In the Website Wilderness Series I share my experiences and insights as I try to build a successful web site for my computer consulting company.
It’s been about 2 years since I started my part-time computer consulting business. During this time I have not had a website for my business. I have, however, had the domain name reserved ever since I started it. Up to now visitors to my business URL were greeted with the ubiquitous “coming soon” placeholder.
There are two reasons for the lack of web presence:
- I didn’t have the time to devote to designing a good website. I don’t want to just slap together a passable website and call it a day, I wanted something that I was proud to represent my business.
- I didn’t feel ready to take on random customers, preferring instead to stick with referrals and folks from my community.
However, I recently had some free time to put into developing a site, so I jumped on the opportunity and I’m happy to report that Jiffy-PC is now alive and well on the web!
I’ll take you on a quick overview of the website. This is only version 1.0, I plan on tweaking and improving it often as I can. I think of a website as a living, growing entity that can be used to constantly test new ideas and marketing tactics.
The overall theme of my website clean, informative, and easy-to-navigate. I dislike cluttered websites and feel they can be distracting and less effective. I want to make sure that I provide only relevant information that potential customers would find helpful. Finally, I want to ensure that everything is easy to see and navigate through.
The Front Page
The front page is the first impression, so I wanted to make sure I have all relevant information clearly displayed. I have the business name and an description of what the business does in the header at the top. On the left I put contact info, services offered, and the area that I service. All these elements will remain constant no matter what page you’re on, so the customer will always have this info at their fingertips, even if they enter the website on another page.
I also wanted to seed the idea in the customer’s mind that my company is about solving problems to enable them to get back to living life. I don’t mention anything about my certifications or what kind of of hardware I can service…to the customer that means nothing. Instead I convey the way in which I will solve their problems and how it will benefit them.
Below that, I’ve included some bullet points about why someone should choose me over my main competition (big box stores and franchise chains). I end it all with a call to action to contact me and a Facebook widget for my business fan page.
Once I start gathering some testimonials from customers, I’ll include those on the front page as well. Nothing like social proof to ease the mind of a potential client!
I try to keep my service offerings simple, broad, and easy to understand. The average customer doesn’t know what a hard disk reformat means, or why they would ever need an OS reinstall. All they know is that something isn’t working right and they need it to be fixed. That’s why for a majority of customers the hourly consulting is the catch-all service. I’m experimenting with separating virus removal from the hourly consulting, so I’m not charging them by the hour while the virus scans are running. We’ll see how that works out.
I have a dedicated page for each service that explains it in detail, along with the price. I like transparency in pricing and I personally prefer service providers that display their pricing up-front if possible. This is a topic I’ve covered on this blog before, and I’m sure it will continue to be a polarizing issue.
My Blog Strategy
My blog is the heart and soul of my website. My blogging strategy includes three facets:
- Provide additional content to elaborate on items in other parts of my website. For example the first bullet point in the middle of the home page is a hyper-link. Click on that and you’re taken to a blog post about my satisfaction guarantee. This serves to provide detailed information to my customers who are curious about learning more, without cluttering the main pages with excess info.
- Provide relevant information to educate my customers and improve SEO. Customers may choose to visit my blog from time to time to see what new things they can learn from it. In the process I’ll be targeting key words that I feel will improve my ranking in search engines, including local topics. Search engines love websites with blogs because the content is fresh and pertinent.
- Update customers on news about the company including specials and promotions. A blog is a great way to promote anything new that occurs in your business. The problem is people have to visit your blog in order to see this information. That’s why it’s important to include links to your blog in your monthly newsletter (you do send a monthly newsletter to your customers don’t you?) and your social media sites (you are using social media aren’t you?). For example, my blog is connected directly to my Facebook business page so that everytime I write a new blog entry, it’s posted to my Facebook page as well (more on that in a different post).
The contact page is pretty straightforward, as it should be. Don’t clutter it up with anything except what your customer needs to get in contact with you. Make it easy and painless.
Behind the Scenes
I designed the entire website myself, in about 4 hours total, using the services over at Squarespace.com. They provide hosting and self-design drag-and-drop modules, while also allowing for intense and complete CSS customization if you choose to do so. It’s great for those of us with limited time, money, and coding skills.
The images I use on the website are from various stock photo websites like BigStockPhoto.com. You can get quality images for your niche for only a buck or two and use them on your website to give it a professional polish.
Check out the site and let me know what you think!
What strategies have you used in your website design?
New entries added to Resources Page under the Your Website heading: