It and web design experts Black Nova Designs take a look at why your equestrian or rural business needs its own website in these challenging times. They also share 8 top tips for things to consider and include so that you get the most out of your investment in a website. Over to Danielle from Black Nova Designs to tell us more.
Who needs a website?
Well the short answer is – all businesses! When we chat to riders, breeders and equestrian centres about a business website they often reply with one or more of the following comments:
“I don’t have any products to sell online”
“Aren’t websites expensive to set up?”
“I don’t know where to start with website design or upkeep”
In today’s increasingly digital world, the internet is often the first place people will search for information. It’s become expected that reputable and trustworthy companies can be found on the web. People automatically google a business, check out their social media profiles and even look at review sites to see if they are trustworthy before they ever make contact with the business itself. If your competitors have a website and you don’t, unless you get all your business via word of mouth, you can kiss goodbye to a lot of business.
How can a website help my business?
A website should be like a digital shop window and showcase for your work. A website can highlight why your equestrian business is unique and what you do really well. It’s also a great marketing tool, giving you a place where you can share your latest news and offers, tell people where you are located and place your contact details. Plus, all that information is available every single moment of every single day, unlike an office or receptionist.
You can also link your website to other forms of marketing. Putting your URL on print materials and website buttons on social media will drive traffic to your website. There is a common assumption that websites are hard to update and maintain unless you’re very tech-savvy, but this isn’t the case at all! It’s much easier to update a website than it is to try to change a printed leaflet with out of date information on it.
Where on earth do I start?
If you’re planning to have your own website it can be tricky to know where to start! Here are 8 of our top tips to help you get started and ensure that you finish up with a tool that will support your business and pay you back for the time and money you invest in it.
- Find a designer who will deliver you with a website that is easy to maintain, update and edit. As we’ve mentioned before, you need to be able to update details, add new offers and share your latest news with the world! At Black Nova Designs we pride ourselves on how brilliantly our clients get on once we hand over their website to them, sharing beautiful blogs and creating new pages to promote their business.
- Make sure you have high resolution images to share. No website, however beautifully designed it is, looks good with fuzzy, out of focus photographs! A photography session isn’t as expensive as you might think, and you will use them for more than just the website. Social media, printed materials and advertising all need photographs too! Try to avoid stock photography if you can. It often stands out like a sore thumb and won’t help to share the personality of your brand with visitors.
- Ensure you have secure hosting for your website that is monitored around the clock. There was a spate of hacking attacks on countryside and farming websites by animal rights activists a few years ago. Secure hosting will help to protect you from these incidents and keep you online all the time. We offer an incredibly popular hosting package for small businesses which is less than £8.00 a month! Now that’s great value for peace of mind…
- Make sure it is mobile-responsive. People will view your website on their smartphone and on a tablet as well as on a PC or laptop. That means it needs to be mobile-responsive and look good no matter what device they are using. A good website designer will be able to sort this for you – here at Black Nova Designs it’s a priority!
- Gather the information that you would like to include that shows off what you do. Get some examples of your work to build a portfolio. You can also ask a few of your best customers if they will write a short testimonial for you. Set out what it is you sell or offer and get someone (perhaps a family member or friend of a friend) who knows nothing about what you do to read it to check it makes sense.
- If you haven’t already got branding (so a logo, tagline, brand colours) think about getting a designer to help you. It will make the website look so professional and link your social media, any physical presence (vans/workwear) and the website all together. Bear in mind that gold, silver or any other metallic colours won’t reproduce well online. And, as we said at the very beginning, online is increasingly important!
- Have a plan in place to update content once you’ve launched your website. That could include pencilling in the time to write and upload a monthly blog and sharing a fortnightly news update. If you have someone in your office who is a whizz with words, ask them to help you out.
- Be patient. Once your website has been finished and is set live, you’ll have a short wait. Unless you throw an advertising budget behind it straight away, it’ll be 30 days before you get your first enquiries. There are various reasons why, but if you get results before then, then count it as a huge success!
Who can help me get started?
Black Nova Designs specialises in WordPress development, secure web hosting and Wi-Fi installation. Drop the team a line to find out how they can help your equestrian or rural business with an affordable and no-fuss website. Online has never been more important in helping you grow your business. https://www.blacknovadesigns.co.uk/web-design/