Small businesses can benefit greatly from a thoughtfully-designed website. Happily, small business web design is more affordable than you may think. In this post we’ll explain what a Content Management System (CMS) is; give you a few great reasons why having a website is important to your small business; and finally, we’ll discuss some of the features available on WordPress and Squarespace, two of the most popular CMS platforms on the market.
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system is a computer application or a set of related programs that supports the creation, modification, organization, and presentation of digital content. Many web content management systems, such as WordPress or Squarespace, include web-based content publishing, formatting, editing, and indexing. Generally speaking, a CMS generally has two components: a content management application (CMA) and a content delivery application (CDA).
The CMA is the front-end interface (that’s what visitors to your website see) and the CDA is the back-end interface that compiles information and updates the website (Wikipedia).
Websites Improve Small Business Profitability
We understand that there’s a lot to think about as you strategically grow your company’s business. Many of our clients would much rather be out in the community, providing their services or holding down the till at their retail location, than spending valuable time worrying about web design.
Here are a few reasons why a website is important for the viability of your small business, regardless of your industry:
Reason #1: Websites Lend Credibility to Your Business
Verisign reported that 84% of consumers believe that a business with a website is more credible than those with only a social media presence.
Reason #2: They Boost Your Visibility
The same report found that 91 percent of consumers in the United States turn to the internet to search for local goods and services. In fact, websites prove to be so useful to small business owners that 97% of small business owners would recommend having a website to others.
Reason #3: Your Site Can Build Relationships
Savvy entrepreneurs use their website as a platform for connecting with potential, existing, and former clients. Think of your website as an informational hub where visitors go to seek solutions to for their problems.
Reason #4: A Small Business Website Increases Sales
There are plenty of reasons for small businesses to invest in a website, but perhaps the number one reason entrepreneurs need a website: to attract leads and convert them to customers.
Reason #5: Websites are Adaptable
You know what they say about best-laid plans. When it comes to running a small business, things change. A website with an intuitive user interface gives you the freedom to shake things up, without the wasted energy, effort, and costs. A website makes it easy to add services, adjust fees, clarify your mission, and target specific audiences.
Reason #6: They Improve Data Collection and Analytics
If you want more data on your clients, consider using the analytics features of your CMS. You’ll learn more about the demographics of your visitors, how they found your site (organically, by clicking on an ad, or through social media), how many visitors you have on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, how many pages they viewed and how long they spent on each page, and more.
Reason #7: You’ll Improve Local Business and have the Capability of Going Global
A website helps business improve local visibility, but when the time is right, adding eCommerce to a website can take your business to a whole new, and profitable, level.
WordPress and Squarespace: Perfect for Small Business Websites
Two of the most popular CMS platforms for small businesses are WordPress and Squarespace. As you consider your new website, think about the functions you’d like it to serve. Often, business owners want a website that does one or more of the following:
- Acts as an online marketing brochure
- Educates potential clients
- Promotes brand identity and promotes brand awareness
- Acts as a client portal
- Drives new leads into your sales funnel
- Sells products
- Scales and grows over time as your business changes
- Entices customers to buy more (if your business in eCommerce-based)
- Increase leads
- Increase online engagement with newsletters or social media
- Increase local visibility and drive foot-traffic to your brick-and-mortar locations
- Online booking and reservations functionality
Make a list of your priorities and discuss them with your web design team. Want to learn more about how to create the perfect website? Check our free eBook, “Small Business Guide to Websites.”
Squarespace Template Features
The company’s mission is to provide the creative tools and services to help anyone — individuals, entrepreneurs, business, artists and more — build and manage their online brand. Squarespace works hard to achieve this mission and hasn’t stopped innovating. When it comes to building mobile-first, clean, modern, flexible, and user-focused websites, Squarespace is one of the industry’s leaders.
Each of the company’s templates are professionally designed and tested and its drop and drag capabilities make updating your site and creating content a breeze. If you’re looking for increased visibility and SEO, rest assured that search engines love Squarespace. Not only that, but it’s fast, scalable and ready to grow with your business. Honestly, the Squarespace feature index is a little overwhelming, so we’ll share a few of our favorites:
- Wide selection of free, high-quality fonts
- Built-in mobile
- Template switching
- Purpose-specific templates for pages, galleries, eCommerce, blogging, calendars, and more
- Responsive and interactive charts
- Video background
- Drop and drag editing
- Getty image integration
- Image SEO
- Progressive image loading
- Social media integration
- Acuity Scheduling for online booking and scheduling
- OpenTable blocks for restaurant reservations
- Form Block to capture user data
- Newsletter Signup
- Multiple payment methods like Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal
WordPress Template Features
WordPress remains the go-to choice for millions of businesses and organizations. In fact, it’s most popular CMS in the world. According to WordPress, more than 409 million people view more than 22.6 billion pages each month and users produce 80 million new posts and 47.4 million new comments every month. It also powers more than 28% of the world’s websites.
Unlike Squarespace, WordPress is an open-source web design platform. That means new themes and plugins are added every day and it boasts a huge community of users that has the power to add features as businesses demand them. Its vast plugin library offers limitless options for professional developers. The open-source nature of WordPress has created a CMS with almost limitless functionality. If you can dream it, WordPress can probably do it. Some of our favorite tools that help small businesses are:
- Conversion rate optimizers
- Google analytics
- Yoast SEO
- Image galleries
- Social media integrations
- Cloud-based accounting software
- eCommerce capabilities
- Appointment booking
- Multiple payment methods
- Testimonial widgets
From image galleries and shopping carts, to blog content and video, to reservations and subscriptions, and donations to eCommerce, Squarespace and WordPress are both great options for business owners who are ready to grow.
We’ve helped hundreds of small businesses develop an affordable web presence. We can help you, too. Contact No Sweat Web for more information. Let’s get to work.