According to trusty Wikipedia, Digital Marketing is “… the component of marketing that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.” For many black business owners, digital marketing may simply refer to your website; and like marketing in general, websites can be confusing, intimidating, and expensive.
Here at Black BRAND, we have noticed there are three main website mistakes that businesses in our community tend to make. All of the solutions we offer involve calling in the experts, and here we dive into precisely what kind of experts you need and how to get the most out of your experience in working with them!
The Problem: Not Having An Aesthetically Pleasing Website
Your website may be a potential customer, investor, or partner’s first introduction to your brand. Many understaffed and/or underfunded black business owners find themselves putting together their own websites to keep overhead costs low! In some instances, the result is that these websites may be unattractive, overly confusing, or they make lack essential functionality. Although what is “aesthetically pleasing” may vary widely from person to person, there are many agreed-upon standards that professionals adhere to that can help transform your website and improve your business brand overall.
The Solution: Use A Website Design Service, Agency, or Freelancer
The old adage “you must spend money to make money” definitely applies to websites – working with your hosting service (Wix, WordPress, etc.) is one option to make sure that your website is attractive and user-friendly. Many of these web services are all-inclusive: they can help with your logo, graphics, photos, and the entire layout of your site. And in the event that you actually did work with your hosting service the first time around and did not like what they did, it is never too late to look into advertising or website design agencies that employ an entire team to help you with your site. If an agency’s cost is not in your budget, consider a website freelancer or other small business focused PR professional. In any event, a website update can be the perfect business boost!
A qualified freelancer in your area can be an asset here. Website design is a competitive field, which means there is plenty of talent who can help design and build a top-notch website. A freelancer can also give expert recommendations about widgets, lead forms, and layouts to convert the most customers while maintaining aesthetic appeal. When interviewing a potential freelancer, here are some important questions to ask:
- Do you have samples of your work? This will help you determine the individual’s capacity to perform what you are asking them to do.
What web platforms have you built on in the past? Not every developer can build on every platform.
- Can you provide one or two references? Confirm that this individual is both competent and professional before signing a contract to begin work.
- Will you charge a flat fee or an hourly rate? You will need to determine what is best for you. A flat fee may make sense if you have a number of pages requiring work, whereas an hourly rate may be beneficial if you only need to make a few updates. Negotiate as needed.
- What is the turn-around time on projects like these? Do you have an upcoming event or public appearance? You need to confirm the individual can meet your deadline.
- How many rounds of revisions will I have included with the rate? Super important. What happens when you need to make changes? Are a certain number of changes included in your rate? Will you need to pay more for each update?
The Problem: Not Having a Mobile-Optimized Site
According to a recent article by Forbes, users spend an average of 3.3 hours each day on their mobile devices, so optimizing your website for mobile viewing is not optional. Many business owners overlook how vital mobile is because they view their website as an additional tool, not their business’s primary focus. Having a pristine website that is also mobile-friendly is key to an effective marketing strategy. It’s also central to attracting millennial consumers, even if your business does not cater to a younger demographic. In this instance, it would be wise to consider mobile optimization as an investment, since young people will eventually become your target buyer. Not sure what makes a mobile-optimized website? Brightedge has a great bulleted list of what you need!
Another great tool to check if your site is mobile-optimized is the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google. Does your website pass the test?
The Solution: Get Help With Optimization
Sometimes there is coding involved to get your site mobile-ready, and sometimes it’s as simple as changing some images on the backend of the site. Black BRAND recommends going first to your website company or IT support because this may be a quick fix. For more complicated issues, website professionals at many IT support companies and freelancers may be available for hire to assist in these matters as well.
The Problem: Not Investing in SEO
Some business owners may not understand Search Engine Optimization and others may not realize they need it. SEO is defined as “The practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Plainly put, SEO is where your website ranks on Google when your customers search for your products. Those keywords could be as simple as “roofing Hampton Roads” or very complicated like “membership organization Hampton Roads VA.”
Note: Do not allow SEO to become the sole focus of your marketing strategy. When doing your marketing budget, you will want to ensure that you have a completely separate budget/line item for SEO. SEO is like keeping the lights on in your store – it is a “passive” activity that helps your business get on the Google “Board”; however, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get customers.
The Solution: Get Some Help!
The right SEO expert can be a valuable member of your team: they are usually multi-talented and could help with the other website issues!
Not sure where to begin looking for the right people for websites, mobile optimization, and SEO? Black Brand has connections! We work with digital marketers, PR agencies, Public Affairs professionals, and much more!