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Interested in learning more about digital marketing or website creation? Read our previous blog posts for best practices and tips on online marketing.
More than half the world’s population uses the Internet. If you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on an opportunity for increased recognition and revenue. Most small business owners recognize the importance of being online, but roughly 29% of small businesses in the United States are still without a website in 2017.
A website is a valuable marketing opportunity for your business, but where do you start? How do you create a website that not only attracts the right kind of customers but keeps them on your website and ultimately leads to a conversion?
These are questions that web developers and online marketers answered over eight years ago when Net Driven entered the automotive website design industry. Today, we at Net Driven continue to create awesome websites for automotive service providers and tire dealers using best practices.
And we’d like to share our website creation process with you.
There are three primary parts to any good website:
1) Domain Name
2) Website Design
3) Website Content
At Net Driven, every client gets a dedicated Client Relationship Manager to assist with each part of the website creation process.
Your domain name is your website address. It’s what people type after www to visit your site. For example, www.MyBusinessAutoShop.com. The first step in website creation is choosing a domain name. Most websites have the business name or a shortened variation of it. Our clients are in control of choosing this name. We offer suggestions if asked or discuss alternative web addresses in the event a name is already taken.
Tip #1: Short and easy-to-pronounce domain names are more memorable than their alternatives. Avoid hyphens, random numbers, or very long names. At the same time, don’t go too short for the sake of brevity. CollisionShop.com makes sense. ColShop.com isn’t clear and is as likely to be a website for colanders as one for collision service.
Tip #2: The more pronounceable your domain, the better. This is due to processing fluency, a scientific term for how humans remember information. A pronounceable domain doesn’t require a lot of thinking, so it works with our brains better than one that’s hard to say and tough to remember to type.
Tip #3: Domains expire. Never forget to renew your domain or someone might take your web address when it goes up for grabs. Net Driven renews domains for our clients, so they don’t need to worry about this.
Tip #4: Don’t stuff your domain with keywords for the sake of having keywords in it. Search engines like Google know about this unscrupulous practice and account for it in their algorithms. Long keyword phrase domains like AutoRepairShopNearMe won’t encourage relevant traffic to your site and look unprofessional.
You need a domain in order to take your website live, but your web address is only one part of the process. No one wants to launch a site with a construction cone graphic and the words “Site under construction.” You still need an attractive design and content related to your business.
Your website design influences how long people stay on your website. If your website is hard to navigate or has an unappealing design, potential customers won’t stick around long enough to convert.
Today, your website also needs to look good on different Internet browsing devices. In 10 countries (including the US and Japan), Google receives more search queries from mobile devices than computers. That’s why it’s important to have a responsive design – one that adapts to the screen size of the device.
Tip #1: People hate seeing too many options at once. Make your navigation simple and add relevant links under the appropriate heading. For example, your “Tires” tab can reveal options like retail, farm, and commercial instead of including all options as part of the top level navigation.
Tip #2: Stock photos can be used in creative ways and look great, but studies continue to show that personal photos resonate best with potential customers. In an experiment for a moving company, replacing a stock photo with real photographs improved quote leads over 45%. Don’t be afraid to take pictures and use them on your website. This sets you apart from your competition.
At Net Driven, we have an in-house design team create websites that look appealing and highlight the services and products our clients offer. All designs are responsive and utilize best practices like simple navigation, high quality photos (and personal photos when provided), and easily digestible sections of text.
The word content refers to text, images, videos, and downloadable information (pdfs, ebooks, forms, etc) available on your website. Content is how you tell (or show) website visitors what you have for sale and what services you provide. Content is also how you tell search engines like Google and Yahoo what your website is about, so you can be included in search results when people look for the products or services you offer. This is known as search engine optimization (SEO).
Tip #1: Your potential customers are on your website for a reason. They might want to know whether or not you offer a service or product. They might be ready to schedule an appointment or need directions to your shop. Make sure you have relevant information. A customer who can’t quickly find what they came to your site for will leave.
Tip #2: Use keyword and key phrases throughout your website, but don’t spam them. There’s a saying in the search marketing industry – write for people not robots. We know search engines look at content on your website to determine its relevancy for certain search queries. The best way to take advantage of this is to provide value to site visitors. Dedicated news articles or pages that address real questions your customers have are a great way to use keywords while keeping people on your website.
Tip #3: Content and design go hand-in-hand. You might have the best information on the entire Internet, but no one will read it if it’s one giant block of text. Presentation is important and doesn’t end at homepage design. White space and relevant images or graphics keep your site visitors reading.
At Net Driven, we advertise the products and services our clients offer throughout the website. We add value for potential customers with modules that allow visitors to browse and compare tires online, see if they’re overdue for maintenance, and schedule automotive service appointments.
We look at the information our clients provide about when they started, how, and what sets them apart in their area. To make sure the website attracts people in the business area, we include the nearby cities and towns in the content. The more information and photos our clients provide, the more distinct the website becomes.
In the online era, it’s important to be where your potential customers are. It’s also important to send the right message. That means having a memorable domain, attractive design, and engaging content.
That’s All Good & Well, but I’m Not in a Position to Be Online. . .
If you find yourself short on time or with just enough time to manage a one page website with low SEO value, you can still be competitive. Creating and maintaining an appealing and search-friendly website takes time and dedication, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
Website and online marketing companies like Net Driven exist to get your business in front of more people online. We have an easy process down that gets you a new, attractive website in as little as two weeks. With millions using the Internet today, there’s no better time to get your website started.
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