For any company or sole trader keen to establish a presence in cyberspace small business website creation is going to be at or near the top of their to-do list. For many years now, a website has been as necessary as a phone number or an email address but before you launch into this process it’s essential that you give some thought to your intended audience and the overall message and impression that you want to broadcast from your website.
Small business websites tend to be one of two possible types and the choice is often determined by either the cost of creating the website or the services or products that the business provides. These two types are the brochure website and the ecommerce website.
Small Business Website Creation – The Brochure Site
The brochure site is the easiest and therefore the cheapest type of small business website. They are in effect a small online brochure that provides basic information about the business. Their purpose is to provide any would-be customer with all the information about the business that they may require and to generate leads.
These sites will probably contain most or all of the following:
- Background information about the business
- Goods and/or services provided by the business
- Registered address and office address (if different)
- Links to social media accounts (if any)
- Customer testimonials
- Opening hours
- Staff bios
This is not an exhaustive list and there may be several other sections but you can see that it’s not a complicated site design and doesn’t contain anything that you would not be surprised to see in a hard-copy brochure (apart from the blog section).
A brochure site is comparatively inexpensive and can be set up within a few hours/days provided all the ingredients are assembled and ready to use. These are:
- Domain name
- Hosting package for the website
- Website platform (e.g. WordPress)
- All relevant business information
Pros & Cons of Small Business Brochure Websites
- Inexpensive. They are uncomplicated and do not require bespoke coding (although that is an option of a unique design is required).
- Easy to maintain. These types of sites don’t need frequent updates.
- Verification of business. Brochure sites can be used to provide verification of a business for the purpose of Google My Business, business index directories etc.
- Unlikely to attract organic traffic. Brochure sites tend to be a bit thin if they’re just a few pages of static content. Consequently, they do not score highly in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) terms and therefore don’t attract much organic traffic. However, they may do so if the site has a blog that is frequently updated.
Small Business Website Creation – The Ecommerce Site
Small business ecommerce sites tend to contain everything that would be in a brochure site with the addition of ecommerce functionality that allows a customer to buy products or order services. This means they need to contain several other essential components:
- SSL certificate
- Shopping cart functionality
- Secure payment gateway functionality
- Customer account & order history
- Terms and Conditions document
As you can imagine the above list introduces layers of complexity to the site which in turn generates a proportional amount of administrative overhead for the site’s functions alone. In addition to running the site, keeping it well maintained and secure, the business needs to process the orders and deal with any returns from online sales.
Pros & Cons of Small Business Ecommerce Websites
- Additional revenue. Online sales can supplement sales generated by a physical trade or retail store, or they can be the entire business.
- Insurance. Ecommerce sites are insurance against unforeseen disaster that close the physical shop temporarily. For example; utility outages, environmental problems, or even pandemics.
- Scalability. Ecommerce sites can be the launchpad for a thriving business with a global customer base.
- Cost. Although extra revenue can be generated it requires a larger investment than a simple brochure site.
- Complexity. As well as the initial outlay there will be higher ongoing administrative and support costs.
Small Business Website Creation – Construction Options
There are of course dozens of ways in which a small business website can be built. There are drag and drop sites like Weebly or Wix that many business use to create a brochure site. There are ecommerce platforms like Shopify that many use very successfully for running online shops. The tools exist, there are plenty to choose from, and at first glance they seem fairly inexpensive (although the monthly costs can mount when those essential site supplements are added).
However, to use such tools well and to obtain the full benefit and advantage of using them requires time and effort that your business may not be able to spare, particularly if you’re a sole trader or a small business of one or two people. Perhaps you’re just not interested in this type of do-it-yourself approach to staking a claim in cyberspace.
That’s where Redspan can help. Small business website creation and the search engine optimisation of such sites is what we do, among other things.
Send us a message and let’s have a no-obligation chat about what you need. We will provide you with a free quote for you to consider against others you’ve obtained.