How to: Make your own online small business a success


Running a small business is hard enough nowadays without the added element of maintaining an online business. While there are a lot of advantages to running an online business, it’s becoming more challenging as more businesses go digital. It’s important now more than ever to have a strong strategy for standing out as a small business online. With big names like Amazon taking over the online space, you need to know how to use your smaller size to your advantage. Keep reading for tips and tricks for online small business success.

Why Take Your Business Online?

The first thing to understand is why it’s valuable to take your business online. As a small business, you save a lot of money in added resources by going digital. Not only do you not need a full-time staff to perform daily tasks, but you don’t have to worry about reaching people outside of your geographic area. Online businesses don’t have business hours or holidays off.

It’s also important to note that more shoppers are spending money online than ever before. In just a few years, e-commerce and online business have skyrocketed! According to TechCrunch, 79% of Americans shop online! This boom was sparked by convenience and cost, and that’s why so many businesses are jumping onto the online business bandwagon.

Customer Experience

As a small business, you can afford to spend more time on the customer experience. While bigger companies might not value each individual customer, small businesses have the opportunity to really dive deep into every interaction. This is what helps small businesses have an edge over big companies. When shoppers go online for purchases, they still expect a great customer experience. Since you’re unable to interact with customers in person, you need to make up for this with an easy, enjoyable shopping experience.

Much of the shopping experience relies on the checkout process. When shopping online, customers don’t like to jump through hoops just to hit that final submit order button. According to the web design blog Lilo, having the right merchant account can make a huge difference in this process on both the buyer and seller ends. Choosing the right platform and merchant account can ensure a speedy checkout process so you don’t have as many abandoned carts. A report from shows that customer experience will beat out all other platforms by 2020! Get a head start on this trend by investing in customer experience now!

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The secret to brand relevance: Disruptive innovation


The word “disruptive” is used a lot when it comes to marketing, but it’s a major key to brand relevance and gaining notice. Think about your favorite brands. Things like Apple and Nike seem normal now, but remember when they were first introduced just how innovative they were. That’s why disruptive innovation is such a powerful tool for making a mark in the industry. Here are some tips for being disruptive with your innovations.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

The thing that holds so many businesses back from disruptive innovation. There’s such thing as a smart risk, and it comes from knowing the market and knowing your product or service. Commit your business to working with a creative team and promoting innovative ideas. Remember that no good ideas start out as perfect, and it’s okay to gamble a little when it comes to risk.

Be available for questions.

One of the biggest reasons visitors will turn away from a website is because they aren’t able to get their questions answered quickly. Offering easy contact solutions and live chat can go a long way in making customers feel heard. Learn more about the best live chat software solutions here to find out the best option for your business.

Focus on one thing and do it well.

If you’re too busy trying to be the best at everything, you’ll be the best at nothing. Look at the largest brands you know. Starbucks is great because it’s known for serving the best cup of coffee. Spotify is great because it’s known to offer the best music selection on the go. These brands focus on what they’re good at and that’s all. Starbucks isn’t trying to break into the tech world because that just wouldn’t make sense. Focus on one success at a time.

Remember to listen to your customers.

Feedback is an important step in creating long-lasting innovative disruption. If you’ve ever noticed a brand step quickly into the consumer spotlight and just as quickly fade from notice, it’s probably from failing to listen to consumers. When promoting a new product or brand, customer communication is key. There will likely be a lot of feedback about new brands immediately, and it is worthwhile to listen to this feedback and adjust the brand as needed. Brands that are willing to adjust to fit their perfect market and that listen to consumer concerns are the brands that stick around for a long time.

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Why small businesses need professional photography for their websites


When you are building a new website for your business there's a risk of focusing on the design and text while leaving the images as an afterthought. There's a good reason why modern website designs feature large image areas as standard and that's the power of visual content. Photographs have the potential:

  • to paint a compelling picture of the services you provide,
  • to attract traffic to your website,
  • to encourage engagement and
  •  ultimately lead to more sales.

However, this potential can only be fully realised by using high quality images that connect with your customers. 

In this blog post I’ll show you:

  • why high quality images are crucial to your business in a competitive marketplace,
  • the common mistakes you need to avoid when selecting your images and
  • tips for commissioning images that will really benefit your business. 

The challenge of getting noticed

Before you can make sales, you need to get people on to your website. Regardless of how good your SEO efforts are, your business will appear in Google surrounded by organic and paid for results offering similar services.  

You need to take every opportunity to make your business stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s your Google business profile or your social media presence. Each point of contact with potential customers can get you noticed and bring traffic to your website. 

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5 things you should research before building your small business website


You've decided to go it alone and startup on your own or maybe you've been running your business for a while without a website. Either way those first steps towards building your online presence are very important. It is worth taking a little bit of time to research a few things that can impact it's performance first.

After all your first website for your small business is not going to get found on its own initially so there is no immediate rush. It can take a long time before you rank on page one of Google so it’s very important that you give your new website at least a fighting chance. Taking a little time to research some all-important factors that will have an impact on that move up through the page rankings will pay dividends in the long run. That page one position is dependent on many things including:

  • How many people you are competing with in your sector
  • The age of your website … older websites, or domains, that are already established will come before you initially

There is little you can do about these first two points. You can’t eliminate your competition and your website will be new. So, you really must focus on the things that you can do something about that will help your website move as quickly as it can up through the page rankings including:

  • Choosing your domain name.
  • Researching your keywords.
  • Writing excellent quality content.
  • Sourcing high quality images.
  • Developing a high performing website that loads quickly and has a great user experience … being mobile friendly is a given but make sure that it is also easy to navigate and obvious to your visitors what they need to do to find what they’re looking for.

1) Choosing your domain name

Domain names are relatively inexpensive to buy, so if you have already bought yours and after reading this post discover you may not have gone for the best option, don’t worry just source a new one that will work more effectively for you. Before you commit and have your website resolving on a domain name that isn’t really going to help get your business found, it’s worth doing a little bit of research into what is going to work best for your business.

You may well have chosen a quirky name for your business … ‘pink elephant supplies’ or ‘white rabbit services’ for example. Fun and memorable but they give absolutely no indication of what your business does.

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Do your customers trust your small business website?


Trust is one of the most important things to establish when forging a new relationship with a potential customer. Are you confident that your website conveys that you are a trustworthy organisation? 

Recently you may have heard that Google could be promoting secure websites above those that are not. If you’re wondering what this means or you're not even sure if you know what indicates a secure website then read on. Getting an SSL certificate to create a secure connection to your website could just be a good move. 

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. A website with an SSL certificate will display [Secure https:// ] in front of the URL, indicating a secure website to visitors. There are varying levels of SSL validation and the industry’s highest standard will turn the address bar green in high-security browsers.  You are probably familiar with seeing them in use on larger websites like your online banking, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter … and just recently on this small business website.

What does an SSL certificate do?

Data sent between your computer and a website with an SSL certificate is encrypted to protect the privacy and online security of the user. In other words, should any information you submit online via the secure website be intercepted by a malicious user they will be unable to read or make use of it.

To put it simply an SSL certificate keeps online interactions private

An SSL certificate is essential for any website that is taking sensitive information such as credit card details. But you may be thinking that your small business website isn’t processing any financial transactions or sensitive information so why would you need to worry? But ask yourself the following questions:

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Small business blog headlines that grab reader attention


Research says that on average eight out of ten people will read your headline but only two out of ten will go on to read the rest of your article or blog post. So, if you want your content to be read, it’s worth spending some time and effort on that all-important headline. Some copywriters even say that around half the time it takes to write your article should be spent on researching and crafting your headline.

Well if you’ve made it this far then the headline worked and you’ve read the introduction!

Before you start: What are the objectives of your headline?

There are various reasons for having a small business blog, but if readers don’t get past the headline, then your blog content is pointless. Think about how your headline is going to make sure the content you are painstakingly writing gets read and achieves its own objectives of:

  • Getting found in search results.
  • Attracting visitors to your website.
  • Demonstrating your expertise within your business sector.
  • Giving tips and advice to existing and potential new customers.
  • Providing an easy way to add topical content to your website.
  • Generating material to share on your social media platforms. (I can usually get between 5 and 10 Tweets from each blog post.)

The first two points are probably the most relevant to readers of this blog, so this post will focus on those two objectives. Your headline needs to make sure that your blog post gets found and is then read with a view to impressing your visitor so much that they move on to the rest of your website. That’s quite a tall order.

Getting found in search results

If your headline contains a phrase that readers are likely to use as a search string, then so much better. At least include some of your keywords.

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Free or low-cost website builders for your small business: The pros and the cons


I’ve missed a week or two of blog posts, but during that time I’ve had a couple of new customers ask about website builders and free services. I’ve also seen quite a few posts in various Facebook groups that I’m active in from small business owners who have used a free or very low-cost website builder and not had the best experience. Typically:

  • Second year in the fees have become prohibitive
  • The website doesn’t get found
  • Adjusting and changing the website after the initial setup has been tricky

So, with the above in mind, I thought I’d do a bit of my own research.

With the exception of dabbling with Weebly about 5 years ago, I haven’t used any of these website builders myself. It was a frustrating experience and I very quickly moved onto using a CMS. So the opinions here are drawn from articles that I’ve read and comments from users that I've spoken to of their experience with various 'free' or attractive looking very low-cost website builder products and not my own first-hand experience.

There are many ways of getting a small business website live including:

  • Using a drag and drop website builder on an inclusive service - check exactly what is included, but you should be able to get something live without too much technical expertise.
  • Arranging hosting and installing a CMS - a little more skills required and probably best getting a web developer to install and design for you with a view to you managing your own content long term. If you want to have a go yourself you could have a look at Wordpress or possibly Joomla. Some hosting companies provide 'one click' install which can ease the process.
  • Coding from scratch - definitely best left in the hands of a professional

My aim with this post is to summarise what I’ve gleaned about the first option above and to collate a series of useful articles with a view to helping you to decide what route to go down when embarking on your first small business website project.

1 | Wix

This is the free option that I hear the most about and below are a couple of articles that may give you some more detail. 

To summarise the pros:

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What is a hamburger menu


A hamburger menu is the little menu button, made up of three stacked parallel horizontal lines, that you will find at the top of mobile apps and mobile friendly websites ... usually top left.  It is also referred to as a side menu or navigation drawer.

If you're still unsure the screen shot to the right will show how this website looks on a mobile phone with the hamburger menu in the top left hand corner.

It looks neat and sits tidily at the top of the screen and most users are now familiar with it's use and will know to head there when they want to navigate to other pages of the mobile friendly website.

Should you use a hamburger menu on the desktop version of your website

They are now increasingly appearing on desktop websites in place of the menu bar that we're all used to seeing at the top of our websites. They do look neat and it does demonstrate you and your small business website are keeping up with the times, but here are a couple of reasons why you may want to keep your regular menu bar for the desktop and only deploy the hamburger menu on the mobile version.

1 | Click rates for hamburger menus on mobile apps and websites are low

By using it on the desktop version of your website you are running the same risk. Why would you want to take the chance of reducing clicks through to other valuable pages of your website just because it looks current? 

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So how often should you update your small business blog?


Since I've missed my self-imposed goal of one blog post a week I thought this was a suitable subject for this week's post.

I've done a fair amount of reading and research in an attempt to find an argument that will allow me to let myself off the hook and post a bit less frequently. I can't find one!

"If your updates are more than a week apart, it's about as effective as not blogging at all." According to Megan Totka writing for Small Business Trends. Admittedly, this article is now a couple of years old but it still holds true (a great example of evergreen content which I'll write about another time) and there is ever increasing evidence that blogging is good for driving traffic to your small business website.

  • It's a good way to add fresh content to your website for search engine optimisation
  • It also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of your sector in a more informal way
  • It provides a very easy forum for you to share current news with your customers
  • It also improves engagement with your audience who will come expect your regular blog posts

The final point is crucial as the frequency with which you post is as important in gaining credibility and nurturing a relationship with your readers as the actual content itself.

Some will advocate quality over quantity and a great post of a good length, supported by accurate statistics and thorough research posted less frequently, say once a month, is better than just throwing a post on your blog for the sake of getting something up there, which is possibly what I'm doing now!

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5 reasons why your small business website really should be mobile friendly


First of all what is a mobile friendly website?

A mobile friendly, or responsive, website will adjust depending on the device that it is accessed from. A non-mobile friendly website won't and visitors will need to zoom in and drag the screen around to be able to read your content.

A high percentage of small business owners still don't have a website and of those that do many are still not mobile friendly or 'responsive'. If you do have an elderly website for your small or local business, listed below are a few reasons why you may want to consider an upgrade to a mobile friendly version.

Of course, if you're taking the plunge for the first time it's a given that it should be mobile friendly.

  1. Since April 2015 Google has promoted mobile friendly websites over those that aren't when searching on a mobile device. Have a think about the products and services that you offer and who might use them. Are your customers likely to be searching on their mobiles when they're out and about or sitting in front of the TV in the evening looking on a tablet.
  2. Visitor experience is essential. If having arrived at your website while looking on a mobile device and it's not mobile friendly most visitors will simply move away immediately and go to the next website that is mobile friendly. Possibly your competitor.
  3. An up to date, ie mobile friendly, website will improve your credibility. If a customer finds your non-mobile friendly website it will look out of date and possibly may even bring into question wether you are still trading or not.
  4. Your business will be seen as up to date and relevant. Quite simply an out of date website will give the same impression of your business and it's services. You want your customers to see you as in touch with what is current and able to deliver accordingly.
  5. Non-mobile friendly websites are becoming obsolete. A new website developed in 2016 will automatically be mobile friendly. With new websites being developed all the time, the non-mobile ones are gradually being squeezed out and becoming redundant.

If you want your website to help your business then it really should be mobile friendly. Not sure if yours is or not? Why not get in touch on 01494 537612.


How to make the most of all your small business website's landing pages


For a long time, your website's Home page was considered the most important landing page on your website. The one to focus all your efforts and where you were going to create that all important first impression.

To a certain extent, this is still true, but visitors are now spending a lot of time on 'about' pages and may even 'land' at other pages of your website like your 'blog' or 'contact' page especially if you are promoting your blog on social media.

While not neglecting the importance of your Home page it's important to focus on these other pages as landing pages.

Review how they may be perceived by a new visitor to your website:

  • What first impression do they create?
  • Is there a clear call to action?
  • Do they encourage visitors to move to other areas of the site?

Include the following to encourage them to move to other pages of your website:

  • Have a clear and prominent message that lets your visitors know exactly what you do as soon as they arrive at the page.
  • Include a contact email address and/or phone number. Consider how your visitors got the site. Is it likely to be from a mobile device? In which case have the phone number easily accessible for direct dial. In fact you should have your contact details on every page!
  • Have one clear call to action ... don't overwhelm with too many. If there are too many choices and buttons to click, you risk causing confusion and your visitors clicking nothing!
  • If you have a great offer or can give away some free information highlight it.  Do you have some information you could give away via free download that could also give you the opportunity to collect data for your mailing list?
  • Include links to other pages of your website from within your individual blog posts to encourage readers to find out more about your business and services.
  • Cut out the jargon. Write for your readers and ultimately your prospective customers. Use language that they will understand and can relate to.

The above are a few simple guidelines, but above all else keep it simple. If you would like some help with developing a new small business website or improving an existing one, please do get in touch.



Optimise your small business website for local search


If you're a small business providing services to a local market, then it's important that your website ranks well. I want to be found for 'web design high wycombe' so there are a few things that I've implemented on this website to achieve that end.  Here are a few simple steps that you can take in an infographic with more detail below:

1) Domain Name

If at all possible, try and use your keywords and/or your main geographical area in your domain name. I've managed 'web design' although not 'High Wycombe'.

2) Contact Information

  • The telephone area code must match the town or city where you want to be found and the number must be your permanent business number.
  • Use a legitimate business address, which should also be in the town or city where you want to rank.

Both these two can present a challenge for a small local business which you may be running from home and quite likely using a mobile for most of your business contacts, but it is worth trying to arrange both if possible.

Also make sure you are consistent and use the same address and contact details everywhere you are listed online.

3) Title Tags

Create unique title tags for every page of your site and include your services, keywords and location.

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7 reasons your small business needs a website


Almost half of all small businesses still don't have a website. Given how much technology and the internet has changed how we research and buy 'stuff' in the last 10 years that is a staggering statistic.

The most common reason for not having a website is that most small business owners think that their small business 'doesn't need a website'.  Here are a couple of reasons why it might be time to consider your options for getting your business online:

1. It's an online brochure or shop window

Unlike that brochure you handed out at the networking event which is now most likely in recycling or buried somewhere in the car if you gave it to me, your website is a permanently available brochure and shop window.

Anyone you meet can immediately check your business online and can return to it at a later date ... it won't get lost.

2. Business credibility

By having an online presence you immediately indicate your permanence. You are serious about your business and you are investing in it.

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User Generated Content: What is it and should you be doing it?


User generated content is any form of media that is created by users of an online system or service, for example blogs, discussion forums, posts, chats and tweets and incorporates, text, images, video and audio.

So how is user generated content going to help your business?

We all know how important it is to add fresh content to our small business websites. However, coming up with that content can sometimes present a challenge and then once you've created it how do you get people to read it? This is where user generated content can help.

People do business with people and If you have an existing, returning customer base the chances are they're happy with your products and services. That could be a potentially huge resource of brand affirming content for you to share and engage with either by blog post content or sharing and engaging with you on your social media channels.

Users and customers also tend to be more interested in hearing from their peers ... some studies have shown that consumers trust user generated content more than all other forms of media. So it's a win ... win.

  • Your users create the content for you
  • It's more valuable to your existing and potential customers

What's not to love about it? So how do you get started?

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Promote and grow your small business ... build a website?


If you're an established local business with a good reputation you may well think that you don't need a website and in fact almost 60% of the smallest businesses still don't.

However, a recent survey (well June/July last year) by GoDaddy found the following results:

  • 48% of very small businesses who plan to create a website expect their business to grow by 25% or more within the next 2-5 years.
  • Of those who already had a website, 59% say their business grew once they had built their website.
  • 33% of small business owners who already have a website feel they have a competitive advantage over those without.

I could go on, but it's looking quite convincing. If you want to read the whole survey you can find it here.

While just over a third of those surveyed felt that their business was simply too small to warrant a website, one in five were put off creating a website because of:

  • lack of time,
  • lack of technical expertise and
  • perceived cost implications.

Put those to one side for a moment and think about some of the advantages of building a website to promote your small business.

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When a poor visitor experience on your website costs your business money


I recently placed an order for some made to measure curtains with a well known high street and online retailer. I ordered fabric samples, measured up and placed my order. There was a long lead time ... over 2 months. I was very excited when the day finally arrived and the box was handed over.

I'll pause here for a moment to explain the reason for this blog post. I want to demonstrate the importance of communicating accurately with your customers via your website as well as making sure that detailed information is presented in a visually accessible way.

Make it clear, crystal clear, what information you need from your website's visitors in order to fulfil their expectations.

So ... back to the curtain story. The courier handed me the box. It felt a little light and I was slightly concerned. Something felt not quite right. I opened the box and drooled over the beautiful fabric and the pinch pleats. I'd been wanting these curtains since I moved in ... over ten years ago. I was allowed to be excited.

I held up one of the curtains. It was nowhere near wide enough. In fact it was about half the width it needed to be. In complete panic (even with the 30% discount these were a big investment for me) I went back to the email confirmation and my tape measure. The curtain width I'd ordered was correct the curtain I'd received was not! 

From the title of this blog post you've probably already worked out that someone made a mistake and in the retailers eyes that was me. In my defence this is the form that I completed when I placed my order.

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Is your website past it's sell by date? Create a timeless classic ...


I read recently that most business websites are given a major overhaul every two years. That seems remarkably frequent to me and also cost prohibitive if you're a small local business. This got me thinking ... what steps can you take to create that timeless classic website?

  • One that doesn't look a bit tired after a couple of years. 
  • One that evolves as your business does.
  • One that allows you to add content and demonstrate how your business has grown without a major overhaul.

In fact, a website whose basic design and layout doesn't change much yet somehow still manages to look fresh and current. My own website .. yes this one ... was thrown together very quickly one weekend. In the past 18 months I've added a few things, like this blog and a new image on the home page but other than that all I've done is to add new content.

As with your wardrobe, don't slavishly follow current trends. Keep things simple and focus on a great user experience. If you are thinking of redeveloping your small business website or just getting started with your first website here are few ideas that may increase the longevity of your website. 

Keep It Simple

Your website visitor has come to your website to find out about you. They're impatient and typically if they haven't found what they're looking for on the page with 3 seconds they'll be hitting that back button and going elsewhere, so here are a few guidelines for achieving an engaging, but timeless look for your small business website.

1) Animations and Moving Images are Best Avoided

Busy websites, with moving images and flashy animations may look clever, but they detract from the main message and can also look dated quite quickly, which is something you're hoping to avoid in the interests of keeping your website looking fresh without continuous design updates.

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Search engine optimisation … is your website getting found?


SEO, search engine optimisation, page ranking ... it's a huge topic which I won't attempt to cover comprehensively here in a single blog post. So this, the first in a series of posts on SEO, will concentrate on your website's keywords.

When you first start developing your website do some research into what search string you think your potential customers will be typing in to Google to find your site. Think about the services you are offering ... perhaps you are family lawyer. So your keywords could include; family law, divorce, separation, children issues, child maintenance, mediation, resolution along with a reference to your location.

Once you've researched and narrowed down your keywords they now need to be worked into your content. Ideally the keywords need to appear naturally within you main body content twice to five times in every hundred words. However, don't be tempted to compromise the quality of your copy in an attempt to cram the keywords in. Content is king and it's ultimately more important that it reads well.

There are also plenty of other places where you can incorporate your keywords:

  • The first and most obvious place where they are really going to work for you is in your domain name itself. For example, this site, although the domain name is possibly rather long, does include the two most important keywords ... web design.
  • Include the keywords in the other areas of the URL, for example this article appears on the blog pages of the website and the full URL of this menu item is So, 'web design' appears again. 'Blog' is also another word that could work for this website as web design customers, may also be searching for information about blogging.
  • Use your keywords in your headings.  They will stand out on the page and instantly convey to your website's visitors what services you are offering as well as optimising your website.
  • Include your keywords in the ALT text of any images that you use. 
  • Use the footer area of your site ... keywords can be incorporated here and also provide a useful means of linking to other relevant areas of the website.

These are just a few pointers and should be implemented on your website, but there are many more things that you can do to boost the performance of your site. Check back again soon for more SEO tips.


What's in a domain name?


A lot more than you may think. Before you start developing your website for your new startup business spend a bit of time doing some research into your domain name. Your business may be new ... no one will know about it yet and getting found amongst all the competition and established websites out there is going to take a little time. Make sure you choose something that is going to optimise your chances of getting found. Here are a few important points to consider regarding your domain name ... especially if you are going to be one of many small local businesses. The situation is of course different if you are going to be launching a big brand with a promotional budget to match.

So,  you've set up a new business ... ' Go For It'. The first thing you do is research the availability of that domain name and hooray ... is available! But before you register it:

  • Does it say what your business does?
  • Does it say where your business is?
  • Are the words you've used distinctive and unique?

The third point initially, will be very important. Before your website gets found organically for your chosen keywords that are relevant to your products and/or services, people you have met or who have maybe heard about your new business will be searching for the business by it's name and they will probably be using a search string like 'go for it high wycombe'.  Chances are those three, high frequency words, appear on thousands of websites and your new site is not going to get found by it's name alone. So even people who know you and have maybe already done business with you will struggle to find your site unless they know the URL.

So consider using a domain name that includes something specific to what your business does and possibly also references the location. For example, lets say you are offering personal development and coaching, would probably serve you better. However, the chances of this combination still being available are probably slim. So, may be a good starting point.

Once you've established the basics of your domain name also bear in mind the following points:

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Is there any such thing as a FREE website?


'How much does a website cost?'  is usually the first question I get asked when I start talking to anyone about web design ... potential client or otherwise and I have to stop myself saying 'how long is the proverbial piece of string'.

There are a huge number of variables and one website can cost infinitely more than another one of a similar size for a whole host of reasons. Then throw into the equation that there are many free tools available for building your own website and the decision about how to move forwards with your website design and how much should it cost gets even more confusing. 

Build it yourself with a free website solution

This can be a very appealing proposition to anyone on a budget who is setting out on their own. Setting up a business can be expensive so, understandably, you want to avoid any unnecessary expenditure. But consider the following:

  • What are you good at? Probably, doing what you've set yourself up in business doing. Not planning, designing and building a website.
  • How much does your time cost? In other words how much do you earn delivering the goods and services of your new venture.

Consider these two points together and balance out the advantages of getting a 'free' website against all the time you will have to invest in developing that website, quite possibly with a limited skill-set and almost definitely with no experience of web design. Time spent developing your website, is probably better spent developing your customer base and fee earning rather than spending hours on something that could be accomplished in half the time by an experienced web developer. You'll end up with a professional looking result as well!

Plus ... is it really FREE?

This is important. Many of the free options do not include many things that you will most definitely need. For example a mailbox is very often charged as an extra. My current provider allows up to 500 mail boxes, possibly excessive for a small business, within the fee for annual hosting.

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