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Small business website design is important but difficult, and let’s face it, starting your own small business can be stressful enough (though, of course, but it can also be rewarding). One of the biggest stresses that seem to pop up, particularly in E-Commerce websites during the early design phase, is actually how to go about getting a website built in the first place, since most successful businesses today have their own websites.

It’s true, there are various do it yourself (DIY) website builders that you can utilize yourself, but many fall short of providing the intuitive services that your small business website needs in order to succeed. So where do you start your online journey? There are quite a few places to begin, but regardless, it’s a good idea to note the following:

SEO

White Hat SEO is a Must

White Hat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must-have technique for building a website, particularly during the initial phase of construction. The reasoning is simple: when you’re building a house, you can’t do it without a foundation. SEO acts as your website’s foundation, enabling you to get found in search results. It includes a wide range of to-dos, such as making sure your meta descriptions and title tags are relevant, and adding alt title tags to your images, just to name a couple.

Local SEO

Local SEO is also important if you’re looking at selling your products in your own area, and this can range from building a local profile with services such as Yelp and Google My Business to registering your business with your local Chamber of Commerce. There are so many aspects that go into SEO, but these are just a small sample.

Link-Building

Link-building, as aspect of SEO, should be done with high quality backlinks, and it should be done right, with natural linkage and natural growth. Simply linking to your site from everywhere on the internet, including low quality sites, is unfortunately the way that most so-called SEO services do it nowadays, and it inevitably leads to getting punished by search engines, resulting in fewer page views and fewer sales. Amazingly, these so-called SEO services still get away with it.

With our Full-Service plans, we include Premium SEO services that rely on building up your site’s SEO to ensure that visitors know your page is what they’re looking for. We rely on building natural linkage so that your site in the long run becomes easy to find on the front page of Google, though being on the front page is not a guarantee.

Appearing in Search Results

Which brings us to the next point. It’s important to keep in mind that no one can guarantee that you’ll appear in the front page of search results. Any person or service who says otherwise should immediately be removed from your list of potential designers, as this is a common misrepresentation of services and false-advertising. They can only try with hard work, true effort, and time to get you on the front page as much as possible for certain terms and phrases.

READ: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Frequently Asked Questions

Small Business Website Design Elements

Internal Development vs. Hiring a Developer

One question that many business owners have, particularly if they’re just starting out, is should I hire a developer internally or should I pay for a third-party developer. Both have their pros and cons. Internal developers tend to be more expensive, but they’re also 100% focused on the tasks you assign them. While it’s probably not a good idea to higher an internally employed web designer out of the gate, it’s something that you can consider once your business has begun to profit.

Hiring a third party web developer can be cheaper and can also provide you with excellent small business website design services that an internal developer may not be able to provide. Keep in mind, though, that many web developers limit you to how many updates you can provide, or they charge you per hour or day for any updates you need. We provide unlimited web updates with our small business design and full service plans, but unfortunately this isn’t a common practice.

Unique Layout and Design vs. Generic Theme

The problem with most “local” web developers is the same problem shared with even the more established development services: website themes are commonly recycled with a limited number of clients. Rather than develop a unique website for you from the ground up based on your business needs, they essentially repurpose a theme used for other clients. While this may meet your very basic needs, it can be frustrating if you ever want to stand out from a crowded competitive market or show off your business’s own unique style.

As with unlimited updates above, our website design services are based on your unique tastes and we design based solely on your needs. Also like unlimited updates above, offering unique designs to each client is a fairly uncommon practice, particularly with local web design services where resources can be severely limited.

What Other Services Are Included? Are they High Quality?

Web design is a given. But what other services are being offered to you, and is there a way to verify if these services are legitimate or high quality? For instance, there are plenty of SEO services out there, but are they going to concentrate on giving you high quality visitors or are they going to concentrate on just giving you backlinks by plastering your website address all over the internet, potentially getting you flagged by Google, Bing, or other search engines?

Speed Matters in Small Business Website Design

If they offer graphic design or logo and icon design, are the graphics going to be high quality and fast-loading? You don’t want graphics that slow down your web page as slower pages will cause you to rank lower in search results as Google algorithms evolve; it will also cause your potential customers to leave your site if it doesn’t load in a few seconds. This is also true if your design service is providing your hosting, in which case, you’ll want to make sure they have fast-loading servers and have an option for SSL website security to protect your customers.

Finally, make sure that if they offer it, they provide it. Don’t pay for a service that you’re not getting, something all too common online today.

These are just a few things you’ll want to watch out for and be aware of when looking into small business website design services. What else have you come across in your travels? Let the community know in the comments below.