and on-top of this.
Whether you’re launching something new or polishing a pre-existing site, exploring the tools available to you through these website builders allows you to confidently strategize your marketing efforts with limited time and at limited cost. Regardless of how comfortable you are with technology, you can create that stunning website that works hard for you and your business in the new year.
About the Author
Jessica is a marketer and community advocate experienced in supporting economic development agencies. She is passionate about activating communities with local events, digital marketing campaigns and strategic messaging and design. Jessica works as a contracted marketing coordinator for Laramie Main Street Alliance and The Local Crowd and has partnered with members of Wyoming Main Street, Wyoming Business Council, City of Laramie, Wyoming SBDC and Albany County Tourism on projects and campaigns specifically designed to boost economic activity on the local level and build strong, vibrant communities.