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Website Development For Local Businesses

Developing Your Website Into A Business Asset

website advice for local businesses

When developing your website, there are three viewpoints to consider; 1) how it looks to you, 2) how it looks to your website visitors and, 3) how it looks to search engines.

From your point of view, there’s nothing wrong with wanting your website to look the way you want it to look. It is, after all, a reflection of your business. However, if this is the only viewpoint that you consider, then you could could be one of a very few who ever see your website.

From your website visitor’s point of view, your website should be easy to navigate, load fast, and contain useful information. For them, useful information will center around answer their question as to whether or not you can help them solve their problem. If you don’t answer their query quickly, they’re gone.

From the search engines’ point of view; they will reward you with better rankings when your website meets the needs of your website visitors, better than your competitor’s websites.

Search Engine Penalties

Keep in mind, search engines will penalize your website when it loads slowly, contains coding errors, uses duplicate content, utilizes “keyword stuffing” techniques, and when it’s not “mobile” friendly. (This is only a partial list.)

While developing your website, you should resist applying rules or beliefs that only apply to a small number of people. For example, you might want to be brief, and use a lot of pictures on your pages, because you believe that people don’t read any more. However, this might conflict with your goal of having your website perform well in search results. Balance is needed to create a website that appeals to you, your potential customers, and to search engines.

A great looking website that nobody finds, is just another expense. Do you need more expenses? If not, then your website should contain content that helps you get found for your products and services, as well as the problems that you solve for your customers. Remember, your website is indexed in search based on the content you have on the pages. Don’t expect your website to be found for search terms that are not on your pages.

Template Based Websites

Let’s talk about having a template based website, one built on a platform where no “coding” is required to manage it. By using a template, your website can be created in less time, because it will use existing content that is personalized with business name, and with your pictures.

By building your website on a platform, you will be able to make (some) edits to the content yourself, without waiting for a developer to help you. It sounds good, right? What could go wrong?

Potential Problems With Template Based Websites

First, you might want things to be a little different from the original template. And you’ll have to wait for a “website developer” to make those changes for you, because those who sell you on the platform based website don’t know how to code a website. It could take days or weeks for the changes to be made for you.

Second, your pages might have code errors that you get penalized for. Those code errors can not be fixed because they are part of the platform’s base structure. They are not from your personalization of the template.

Fourth, the content on your template webpages may have already been indexed by another website. That means you will get hit with a “duplicate content penalty” by search engines. This will result in your webpages not getting indexed in the search engines. If they are indexed, they’ll likely be back on page six, where nobody finds them!

What About WordPress?

WordPress can be good option for building your website. Do you have a sufficient amount of spare time to learn all about WordPress? Are you willing to sort through an endless selection of free and premium WordPress themes, to find one you like? Will you enjoy figuring out how to get your chosen theme to display the way you want it to? If you answered yes, then WordPress is certainly an option for you.

WordPress has the advantage of being a platform that allows you to edit your own content. You can manipulate the website content, within the limitations of their built-in editors. There are also support groups and training videos to help you learn how to get things done.

If you are already familiar with coding, many themes will allow you to add css code, to customize how your website looks. And, you don’t need to hire a website developer every time you want to update something. Do remember to make backups of your customizations, in case you lose them when your theme updates.

You will also have to research “plugins” to add certain functionalities to your website such as contact forms, adding banners above the page content, improving website security, and boosting website performance. You may want help with installing WordPress onto your hosting account.

WordPress is very popular, and thus has much support. You should be aware that it is also the most hacked website platform. Because WordPress websites are attacked often, it is essential to keep the core, the database, the theme and the plugins up to date. You should plan on doing regular backups of your entire installation as well. Note: WordPress works best on a fast webhost.

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