The world is changing rapidly, and every day it becomes more and more technologically focused. As hard print newspapers that once could be found on every street corner disappear, online news sources have multiplied. As iconic brick and mortar stores, such as FAO Schwarz, have been forced out of business, ecommerce sites have become a main outlet for shopping.

Successful businesses, no matter the size, have two things in common – their achievements tend correlate to the hard work and dedication they put into their mission. As the millennial generation comes of age, it is important that businesses are aware, and adapt to, the changing business climate. What this means is that small businesses have one more thing to deal with and no additional time to allocate towards it. While it is important for small businesses to have a web presence, it is equally important for them to do so without compromising their current business successes. With no extra hours in the day, small business owners must be very smart with how they spend their time. Here are five tips for how you should go about creating your website that can help generate views:

1.) Plan – Like all processes in business, planning is the most important step. Decide what you want to communicate via your website. Now is a great time to reevaluate your company’s identity, think about your company culture, and revisit your mission statement. Ideally, a web presence is an extension of your business and a website should communicate this. As I mentioned before, you have no time to waste but taking time to plan is extremely important. Spending on time on this now will save time later.

2.) Outline – After deciding what you want to communicate, next you should decide how you want to communicate it. How do you want it look and what is the purpose of your website – Is it to sell products? Is it to gain visibility in the community?  At this point it is a good idea to create a few drafts of what the physical website will look like. This involves deciding what the color scheme will be, what logo will be used, what will go on the home page, etc… Similar to the planning phase, outlining what your website will look like can help with organization.

3.) Social Media – Social media outlets are a powerful tool that can help drive traffic to your website. It is important to note that posts on these platforms should be quality content that is related to your company’s mission. Engaging content and links can help a company gain followers and customers. Writing a blog or taking meaningful pictures that can be posted to different outlets is a great way to advertise your business. In addition, allowing people to share your content is an efficient way to spread your name. Links to your social media should be included in an obvious spot – many business include graphics at the top or bottom of their website that connect to their social media.

4.) Keep it Simple – Your website does not have to be complicated. The point of the planning and outlining is identify what is important and what has to be included on the website. Words and pictures should be clear and concise. Small businesses need to use their time wisely and rushing to produce content can lead to low quality content – this can cause more harm than good. Think about what the customer needs and focus on perfecting it. Make it easy for anyone to navigate your website and social media outlets.

5.) Communication – Use your online platforms to make yourself approachable. As a small business, community presence is very important; including an email address, geographic location, phone numbers, and hours of operation can help build your reputation. In addition, including polls, promotions, coupons, and other interactive content can bring visits to your site. Another way to grow your reputation is to establish relationships with community influencers. Small businesses benefit when people are talking about them. A great way to grow is by having trusted, connected people in the community discussing your services.

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