Here at Digital8, we’ve designed and developed hundreds of websites for SME business owners around Brisbane and beyond. From Migration Agents, to Gyms, to all sorts of weird and wonderful business ideas, all with unique products and services.
That doesn’t, however, mean that there aren’t a few re-occurring themes that we see amongst them that can be offered as advice on how best to operate at this level when building a website.
Let’s look at this from the perspective of a Migration Agent, which you’ll find is oddly pertinent to most sites of this size.
Menu structure is all-important. Ideally you would want most visitors to be able to reach the information they’re after with one to two clicks from the homepage. For this reason categorisation is everything. For the chosen example, there are a few different reasons that people would apply for a visa and the best way to lay this out menu wise (aside from the obvious “contact us”, “about us” items) would be to structure the top level of the menu around these reasons. For instance “Business Visas”, “Family Visas” & “Skilled Visas” might be your top menu items & underneath say “Family Visas” you could have “Parent Visas”, “Spouse Visas” & “Child Visas”.
You could then even have another sub-menu pop up under those items which would have “Visa Type XYZ”, “Visa Type X” and so on underneath that.
This provides an easy to use menu which should allow most people to find what they’re after in one click with a little mouse hovering through the menu.
The same could apply to a plumber (“Emergency Plumbing”, “Residential”, “Corporate” etc), a florist (“Romantic Bouquets”, “Birthday Flowers” etc) or a range of other industries.
Side note: Good user experience helps with your SEO.
Onsite content is King. Having your website set up as per the above menu structure would allow you to have a content-rich website full of useful, relevant information. Sprinkle this with a great multi-media experience (photos, videos, etc) and some bullet pointed/broken up information and you’ll have an informative, engaging, human experience for your customers.
In the case of our chosen example, a Migration Agent (particularly if they’re targeting particular areas such as Brisbane) would doubly need to do everything they can to make their content engaging given how complicated and potentially boring their subject matter could be otherwise.
Side note: Great content like this also helps with your SEO.
You really don’t need to complicate things. Worry about fancy shopping carts and databases when your business is large enough to warrant it. If you offer a service, most people will be happy to send through an email enquiry with a simple form, no need for a booking system right off the bat if it all seems like too much hassle.
Again, going back to the Migration Agency example, one of the larger firms we’ve dealt with still uses this method and has staff on the other end replying and setting up appointments to keep a human touch on their service.
Side note: Unless you have a custom designed shopping cart or booking system, it’s likely that neither of these features would help your SEO at all.
Make sure you blog! Regularly! I’ve seen some very simple and very new websites rank for seemingly difficult keywords simply because they had a great, easy to understand (and navigate) structure, rich content and regularly updated their blog (which they then pushed out via various social media channels).
Your blog is how you build the brand along with trust and authority in the eyes of your customers. Advice, promotions, news, business events and milestones are all perfectly legitimate things to blog about which will humanize your business and draw customers in.
Our example client blogged about various types of visas and tried to simply explain the process in a way that reassured customers that they could make a very painful process easy and stress-free. They had their Migration Lawyers write the majority of their blogs so that expert advice was being offered, but always kept their customers front and centre when thinking about how to communicate.
So there you have it. A few simple tips to consider when launching websites for a small to medium business. If you’d like to discuss further feel free to give us a call on 1300 382 777 or shoot us through an email via the form on the right!