Survival of the fittest

Not convinced? Rewind yourself back to 2020. Everyone was locked down, glued to their screens and reduced to online shopping. Overnight a business’ digital footprint shifted from important to mission-critical to survival.

Fast forward to today, and that digital imperative has not fallen away. More and more people have become confident and competent at researching and shopping online, and if your website isn’t hitting the mark, it will be adversely impacting your business.

So, if your website needs some love, or you’re starting a new business, here’s some tips on how you can save time and money on your website build.

Tip #1 – Imagery is everything

People eat with their eyes first, and website visitors are no different. A website visitor’s decision to stay on your site or go to a competitor’s will be dominated by their first impression of your website. The images that you use are a critical part of that equation. As a small business, it’s unlikely that you will be commissioning your own photoshoot so finding high-quality FREE imagery is your next best solution. Visit free stock imagery sites like Unsplash and look for great landscape orientation images. If you have some of your own photography, again landscape orientation is key, and so is file size. Anything around 1 megabyte in size is a good rule of thumb.

Tip #2 – Consistency

Another element that helps the look and feel of a website is consistency. Consistent use of colours, fonts, layouts, and icons all help to create a great user experience. Having your brand identity locked down (i.e. logo, fonts, colour palette) before you start a website design project is vital. Check out some of the brand design work we have done on our projects page.

Tip #3 – Content is King

Having captured your website visitor’s attention with your striking visuals and your consistent, user-friendly layout, the next challenge is content. The more time you spend thinking through the best content for each page, including the amount of content, the more money you can save. Google likes pages to have around 300 words on each page. Most website visitors have a very low appetite for consuming a lot of content, so it becomes a goldilocks exercise …not too little, not too much but always, always relevant to the page topic.

Tip #4 – Do your research

One of the best pieces of news for small businesses is that websites no longer cost $10,000 plus dollars to build. One of the reasons for that is the big shift from custom-built websites to template-built websites. These days 99% of small businesses will have their needs met with a template build – think WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace etc. These are called Content Management Systems, or CMS for short, allowing users to build and manage a website without coding it from scratch. The upside is that websites have become quicker and cheaper the build, and the downside is that you forego some design flexibility.

But how do you know which CMS to choose? That starts with being really clear about three things; what you need your website to do (i.e. its functionality), what websites you like the look and feel of, and finally, what level of involvement you want in maintaining the website after it has launched.

Tip #5 – Budget Watch-outs

When you are putting together your budget for your new website, you also need to factor in several adjacent costs. These include annual domain registration (e.g. fishdigital.co.nz), yearly or monthly website hosting costs, and the one-off cost for your chosen CMS design theme.

Some platforms bundle these costs together and charge you one ongoing monthly fee like Shopify. It pays to do your sums because sometimes the one-size-fits-all bundle can end up costing you a lot more.

Building websites for small businesses is what we do best. If you’re considering upgrading your website, contact us for a FREE, no obligations quote