For SMEs, effective online presence is more influential in social media. Natalie Laurence asks the experts for their advice
an elegant accumulation: Websites SMEs should be eye-catching and easy to use. Photograph: Barry Lewis / Corbis
We are all aware of the virtues of social media and how a successful Twitter account or Facebook page can increase sales, build contacts and driving in traffic. However, if these tweets and carefully crafted statements lead to a confusing customers poorly designed website and then all the effort put into the promotion will be fruitless.
Without sounding too obvious, a great website is essential for a successful business. A functional website that reflects his entrepreneurial spirit is your best sales tool and a bad web site may harm the reputation and sales.
"With around 36 million Britons are online every day and 48% of people starting some kind of search for a product or service online, it is almost at a stage that cannot afford to not be in line, "says CEO of SocialB Sweales Lynsey, a marketing company online and social media.
Where to start?
Before you start building your web site you should have a clear idea of what you want and how you want to create. Vanessa Austin Locke, a partner at Austin & Locke, just go through the process of creating a website. The company specializes in creating brand association strategies and come up with ideas to boost reputation, influence decision makers and generates content.
Austin Locke chose to use a designer and said it was seeking "a combination of technical expertise and creative vision." "A strong sense of aesthetics it was more important for us," he added. He aimed for simplicity with impact when designing your website. "Simple and easy to use and still participate in a funny way, it's not intrusive. Everyone is constantly advertised to, and it's irritating. We designed with customer convenience in mind."
Designer or web hosting platform?
Creating a website does not have to exhaust their savings; there are plenty of hosting platforms, such as WordPress, allowing you to develop functional and aesthetic web sites. "If you know how to use WordPress and then not do the hardest and most expensive things by yourself by using a new designer or building a CMS," says Austin Locke.
She continues: "If not, invest in a web designer, but be careful, there are a lot of cowboys out there we were quoted some absurd prices and had a bad first experience with a 'designer' with a lot of ability. Technique to build a website, but no aptitude for aesthetics or design. "
When deciding how to build your website, believes Sweales not have to cost a fortune.”With the likes of WordPress there are some great templates you can use, but if you want something a little more as then look for a website designer. But stress that you want to be able to update the website once it's up and running, to keep that flexibility. "
The creative aspect of designing your website can be the most enjoyable part, but it is essential to do well and their appearance in line reflects the essence of your business.
Digital Designer Maria Withers, who designed the website Austin & Locke, believes that design trends are temporary but Keeping up with them when designing a website is essential.
"Your design should focus around the needs of its user, if a website is not aesthetically pleasing or intuitive to your website can become redundant and users bounce from their website.
"Content is key to your website. Heaviness of the images on a website totally depends on what message you want your website to convey. Images must be relevant to your product or company in order not to confuse a user. "
When images are supplied SMEs can test libraries of images, such as signelements.com or ingimage.com - or team up with students and Austin Locke made by website Austin & Locke.
"We shot our own and my advice is to be creative, almost always, it's fun and learns new skills while creative control is maintained. Find some up and coming photography or videography students or young professionals, and might be able to give it you a good price on some the original images as well as some ideas of incalculable value. "
Some strong, key images that succinctly express the nature of their business are more effective than many bad source images."Attention spans are short online and an image can communicate 1,000 words," says Austin Locke.