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Inspira UK is a professional services consultancy focusing on bookkeeping and management accounting for growing businesses...with 95% client retention rate and over 65 years of experience.

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November 22, 2010

Developing your website is a chance to shine online

Ensuring you have an online presence is critical these days, as it is often the first contact your clients and customers will have with you. As a small to medium enterprise your needs will be different to those of global corporations.

It’s likely you’ll want your website to function mainly as a place to showcase your services, reflect your ethos, provide information on products, costs and contact details and show what sets you apart from competitors. This is certainly a good place to start. Other things to think about include:

1.    What do you want your site to do? Some sites are simply an online prospectus or brochure for your business, which is a good way to go. Make sure you have focused on the key things customers need to know – what you do and how to contact you – and that they can find this information easily. You may also want to make your site interactive, with options to book appointments, request a quote or buy something. The key thing is to think about the kind of thing you want people to do when they get to your site? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to book something online? Do you want to get their details and encourage them to fill in an information form?

2.    What do you want your site to say? It is vital that your site isn’t just functional. It’s the first experience most customers will have of you and your company, so it needs to convey your ethos and approach. Some short information on your company’s background, and its credentials are a good idea. Make sure the language echoes the way you would talk to your customers face to face, and that it reflects your approach to business – professional, straight–forward, people focused etc.

3.    The extras: Some people now offer news, competitions, advice pages, a blog, forums – these can work well, especially as a way to ensure fresh new content on your site, but make sure you have the manpower to update these regularly and that they still fall in line with your company ethos and plans.

4.    Get feedback: Throughout the process make sure you are constantly evaluating the design and structure, get different opinions, both from your staff and colleagues, but also from trusted customers, and family and friends. And don’t stop getting feedback once the site is live. Encourage people to tell you what they think on a regular basis. Have a look at our new site, we’d love to know your feedback.

5.    Don’t forget search engines: It’s crucial for getting new business that people can find your website easily. With Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), there is a variety of things you can do to ensure your site is one of the top results from a Google search – most people aim for their company to be on the first page of Google. Making sure things like keywords and phrases your target audience would type in on search engines are included on your website is crucial. Regularly updating your site’s content is also important. Keep the navigation simple and don’t use Flash animation, as search engines don’t recognise it. There are numerous companies who can help you with SEO, but be warned you aren’t always guaranteed results. Here’s a great article about how to avoid disreputable SEO companies, with some useful advice about dos and don’ts for getting your site found through searches. http://www.smeweb.com/content/view/1319/141/

6.    Keep it simple: Ultimately, a good rule is to keep thinking about the visitors to your site, making sure it’s easy for them to find out what they need, that your content is fresh, clear and original and that they can find a bit about WHO you are as well.

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