Let’s Talk Websites!
We hear the debate often… “I don’t sell things online, so I don’t need a website”. But really… most websites don’t sell things – and yet they are a must for pretty much any legitimate business.
A website can fill so many needs. It can be your online resume, portfolio, office, billboard, or store. You name it, it can be whatever fits your business needs best. But regardless what the website is to you… to your audience, it is the place they look to verify you are a real business, see who you are and what you do, and likely get contact information.
Do you have your phone number listed with Dex, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, or your local phone directory company? Yes? Why? Most likely, because you want to be found when someone is looking for your business. But in 2018, no one uses a phone book. Pretty much no one under about 70 uses a phone directory of any kind. They use Google. And if you can’t be found, rest assured your competitors can be.
“But Scott, I’m already too busy, so I don’t need a website.” Alright – valid point. But then what you’re saying is you don’t want to be found online? You don’t want to grow your business? And you don’t want to showcase your work or services you offer?
My opinion is if you have a phone and an email address, then you should also have a website. It’s just a basic business need like a phone or a computer.
What You Need
A website can be 1 page, 5 pages, or 10,000+ pages. It can be informative, just showcase designs, or physically sell your wares. There is really no limit to how small or how big you can go with a website.
For thousands of screen printers, a very basic website may be all you need. This type of website typically:
- Is only 3-5 pages
- Showcases your brand
- Talks briefly about your business
- Shows what products or services you offer
- Gives the visitor basic contact options
- Email address
- Phone number
- Physical address (if applicable)
Anything beyond the list above is completely up to you. Maybe you’d like to add a portfolio section to highlight some of your awesome work, or even add photos or videos from events, customers, cool print jobs, etc.
Once you have a website, you’re able to make your footprint online. You now have a “home” on the web where you can point people, show off your work, and be found by potential customers.
Website Options for Screen Printers
There are several website tools available for building your own website. Entry-level tools, like the ones listed below, range in price from free up to about $25 per month. If you Google “website builders” you’ll get quite a list, but the ones you’ll typically hear most about are:
- Godaddy’s GoCentral Website Builder
I’m not a huge fan of any of these, but they’re likely to do the job if you’re a startup or small shop who really needs very little in a website.
The tools above are all drag-and-drop, so you don’t need any web skills to build a site. Each of them will also sell you “extras” for Search Engine Optimization or “Search Engine Visibility”. For the most part, these add-ons are not worth any added cost, so don’t fall for them.
They’re also not very flexible, it’s difficult to grow your business with them, and most of them really make their money on ‘Apps’ that you purchase separately to get your website to do what you want it to do (increasing your costs).
A better option would be to build your website in WordPress. There’s a reason WordPress is the single largest website tool in the world, holding more than 27% of all websites on the web. It’s the most flexible, stable, one-size-fits-all solution available, period.
But as easy as WordPress can be, there is a learning curve that can stop some people in their tracks. You don’t need to be web-savvy, but the reality is, most people will need a few hours of learning before they’ll be able to build much of a website in WordPress.
However, with some learning comes a far better website, and one that you can grow with pretty much infinitely. Did you know that WordPress is the most frequently used website tool for startups? It is also used for websites such as Sony Music, MTV, Walt Disney, Time, and People Magazine? Talk about flexible!
I suppose if I were to compare it to screen printers, it would be like saying that a $20k (entry-level) DTG printer is just as good as screen printing. I know you can get stellar quality out of some of the 6-figure DTG’s… but the cheap one’s aren’t going to compare in print quality and longevity of the printed piece.
That’s how I feel about the cheap web builders vs. WordPress. They’re cheap, easy to set up, and require very little learning of any kind. They’re also low quality and won’t work well for a larger (or growing business).
What to Consider for a Website
When it comes time to make a decision for your website, consider the following:
- Do you need a quick solution, not necessarily a long-term solution?
- Do you need to keep costs super low (under $100/mo)?
- Do you want to put a lot of pictures on your website?
- Do you plan to have a store (ecommerce) on your website?
- Do you want to use your website for marketing (get found on search engines)?
- Do you foresee having multiple contact options on your website (phone, contact form, live chat, video conference)?
- Do you prefer to build a website now, that will last you many years?
- Can you afford a little more ($100 – $200/mo) to get a long-term website built?
If you answered Yes to #1 and #2, then your best solution may be something like Wix or Weebly. If you answered Yes to any of #3 – #8, then you’re going to be better off with a WordPress solution.
Build an Effective Website
Regardless of which tool you use to create your website, there are a few things every website should have. We’ll speak to these (and more) in upcoming posts, so I’ll only highlight them here for now, so you have what you need for the foundation of your new website.
Mobile devices account for more than 50% of all web traffic. It’s become so important, that Google now gives significant preference to websites who have a ‘Responsive Design” (they are mobile friendly).
Another item just for Google. Having an SSL Certificate used to be just for ecommerce stores (the security certificate encrypts data… for instance, protecting your credit card information. But now Google is on a mission to make the entire web ‘Secure”. If you don’t have SSL, you won’t likely show up well in search engines.
Call to Action (CTA)
A CTA is whatever action you want visitors to take when on your website. A phone number, or a contact form on your website are two typical CTA’s. You want to make sure these are highly visible for your visitors. For instance, listing your phone number in the top-right of your website, big enough to easily see and usually in a color opposite your website’s color pallet. This color tactic pulls people’s eyes to your phone number, making it much more visible.
Google Analytics is free and easy to add to your website. The data gathered is immensely important for any marketing or advertising you might want to do on the web.
Content & Keywords
The style and tone of the content is completely up to you. Professional, personal, all-business – or fun and creative… do what you want. But think about what words people might type into Google to find you (or your competitors), and try to focus those words as a “theme” in your content. We’ll go much deeper into this on future posts about Search Engine Optimization.
For more information on online marketing for screen printers, check out 6 Steps to Getting Your Rad Screen Printing Business Online and Establishing Your Screen Printing Brand’s Facebook Presence.
Thrive Business Marketing is working on a new DIY Website project, which we hope to have publicly available by Q2 this year. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about websites, website tools, or growing your business through the web.
Scott Orth is the founder of Thrive Business Marketing in Portland Oregon, with 19 years’ experience in building Internet Marketing success for small businesses. Thrive and Ryonet have joined forces to help screen printers make their presence known, and grow their businesses, through online marketing strategies. We have numerous website and online marketing programs in the works and will become available to screen printers throughout 2018.
Scott can be reached directly for consult or general inquiries at the following:
Phone (Direct): 503-783-8473