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In this post of the Digital Marketing Series for Small Business Owners in Toronto , I’m going to be talking about your website, and why it’s vital for the success of your business.
Your website is literally the foundation of your digital marketing – you simply can’t do digital marketing without one. In fact, without a website, most of the tactics I talk about in the following lessons won’t work. Sure, you can do email marketing and social media marketing without a site – but realistically, they won’t be very successful.
Think about it – pretty much every business has a website in today’s digital world. It’s your digital brochure – the way you tell the world who you are, what you do, and why you’re awesome. It allows you to interact with potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Having a website is really important for you to increase your business. If you want to be successful, you should have a website.
A website is a great way to generate leads and make sales. Websites can help you get your products to the right people, build trust and establish credibility, and drive traffic to your site.
Website visitors are more likely to buy from a business if they can see what it sells, how much it costs and how it works without having to contact the company. The best way to do this is through a website that clearly describes your product or service, its benefits and features, along with pricing information. A good website is also able to provide testimonials from previous customers who have used your product or service.
A well-optimized website should be able to attract visitors from various platforms such as search engines (Google), social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter etc., so that you can gain traffic from these platforms too. This will help increase the number of visitors on your website and consequently increase sales too.
A website is a great way for businesses to advertise their brand name and products through a wide variety of media channels like social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter etc., offline mediums such as newspapers, magazines, billboards etc., radio stations, television networks etc., digital mediums like mobile applications etc., webinars etc., special events etc., events organized by third parties and so on
Having a website adds credibility to your business as well. Think about what you’d do if you were looking for a business in your area. If there were multiple competitors, and they all had websites – but just one didn’t have a site, and only had a phone number listed on Google – would you be very likely to check that business out?
Probably not. You need to be on a level playing field with your competitors – and more importantly, your customers EXPECT that you’ll have a website.
Most importantly, having a site allows you to branch out and do some really cool things with digital marketing. Pay attention in the following lessons – you’ll notice that every strategy relies on your website presence.
If you’ve already got a site, you’re already on the right path and you’re probably ready to skip ahead to the next lesson. If not, let’s talk about what you need to do to set up a website for your business.
First, you’ll need to decide on a domain name – that’s the URL where your site is located. You’ll need to head to a domain registrar site (there are a ton of options – just do a Google search for ‘domain registrar’). Each site will allow you to search to see if your idea for a domain name is available. Keep in mind, it doesn’t HAVE to match your business name.
Once you’ve settled on a domain name and purchased it, you’ll need to set up your hosting service. For those of you who don’t know how the internet works, websites are really just groups of files stored on servers, or banks of computers.
When you set up hosting, you’re basically renting space on a server to store your files, and then you’ll set up your domain name to point to that server and your specific files. (If that sounds super complicated, don’t worry – it’s actually really easy, and your hosting company will have a support team that can help you if you need it).
Once you’ve got hosting handled, you’ll need to set up your site. This gets a bit more complicated, depending on which type of business you’re operating. If you’re a brick-and-mortar location where customers come to you, or a service-based business like a plumber or electrician, you’ll need a ‘regular’ site.
If you’re going to be selling products or services online, you’ll need an ecommerce site. And sometimes, you’ll have a physical location AND you’ll sell online, so you’ll need a hybrid site.
Again – that might sound complicated, but it’s really pretty easy. There are several out-of-the-box solutions available for all three scenarios, where you can literally click a button in the control panel interface on your host and the site will be installed automatically.
If you need a standard site, I definitely recommend setting up a WordPress site – most of the sites you see online are WordPress sites, and they’re incredibly easy to edit yourself once they’re set up. If you can open Microsoft Word and create a document, you can create pages in WordPress. Check out the links included with this lesson for more info on WordPress and a guide for first-time users.
If you need an ecommerce site, there are several options like Shopify and Bigcommerce – again, links are included in the lesson materials – and if you need a hybrid site, you can use plugins for WordPress, which add in ecommerce functionality.
Regardless of which direction you go with your website platform, you’ll most likely be able to click a button and have the site code set up automatically. Once that’s done, you’ll need to get some help with the actual design, or graphic layout of the site.
There are literally thousands of options for free and incredibly cheap ready-made site designs for all the major website platforms. If you find a design you like, you can pretty easily upload the design files into the admin dashboard of your website platform, and boom! You’ve got a gorgeous site design.
Or, if you want something more customized, you can pay a designer to create a design theme from scratch. This option will obviously be more expensive, but it’s an investment that’s 100% worth it.
Think about it – you want to stand out from competitors, and you want to impress potential customers. A well-designed site will look great on both desktop and mobile, and if your site design stands out, customers will remember you.
Once you’ve got the design installed, you’ll need to add your content. Add as many pages as are necessary, but make sure your menu doesn’t get too cluttered. If your site is difficult to navigate and potential customers can’t easily find what they’re looking for, it’s not going to convert those users into customers.
Now’s your chance to really shine – share text content that explains what you do and why you’re awesome. Post amazing photos. Explain why you’re better than competitors. Show off and sell yourself – remember, you’re trying to get potential customers to contact you and buy. If you aren’t much of a writer and don’t know how to create website content, no worries!
When it comes to website design, there are two important elements:
1) The look and feel of your site or blog – what people see when they visit your website.
2) How search engines like Google interpret and index your content. This is often referred to as “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO).
Your website is the hub of all of your online activity, so it’s critical that you have a professional-looking site that will help you achieve your goals. Voltstudio is a Top rated local SEO company in Toronto GTA that uses a combination of design best practices and SEO principles to create websites that convert visitors into customers, leads into sales and subscribers into fans.
We’ll also help you get started with social media, email marketing campaigns and more. Volt studios got you covered. Our professional writers can crank out awesome unique content about your products or services that’s optimized for SEO value in less than 15 days.
You’ll need to set up Google Analytics – a free platform that allows you to track the visitors to your site. Check out the additional links included with this lesson if you’re a first-time user and need to know more. You can’t see personally identifiable information, but you can see what users do on the site – which pages they visit, and in which order, how much time they spent looking at a page, and other engagement factors.
You can even set up goals or events to track points of conversion – important actions like contact form fills, phone calls, or purchases – so now you have a better picture of how your site is performing. You can set up goals, which are manually set up to track certain behavior, or you can use events, which are automatically tagged in analytics based on user behavior on the site. If you’re new to analytics, we’ve included a few links with the lesson that explain more about goals and events.
Once you’ve got them set up, you’ll be able to track how well your site is converting – are people contacting you or buying, or are they just browsing? If all of the visitors head to your products or services page and spend time reading, but don’t fill out a form or call, you know something is wrong. You might need to update your content, or add a better call to action to the page.
Google Analytics is pretty simple to add to your site – there are even plugins that do all the work for you – but it’s important to be sure that you’ve got your account set up correctly. Tracking conversions is essential if you want to evaluate the success of your digital marketing efforts.
Now that you’ve got your site set up, you’re ready to get more advanced with the digital marketing tactics in the following posts.
So that’s it for the website lesson of the Digital Marketing for Business Owners SERIES. We hope you learned something awesome.
Don’t forget to check out the next post about email marketing
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