Websites for Small Business

Vapour Trail specialises in websites for small business. If you are a small business, start up, one man band or partnership, we can offer you a reasonably priced and effective website. We understand that you need to use your resources efficiently and may want to work to a tight budget. No problem, we are used to that.

Websites for Small Business

It doesn’t matter what size your business is. If it needs a public face and a place to promote itself, it needs a website. The good news is that if your business is small, we can make you a website for a small price too. We offer a Small Business Website Package for £249. If the package doesn’t work for you, please call us on 0333 123 0004 to discuss your needs. We will be happy to analyse your requirements and offer you a quotation.

Self employment is at a record high (August 2014) and each of these micro businesses needs to promote themselves. Their websites may be little more than online CVs, but that presence can be the vital advantage that a business needs.

A WordPress based website can grow with your business and as it’s a Content Management System, you can manage the content yourself. Blog entries and news stories keep the website fresh to stimulate the interest of both human readers and search engines.

If you really don’t have the time or inclination to manage your own content, we will be happy to do it for you. We will contact you regularly and find out what has been happening, then produce appropriate updates for you. Call us to discuss.

We have supplied many websites for small business and built long term relationships with our customers. If you think our expertise could help you and your business, we would like to hear from you. 0333 123 0004

 

 

 

A Good Website is Good For Business

In January 2013, The Guardian Small Business Network published an article entitled “Why a good (cheap) website is vital for small businesses”.

The writer observes that although 80% of small businesses do have a website, around 80% of those websites “simply aren’t fit for purpose in today’s digital age”. He goes on to explain why: “The vast majority of micro-businesses are using sites that are based on out-of-date technology. They tend to be “static”, limited to five pages and offer no content management. Hence they can’t perform basic but essential marketing tasks, such as posting photos and publishing customer testimonials”.
Small Business
I get to see quite a lot of business websites and I’m afraid I have to agree with The Guardian writer, a lot of websites have that ten years old look about them. I would suggest there are two main reasons why small businesses are struggling along with out of date websites: cost and complexity.

Let’s think about cost. Small business owners are naturally wary of getting talked into expensive website development deals. They have probably heard tales of other people paying thousands of pounds for a new website and they know they can’t afford that.

And complexity. Business owners, know they should be updating their websites on a regular basis, but don’t think they have the skills to do so.
Vapour Trail is a web design and development business. It’s our aim to bring the benefits of the latest web technology to small businesses. So we offer:

A fixed price Small Business Website Package. This costs £249 and gives you three pages of optimised content, full content management system, a business blog, professional design based on an open source template and search engine optimisation tools.

If your requirements are different, we will provide a fixed price quote.

We will be happy to provide a free assessment of your website and advise on how it might be improved.

We will help you to learn how to use your website effectively: how to blog, post pictures and update content.

We won’t try to bamboozle you with jargon!

If you would like to call for a chat about your website, I would love to hear from you. My number is 0333 123 0004 and email is chris@vapourtrail.biz

Your website: Looks Aren’t Everything

Vapour Trail are Website Designers and Developers. Most people are familiar with the term “website designer” and getting your website to look good is an important part of our work. But website development is vitally important too.

Your website

Development refers to the techy stuff behind the scenes. Making sure that the website loads in the browser quickly, that navigation is easy to use and works properly. Contact forms are correctly configured and maps accurate.

Is the website secure from malicious attack? Is it easy to find with search engines? These issues are what website development is all about.

Design is subjective, fashions come and go and people have likes and dislikes. So what people think about the design of your website will be influenced by factors like how well up on fashions they are and personal taste. But everyone knows when something doesn’t work. If a website is difficult to navigate, things are obviously broken and it’s difficult to find, that’s pretty obvious.

Here at Vapour Trail we will be happy to create a whole new design for you. But we also give you the option of exploiting the hundreds of free WordPress themes which are available to download. The Theme controls the layout, fonts and colours of the website; the design aspects. But by offering websites based on free themes, you can direct more of your budget to the essential tasks of getting the website to work correctly.

Our entry level product is the Small Business Website package for £249. You can choose from any free theme to create the look of your website. We will then provide and configure security software to protect your website from attack, a contact form to allow contacts to send you email and content optimisation software to help you create pages and blog entries that will be noticed by search engines. Working with you, we will create three pages of optimised content that means your website will be useful and findable from launch.

We realise that budgets for your website are usually tight. So we exploit the advantage of free products to help you get the most from your money.

Business Start Ups, right first time

This is an all too familiar story. I talk to a business owner about their existing website and the tale goes something like this …

“we’ve been in business a few years now and when we started my nephew/friend/IT student/bloke at the pub made us a website. It’s looking a bit old now and we want to update but we have lost touch/they don’t have the time/they don’t do that anymore and we don’t know what to do”.

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Your Website as a Marketing Tool

Your website is a key marketing tool. Whenever you say “visit our website” or a potential customer searches for you online, your website will be the first thing they see. So just as a shopkeeper makes sure the windows are clean and the shop is fresh and inviting, so you need to be sure that your website is doing you proud.

Design is a matter of personal taste and you won’t please all of the people all of the time. Having said that though, if your website is badly designed, most people will ageree about that! However the obvious turn off is when you website is obviously out of date. Does it use a trick that was popular in 2007? Does it say “Last updated 11th December 2010”? Are the prices wrong? If you look at your website and it’s obviously out of date, you need to take some action.

If you have a Content Management System (CMS) you have no excuse, get on with it!

If you don’t have a CMS you will probably have to get a list together for your webmaster. If you have a good relationship with your webmaster, that’s great. But so often I hear stories of websites being run by a friend or a relative or someone that’s moved onto other things and getting updates completed is a really big hassle.

If you are sighing at this point and thinking “that’s me”, then perhaps we should talk.

A  CMS allows you to take control of your website. There’s no need to wait for and cajole a webmaster. You can do your own updates, every day if you wish. If you are working with a marketing plan or running any sort of promotional campaign, the ability to update your website content is absolutely crucial.

Is this going to cost me a lot of money is the obvious question? Absolutely not!

A website with two pages of optimised content, contact form, theme of your choice and other goodies starts from £249. The monthly cost is £10. So for the first year your fully updateable, optimised website would cost less than a cheap laptop.

Fancy a chat about CMS? Call me on 0333 123 0004

Chris

 

 

 

Blogging for Business

Blogging is about writing your own stuff on the web. No need for a webmaster, just you, the computer and an audience.

This is an enormously powerful tool for business. Have you just finished a job you are particularly proud of? Blog about it. Do you want to demonstrate you have got to grips with some development in your field? Blog about it. Special offers, new products, new and better equipment, new staff … you get the picture.

Just one thing, you need a website with a content management system (CMS) to be able to blog. If your website is based on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Concrete or another CMS, you are ready to get started. If you don’t have a blogging facility or don’t know how to use it, get in touch and we can help.

Vapour Trail 0333 123 0004 – the web for small business.

Four Must-Have Acronyms For Your Website

I would recommend that any new business website included the following features:

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS allows persons other than a website designer to update the website. This can be the site’s owner or designated administrator, third party search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist or marketing specialist.

Fresh, optimised content is essential to keeping a website relevant both to human readers and search engine enquiries.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the process of ensuring that the content of the website is understood by search engines. In it’s most basic form, it means ensuring that it’s clear what the website is about. So if you are “Bob’s Builders” in Eastbourne, a search engine enquiry for “bobs builders eastbourne” should find your website.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

Visitors to your website will view it on a variety of devices: smartphone, tablet, ultrabook, laptop or desktop PC. Your website should look good and be both readable and navigable on all those devices. This is best achieved through a design principle known as Responsive Website Design which allows the page to respond to the dimensions of the screen and display itself appropriately.

Which leads us nicely to WordPress (WP)

WordPress is the world’s leading CMS and the platform for millions of websites. It has great tools for SEO. There are many, freely available RWD themes or we could create a unique RWD theme just for you. If you are not using WP for your small business website, give us a call on 0333 123 0004 about how you could benefit.

Free Themes

The biggest source for free Themes is WordPress’s own Theme Repository. At the time of writing, there are over 2000 freely available Themes for download. Any of these Themes can be used as part of our Small Business Website package. You will need to do the research and tell us which one.

There are other sources of free Themes on the web. Search for “free WordPress Themes” and follow the results.

In the course of your investigations, you may find a Premium Theme that you rather like. If you want to use that for your website, that’s fine, we wil pass on the cost of the Premium Theme.

If you want a completely original design, to reflect branding perhaps, we can provide that as a bespoke design. Once you have provided your requirements, we will be happy to quote you on creating a bespoke design.

40 WordPress Themes To Choose From

A WordPress Theme is the set of instructions that defines how your website will look. It controls the font, layout, colours, module positions and all those other elements that determine the styling of the finished website.

You could have a bespoke theme created so the your website was completely unique, but that is likely to be relatively expensive and not a viable option for a new or small business.

The WordPress design community has created thousands of WordPress Themes and many are free to use, just download and use.

Our Small Business Website package includes the installation of a free theme. Just tell us which one you want and we will do the rest.

Which leaves one question; how do you choose? You could Google search “free wordpress themes” or you could follow the link to a list compiled by the nice people at Creative Bloq. So much choice …

How do I describe my business on my website?

Describe your business websiteYour business website needs good information. How do you describe your business?

Primarily, you should put yourself in the place of someone who has heard about your business and wants to know what you do. So you should be writing about what you do, where you operate, what skills you have, how long you have been in business and generally why anyone should do business with you.

Your description should be intended to be read by people. However it will also be read by the software of search engines, so the description should be easy to read and contain plenty of keywords that relate to your activities.

Let’s think of this in terms of answering questions. The sort of questions you should be answering in your description would be:

What is your business called?

What do you do?

Where do you operate?

What specialist skills do you have?

How long have you been in business?

If someone were searching for your products or services on the internet, what might they put in the search field?

Here at Vapour Trail we want your website to be success, to get lots of traffic and to bring you in a lot of business. But we need you help! When we create your website we need a clear description of your business so we can create good, clear, easy to find pages. Our Small Business Website package includes two pages of information about your business. Typically this would be introductory page and a more detailed page. Both pages require good clear information from you.

Search engine optimisation guidelines suggest at least 300 words for each page. This amount of words provides sufficient context for the search engine to understand what the page is about.

Don’t worry if essay writing is not your strong point! Answer the questions above in as much detail as possible and we will do the rest, even if that requires some phone calls to get some extra information.