Ask the expert: Website design
How can I create an effective, but affordable, website?
Creating websites on a limited budget can be a challenge. Digital agencies charge up to £3,000 to build a site – and that’s not counting ongoing maintenance, support and marketing costs. More tempting is the £500 that freelance designers often charge. But typically as you won’t be able to edit the basic site they’ve built, you’ll find yourself having to constantly pay them to do so.
The cheapest option is to take a “DIY” approach with a company that provides support, including SEO and marketing tools. There are several companies that offer free, user-friendly tools to help you build your website. Whatever your approach, there are four basic principles you must remember.
- Professional design: choose colours and pictures that catch the eye and match your branding. Showcase what you offer and use top quality images so you’re more likely to get noticed on sites such as Pinterest. Make sure you have a visible and clear call-toaction to generate enquiries.
- Dynamic content: updating news, specials and testimonials frequently will tempt visitors to return – and make your site more search-engine friendly.
- Customer management: the salon business is about engaging with customers. Your site can help with tools such as an appointment booking system and customer enquiry forms.
- Be visible: to attract new customers, your website must come with tools to help your business climb Google rankings – that means getting the basic SEO right and building your presence on social media, such as Google+ and Facebook, as well as relevant directories.
Anthony Karibian is the founder and chief executive of bOnline, which helps businesses customise, brand and promote their websites.