Updated March 2023
Web Design: No matter what size your company is, in which market you are, a website design should be your first concern. In my research I heard many times business owners saying that “a website doesn’t fit my business”. Especially, small businesses that deal with services such as hairdressers, beauticians….builders…etc.
A website designed well (having a strategy, applying even the most essential SEO strategy) can provide a helpful resource for current clients, market your services/products to new clients, increase brand awareness and boost your business presence above your competition.
Website development decision is not a matter of size of your business. Even if you are a very small business with only 1 employee (yourself) branding should be your first concern. You website should give an overview answer to the 6 classical “WH” questions : Why, Whom, What, How, When and Where!
In an article in Entrepreneur, Sam Sayer explained that a well designed website leads to building a successful brand online. This not only gets you more customers but help you keep them at the same time.
Why should someone buy my products, how can my products/services solve a particular problem? WHAT do I want to be known for, what are my strengths, why am I different from my competitors? What do I want customers to think about my business, the quality of my products or services? How do I want people to view my services? When may people need my services/products? Where and how can they find me?
I have started out in my life two businesses until now. The first time I was too young (In my 20s) and I knew nothing about marketing or branding. And I learned the lessons the hard way. I could understand easier all branding concepts and theories. Now, after almost 20 years, I know that branding is not only a theory!
Nowadays, a website is not only a low cost DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTION for SMALL BUSINESSES, with search engine optimization you can drive to your site organic traffic. SEO is a low-cost efficient digital marketing solution that can be easily executed by businesses to bring already qualified traffic.
I remember that 20 years ago if I wanted something I was going to visit all shops that sold that product. Now, I don’t have such time: I will just Google it, check all the websites that I will find and then visit the only shop that their website will convince me.
When I was looking for office furniture for my office, searching for office furniture “Titan” came up first! Although I have passed many times in front of their showrooms, I have never been inside. Navigating through the site I was thrilled, they were looking so modern, so functional, so elegant, almost so good to be true! I thought in my mind: is this only an amazing website or indeed they have the best office furniture in Europe! And the next thought was: I have to visit their shop, I need to see these office furniture! Getting there I realized that the “brand image” they were selling online was perfectly aligned with the actual products.
They don’t only have developed a very nice website, they also rank for their most important keywords! These people not only invested on having a very nice website, they have invested to rank for their most important keywords!
This is one of the most important purpose of a website: to be found when people are searching for the products or services needed. To be found not because of an advertisement or recommendation: to rank organically and not to have to pay for an advertisement! This is in long term high return on investments!
In my daily life I always pay attention to details. I’m a marketeer, I can’t hold it back! I always watch business people if they promote and how they promote their products or services when are not in their office or working hours!
If you sell products, it’s much easier, because you can always have with you a few giveaways as samples or show them if needed, or if you sell clothes only by wearing them this is the best advertisement. But what if you sell services? How can you show your services?
No matter how good a sales person you are and how well you have structured answers in your mind, when you can show how you solved a certain problem is always the best argument! Most of the time when people ask us questions about a service that we provide, if you can say “I have dealt with that” and showcase how you solve it and emphasize why your service is unique and back it up with evidence.
Let’s say you are a builder “Sotos build and repair” and you have a small business of 3-5 people and you do building repairs. A house owner is desperate because in winter his house is full of mould and moisture. If you tell him that you have dealt before with that situation and you have the solution for that he may hire you to do the job. But if you give him your card and tell him “go to my website and see how I solved such cases, I have there a few case studies with pictures of before and after”, and I have also an article with what materials are needed and why, what is the correct procedure and why……What do you think, will he give you the job? This is 100% sure a sealed deal.
The new generation won’t ask friends or family to recommend a service or a product. They will “Google it!”. I remember about the time I was searching for English classes for my son. It was the time we had just moved to Larnaca and I didn’t know anyone. I was sitting on my couch, it was late in the evening, I had the phone in my hands and suddenly I started to search for English classes. Since I am a working mom with limited time I wanted something close to my house.
Searching for “best English courses near me” I found a few websites. I remember that I didn’t want to wait until the next day so dialled the number and asked for information. I checked all those websites and I chose the one whose owners managed to convince me better. And I am very satisfied with my choice. It’s been 3 years now.
But some time ago I noticed on Facebook The Excellence English Institute’s business page and I have to be honest that they do an amazing job. Besides the classes, they organize many events for their students. A few days ago I met Tina Poullidou Neofitou, the owner of Excellence Institute and I had the thought that if they had at the time I was searching a website I am sure that I was going to pick her institute without second thoughts. I am amazed by her activities and the culture of her institute.
I did the search again now, after 3 years….and just watch what still shows up!
Many people want something “right here right now!”
One day as I was feeling very tired and had a lot of pain on my back and I thought that would be nice to spoil myself with a spa treatment. But I didn’t want only a simple spa treatment I wanted a mix with a special massage for my back.
I knew that very close to my house there is a new spa and I heard very good comments about it from some friends but I could not remember the name. And I wanted to know if they could do a special massage for my back. I thought that if they have a website most probably from the listed services I could understand or they may have some articles, photos or reviews.
Searching for “spas near me” unfortunately I could not find them.
As I saw the listed websites one review on Quick Spa pulled my attention immediately:
I clicked on Quck Spa and booked my appointment that minute. You see, the amazing thing about a website is that is open 24/7. In the middle of the night if you search for an info, or want to book something you can find it!
A website is a statement of legitimacy and a way of instilling confidence in your business. When people make a decision about whether to work with you or not, their “shields are up.”
Let’s say a German business owner who wants to benefit from Cyprus’s safe environment and low taxation wants to enter the market and they are looking for a law firm. Most probably he will go to Google and search for “Cross-border Investment Consulting services” or “corporate and business law firms for foreign investments”
And let’s say you are a lawyer in Cyprus and have a traditional office or work for a law firm. (In Cyprus most of young lawyers think that since they don’t have the capital to invest and the professional recognition to open a law firm and most probably they will not economically survive until they get big clients their only chance is to work for another firm on a salary based.
Even though you realize that exposure to the European market will bring you the professional recognition that you are aiming for, as well as the economic boost that you most probably need what are the chances that the German business developer director will find you and hire you for the job? What are the chances that he will trust that you have the experience, knowledge and skills to guide him through this change?
If you build a professional website and upload a few articles (even if you don’t have clients yet, you can set case studies proving like this that you have the skills to deal with such projects and back it up with a few photos from social media from a recognized level conferences the puzzle is complete: the element of trust is built. I saw many young lawyers posting on their social media photos from international conferences but none of them connecting that image with professional skills.
I am sure that every business person before opening the business had strongly believed on its service and products and that has value to offer. But how easy it is to convince a new customer of the value you offer when you only have a few moments when you do the sale? Even an established business, with an established brand name there are cases when you need to prove a special expertise and why your products deserve the price or what makes your products so special.
I was not a pets fan until I’ve got “D”…my little Chihuahua…
I knew nothing about dogs, dog food or their needs…and I always wonder how pet-shops sell the food when it’s expensive compared to supermarkets and they still have clients.
But from the first day I had him I noticed that the only food that he eats was cooked meat from our meals. Little did I knew about dogs was that it is not healthy to feed them normal food and that they have to eat dog food.
However, I tried with my little “D” most probably all brands of dog food that I could find in the supermarket, dry, canned food, treats…he would not eat any..
One friend suggested to me to go by “Family Pets” and get “Primordial”.
I went there and although I was very in a hurry I told the guy my problem.that my dog doesn’t eat any dog food. He started to tell me about the nutritional value of Primordial and other details …I was very in a hurry and grabbed a pack and left…but I wanted to know more and as soon as I got some free time I Googled it and some Cypriot pet shop sites came up.
The first one that I opened and searched for info was a very good website. They have on their blog lots of articles with very detailed info, samples and case studies.
I wish it was Pets Family website…His service in the shop was perfect..he even told me that if my dog doesn’t eat the food to return the opened packet, and he will return me the money..I can say that I was impressed…but unfortunately I know that in a few years most of the people will order online…and then people like him no matter how nice they are and how good service they do in the shop…if they don’t prepare now for the online era…they will be lost..
A few days ago I was at an event with one of my friends Christos Nicolaou who is CPL (Certified Professional Leadership) and Certified EQ assessor of Six Seconds (he provides in-house workshops with a holistic approach for building a leadership and customer-centric mentality).
As we were networking after the event, I was watching him introducing his business and I was thrilled…I thought to myself: God, this guy knows his stuff.
When someone asked him the usual question: what do you do for a living…his answer was simple (just to give to that person an idea of what his business is about and create the curiosity to learn more) and then he was handing his business card with this simple sentence: emotional intelligence is the foundation for critical skills, you can check my website..I have a few articles there and you can get a sense of how important it is, what are the benefits and how emotional intelligence helps you at work or business..
Of course you will…maybe not the next day…but one day as you will be faced with a problem and you will remember the conversation with
Christo, you will remember about his card and search for his website…I bet you will…It happened to me many times…
And then you go to the website and start reading, and go from one article to the other and as you read you find out that controlling emotional intelligence is something that could change your business, your life, …
Since 2 years ago I have been hearing many people saying “why do I need a website why can’t I just promote my business on Facebook?
But here are some stats that you should be aware of:
According to Hobspot and both Alexa and SimilarWeb, Facebook.com just dropped to the world’s third most visited website since YouTube just replaced Facebook as the second-most popular website, globally. (After, of course, Google.)
eMarketer said that Facebook lost around 2.8 million U.S. users under 25 in 2017 and 2018 was even worse.
MeWe, a very promising social platform that started from the USA but it seems that it is getting very fast popularity it is like started a cold war with Facebook with their campaign “MeWe members are not #Not4Sale”
Moreover with some search engines like DuckDuckGo throwing down the glove continuously to Facebook and emphasizing the selling of data and loosing your privacy it seems that Facebook started to lose its popularity and engagement. It looks that younger generations are searching for other social media for entertainment and feel safer.
One huge problem is that when you trust your business to a platform like Facebook you must follow the company’s terms of service, which are continually revised, and you put your account at risk of being deleted.
If you Google it you will find many cases where Facebook closed pages with huge Engagement and strong following.
Another great example of not putting all your eggs in only one basket is that many business pages were recently hurt when Facebook updated its algorithm, decreasing the reach of business pages.
It’s true that you can build an image through social media channels, but you can influence public perception by creating your own story via a business website.
One more great reason why you should hire immediately a web developer who can build a responsive web design is that you can take it with you anywhere you go.
Christina Louca Fashion Designer came to us a few days ago to build her website and she was telling us that she is wondering why all young fashion designers follow the same road. As soon as they finish their studies they think that they need to invest in opening a showroom or a workshop. That was what their friends and relatives were expecting that she was going to do. But Christina has a bigger vision.
As a fashion designer, she is always in need of inspiration and needs to travel and get inspired. Moreover, Christina has a special desire of protecting the environment and animals and she prefers in investing on these instead on building a showroom. Building a website she can show her designs to the entire world, will get her message across faster and less expensive whereas having a showroom only a few people in Cyprus will get to visit. Moreover, if she decides that she doesn’t want to live in Cyprus anymore and moves to New York or anywhere else in the world her investment doesn’t go out of the window!
So why she will want to get stuck in Cyprus with an investment of 20-30 thousands. She spent too many years in the USA to have a sense where things are headed and where is the future.
She knows that very soon it will not be any more USA Market or European Market…it will be one Global Market.
Business people were saying a few years ago that in Cyprus only Facebook works. Nowadays they are saying also about Instagram and a few about Linkedin. However, everybody knows that some people are very active on Facebook and maybe not so on Instagram. Some other are the opposite and most of the academics use only Linkedin and a few Twitter.
But what I don’t understand is why most of them don’t think that using all of them it is a bigger exposure for their brand? I totally agree that not any medium is suitable for all businesses. Let’s say if you are a lawyer and specialize in foreign investment your most used medium should be Linkedin and then Twitter.
But if you are a lawyer and you are at a professional conference you write an article with the highlights of the conference and what you gain from this and post it on your website and then you post a photo from this conference with co-workers on Facebook with your company’s logo and a link to the article do you think that will help your image or not? Of course it will! Also, if you own a fashion shop and you write an article about trends on your blog and then you post the link on Linkedin with a short intro what do you think, will it help? Maybe a man would not be interested to click on that link (unless the article is about men’s fashion) but I bet that most of women will do!
So if you use only Facebook you will have access only to the people that are on your circle of friends or let’s say people who are on Facebook…But if you use all social media and drive people to your website definitely your audience will get much bigger.
This is the purpose of a website: to be the “Hub” of Your Online Presence!
Is this a strong reason to call now a website developer and build your business’ hub?
A few days ago as I was getting my hair cut I was talking to Adriana, my hairdresser (Crème de la crème) and I was asking her if digital means has helped her at all.
And she was telling me that she got a lot of clients, tourists from her Google My Business reviews.
Another evening as we were out for dinner at Maqam Al-Sultan I was very surprised when with the bill they brought us a card which was politely asking us to post our opinion on Tripadvisor. On the business card I noticed that they have a website. I was impressed. I don’t know many restaurants that have a website!!
You have to know that all customers have questions about your company and its offerings. Some customers may have complaints but may never tell you in person…but I saw many cases where they post their complaints on the website of the company. People feel more comfortable to write their complaint and maybe have the possibility to remain anonymous? Would you prefer to know about a complaint and deal with it or not know?
A pioneer in digital marketing, founder and CEO of Go Digital Cyprus, Elena Jnr. Andreou has an experience of 18 years in Marketing and later Digital Marketing with the focus in the last 6 years entirely on SEO.
Read more about Elena’s research and work.