When trying to take your business to the next level don’t believe the ‘all you need is a new small business website’ hype. A new website could make a huge difference, but it might not. As a stand-alone item, a new (or updated) website can be a complete waste of time and money.

If you think it through the new business website pitch is fundamentally flawed. It assumes your potential customers will find your website when they search for your products or services. It also assumes your prospects first point of call is a traditional search engine when they are choosing a supplier for goods or services. 

Before deciding if your business needs a website (or not) it is often worth taking a step back and really thinking through what it is you offer. What sets you apart, what type of customer you want to attract, how many of those customers you need and finally, how you are going to attract them to your business? What is your marketing process?

It could be a new business website makes perfect sense or it could be offline marketing will deliver the best returns. It is important to know your potential customers and how they choose a supplier. Where do they go to do their research? How important is Word of Mouth?

If a website has a role in your marketing mix then a proportion of available funds will need to be kept back to ensure it is found. Research from Chitika shows >90% of searchers on Google never go beyond page 1 of the search results.

Unless you happen to have the skills in house you are going to need a search engine optimisation expert. There is much misinformation peddled on how to ensure your website is found in search so it is really important to choose wisely.

Do some simple calculations to try to understand how much traffic you will need to your website to generate your target new enquiry numbers. In many cases, you will be doing well if 2 to 3% of visitors to your site make an enquiry. 

Do some basic research. What is your competition in the search engine results? What keyword phrases would you like to rank for? What chance do you have to rank (on page1) for those terms? With a new website and good SEO support in place, how likely is it you will be able to achieve your goals?

For some small businesses all the time and effort that goes into a new website, content and SEO pays for itself many times over. Be careful to disregard the hype and carefully think through if a new website will work for your business before diving in.

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