The cornerstone of any online business is its website. Selecting the best website solution for your small business can help you to promote your brand, sell directly to your target audience, act as a source of expertise and give potential clients the background they need when they are investigating your business. With a wide range of experience supporting small business clients, this is our online virtual assistants’ guide to making the best decision about your own website.

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For start-up and small business owners, a website can seem like a luxury expense. In our experience, these business owners often either decide not to have a website at all, or build their own website to ‘keep them going’. But there are many things to think about – not just the look of your website, but whether it can be found easily online, whether it loads quickly, whether it works on mobile devices and whether it’s representing your business professionally.

What is a website solution?

‘Website solution’ might sound like tech jargon, but it’s a straightforward concept – and getting it wrong can have profound implications for your business.

A website solution refers to the blend of aesthetics, functionality, and support that constitutes your online identity. It’s where design meets development to create a captivating online interface. It can influence the way customers think about your business before they’ve even come into personal contact with you.

For that reason, it’s worth giving your website your full attention. Here are the first key steps:

Choose an agency to work with

Having worked with many small businesses, we’d always advise that you partner with a website agency to build your site. Of course, it’s possible to build it yourself, but it will take longer than you think to create a site that gives you the professional credibility that you need. It’s worth taking the time to think about which platform might be best for your needs, and then take advice from the website professional you decide to work with.

The most common platforms used by small business owners are:

  • WordPress
  • GoDaddy
  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • Duda
  • Weebly

For start-up or smaller businesses, agency website services tend to fall into three categories:

Template sites on standard platforms – this is a common choice for straightforward websites, including ecommerce websites. The agency will design and build a website using your chosen template for a commonly-used platform and populate it with content and any other functionality that you need. Costs will vary, depending on the agency and the type of website you need.

Bespoke build on standard platforms – many common platforms allow for an element of bespoke building, and you might want to take advantage of this if you want your users to be able to manage certain functions on your site, or you want to take advantage of more complex design features. These are usually more expensive than building on a template, but will mean you have the site your business needs from the very beginning.

Completely bespoke build – unless your business needs a bespoke build, this option could be an expense you don’t need. It will probably also mean that you will need to commit to paying the agency on a monthly basis for support and updates, rather than being able to do them yourself, or work with a virtual assistant to keep your website current.

Assess your business needs

From our experience as online virtual assistants, the starting point is to define what you want your website to do. Understanding your business objectives and customer engagement goals creates a blueprint for an effective online strategy.

So, before embarking on selecting the best website solution for your small or micro business, you should consider factors such as your target audience, the nature of your products or services, your branding requirements, and your budget. This helps you to compare the various solutions available to you.

Use these steps as a guide:

  • Outline your business model and services and decide what functionality you want your website to have.
  • Determine your primary audience and tailor your website to their preferences and behaviours.
  • Think about ongoing maintenance and management – do you have the time to do this, or would it be better to hire an agency to help?

Consider scalability

You’re planning for your business to grow, so you need a website solution that will grow with you. This will help to avoid costly redesign down the line, giving you one less thing to think about. For that reason, you should:

  • Opt for a platform that supports additional features or services without the need for a complete overhaul.
  • Think carefully about the functionality you might need in the future and make sure your platform supports those.
  • If you’re going to use the services of a virtual assistant, make sure they understand the platform and are able to support you through your growth.

Prioritise user friendliness

Simplicity is key to a successful website experience. When you think about the websites you use most, they are easy to navigate so that you can find what you want and take an action without any trouble. Think about this when you are creating your own website:

  • Choose user-friendly interfaces that customers can navigate with ease.
  • Take the time to understand your target customer’s journey so that you can make your website intuitive and simple to use.

Evaluate cost versus functionality

The type of website you need will depend on the sort of business you have. If you offer a service, such as accounting or financial advice, for example, your website is more of a ‘brochure’ – showcasing your services and sharing tips and advice.

However, if you are running an ecommerce business, or require your clients to login to access other services, you’ll need more functionality in your site. There are lots of platforms that allow you to build both kinds of sites at a reasonable cost, so all you need to start with is a basic evaluation that lets you see what you get for your investment:

  • Compare the long-term benefits of a robust system against its initial cost.
  • Look for platform options that offer a good mix of affordability and comprehensive features.
  • Decide if you need integration capabilities – for example with your mailing list, appointment scheduling or accounting system.

You’ll also need to ask your website partner agency how they manage issues that are both design and maintenance based, including:

  • Graphic and web design
  • Mobile-first responsiveness
  • SEO support
  • Hosting
  • Technical support and security

The benefits of working with online virtual assistants

Like many of your daily tasks, website updates like uploading blogs, visuals and regular changes in product or service information can take hours of your valuable time. Your focus needs to be on running and growing your business, so investing in support from a website assistant means you are putting your website into a safe pair of hands. This gives you some significant benefits:

Frees up valuable time

Using online virtual assistants liberates you from the time-consuming chores of web management and allows you to focus on the areas of the business where you can add real value.

Routine tasks are delegated

Your support service can manage content updates, and manage enquiries that come through the site.

Flexible to your needs

When you choose the right website management service, you benefit from flexibility in both time and cost. You can adapt support levels to match seasonal trends or project-based demands and expand or reduce your contract as needed. This reduces your overhead commitments considerably and allows you to flex the service with your business growth.

Supports better security

If you’re using an outsourced support service, make sure it has Cyber Essentials certification and can demonstrate that it understands the security needed around login credentials and data management.

Peace of mind

When you know you’ve picked the right support for your business, it makes a huge difference to your day-to-day stress levels. That’s why it’s important to pick the right kind of online virtual assistants’ support – with a business model and recruitment approach that gives you confidence, and a relationship you know you can rely on.

Selecting the optimal website solution for your small business is a decision that can have a significant impact on your business. Your site needs to be both useful and reliable, easily updated and able to support your customers or clients to decide to make an enquire or buy from you.

By harnessing the expertise of website experts, start-ups and micro-business owners can make use of cost-effective, on-demand support for their website management and maintenance needs. From helping to choose a platform to supplying ongoing support and advice, virtual assistant website experts can help you to achieve an affordable, scalable and flexible website solution that performs reliably and delivers long-term growth and business viability.

Even better, being able to leave your day-to-day website support in experienced hands means you can focus on business strategy, growth and customer acquisition – making the most of your own expertise and valuable time.

If you found this website solutions blog useful and you’d like to talk to us about using expert online virtual assistants to help your business choose and maintain your web solution – or if you would like to know more about our other virtual assistant services – feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.


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