Why Your Business Needs an Online Shop

Local Business Empty Shops

A Pivotal Moment of Change for Local Business

As a Local Business, Whether you are a seller of cakes or haircuts, meat or clothing, jewelry, electrical services or anything else - your world just changed forever. The Corona Virus pandemic, whether it's been mismanaged or not, has driven people into their homes and made them much, much more reliant on online purchases. This will not be a temporary change.

Although millions of people already shop online, millions more will have to learn how! And once they do, they will keep going back online.  These are the people who always said 'I can't use a computer' or 'I don't trust it' - millions upon millions of them. If you have no online store, then your business is rules out of the race before it's started.

Local Business Must Adapt to the Online World

Around 30% of local business doesn't have even a website, let alone an online shop. If they continue in this way into the coming period, they will simply reduce their chances of survival. But what of the other 70% that do have websites?

Astoundingly, our own investigations have shown that some 80% or more of local businesses do not have an online store, booking facility or any SEO. This is the kiss of death in the coming years and only the smart businesses will have a chance of prospering or even surviving.

Even the Smart Local Business is Getting it Wrong - SEO

Most (yes, MOST) of the local business owners we have spoken with have absolutely zero understanding of why they need Search Engine Optimization. The fact is that without some SEO effort, both onsite and offsite, your website will never break the surface and be visible - your competitors will beat you every time. Having a great website isn't enough - it must be seen prominently when people search for services and products like yours. There's an old saying that the best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google - which sums things up nicely.

Local Business Needs a Trusted Partner and an Online Strategy

You're right - we're trying to sell you something! But for local business, what we're offering is like food and water to a human being - essential. Affordable. Rewarding.

How We can Help You

Whatever the online situation of your local may be, we can help you right now. If you have a website, we can almost always add a shop. If you have no website yet, we can get you started - fast and with a whole range of price options.

Ok - How Much?

You will be pleasantly surprised at the cost of getting your local business online. An effective single-page website starts out at around $850. A much more extensive website will cost you less than $2,000. Adding an online shop can be done for less than $800 depending on the number of products you need posted. 


Further  Reading on how the crisis affects local business

For more background information, check out this article on the New York Times


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Coronavirus Business Crisis – How to Cope

Coronavirus business crisis - how to cope

How the Coronavirus Business Crisis Affects your Business

The Coronavirus business crisis has hit most of us  very hard. If you're a small or medium sized local business, things might look pretty dire right now and as a local business ourselves, we have every sympathy, but also some good advice which we've captioned in the Infographic above.  Let's take it one step at a time.

Surviving the Coronavirus Business Crisis is not Exploitation

We need our businesses to survive the Coronavirus Business Crisis, so that we can keep roofs over our heads, feed our families, contribute to our communities and pay our taxes. If you feel guilt pangs over making some money from helping others - don't.  Without small business, our local communities and vulnerable people would be so much worse off.  So let's begin.

Communicate with your Customers During the Coronavirus Business Crisis

Contractors such as electricians and plumbers still need to answer emergency calls even through the coronavirus business crisis. Make sure your existing customers and potential new customers know how to get hold of you along with any social distancing requirements you may have. Send out emails, change your ads and post notices on your websites.

Other businesses such as hairdressers need to communicate their current constraints and create a boost when this whole thing is over in a  few weeks time. Try special discount coupons in email shots and clearly tell people how your business operates through the crisis and after it. Whatever your business, there is a course of action that can help you.

And remember - Sydney Business Web is HERE TO HELP YOU. Call us if you need advice on getting your business through the crisis. We have vast business experience and we'd love to help you if we can.

Align with the Cause - and be Sincere

We all have our own personal opinions on the coronavirus business crisis and the crisis in general, but those opinions should often be quarantined from our business lives.  Why? Because people really are suffering, whether it's due to unreasonable panic or the effects of the virus. The impact on some businesses is devastating. So at all times, be truly and sincerely sympathetic for others - you might not know what they are going through.

Help a Charity to Fight the Corona Virus Business Crisis

Charities are being hard hit in every way by the coronavirus business crisis - even harder than we are. The vulnerable people that charities help are also suffering even more than they usually do.  they help Can you help? If you are an online company like us, you might offer to place notices or requests for help on your websites, or ask your customers to help the charity of your choosing.  Be a good citizen and do what you can.

Double Down on Marketing

This coronavirus business crisis will end, and you need to be sure that when it does, customers old and new have got your company 'in their heads'. Helping others will go some of the way to achieving this, but so will marketing with a genuinely sympathetic ear. Remember - people will be relieved to be able to buy the things they've held back on - be first in the queue of businesses in your area.

Increase Levels of Service During the Coronavirus Business Crisis and Innovate

Are you already selling online? Can customers order from you online? Many local businesses do not have any of these facilities. Up to a third of us do not even have a website! Whatever your business, you need to increase your service level with more frequent communication, more checks on satisfaction levels, and above all - BE EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH.

PS: On the lighter side! Please don't follow this link if you are easily offended. It's all about seeing the funny side in the midst of crisis. CORNOAVIRUSJOKES.ORG

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How SEO works: How People Find Your Business On The Web

Context & Background

How SEO Works - Local business in Australia is not coping well with competing and growing on the web in general. The primary reasons are:

  • Lack of knowledge and skills to implement solutions
  • Lack of trust – often justified – in suppliers of services
  • Lack of commitment and enthusiasm to commit to significant expenditure on intangibles that are not understood in terms of Return On Investment or ROI.
  • Not understanding how SEO works

The field is contaminated with low cost providers who promise everything and usually deliver nothing.  SME’s find it difficult to see through the marketplace smog and clutter created by low quality, low cost providers. But why do we claim that many SME’s are not doing well on the web and do not understand how SEO works? Refer to Addendum B (below) from which the following is a small extract:

  • 97% of consumers go online to find a local business or local services yet around 36% of businesses do not have a website at all.
  • 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps yet many businesses do not have an easy ‘find us’ link with a Google map embedded even if they do have a website
  • 80% of small businesses do not invest in content marketing, - they are missing a key marketing opportunity
  • Fewer than 65% of SME’s have a website at all

How customers find local business - How SEO Works

What we mean by Local Business

In general, all companies that can benefit from ranking highly in a Google search. For instance:

  • Gym near me
  • Doctor Port Hacking
  • Restaurant near me
  • Web design Port Hacking
  • Builder Sydney

And so forth. But that’s only one part of the equation for business. The type of businesses listed above are ‘bricks’ types with local premises which customers simply need to locate on the web. Properly constructed websites with effective SEO will rank high on Google for those searches. But that’s not the only way for customers to find a business - it's crucial to understand how SEO works. Here’s one that most businesses ignore completely:

Content Marketing

Another method of rising on Google searches is content marketing . Understanding content marketing is a big slice of understanding how SEO works and it's  extremely important for:

  • Professional practices such as specialist lawyers
  • Specialists of all types – from pediatricians to management consultants
  • Fitness practitioners
  • B2B businesses providing all manner of services and products.

These businesses are generally found on the web with knowledge-based searches such as these:

  • Childcare rights for men
  • Best exercise for losing weight
  • Best way to restructure my company
  • Most accurate weight measurement for labs

A local business can rank high on Google for these searches if its website has well-written, unique content base on thoroughly researched keywords – and the search phrases listed above are examples of such keywords. This is known as content marketing and over time it can be very, very powerful.

Example of Content Marketing and How SEO Works

In March 2016 we were selling Essential Oils in the US on our website ‘Mystical Breath’. We wrote many articles to support our sales, one of which still ranks at number one on Google in the US to this day:

https://mysticalbreath.com/essential-oils-autoimmune-disease/

This is what we see on Google.com when we search for ‘essential oils for autoimmune disease’

SEO performance

A similar result shows up on an Australian search but with the post in 3rd place. So almost four years after we published this article it still brings us traffic on our website – around 1,200 visitors per month – that’s content marketing. Is it suitable for any business? – almost certainly.

Combining Content Marketing with SEO

Of course, a local business website with good SEO onsite and offsite as well as some great content on, a magical synergy occurs that can give a business a substantial and sustainable boost.

The Purpose of Our Company

The purpose of Sydney Business Web – PinPoint Local  is to assist local business with online growth, which requires a holistic understanding of the web as a commercial environment.

 After several years of work and experience with eCommerce, SEO and website development, we came to understand why local business owners generally have very poor experience and knowledge of their online presence:

  • Perception of a business website as an inconvenient commodity rather than a necessity and opportunity
  • Lack of understanding of how a business website interacts with its environment and competitors on the web and how this is determined by both content and structure
  • Lack of understanding of how a business website competes on the web and how SEO works
  • Lack of understanding of the role of social media and how it synergizes with a business website
  • Failure to adopt a reputation management method or strategy.
  • A lack of understanding of how revenue is generated and the relative merits of SEO vs Advertising.

These facts are further supported in ADDENDUM B of this Post.

Meeting Search Engine Requirements on a Business Website

First, we ensure the company’s business website is matched to technical Search Engine Requirements.  When Google crawls a business website it looks for very specific indicators of what the website represents and makes judgement on its quality. A website can look beautiful and mean nothing to the Google algorithm – it’s not all about ‘looks’ although they are important too, but if the website designer has poor knowledge of how SEO works, then the rest of the website design cannot compensate much for that. 

These are a few things that Search Engines look for in no particular order:

  • Security – business websites must be encrypted and secure
  • Speed – critical for uses – see user requirements below.
  • Mobile compatibility (more than half of web queries are now made on mobiles)
  • Fresh content – a great opportunity for content-marketing!
  • Clean code with little unused code or code that gets in the way of a site loading fast
  • Sitemaps – directories of what’s on the site
  • Meta-data – snippets that tell the search engine what the website and each price of content is about and who it’s targeted at. Miss this and any business will struggle badly against more informed competitors.
  • Social signals (from Facebook and other social sites)
  • Real, verified business information

If your website designer understands how SEO works then these requirements will have been taken care of. If your business website looks great and doesn't rank well - check these things first.

Meeting User Requirements on a  Business Website

All of Google’s rules and methods and the way in which it assesses a  website are aimed at one thing – giving users a good online experience. There is considerable overlap between the ‘user requirement’ and the ‘search engine requirement’.  However, the first thing a potential customer needs is to find a suitable website, which we will again address later in this document.

Once found, business website visitors expect:

  • Speed - 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%
  • Easy Navigation – People visit your website for a purpose - make it easy and fast.
  • Easy Identification of critical data – What the business is, what it sells, where it is and what is its  reputation.
  • Smart, credible branding - Once a page loads, users form an opinion in .05 seconds. So everything that makes an impression – business logo, fonts, colors – make an immediate impression for better or for worse.

Users and visitors don't care if you understand how SEO works or not - the fact they found you on the web means that at least something is working in your SEO setup.

How SEO Works - Getting A Business Website Found

In our Introduction above, we outline fairly thoroughly how a business website is found on Google – how it ranks for the terms and locations needed. Now we will outline the services we provide to make that happen for a  business.

SEO Services from Sydney Business Web – Pinpoint Local

There are two parts to SEO – onsite and offsite. We have covered onsite SEO in preceding sections of this document, so here we will deal with offsite SEO.

How SEO Works -  Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO comes in three main flavors:

How SEO Works - Local SEO

Local SEO promotes the type of business that wishes to rank high on Google for searches such as ‘Childcare center near me’ or ‘Doctor near me’ and so forth. This requires specific offsite activities linked to the business’ website – social, citations, directory listings, press releases, guest posts on other sites and more. Over time. Google recognizes these posts and listings as indications of authority and importance.

Online reviews and the management of reputation are also important factors. To achieve results takes typically 3 to 6 months and requires research into website content, keywords and competition as a preliminary.

Costs depend on the level of sustained activity and the speed at which results are required.

Interesting fact:  Bad offsite SEO can sink a business website with spammy links and other bad-practices. Cheap SEO can do more harm than good.

How SEO Works - National SEO

National SEO has its own specific requirements. In particular, if a business wishes to rank in multiple locations for products and services when it has only one real office, a special onsite structure is needed before national SEO can begin. Special pages can be constructed for each area of interest.

Sites like this can benefit maximally for content marketing (see above) which will yield website traffic regardless of location.

How SEO Works - International SEO

International SEO is generally in the category of content marketing and used extensively by drop- shippers and other companies that’s sell their products internationally. It consists of the same items as used for National SEO, but it is even more focused on content marketing.

Social Media for Business

As we have stated above, Google looks for social media activity as part of your website ranking evaluation. Apart from this, a well conducted social media site(s) can be a great traffic generator, sending visitors to the related business website,  and building communities around products and services.

It is important that these activities are consistent with website content and coordinated with website announcements.


[1] Search Engine Optimization: The means by which a business website is ranked on the web for revenue generation.


Online Market Perspectives : Key Facts Relevant to Understanding How SEO Works (ADDENDUM B)

The following are facts gleaned from reputable sources including Google:

Website Impact – Fast and Devastating

  • Once your page loads, users form an opinion in .05 seconds
  • 75% of consumers have admitted to judging a company’s credibility based on their website design. Yet many local businesses have dysfunctional websites when considered in terms of SEO, speed and content.
  • A single bad experience on a website makes users 88% less likely to visit the website again
  • 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%
  • The average time it takes to fully load the average mobile landing page is 22 seconds. However, research also indicates 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing (TV and radio ads, print ads etc), it generates more than three times as many leads
  • Studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting a business or making a purchase with them.
  • 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps yet many businesses do not have an easy ‘find us’ link with a Google map embedded.

Local Business Perspectives: Wasted Potential

  • Fewer than two-thirds (64%) of small businesses have a website
  • 97% of consumers go online to find a local business or local services yet around 36%  of businesses do not have a website at all.
  • 46% of all searches on Google have local intent
  • 80% of small businesses do not invest in content marketing, - they are missing a key marketing opportunity
  • Less than 30% of small and medium businesses use website analytics, call tracking, or coupon codes – they never get to understand their online business performance.
  • According to GoDaddy (a hosting company) research of more than 1,000 very small businesses, nearly half reported suffering a financial loss due to hacking, with one in eight saying the loss was greater than $5,000. Website security is an often-overlooked provision by business owners.
  • Of the small businesses that have websites, 69% of them have annual sales of $1,000,000 – $2,490,000
  • 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience

Search Engine Perspectives

  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and 47% of people click on one of the first three listings – being ranked high is critical so you need to understand how SEO works!
  • In 2020, 50% of all online searches will be voice searches – a seamless progression to voice powered websites is now available and not utilized by many businesses. Very few websites have a voice search capability.
  • 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones, and this percentage will reach 70% during   2020. Do you understand how SEO workd for your business on a smartphone? CALL US!

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So you need a new business website

 So you need a new website for your business – and that’s exciting! But do you know what to ask of your web developer? Do you know what facilities are available for your website that can grow your business? All websites are not born equal and not all websites are the same!

A Diversity of technologies

Websites are diverse, with a variety of technologies and modules available for every type of business. And that’s why some cost more that others. It’s not just a case of ‘more pages’, and ‘lowest price’. You can buy many commodity items on that basis, but a business website is your place of business - your store, consulting office and booking agency rolled into one.

Specify your Business Website Correctly

When you start discussion with your website designer, make sure you have this information available:

1) What stage is your business at (number of years in operation or 'startup'). This will give the designer  a reference frame at the outset by helping him/her  to advise you on various aspects of content, SEO and more.

2) Are you a local physically located business (e.g. doctor, restaurant, etc). This will help to determine the top-page of your mobile site and how the contact data is presented.

3) Do customers visit your premises? This will determine whether your website needs a Google Map for people to find you easily.

4) Does your business  sell products or services on site and if so:

  i) To where do you ship them?

  ii) How do you charge for shipping - calculated or fixed?

  iii) How many products do you want to list and how many variations are there of each?

  iv) If you are a hotel or rental business, do you need an online booking and payment facility?

5) Do you already have a social media presence (Facebook etc) for the developer to link to?

6) Does your business already have a Google My Business account? (This can be really important for a local business and although not a part of your website, it is somewhere the designer can look to find your reputation, reviews etc).

7) Are the images and text for your site ready? Some designers will offer stock photo - make sure they are good ones and that they are legal.

8) Do you already have a domain? Be careful in your domain choice. If you already have an established domain and maybe an old site, it is important to preserve the power of existing links.

9) Do you already have a logo?

10) Do you want a blog and/or a blog management services? Not many business owners seem to understand the value of a blog for ranking over time.

11) When do you need your website?

Keep that list and see if your designer asks those questions – which will be a very good indication of whether he/she is providing something your business needs, or cut & paste set of pretty pictures. And be double careful that you don’t accept a quotation assuming that you are getting everything you need and then end up with price inflation.

Technical questions you must ask Designers – and the answers for your business website!

Don’t be shy about asking technical questions about your  business website - and don’t let yourself be bamboozled. I’ve been designing complex electronics for much of my life and if such things can be presented to a financial review board in plain English, then there’s no reason that your web designer cannot also speak to you in plain English! Here are the questions you should ask along with some basic helpful answers.

  1. How many seconds will my business website take to load?
  2. What will my website score on GTMetrix tests?
  3. What will my business website score on Google PageSpeed tests?
  4.  How will my website be optimized internally for SEO?
  5. Will my website images be correctly sized for browsers?
  6. Will my images be compressed and if so what method do you use?
  7. Will you be implementing a cache and if so what do you use?
  8. Ask your designer if  GZIP compression will be implemented.

These are the answers you should require:

Pagespeed test for new business website
  1. Your business website should load in 2s to 4s on desktop. After that, people increasingly move on. On mobile, the best measure is ‘first meaningful paint’ on Google PageSpeed and this should be less than 4s. Although a page is not interactive in that time, seeing the content is enough to get a visitor to stay.
  2. The first result ‘PageSpeed’ should be better than 90%. The second score, YSlow we will not discuss here. (Call us if you need to know more).
  3. Google PageSpeed for mobiles is a tough customer. It’s also where the ‘time to first paint’ comes from. In general, you want 90% or better, but achieving this can require extra effort – which is a great investment for eCommerce websites where every millisecond counts.
  4. The designer must tell you which keywords the website will be based on, but please also ask him/her which SEO plugin is being used. Our preference is Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO local and Yoast SEO for eCommerce. Finally ask that all images have Alt-Tags (the text that comes up when you hover over an image). There’s more, but that’s the very basic stuff your designer should know about and implement.
  5. If your designer uses a huge image (say 2000 pixels across) and it’s being displayed at say 250 or 640 pixels across, then your website is being badly slowed down. All image must be sized at least approximately correctly.  
  6. Your designer should tell you that he/she is using optimized JPG or JPEG mages, or possibly Web-P images. Most of us use Photoshop to get this right.
  7. Caching is critical to speed. Just ask the designer which cache technology or plugin is being used – there are a variety such as WP Rocket, SP Supercache and many more.
  8. GZip is a compression method used to compress whole pages before they are delivered on the web – and it’s critical. It requires access to a file on the server called HTACCESS, which usually means talking to the host, or having competence in file management on the CPanel of the website. Your website will not score well on speed measurements without this.

Conclusion

A business website can look very nice and yet be worse than useless if it has not been well designed technically. Asking the questions above and probing your design company to see what they know before  you commit to purchase is essential.  We hope this article will help you.

There are some eCommerce focused questions on this site that you can also read.

 Please feel free to call us if you need more information on any aspect of how  a website is constructed for business. It cannot all be covered in such a  brief article as this. 

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How much does a website cost?

How much does a website cost?  The reason I'm writing this post , is that in our business we deal with a wide variety of people, many of whom labor under a whole range of misconceptions. Of course, there are also some very well informed clients, but these are a minority. I hope I can hold your attention all the way to the end, and that you will comment on what I've written. This article is not  being written as a selling tool, so every reader should get something out of it.

Misconceptions of how much a Website Costs

There are many complicated factors in quoting for a website. A genuine high quality supplier will be aware of them and protect you from cost-escalation. Here are a few of the most critical factors:

Quoting for a website is an imperfect Process

When we are asked for a website quote, we never quote immediately; - we ask questions so that we can quote properly - not under, not over. It's truly surprising how many potential customers walk away without providing any of the required answers. We'll explain why we think this happens later. Here are our standard questions as recently sent to our potential clients:

Questions we ask before quoting for a website

  1. 1
    What is your business (brief description)
  2. 2
    What are your objectives for the website
  3. 3
    Do customers visit your premises (i.e. will we provide a Google map and special website structure for such a business)
  4. 4
    What stage is your business at (number of years in operation or 'startup')
  5. 5
    Do customers visit your premises (i.e. will we provide a Google map and special website structure for such a business)
  6. 6
    Do you sell products or services on site and if so: a) To where do you ship them  b) How do you charge for shipping - calculated or fixed?   c) How many products and variants do you want to list  d) Do you have all the required product photographs, product descriptions and prices?
  7. 7
    If you are a hotel or rental business, do you need an online booking and payment facility?
  8. 8
    Do you already have a social media presence (Facebook etc) for us to link?
  9. 9
    Do you already have  a Google My Business account?
  10. 10
    Do you have images and text for your site ready?  (not just product images) (We can provide stock images)
  11. 11
    Do you already have a domain? 
  12. 12
     Do you already have a logo?
  13. 13
    When do you need your website?

Why we ask these questions before we determine  how much a website costs

If you know the answer to this question, then please proceed to the next section of this article. If you are interested in our answer anyway - read on!

When we have answers to the above questions, we are able to determine what goes into our quotation. This means that you will only be paying for what you need, and that you can avoid additional charges down the line. Most importantly though, it means that your website will fulfill its function for your business.

If you pay for a website that is not properly designed for your business, then you may end up feeling like the new owner of these beautiful hiking boots!

 Let's see how we choose a website package for you that meets the real needs of your business. 

What does a website cost

How much does a website cost  for Startups and Micro Enterprises

This advice and price benchmark applies to all business categories  from A to Z, and they all have the same concerns:

1. They are swamped with offers from Hyderabad to Ontario as soon as they express an interest. Scores of people are trying to jump into their wallets, some offering perfect sites for almost nothing and others asking for ten times more - apparently for the same things.

2. They often haven't thought enough about what their business needs from a website and can't find a knowledgeable and credible person to talk to, so they are in the position of hearing information they do not understand given by many people who just want to 'sell a website' and who have (usually) very little interest in their business success.

Managing the Risk and Getting Results: Starting Small

We often advise people in this customer category that they can manage the risk by buying a small 'starter' website and then assess its value over the coming months, as well as the support they are given. So here's our first PRICE GUIDE: 

A Micro-Enterprise in any business category  on a limited budget should pay between $500 and $1000 for a business website that includes highly visible NAP structure (Name, Address, Phone), services outline, contact form, Google Map (option), testimonials and stock photos. The website  must be fast, mobile compatible and SEO designed.  As examples, you can look here.

Other questions for your website designer before buying

Try also to negotiate free hosting for a year and a decent warranty of at least 60 days. Even more importantly ask about:

  • How much to add another page if you need it
  • What happens if the website goes down
  • How much to make corrections after the warranty has expired and how long it will take to implement them
  • Is there any training on website maintenance so that you can do it yourself
  • Can the website be upgraded later and if so, how much will it cost
  • If you want to move the website to someone else, can you?
  • After the warranty has expired, does the designer keep the website software or plugins updated? This is very important. In the case of WordPress (which we use), not a week goes by without us having to update plugins on our websites and our customer website.
  • Will you install a free SSL certificate? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Don't worry about writing those down - we're busy making a PDF you can download at the end of this article.

Are One Page Websites Any Use and How Much Do they Cost?

If you are just starting out, a one-page website will provide everything you need - contact details, reputation indicators, service descriptions and so forth. But the website must be expandable and that means a good Content management System - or you might lose your whole investment later on. How people find your website is a much more important question when you start off than SEO performance is because ranking with SEO takes time whereas you probably need business NOW. More of that later. A professional  ONE PAGE WEBSITE should cost around $400 to $800 depending on the skill of the designer, the content and the support offered. 

How Much Does a Website Cost for Medium to Large Established Businesses?

A medium to large business needs to seriously think not only about professional appearance online but also about organic ranking through on-site SEO including blog articles that display real expertise and experience. Larger businesses also tend to need multiple pages to introduce skills, products and services and often, multi-region representation for search engines. The analysis required to build these sites is significant. but without the analysis and the vetting and correction of articles for SEO, significant benefits can be lost.  We've broken down this category as follows:

Professional and trade Business- No Ecommerce / Online Selling B2C (Business to Customer, / Public)

In this category we have a host of businesses such as 

  • Established electricians, plumbers, auto repair shops and more
  • Established Hairdressers and personal grooming specialists
  • Established and larger cleaning companies
  • Established lawyers, accountants and general financial companies
  • Restaurants and cafes

These companies need to think of spending between $2000 and $5000 on their business website. Why the wide spread? Because some of them require very specialized booking facilities and advanced website search facilities as well as advanced multiple galleries. social media integration, Google Maps integration, multiple location SEO facilities, and keyword management of existing articles and posts and industry focused keyword research. 

Key Reasons for Differences in how much a website costs larger companies compared to micro enterprises and startups

It's not always easy to see how effective websites in this category differ from cheaper implementations. Here are the key differences:

a) Effective back-end SEO that will mean the site is ready to rank. This includes the multi-region aspect for ranking in Google local searches.

b) Advanced galleries, menus

c) Higher grade tuning for speed including image optimization, advanced cache and gzip

d) Top grade back-end SEO software such as Yoast

e) Additional pages with customer content as appropriate to the business.

f) Special upload facilities and forms for customers

g) Superior security software

h) Google pixel and Facebook Pixels

i) Possibly a unique IP - we are currently reviewing this as Google seems to have changed its approach.

How Much does a Website Cost for eCommerce?

The cost of a website for eCommerce is wide, because of the variety and relative complexity. We will cover the main types.

eCommerce Websites for Selling Products

Basically, if you want to sell products online, you need a specialized website that offers:

  • A Shop with categories and then products and their variants
  • Photo galleries for products
  • SEO for products
  • A shipping calculator where needed
  • Credit card payment facilities along with other gateways such as PayPal, Stripe etc
  • Smooth use experience from browse to pay
  • Options for single page checkouts, related products display, bulk discounts, product comments, Sale prices, 'out of stock' option, customer CRM, membership system options, newsletter options, abandoned cart facilities, customer reminder messages, pop up messages, subscriptions and more. 

The most basic eCommerce store with ten products should cost you $2,500 including a year of hosting, a blog and contact page. With all the facilities about and for up to 100 products loaded for you, you can expect to pay up to $15,000.0 from a good supplier.

eCommerce Websites for Hotels and Lease Businesses

Depending on the range of facilities, rooms and galleries needed, these websites cost between $3,500 and $15,000.0

Additional Costs You can Expect for a Professional Business Website

You may have the world's most beautiful website, but unless it turns up when someone is searching for the goods and services it offers, it will remain a secret oasis that no one ever visits. Onsite SEO and great content gets your website ready to rank, and that's not enough by itself. You should plan for significant expenditure promoting your website and business using the following:

  • Off-site SEO
  • Google My Business presence (Local Business)
  • Social Media presence and management
  • Reputation management
  • Regular blog updates

What this costs you depends very much on how fast you want to move. Always speak with at least three 'experts' before you spend your money and make sure the agency you choose is there for a long term relationship and mutual success.

Further reading on how much  website costs

Finally

This article is a draft as of 23 January 2020. I've had no time to review and update yet, so do drop in occasionally and see what's happening.

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Business Website Design – how do websites make money?

The Anatomy of a Business Website - and Where it Begins

The first question any business owner should ask about Business Website Design is, “How will you ensure that I make money from this website?” The second question is “how will you implement this?” Surprisingly, very few business owners ask even these simple questions.

Questions about business wrebsite design - you have to ask!

It can be surprisingly hard to help these customers, because until they get to know their supplier and trust has been earned, the customer rarely wants to know. He/she/they have done a little research and usually they convinced themselves that they know exactly what is needed and they tend to resist advice, because it could be a ‘scam’. We understand. Sadly, there are far more ‘cowboys’ put there than there are quality suppliers and instructing someone in the science of effective business website design is not easy.

The Anatomy of a Profitable Business Website - Being Understood by Google

Informing a customer that a website must be ‘properly structured’ rarely gains traction – it sounds like another pitch when in fact, it’s critically important advice. A good business website structure right from the start will at least have a chance of ranking, receiving traffic and making money. That’s the first  lesson of onsite SEO.  A competent web developer knows how to do this and will patiently explain it to you. 

Business Website design Structure

You might have great content, wonderful products and services and the best prices ever - but if Google does not understand how your products and services are structures and related, and does not understand what you are offering then your business website design does not work and your website will never rank for the things you are trying to sell. This is not a controversial statement - it's simply the truth.

So what is that structure? We enlarge on that, as well as the related aspects of online presence you need here.

Attracting the Right Customer Traffic

Business website design no matter what the business may be, aims to  sell two things and only two things:

  1. 1
    Products
  2. 2
    Services
Business Website Design - Attracting the right customers

In this at least, all online businesses and business website design  are the same! But how is  one business website design of a site that sells for example essential oils better than another? We're going to use an example of our own here, a website called Mystical Breath on which we used to sell essential oils in the USA.   Almost four years ago, we wrote a post on that website called "Essential Oils for Autoimmune Disease" and today, it still ranks at number one in the US at which it is targeted. Even here in Australia, it still ranks at number 3 on Google and we've dome nothing to it for years. Why?

Blog Posts with National Reach for Organic Ranking on Google

Organic Ranking in Business Website Design

On Mystical breath, we were selling essential oils - that's how the site started.  Essential oils are one of the most competitive  selling areas on the web - and on Amazon. So we needed to attract customers and then send them to our Amazon product. Adverting in this niche is extremely expensive so we went for organic traffic - and it worked. 

Everyone wants an essential oil for a specific purpose, so we chose a niche, chose a purpose, and chose suitable oils - and did good onsite and offsite (more of that later) SEO.  The results were excellent and we sold thousands of dollars worth of product off that one article.

Credibility of a Business Website

Our Mystical Breath website design accommodated a wealth of information for users of essential oils, which gave us great credibility. We just needed to rank one excellent article to get customers to the site and then see what we had available. Whether you are selling health supplements, medical services, power tools or anything else, this method generates focused traffic and profits.

For credibility with your customers, you also need to post TESTIMONIALS. These are often the number one factor in a customer making a sale or walking away.

On-Site SEO: Internal Links and Meta Data in a Profitable Business Website Design

Once you have posts ranking on Google, it's a piece of cake to get your products noticed and ranking with internal links, BUT, the site data and structure in your business website design must look like a trail of data breadcrumbs to Google. The relationships between ranking articles and product should have common terms in product categories, blog categories and titles as well as links to related subjects on your site and elsewhere, 

Local Search Aspects of Business Website Design

Many searches for business are now local searches, which means that if you are a local business and your customers are local then your business website design must reflect this. This means having very visible clickable links for phone and email, visible address as well as a Google Map that will allow people to click and get instructions on how to reach your premises.

There's more to this though! Many businesses serve a number of geographical areas. Google My Business (see below) only allows you business ave one address. So how do we surmount this roadblock? Many businesses find great benefit in adding regional pages but this comes with its own limitations and difficulties. This is a major subject by itself, and you can find more information here. A solid local footprint is an essential business website design too, for profit generation. 

Use of Schema in Business Website Design

So what exactly is SCHEMA?  It's an 'under -the-bonnet' markup on your website that explains to users what your busines sis all about. Results for schema are presented differently to other web results and give clearer insights into your products and services. 

When a website has schema markup in place, users can see in the SERPs  (Google mainly!) what a website is all about, where they are, what they do, how much your services and products cost, plus lots of other information. Many people call schema markup “your virtual business card.” So it's powerful - and another way to give your business website design and edge in pursuing greater revenue and profit.

Voice Searchability for Local Business Websites

We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important this aspect of business website design is becoming. Google estimates that in 2020, more that 20% of searches on the web will be voice-search. Here is some information on this growth trend on voice search from 99firms.com (in the link):

  • According to Google, 20% of all searches are voice [already].
  • 65% of Amazon Echo or Google Homeowners don’t want to go back to the days of keyboard input.
  • 5% of individuals aged 16–24 use voice search on their mobile devices.
  • Individuals aged 26–35 are the most likely to be smart speaker owners.
  • 22% of smart speaker owners have bought something using voice search assistance.
  • 46% of smart speaker owners use voice search to find a business situated in their vicinity every day.
  • 20% of mobile queries are voice searches.
  • Voice Search on YOUR Business website

    Imagine you run a  restaurant or eCommerce store and have a good business website design - people find you online and go to your site. But now you have a large menu or product list and it takes time to find your products. Now imagine that with ONE CLICK a customer can speak a few words and find what they need on your business website immediately.  that's the power of voice search for your website - and a great way to attract and keep customers.

    Speed of a properly designed Business Website

    We have a saying at our office - "If it's too slow, the money won't flow!"  A properly designed business website needs to load fast on mobile and desktop - and particularly on mobile.  You can learn more about the importance of website speed here.

    Technical Errors on a Business Website - Designed In

    There are a whole host of technical errors that can stop your website making money. We have listed just a few of the more common errors below. A full technical audit is needed to identify all of them.

    • Versions of your website not resolving - http, https, www, /index, /home -  a redirect is needed for all of them or some visitors will not be able to find you at all.
    • No image alt tags or tags not relevant or not the right length - really can sink your rankings
    • Images improperly sized, slowing the site and being managed by the browser
    • Unusable 404 page - there will always be reasons people end up on your error page - help them out and turn them into paying customers!
    • Meta tags improperly constructed or absent - this will also sink your website in rankings. These tags should be properly constructed when content is added to a website - not fixed later.

    Can my Business Website Design be Fixed?

    Yes - but it can be expensive and your developer needs to know exactly what he/she is doing not only technically but for your industry. Many designers won't take a job of this sort though because it's very time-consuming, painstaking and low profit. Many will promise to do this work 'cheap', but they tend to rely on the lack of a customer's knowledge. Rather get your business website design right at the beginning. 

    Offsite Magick - The SEO that Wins Business

    OK! Your business website design has been verified. there are no technical errors; the meta tags are perfect. Your keywords have been professionally investigated and included in your posts and content and products; your website loads fast; your content is of high quality, relevant and interesting - and unique; And you are still not ranking weeks later!

    This is because external links are also needed. But take care - not all links are created equal! Bad links from link farms can and will sink your website. Rather a few genuine links from credible websites than a thousand links from a farm. But of course, it's more complicated than that too. Google wants to see links from citations on directories, press releases, product reviews, and general evidence of your business credibility. This requires a whole SEO strategy customized for your website and business. 

    Like anything worthwhile, SEO is not cheap. It costs real money but when done well it gives an excellent Return On Investment (ROI). So when you see a quote for hundreds or thousands of dollars for SEO - ask yourself how you will profit from that investment and how long it will take.

    How Poor User Experience Kills Website Profits

    You may have seen a term bandies around a lot the past few years - Ux, or user experience.  In general, the term has been  abused by people who know very little about it, but who want to sound 'up to date'. In fact, in many instances it's just a meaningless buzzword. 

    But Ux is very important. A competently executed, user-focused design leaves a hugely favorable impression on every business website visitor. Here are four essential elements of good Ux design:

    1. 1
      Graphics, layout, text, and interactive elements work together to provide the user with an experience - not just information. This sounds 'fuzzy' but it's true.
    2. 2
      The website must be 'scannable' by human eyes, because that's how people interact with websites.
    3. 3
      A successful business website design  provides both clarity and simplicity to the visitor
    4. 4
      Use commonly recognized design elements that make using your website easy and familiar- don't reinvent the wheel unless the wheel happens to be broken.

    Conclusions - Why Some Business Websites Don't Make Money

    We're pretty sure you get this now! Many business websites are simply not structured for Google  to understand what they are about and how their data can be accessed. This is only a brief article, and each subject above merits a whole article for itself.  For instance, when we talk about meta data, it means not only suitable keyword use in headings and snippets and content, but also the right meta data for your images and links to related content and products. This is at the heart of effective business website design. 

    Solutions for your Business Website Design Needs

    Sydney Business Web provides solutions to all of the above business website needs - the keys to profitability - in conjunction with solid and long term offsite SEO.  Contact us HERE.

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    Voice Powered Search for Business Websites in Sydney

    Imagine someone visits your restaurant website, clicks once and asks for 'steaks' with one spoken word, or 'fillet steak' and up pops that option on your menu. Well, now it can happen with voice powered website search - and Sydney Business Web is at the forefront of this exciting development.

    This wonderful development will apply equally to dentists (e.g. 'cheap false teeth'), electronics stores ('remote for my LG TV'), garden services and every other business you can imagine.

    This is not a fad - this is how the web is now developing - FAST. Pretty soon, a business website that cannot be searched by voice will be perceived as 'old fashioned', 'obsolete' and 'too slow'. Everyone is time-poor and the amazing convenience of this new tool is overwhelming in its applications.

    Voice Searchable Website - Example - Sydney Business Web

    When you run the video above, you will see just how simple this process is - and how amazingly fast.  I start off by asking for 'rental websites' and the transcript and results appear in far less than one second. 

    I then asked for 'Contact' and the contact page link appears. Finally I asked for 'social media' and all the relevant pages appeared - really, really fast!

    What Your Voice Powered Website Needs

    Voice powered search ability is in essence on-page SEO and as such it requires a properly designed internal structure. For instance, if you run a restaurant and have children's meals, then your designer needs to make sure that the menu items in that section are clearly identified as such; if thy're 'meals for the little ones' the voice search facilities may not yet be smart enough to detect that. So you'll need to include 'kiddies meals', 'kids meals', 'children's meals' and so on to help the search facility`. 

    Can Voice Search be Fitted to an Existing Website?

    Yes. However, the extent of its usefulness will be critically dependent on the internal SEO as described in the previous paragraph. Unless you pay attention to that, the facility will technically work, but the results could be less than useful. 

    Does voice search work on mobile?

    Mobile browser designers are running fast to catch up! Even Chrome on an iPhone does not yet support this - but it will - SOON. 

    When can I get Voice Search for my Business Website?

    Almost immediately. However, please bear in mind that your website needs to be ready for it.

    How much does Voice Search for a Website Cost

    This service attracts  is a low cost monthly fee. it's about to be built in as an option on our rental websites, but it's so new we haven't finally priced it. We can say though that it should be less than A$30/month. How much less, we're not sure.

    Why isn't Voice Search running on this website?

    Great question! We have run and fully tested it on this site and it works beautifully (we can demo at any time for you). When we added the chatbot though, we decided the site was becoming a touch cluttered with features so we disabled it for the moment. You can still see the microphone icons next to the search boxes. 

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    Getting the RIGHT Customers for Your Business

    Getting the RIGHT Customers Online for your Business

    CUSTOMERS WITH 'TOO MUCH WORK'

    I was talking to some potential clients earlier this week, offering free listings on our site buildingleads.sydney to companies in the building industry - architects, builders, landscapers and so on. There were a few surprises in store and I realized yet again that there are many ways to getting the right customers online - but first, you have to recognize them! 

    FAMINE OR FEAST

    Many of these companies often suffer gaps in their project pipelines due to projects being cancelled. They are then in the position of having all of their operating expenses continuing, but no revenue until their next project. So we built that site to connect these businesses and to allow them to tell each other about projects they might apply for and projects on which they might work together.

    TURNING AWAY GIFTS

    We are offering those listings free, simply to introduce ourselves to a wide range of companies and of course, we hope to do business with them when they need a new websites, SEO or any of the other services we offer.

    So we were surprised when some companies said  "no thank you - we're too busy". As business people, that seemed bizarre to us, and likely to lead those businesses into "famine or feast" conditions.

    Surely we thought, every business needs a measurable flow of customers from its online presence no matter how healthy its current order book. Then we thought a bit deeper and asked ourselves, if we had too much work, which customers would we prioritize - what type of customer is best for our business?

    FOUR TYPES OF CUSTOMER - WHICH ONES DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED?

    There are 4 types of customer:

    1) LOW MAINTENANCE - LOW PROFIT. 

    Low Cost Customers - Are they what you need?

    These customers tend to buy a low cost product.  They are low-price shoppers who tend not to return items or ask for much after-sales support. A business does not lose money with these customers, but neither does it make much money. These customers can carry your company through a bad time so don't ever ignore them! They are your 'budget travelers'', subsidized by your 'business class' customers. This is a neat analogy, because although some airlines specialize in purely budget travel, they are masters of their operations, run on very low margins and rely on volume business. One small fluctuation in operating conditions and they run at a loss. Don't be a budget carrier unless you really are a master of your craft and can generate high volume business.

    2) HIGH MAINTENANCE - LOW PROFIT (OR LOSS). 

    These customers also tend to be low-cost shoppers, but unlike customer type (1) above, they also require a lot of post-sale attention, eating into the small profit of your initial sale. They do not buy post-warranty support packages, but demand continuous attention and support. They can even turn a good initial profit into a loss.  These are the worst type of customer and should be avoided. They stretch the resources of your company long after the sale and are a direct cause of bad business performance. This is the sort of customer who receives a first class product exactly according to his/her requirement but then complains constantly and unreasonably.

    Getting the right customers online - high maintenance customers

    3) LOW-MAINTENANCE-HIGH PROFIT 

    These are premium customers. They buy your product after careful discussions and they understand what they are buying. As long as you deliver honestly and professionally, these customers are a foundation pillar of your business and should be  cherished. Don't make the mistake of forgetting about them after the sale - stay in touch, look after them and make sure they are happy. They have paid a premium not just for your product but for your integrity. They believe in you - keep it that way.

    getting the right customers online - High Profit - we're getting there

    4) HIGH MAINTENANCE - HIGH PROFIT - You are now getting the right customers online!

    It's not so simple to define these customers! They have paid a premium for your product, and yet they have not evaluated it properly. The fact they are HIGH PROFIT despite their HIGH MAINTENANCE demands means that they are PAYING for that maintenance - and that means recurring revenue. With professional care and support, these customers will keep paying you for support, but their demands will decrease as time goes by thus decreasing the load on your company and increasing your profits. In the medium to long term, they are even better customers than (3).

    Getting the right customers online - profitable customers

    CONCLUSION: GETTING THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS ONLINE

    When your  business starts out, it will tend to attract the low-cost shoppers of types (1) and (2) and you will be attracted to them as they are the easiest to win. Do NOT let this situation persist. Because you have few or no reviews yet and because you are still unsure of yourself (most new business owners are at first, and it shows!), you will find it difficult to gain traction in getting the right customers online which are types  (3) and (4) in most cases.

    You must use your first stream of low-profit customers to gain a good online reputation (lots of reviews) and then shift the focus of your online marketing to attracting the most profitable customers for the long-term benefit of your company.

    SYDNEY BUSINESS WEB

    Sydney Business Web can provide a custom-strategy for its business customers, guiding you through the process of attracting the type of customer your business needs at each phase of its existence. If you need help in getting the right customers online - we can help you.

    We do this by putting business expertise into every one of our products - Business websites, SEO, Reputation Management and Social Media management and Marketing.

    We can help your company with so much more than a website. Contact us today.

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    Restaurants and Pubs Online in Sydney NSW and Sutherland Shire

    Representing your Sydney Bar and Restaurant Effectively Online

    You need more than a website. Sure, you need a great website -  fast, beautiful and packed with easily accessed information. But for your business to succeed online, you need more -  a lot more.

    Running a restaurant or bar in Sydney NSW or anywhere else is fiercely competitive.

    We've seen bars and restaurants go from boom to bust almost overnight even before the web made things even more competitive. 

    In the dim and distant past,  crowd of people found a drinking or eating place almost by accident and then stayed there simply because all their friends could be found there after the first visit and a habit set in of simply 'we meet here on Fridays'. 

    Enter the Internet! Old habits die hard, but as soon as it became possible to search for pubs and restaurants 'near me' or in a defines area, the whole game changed, 

    If your business isn't  near to the top of Google, you're simply losing money each and every day and each and every night - even if you're in a busy shopping mall. 

    You need to own  your speciality  on the web, whether it's  live music in Cronulla, Peking Duck in Gymea or happy hour in Port Hacking. When customers search for what you offer, your business needs to be there up-front, live and proud and ready.

    Your restaurant needs an exciting, fresh, frequently updated and cohesive web presence right across multiple social and web platforms. It needs to be visible and it needs to be convincing. Your pub and restaurant needs Sydney Business Web. CALL US - you can click on the phone link at the top of the page (under the menu on mobile) or below.

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