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Setting up a website for your business is a great way for customers to find you, showcase your products/services and build your reputation. 

1. What kind of website should you choose? 

Depending on what your business does, you’ll need to decide which kind of website is best for you. We’ve listed out the below the basic functions of different businesses, depending which one you fall under will directly effect what your customers will want to see on your website. 
 
Services – information about what you can provide your customers with, where they can find you, how they can contact you and some background information/testimonials or reviews. An enquiry form or simple booking service may come in useful as well. 
Products – customers will want to see all of the above but you may consider adding a shopping feature to your website. 
Community organisation – information about your current projects and past projects, how people can get involved, contact details and background information about the organisations mission or vision. A blog my be a great way of keeping people up to date and informing them about current events. 
Freelancer – this is a great way to showcase your work if you are an artist, creative or any other kind of freelancer. You can add portfolios, examples of your work, projects you’ve worked on, contact details and even a blog to share updates with potential clients or collaborators. 

2. Should I use a template to build my website? 

If you are looking for an informative or ecommerce website there are some amazing platforms out there which have easy to use templates. If your business offers something more complex you may consider engaging a web developer to help you build your site from scratch. If you want your site to be constantly updated, you will need a CSM (content management service) these template websites will have this built in and developers will be able to code this into your website too. Some template platforms out there include: 
 
NBR – National Business Register offer a website and email service. This can be paid for yearly or is free when you take out Business Name Registration protection. 
Squarespace – this enables you to build a professional looking website quickly. It is intuitive and even has marketing tools to help you maximise your online presence. 
Wix – similar to Squarespace it has customisable templates and tools to help you build your site. 
Shopify – if you are a product based business this is an amazing way to get your online shop up and running. It has integrated analytics tools, a dashboard and lots of add-on apps available to help you market and grow your business. 
Etsy/depop/eBay – you can set up a shop within these sites. Benefits of this include having a well-known name attached to your business however it may look a little less professional to some as you won’t have your business name as the URL. Also there are thousands of users already on these market places so coming high in the search results will require real effort and may take some time. However, if you’re starting small these are a great place to start. 

3. Should I have social media accounts for my business? 

Yes! Social media is a great place for people to discover your business, build social proof and showcase your talents. If you’re not keen on social media you can keep it very low key but regular posting and interacting with people will help build your account and reach. Do some research to see which platforms your competition uses, what channels your customers use most and what type of content works best for your offering. Also consider which platform you are personally most familiar with. 
 
You can set up a business account for free and will have basic analytical tools to help you track your progress. We’ve listed out a few below with some advantages to help you decide. 
 
Facebook – having a Facebook page will help people find you and allow you to post photo’s and information about your business. Facebook tends to have a slightly older audience and works well local community and product based businesses. 
Instagram – has lots of different ways to present your content. This platform is best if you have a product which is particularly visual. 
Twitter – this is prodomitely a text based channel however there are options to add visuals, but not to the same extent as with Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is a great place to re-post articles, share ideas/thoughts and get industry news. FYI Twitter is the only social platform used more by men than women (70% vs 30%). 
LinkedIn – this is a great way to build professional connections within your industry. Some people do share personal news through this channel but it is usually connected to business or industry in some way. It’s great for posting news about your business, sharing industry articles, networking and posting job vacancies. 
YouTube – ideal if you like producing video content. It’s particularly useful for explaining products/services. Create ‘how to’ video’s for your products or services to maximise this channel. 
TikTok – speaks to a younger audience and has yet to be monetised in the same way as the above channels. 
 
This is not an exhaustive list so doing research into which channels your customers use most is essential. 

4. What should I put on my website? 

Content is king! Setting up the foundational content for your website is the place to begin. Keep it really simple and clear, outline the basic information you think a potential customer would like to know and make yourself contactable. 
 
Your business name & logo. 
Details of your offering. 
Full contact details. 
Visuals of your offering – this can be photos of products or you can use graphics/stock photos if you provide services. 
 
After this you can start to have some fun! Think about the content your customers enjoy consuming, content that answers questions your customers may Google and types of content that would work for your business. Keeping your website up to date, relevant and engaging is paramount so depending on how much time you have to devote to this, you may want to ask a professional for help. You can draft in agencies, have part-time or fill-time marketing assistants/managers or you can put time aside in your schedule to keep on top of things. Remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for your social media, take content & copy from your website and reuse it on the different platforms. 

5. Should I use digital marketing? 

As you build your business you want to maximise your digital presence as being online can multiple your reach experientially. We will go into more detail about digital marketing in a separate article as it is an entire industry within itself however these are the 7 main areas you may want to look at. 
 
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) 
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) 
Social Media Marketing 
Content Marketing 
Email marketing 
Mobile Marketing 
Marketing Analytics 
 
You will find experts in each of these areas along with some people that have strengths that cross-over. If you are an established business it is worth either engaging an agency or employing a individual specialist through a digital recruiter to ensure you are getting exactly the help you are looking for. 
 
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