By: Gabriella Sugranes, BS '16
For small businesses, a thoughtful online presence can make all the difference in attracting new customers. A professional website will not only help you reach more people, it will make your business appear reputable and customer service minded. These days, customers are weary of businesses without an online reputation, and are less likely to take a risk on their products and services.
Getting your business online doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, but it does require proper planning and execution. The following steps will guide you through creating a website that resonates with your audience and helps drive your business.
1. Establish your brand.
Before taking action, take a moment to think about your brand. What value do you bring to your customers? Why should they choose you over your competitors? What are your company’s core beliefs? Just as you wouldn’t go on a date without proper grooming, you don’t want to jump into creating your online business without establishing your brand.
2. Design your company logo.
Your logo is the foundation of your brand. It is the first thing that your customers will see when they visit your website, and it should reflect who you are, what your company stands for and how you are unique.
When designing your logo, keep it creative yet simple. Choose two or three colors that match the tone of your brand, and keep your company’s overall goal and direction in mind.
The logo for the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, a non-profit in San Jose, is a great example of how a single image can accurately represent a brand. Their logo is an outline of four people holding hands, which articulates their mission of building communities. The logo also uses the same colors as the city of San Jose’s logo, which connects them to their home community.
3. Add content.
Now that you’ve established your brand and designed your logo, you’re ready to start adding content to your website. Describe your products and services, tell your company story and add images that are consistent with your brand. Don’t forget that customers will be skimming your website for specific information, so keep your content short and simple.
4. Create links to social media platforms.
Once you have developed your website, you can branch out to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to attract a larger pool of customers. Add links to each of your social media profiles on your website, and be sure to post content regularly. Social media can be a game changer for small businesses, so take the time to learn how to leverage it properly with free resources at sites like BOS and AnewAmerica.
Creating an online presence does take some time, but if you are intentional with each step, you will find that the payoff is well worth the effort.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gabriella Sugranes graduated from Santa Clara University in the spring of 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Studies and minors in International Business and French. She joined Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) as the Food Rescue Fellow where she works on the research, analysis, and coordination of food rescue efforts in Silicon Valley. She also provides overall marketing support for SVTP.