Have you ever thought to yourself, I need a website for my business, but it’s too difficult?
Or, I have my small business website up and running, now what?
The truth is that having a website is the easy part, the hard part is remaining profitable consistently.
The worse thing entrepreneurs can do is build a shiny new website, and expect tons of traffic to start rolling in without putting much effort into growing their site.
It might have worked like that in the late 90s, and early 2000s, but sadly that mild-mannered approach doesn’t work anymore.
A lot of things that worked, say a couple of years ago, aren’t cutting it today. The Internet is a fast-moving beast that knows no limits, and those who fail to adapt must get left behind.
Search engine algorithms are in constant change, and user attention spans are dwindling rapidly.
Regardless of all the changes, we are seeing, believe it or not, now is the best time to get online with your products and services.
The best way to do that is to have your own website to showcase your brand.
1. You Need To Serve Others
This is probably the most important factor in determining your success. The reason why companies exist is to serve a particular need or solve a problem.
If you are here just to make a buck and nothing else, then you’ll have a better opportunity playing the stock market, which I know nothing about, and frankly, I can’t help you if that’s your mindset.
The best companies are those that understand the true value of a customer. Take Amazon for example. Amazon puts its customers first, to the extent that if a third-party seller gets enough bad reviews, they can suddenly find themselves banned from the platform.
Customer service is one of the single most important factors of running a successful business no matter the size.
You need to be attentive, responsive to their needs, and appreciative.
There’s nothing wrong with going that extra mile for a customer, or absorbing some extra costs just to bring them back. People tend to be loyal to brands that put them first.
Take a long hard look at the way you are treating your customers now.
Do you greet everyone that comes through your doors with a smile, or do you respond in a timely manner when a potential client fills out a contact form?
I’m still surprised at some businesses and their lack of customer appreciation.
I’ve been through stores where the clerk looks me dead in the eye and then looks away.
I’ve also been in situations when the store owner questions my judgments on why I want a certain product.
I tend to not revisit that location whether it’s online or offline.
Don’t let this be the case for your company, not ever in a million years should your customer feel like a second-class citizen.
2. Build Your Website Using WordPress
Unless you have a specific need for a particular application or software, I highly recommend using WordPress as your content management system.
Some of the best brands in the world utilize the power of WordPress, and they are enjoying continued success.
From the likes of the Facebook blog, BBC, Mercedes Benz, Sony and many more, WordPress is powering some 34% of the websites on the Internet.
Search engines like Google and Bing love the platform. It’s extremely versatile and robust, to the extent that large communities of enthusiasts and developers continue to support the platform.
WordPress is like the Apple and Android of the web dev world wrapped in one package.
It’s a package that can be as simple as you need it to be or as complex as the smallest nanoparticle.
When we build websites for our clients, you can bet we are using the latest version of WordPress. I’ve been creating with WordPress since 2013, and I’m still amazed at all the things it can do.
If you aren’t using WordPress, you absolutely need to, and if you are then great.
3. Marketing And Promotion
You can have the best products and services on the face of the earth, but if nobody has a clue of who you are, and what you represent, then you are dead in the waters my friend.
There are a ton of options to choose from when you want to get the word out, and you’ll need to utilize them, as there are a ton of competitors vying for your customer’s attention.
While we love Google Adwords, Outbrain, and Reddit Ads, it’s Facebook that gets the bulk of our attention.
I know I sound like a hype-beast when it comes to advertising on Facebook, but the truth is, it just works.
One of the tools we use, when trying to help clients gain more exposure, is Interest Explorer.
It’s an easier way to drill down interests when it comes to advertising. So for example, if you are selling a product like racing pedals, you’d probably target a broad search term like cars.
A search for cars pulls up interests like auto tunning, honda, auto detailing and much more.
You can then target these interests based terms within Facebook’s Ad Manager, that way you are only showing your products to highly targeted customers.
The end result is a lower CPC versus targeting extremely broad terms that waste those precious ad dollars.
Interest Explorer is just one out of the hundreds, if not thousands of tools and options at your disposal for reaching the right audience.
The trick is to find one or two platforms that work well for your business and run with it.
Not every business needs to be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. The key is to find the one that works best for your products and services, then double-down on what’s working.
4. Choose A Payment Gateway
Though, you are in business to serve your customer’s needs, no company can survive without revenue, even non-profits need a way to keep the lights on.
You don’t necessarily have to choose any of the above-mentioned merchants, but these are among the most popular.
PayPal has become the defacto standard, and almost all online businesses offer it to their customers as a payment choice.
The ease and simplicity of PayPal allow it to be a trusted payment gateway for those with or without credit cards.
By having PayPal on your site, you can improve your trust score in the eyes of your customers, depending on what you sell.
Personally, we use Stripe because of its low fees, and ease of use. You essentially only need a bank account to start accepting payments.
The only downside is the 7-day payout schedule if you are based here in Canada.
I was told recently, there’s only a 2-day delay if you are located in the U.S.
Here’s what Stripe has to say about it:
Payouts are bundled together and paid out to US customers within 2 business days. For global customers payouts are bundled and will be deposited in your bank account within 7 days. For example, you’ll receive the funds for your March 1st charges on March 8th, and you’ll receive the funds for your March 2nd charges on March 9th. (For deposits made on weekends or holidays, your bank would accept the deposit the next business day.)
5. Email List
One of the oldest and most tried and proven ways to keep your customers coming back.
Yes, the glorious email list. I know what a lot of you are thinking; my inbox is cluttered with offers and promotions from other vendors, it’s too much!
That is true, and for the most part, emails are either sometimes read, or deleted without the recipient ever having opened them.
We live in such a hyper-connected world, that’s it’s sometimes hard to make sense of the many messages flooding the mind.
But the reality is that email marketing still works, and companies make use of it aggressively.
In short, email marketing is the way businesses reach customers to keep them connected. It is a cost-effective, conversion rich formula that’s battle-tested for distributing news and information.
In 2022, it’s projected that email users will reach 4.8 billion. That’s a staggering amount of potential customers to advertise and market to.
For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $32 (DMA, 2018).
The folks over at WP beginner have a nice little list of the best email marketing platforms to choose from.
To be honest, I’ve only ever used MailChimp for TechMalak, and I don’t have any experience with the top tier- choices.
While MailChimp might not be the absolute best, it works for what we need it to do.
6. WordPress Maintenance
We love WordPress, along with all of its quirks and features, but there is one major aspect that needs careful attention.
Continuous maintenance and support is an absolute necessity. Whether you DIY or hire professional help, maintaining your website is a huge factor for your success.
WordPress needs constant updating, backing up, and scanning to run smoothly.
Because it’s a popular CMS, it’s often the target of malicious thieves and hackers, who attempt to steal sensitive information.
WordPress makes use of plugins that enhance the functionality of the core product.
The developers behind these plugins are often updating and patching exploits.
Depending on the number of plugins your website uses, you need to watch out for daily updates.
Sometimes updating a live website can break things. That’s where a backup comes in handy, just in case.
I’ve been there many a time when an update breaks the site. It’s a heart-wrenching feeling, that I know all too well.
Keep your site updated and secure, is non-negotiable and should be a priority.
If you need to build a profitable small business website for your business, now is the best time to get started. Building a profitable website takes hard work and dedication. It’s easy to get up and running, but more of a challenge to maintain a level of success worthy of mention. Like all things worth its weight in gold, sticking with it surely pays off, along with the right mental attitude.