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9 Reasons Why you should hire a professional website designer today

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website-design-steps

Professional website designer

In today’s competitive business landscape, your business needs to stand out, in order to survive and thrive. One of the most important marketing tool to get more visibility is a website. Businesses that do not have a professionally created website risk losing potential customers on the Internet and in their storefronts. Today’s well-informed consumers research and evaluate products and companies before they decide to make a purchase. If your website does not seem professional or secure, they will simply move on to your competitor’s website. So every business needs a website that reflects their core values and unique value proposition that is different from competitors and is effective at bringing internet traffic and new customers.

Well, how do you ensure that your website has all these critical elements? A professional website designer can cater to your unique requirements while also providing expert advice on how to drive traffic and generate leads.

While marketing, sales and credibility are the 3 main factors for having a professional website for your business, these 9 reasons will help you understand why a professionally created website is crucial for your business.

 

1. Custom design
When you hire a professional website designer, a customized website will be created to meet your exact business needs. They will take the time and put in the effort to understand every aspect of what you do and what your brand is all about. The website designer will review products and services, and work with you towards your objective. Are you interested in generating online sales? Increased walk-in sales? Will your site be for informational purposes only? Once these and other questions are answered, your site will be designed to meet your specific needs. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) site builders have limited capabilities and restrict graphics and text. A professional web designer is not bound by these restrictions and can be creative.

 

2. Visual properties
A professional website designer is able to create a web site that is unique to your business, visually pleasing, has clear and easy navigation, loads efficiently, and works properly in all commonly-used browsers. The way your site looks, the way it navigates, and the colors and graphics used are very important. Visitors do not like to search for information, nor do they wish to be barraged with loud colors and crowded text. A professional website designer will know how to effectively use your brand’s color scheme and text to keep visitors on the page.

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Also, with more than 60% of web traffic generated from mobile devices, it is critical for the website to be mobile-friendly, so that it is displayed properly on all devices with different screen size.

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3. New technologies
Digital technology is evolving at a rapid pace. When using a professional web designer, you can be sure that the site is being created with the latest technologies and according to the latest trends, for optimal success. Many DIY site builders will not allow video, RSS feeds, sliders, pop-ups, etc, which can impact the overall look and feel of the website.

 

4. SEO compliance
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique used by professional website designers to improve search engine ranking on Google and other search engines. If search engines cannot find your site easily, your potential clients will not either, resulting in lost revenue. Your site must be optimized in order to be found.

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5. Maintenance and Support services
You may think that once all pages of a website are built, it is complete. Designing and building a website isn’t a one-time task. It’s an on-going process that requires constant updates to keep them current and relevant to their industry. Technology is continuously changing, and for websites to remain popular and successful, they must remain up-to-date with these trends. When working with a professional website designer, you benefit from their support and maintenance services to keep your site updated and fresh. Also, they will ensure that your website is secure and unhackable, while taking regular backups, incase the site is compromised. By taking away the burden from your shoulders and placing it on their own, it allows you to focus on mission critical tasks and primary business goals.

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You might be thinking that today’s Content Management Systems (CMS) are very user-friendly and give you the control to update your website. Yes, it is true that a user-friendly CMS lets you change images, update content and even add or remove pages to your menu structure. But what happens when your boss wants to add a video loop to the home page? Or the VP of Sales asks you to create custom landing pages to go along with an ad campaign with a specific Call-to-Action? If you built your website on your own, these requests are likely out of reach, but not for a professional website designer.

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6. Professionalism
A web design firm can create a website that is truly professional. Professional web design companies don’t just hire average designers and do not deliver average designs. They spend a considerable amount of time and resources in identifying the right people to work for them, so that they are able to deliver the best results for their client.

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7. Receive services from more than one professional
A website design firm or company has experienced professionals, each having expertise in their domain including website design, website development, video development, graphic design and user-interface design, and content writing. So you get a team of experts with specialized skills and knowledge to develop your website.

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8. Saving you time
Hiring a professional website designer gives you the benefit of hiring an expert who knows efficient ways to create a high-quality web site quickly.
You are an expert in your field, but you don’t know that much about web design or even what your business needs to be successful online. Professional website designers are experts in their field and already have streamlined processes in place that make the task more manageable. They know where to start, what questions to ask, how to communicate your brand’s message, and how to use layouts to your advantage. Plus, hiring an expert frees up more of your precious time to focus on your core expertise and running the business.

 

9. Greater credibility
Having a professionally designed web site will enable your small business to compete with larger companies. A professional website designer will be able to make a smaller company look like a larger company; therefore, giving small companies as much credibility as the large companies, thus bringing in larger prospects.

 

Many businesses do not realize the importance of a professional website design, nor do they see what damage a poorly constructed website does to their business. There is no reason for taking such a risk with your business when professional website creation is cost-effective and easily accessible.

Ready to enlist a website design company to handle your new website design? In desperate need of new leads through your website? Contact us at info@telkoware.com or (437)223-1771 at any time.

professional website designer

21 Must-Haves for Your Small Business Website to Attract Customers

small-business-website
small-business-website

small business website design

I am sure you already know that a website is a critical marketing tool for every small business, even if you are not selling your products or services online. It serves as a digital business card, providing valuable information about your small business to online visitors who enter your virtual web office, while building your business credibility and online presence.
Well, guess what? Thanks to latest software technologies, there are different options available to get a website for your business, including building it yourself through different online platforms, or hiring a small business website design company to get it done professionally. Whether you are designing your small business website yourself or getting it done through a website design agency, there are some important elements to have on your website, which will not only bring more traffic, but visitors will stick around for longer time, who can be converted into customers. Also, the website content needs to be compelling and attention-grabbing, while providing the right kind of information, so that the visitor finds what he/she is looking for and does not move on, to the next website.
To help you with all these challenges, I have compiled a comprehensive list of 21 things to make your small business website look professional and well-designed to potential customers, even if you are starting off with a simple, basic website. Here it is:

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1. Logo
The color and theme of your website follows the color theme and design of your logo, to build a unified brand image. So if you don’t yet have a logo, it’s time to invest in one. You can get a graphic designer to design a custom logo for $50-$60. If you are looking for a cheaper option, try Fiverr.com. You can get a logo there for $25-$50.

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2. Products and Services Pages
This one is pretty obvious, from small business website design perspective. It is important to describe your products and services, even if you are not doing any online sales. This is the whole reason an online visitor came to your website in the first place to learn about what you offer. Give description with some professional images of your products or services being delivered. Include prices, too, if that makes sense.

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3. About Us Page
This is often the third-most visited page on a small business website, after Home page and Products / Services. So put some thought on the content for this page. Tell your story and background. This background information is especially important when your business is brand new because you can start building trust with customers who are hearing about you for the first time. This is a great opportunity to be authentic, show off your core values and share the story behind what motivated you to start your business.
Also, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and try to answer: What is unique about your business? Why should I buy from you?” This is missing from many business sites because the owners haven’t done the strategic thinking necessary to figure that out.
Add photographs of you and your employees. Include their names and what they help out with. It helps build your business credibility that your business is not a one-man shop and is a full-time legitimate business.
Include a bit about your work history, or a few sentences about what prompted you to start your business. Your “WHY” is something another business owner can relate to, helping to build trust.

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4. Hours of operation
You might be surprised at how many people are just visiting your website with the objective of finding the simplest piece of information, such as your store hours. So it should be clearly visible on your site.
Consider putting your hours in the header / footer area of your website, so that it is visible on every page. Don’t forget to update your business hours for the holiday schedules.

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small business website design

5. Location
This is another valuable piece of information, so you might want it in the header / footer on your site. Include a street address and a mailing address, if those are different. The best way to display your location through a map. It is easy to integrate Google Maps to your website, which makes it easier for them to find you.

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6. Contact information
As a growing business, you don’t want to turn away potential prospects by making it difficult to get in touch with you. You never know who might find you — through someone sharing a link or finding you by searching keywords — and what opportunities your website can offer to your business.
With most website builders, adding in a simple form can help you field and organize your contact requests. You should give the option of contacting your business through various channels, including phone, email, and contact form and let the prospect choose the one that he/she feels most comfortable with.

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small business website design

7. Phone Number
This is the most basic piece of contact information a small business website can have. And yet, according to the SCORE study, 27% of small businesses do not have a contact phone number on their website. Make sure you’re not part of that 27%. Put your phone number on every page, preferably in the header at the top, so people don’t have to scroll to find it.

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8. Email Address
For email address, you can use a generic one, like info@xyz.com / sales@xyz.com, or a specific one, like michael@xyz.com. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it has your company’s domain name at the end. It should not be a free email address (michael@gmail.com).

small business website design

9. Contact Form
Include a contact form on your site, either in footer or on Contact Us page. Make sure you ask enough information so that when you get the inquiry, you can have an idea of what your prospect needs.
Please ensure that all contact form inquiries go to a mailbox that gets checked frequently, so that any new leads don’t get lost.

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10. Third-party validation / Testimonials / Reviews
This means customer testimonials, client lists, customer reviews, case studies, awards and recognition you’ve received, positive news clippings and so on and so forth. Potential customers indeed want to know who you do business with, and what current customers have to say about their experiences. Such items help build trust on your expertise. Reaching out to a few key customers to ask for a testimonial can go a long way in building a brand reputation. Often asking for a quote and the permission to publish it is all you need. If you’ve got enough customers saying great things about you and your business, create a whole page of testimonials.
You also have the option to request your customers for reviews on Google and then link it with your website. That way, any new reviews posted on Google automatically shows up on your website and it looks much more credible than the permanent testimonials on your website.
It is helpful to display logos of some of your big customers, but make sure you get approval from them first.

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small business website design

11. Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
SSL is an encryption system that helps protect the privacy of data exchanged between a customer and a website. If you have an e-commerce site that takes credit card information, customers want to know that their sensitive data is encrypted. Even if you are doing online sales and collecting payment information, it is better to get SSL, as it helps with your website ranking, as Google looks at those websites favorably. You may have to pay an additional $50 to $100 to your web hosting provider for it.

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small business website design

12. Ease of use and navigation
Have you been to small business websites, where you have to click multiple times and go to different pages to find the information you are looking for? Well, if people can’t find it, they will not play detective and move on to the next website. So it is important to keep your site crisp, clean, simple, and easy to navigate. I would suggest configuring Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com), so you can study traffic and usage patterns and make any necessary adjustments, based on what visitors are coming for.

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small business website design

13. Special offers and personalization
By personalizing a sale with a special offer, incentive or coupon, small businesses can gain an edge on their bigger competitors. It can be as simple as free gift wrap services or a special discount offer on future purchases for repeat business.

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small business website design

14. Site Map
Think of site map is a hierarchy of all web pages of a single website. It shows visitors and search engines how the site is laid out and which sections are where. Make sure you have one, if you are focused on optimizing your website for search engines.

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small business website design

15. Copyright Information
Your website should carry a copyright notice to protect its intellectual property. It is generally in the form of “Copyright © 2018, Your Company Name”.

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small business website design

16. Imagery
A picture can say a thousand words. Investing in your own custom imagery of your products, office, and staff can give a boost of trustworthiness to your business.
If you don’t go the custom imagery route, there are plenty of free or inexpensive stock image resources out there, which you can download and use. Just make sure to adhere to any copyright rules. Some of the most common free image resources are https://pixabay.com, https://stocksnap.io, https://unsplash.com, and https://pexels.com.

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small business website design

17. Social media accounts
According to the Hubspot report, The Social Lifecycle: Consumer Insights to Improve Your Business, 70% of consumers aged 45 to 60 think a brand should be on Facebook. 95% of millennials expect a Facebook page.
You don’t have to be promoting your business on all platforms as it requires a lot of time and effort, but building a social media presence can give you a competitive edge and almost be a necessity in many industries. If you have a company Facebook Page, Twitter profile, or other social media account, don’t keep them as silos — integrate them into your website by including links and asking your web visitors to connect with you. If you decide to integrate, make sure you have a sizable no. of followers and upload posts regularly. Deserted social media business page with few followers doesn’t help the credibility of your business.

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small business website design

18. Call-To-Action (CTA)
Congrats! You got online visitors to land on your website. Now, you lead them to perform a specific action that helps you connect with them. It is not just important to capture their attention, but to engage them with your business on a long-term basis through various strategies, such as a newsletter sign up form, or to follow your business on social media.
If you were trying to sell something, would you skip the part of your pitch where you actually asked someone to buy? Would you just give them the information, and then walk off? Of course not. So don’t forget this part of your pitch on your website. Include at least one call to action, ideally near the top and bottom of every page.

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19. Email Sign-up Form
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics around. We know from our own survey that about 45% of small businesses use emails as part of their marketing strategy. Even if your business is at a stage where you don’t utilize email marketing, it is better to start collecting email addresses and building your list from now onwards, so that you have a sizable list when you are ready to start sending out emails.
You can get started with a free MailChimp account and grow your list from there. Your website designer can easily integrate your Mailchimp account to email sign-up form, so that any email address entered on it, automatically gets added to the list in Mailchimp. Adding the opt-in form to a website is as easy and any good web designer or developer can do it in an hour.

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small business website design

20. Light and Fast Web Pages
Have you heard? People are impatient. They’re especially impatient with websites. Every page on your site needs to load in less than three seconds, and ideally in less than 2 seconds. Missing that 2-second mark could mean thousands of dollars in lost sales over the next few years, simply because your site is a little slow.
Well, how do you get a fast website? Fast hosting will help get your pages to load quickly. So will keeping image sizes small. Beyond that, you may need the help of a website developer or a designer to optimize web content and ensure any large files are compressed to its smallest-possible size.

 

21. Mobile-Friendly Website
Most of your website’s traffic will come from smartphones, not computers or laptops. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that your website looks good and functions well on mobile devices.
Being mobile-friendly may mean using a “responsive” design – a design that adjusts itself nicely to different screen sizes automatically. Make sure you ask your Website Designer to build a mobile-responsive website and test it on your phone and tablet. You can also test it through mobiletest.me

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small business website design

It is critical to invest some time on your small business website to ensure that it has all basic elements of a great website. It does not have to be perfect from Day 1. As your business grows, you can update your website and add more features and content to it.

If you are wondering whether your small business website all the right elements, then don’t worry. We are happy to do a free audit of your website and provide a detailed report of improvement recommendations to help you win more customers. Simply send us an email at info@telkoware.com or call us at (437)223-1771.

small business website

Avoid 14 common pitfalls to build the best website and win customers

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Digital-Marketing-14

best website

Your business website is a valuable marketing tool and a critical part of your business. Unfortunately, Canadian businesses are lacking on this front. Based on recent data from Statistics Canada, 46.6% of all Canadian businesses did not have a website in 2017 and only some businesses that had a website had advanced e-commerce features such as the capability to receive payment online (8.5%), or collect customer information (31.6%). This is worrisome, because businesses that do not have an online presence risk losing customers to competitors. Internet technologies such as search engines, e-commerce platforms, and online marketing has made it easier and faster to generate leads and sell outside your local market. But if you have tried various Digital Marketing techniques like SEO, social media, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), content marketing, etc to bring visitors to your website and are not giving any results, then it’s time to analyse your website to understand what’s wrong, so that it can be fixed. Avoid these 14 common pitfalls to build the best website and attract lots of customers:

best website design

1. Don’t make people search / figure out / think

Visitors come to your website looking for specific information and if they are not able to find it easily, they will simply move to the next one. Do a 5-second test; if visitor is not able to find relevant information or figure out what to do within 5 seconds, website needs to be fixed. The pages should be setup in a hierarchy with most important pages on the horizontal menu bar on the top of home page, with drop-down menu for sub-categories or sub-topics. That way, visitor can quickly glance at the menu and click on what he/she is looking for. Also, I would highly recommend adding a search box on top of every page, which makes it very easy to search for relevant information.

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2. Don’t expect visitors

There is a common misconception that “if you build it, they will come”. Just putting up your website will not automatically attract visitors. You have to develop a digital marketing strategy around your website to bring visitors. Depending on the type of product / service you sell and the target market you are after, it can be a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / Pay-per click ads (PPC), Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, or Email Marketing. If you are not sure which one to invest in, build your customer persona and see where does your ‘ideal customer’ hang around and can grab some of his attention.

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3. Don’t spend all your money at once

Don’t spend your entire marketing budget on getting a website. You can get a decent website with 10-15 pages for under $1,500. As your business grows, you would like to update and enhance your website further. Also, you want to focus on other marketing avenues like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM) to bring visitors to your website.

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4. Don’t have an outdated blog

If you have a blog, make sure you are posting a new blog regularly. Or else it will backfire as visitors will think either your company is out of business or really small with owner doing everything.

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5. Don’t have social media buttons, with few followers

If you are placing Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media buttons on your website, make sure you have a sizable no. of followers. If visitors see few followers, they will lose trust and think you have just started and don’t have any credibility. So build your social presence through social media marketing and then add it to your website.

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6. Don’t target every visitor

If you try to target and please every visitor that comes your way, your website will be a mess with no clear content, theme, and call to action. Focus on your specific target market with whom you have a better chance of converting into a customer.

 

7. Don’t add vague or fake testimonials

Testimonials play an important role in building trust and credibility, but they need to be genuine and specific. “Great work. Highly recommended..” is extremely vague and doesn’t seem very believable.

 

8. Don’t use inconsistent color combination

Please don’t use a different color on every webpage, or use too many colors on a single page. The color, design, and layout should be the same throughout the website, to make it look appealing and professional. The best way to choose color palette is to stick with the logo color throughout the website.

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9. Don’t use too many images or videos

Images are important and should be used on every web page of your website, to grab the visitor’s attention quickly. Only word of caution is not to over-use it, as it will delay your website’s loading time. Most of the visitors will quickly move away if your website is taking a bit too long to load.

 

10. Don’t overcrowd the web pages

If you fill up your web pages with text, graphics, images, and videos, visitors will feel overwhelmed. I would strongly advise using the white space, allowing visitors to digest the information that you have presented. If there is alot of stuff to talk about, break it up into categories or sections and spread it out on a single page, or among multiple pages, with clear navigation.

Make sure your typography is well spaced and easy to read (preferred font size is 14) so that customers can easily read and digest your website content.

 

11. Don’t forget to use headlines

Many studies have proven that headlines are consistently the most viewed items on a web page, even over images. So use them wisely.

Bold, concise headlines attract eyeballs because users want to see if it has the relevant information that they are looking for.

 

12. Don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly

I can’t stress on this point enough, as more than 60% of web traffic originates from mobile devices. So you need to make sure that your website is accessible and presentable on smartphone, tablet, and laptop, of various screen sizes. The easiest way to test it is to open the website on mobiletest.me and check the results.

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13. Don’t design the website from your perspective

This is a no-brainer, but people are so focused on their products and services that they forget about the most important aspect of their business; customers. So always try to think from the customer’s point of view on why would they come to your website, what information are they looking for and how will they find it, why should they sign-up for the newsletter, etc etc.

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14. Don’t expect an awesome website overnight

Good websites are not built overnight. They require several revisions to create that perfect look and feel with the right content to grab visitors’ attention and make them take one of the actions specified in your call-to-actions.

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Have you noticed other pitfalls that should be avoided to create an awesome website? What else can be done to make visitors stay longer and keep returning to your website? Please share your thoughts in comments below.

business website