Having an established online presence is of the utmost importance in today’s society of social media and technology. The first step along the way to online recognition is developing a great website.
Why is it so important to focus on developing a stellar website?
Studies conducted by Blue Corona found that 70-80% of people research a company online prior to going in or making a purchase with them.
What’s more, 97% of consumers head online to find a local business that caters to what they need.
It means that you are losing significant amounts of potential clientele without an established and attractive online presence for small-business owners like many are in the greenhouse industry.
It is best to go into the website design process some understanding of your goals and areas on which to focus.
We have established ten tips for creating a useful and aesthetically-pleasing website that draws clients in as soon as they click that link to help you out.
1. Create a Fitting Domain Name
One of the first things that you will be asked when developing your website is what you want your domain name to be. A domain name is a URL that people will see at the top of the page or linked to other websites.
The most important aspect of a domain name is that it is used for search engine optimization. It is the entry point for your site, and it leaves an impression on the people visiting and the algorithms in charge of assigning your rankings.
Try to choose a domain name that suits your company. Often, it can be your name or a part of it. Here are some other suggestions when putting it together:
- Make it readable so that visitors can remember it and visit again when they want. Do this by keeping it easy to spell and as short as possible.
- Use the right domain extension. It will almost always be a .com domain for a small business.
- Don’t use numbers if possible. Doing so only jumbles it up and makes it more difficult to remember.
- Do your research. Go online and ensure that you aren’t choosing a domain that is almost exact to another. This can confuse visitors and search engines.
- Stick to the brand. Don’t just choose a nonsensical name that someone can’t make an easy connection from you to the domain.
2. Define Your Business
A website allows you to lay out precisely what your business is and what kind of services you provide.
As you well know, greenhouses vary from one to another. They can offer a variety of different services, plants, and horticultural specialties. Your website gives you the chance to set yourself apart from other places in the surrounding area.
If someone comes to your website with questions, you should answer them. Being transparent and accessible should be one of your primary goals when developing the site.
Doing an excellent job at this involves putting all of the most important on the main page. Define yourself and what your goals are as a business and in the community.
3. Be Personal
Being personal is an essential facet for small businesses. Part of their allure is more of the person-to-person interaction and advice that customers receive instead of at a big-box store.
The best way to do this is to put faces to the name. If it is family-owned, don’t be afraid to highlight your family on the site’s main page.
Another great way to do this is to have a page that highlights each one of your employees. Post pictures and small stories or experiences next to each of them. That way, when someone visits your storefront, they already feel like they recognize and can relate to you.
It is also a useful idea to create a page that tells the story behind the greenhouse. Tell visitors about the history of the store, if it has one. If not, write about the motivation behind the startup. Relating to them and the community is a great way to inspire loyalty.
4. Make Your Services Clear
Just as defining your business and the people behind it, you should be clear with other information. Make a list of the information you deem vital and include it on the main page, or link to it clearly at the top of the main page.
Since each greenhouse will offer different services and have varying areas of expertise, set yourself apart, and make it clear what you and your staff excel at.
If you have a variety of services you provide for your customers, it is probably worth building another site page. Create descriptions for each of these if someone visiting your site wants to dig deeper before contacting you.
As long as it is well organized and readable, having more explanation isn’t a bad thing.
5. Use Beautiful Graphics to Create Memorable Aesthetics
Like with any storefront or when meeting someone new, first impressions of a website are often the strongest and most challenging to change.
Gratefully, working in the greenhouse industry means you have beauty all around you in your store space. Utilize it on your site. Invest in professional photos and use them for the design of your website.
You can also choose to go with stock photos of plants and other greenhouses.
However, some people will see this as misleading. They are looking on your website to develop an idea of what your greenhouse is all about. Using business-related photos is one of the best ways to help them do this.
6. Use CTA to Increase Engagement Potential
CTA is an acronym for Calls To Action. These, scattered across your website, invite people to engage with you. It gets them away from the passive reactions to your pages.
Calls to action should involve your contact page or links to your address. Make it easy for them to engage with you by having an email address posted, your phone number, and any of your active social media accounts.
It is excellent to have a contact page, but even better when you weave calls to action throughout the entire website. Whether you want to attach associated links to that contact page or directly to an email address, it is your choice.
Since most of the best engagement with customers occurs in the store for businesses like a greenhouse, some of your calls to action should try and inspire them to visit.
Ensure your address and location are highly visible across your website. Do so by putting it into the footnote at the bottom of the page and link to a map on your Contact page.
7. Optimize for Search Engines
To develop a website and be successful, you want search engines to be just as impressed with it as the potential visitors in the future.
Excelling at this portion of website creation can be quite tricky for those who don’t have a background. This optimization is all-important and is where businesses like Bloom can step in and lend a helping hand.
Otherwise, here are some suggestions for those willing to give it a shot.
- Research keywords and implement them appropriately throughout the site. Don’t overload them as it makes the content sound chintzy and fake.
- Fast loading speed for your website pleases the algorithms.
- Have a secure site and an SSL certificate
- Mobile-friendly websites are the name of the game.
From a study in 2019, mobile devices, excluding the use of tablets, generated approximately half of all website traffic across the globe. (Hubspot, 2020)
- Gain positive reviews. Often, the Google feature pops up before your website does. This snippet features the reviews you have received from previous customers.
- Use internal links. We have already touched on this in the CTA section. However, it helps visitors and search engines move through your site purposefully when links are attached to appropriate resources within your site.
8. Keep It Updated with a Maintenance Plan
A website is not simply a static entity, a one-and-done commitment. You need to keep it updated and keep adding content to it.
The longer a website goes without being used or updated by the administrator, the lower your rankings fall. That doesn’t mean you need to be on it every day, but try to do something a little new each month.
Each season, run through the site and ensure that everything is up to date. It is discouraging for someone looking for current information to run across an applicable announcement from two years ago.
Another great way to do this is to create content for your website. Either make a blog to establish yourself as a knowledgeable source on applicable topics or highlight a new employee each month.
Always update any contact or location information as soon as it changes. Website development shouldn’t stop once the site is live.
9. Use a Reliable Host
For streamlined website development, using a reliable host is necessary. They should have the technical services required for you to develop a new site for the first time.
There are many other facets to finding a host that works well for you, but your budget is one of the most significant.
Hosting services might cost anywhere from $2 to $200 each month. It depends on the host, the technology and features you want on your website, and the kind of support you expect from them.
10. Set Yourself up for the Future (Consider Future Goals Like E-Commerce)
Although it might start simple, how do you want your greenhouse and the website to progress? Are you hoping that it will be a direct source of revenue in the future? Define your future goals so that the work you do now will help you in the future.
Whatever your goals are, write them out and define them. Talk with your team about it and look for website hosts that cater to these needs, even if it isn’t right away.
If you decide to go with a digital marketing service, look for a service that knows how to cater to your business’s needs.
Bloom is a team of digital marketers with expertise in the home and garden industry. They are ready to listen and grow your business in ways that it never has before.
Amanda Williams is a freelance writer that specializes in topics on gardening and online marketing. As a graduate with an honors degree in Horticulture and experience working in greenhouses, she understands the marketing challenges within the plant production industry. She has a background in content marketing, which she uses to help small businesses and enterprises enhance their advertising schemes. Find her work at clearvoice.com/cv/AmandaWilliams3.