Without a website, your business doesn’t exist. You know that. But you also know that you don’t have thousands of dollars to sink into a massive website project. You’re a humble start-up, and you just need to get your foot in the door.
What you want is a brochure website. This is a simple, informational site of about 3-5 pages that tells visitors who you are, showcases what you do, and encourages them to get in touch. Brochure sites are great for two kinds of companies: those with start-up budgets and those whose websites are only a small piece (less than 25%) of their marketing plan.
Now, where do you get this simple, yet stunningly attractive and effective, brochure website?
You know you can’t afford a designer like Madtown, which is more appropriate for well-established business with larger websites and more complex business and marketing goals.
You can try cobbling together your own brochure site with something like GoDaddy, but honestly, you’re better off saving your money. You want something affordable, but you also want it to look sharp, unique, and professional. You don’t need a junky, amateur website that, in today’s market, looks like a child’s finger painting in the Louvre. Since you’re a savvy entrepreneur, you understand that even a brochure website is an investment in the future, not just another nagging expense.
What you really want is something in the middle.
Many designers will tell you this is impossible—that you either have to shell out the big bucks or watch your business crumble to the ground under a horrifying, cheap website. It’s a never-ending battle in the web design world.
And sure, for many businesses—primarily, those that can afford it—a brochure website isn’t the best option. But there are times it just makes darn good business sense.
If this sounds like you, a company like Krueger Web Design is exactly what you need. These mid-range designers excel at smaller brochure-style projects, and they can pull them off without completely gutting your piggy bank.
How to get a brochure website that works
Once you’ve decided to pursue a brochure website, it’s time to start thinking about how you can get the most out of it.
To get you started, here are five must-have components of a quality brochure website:
1. Effective design
Just because it’s a simple website doesn’t mean it gets to bypass all the key elements of good web design.
An effective design is one that’s clean and easy to navigate, and that uses contrast to bring attention to your calls to action, among other things. Design elements like these are absolutely critical to the success of a website, regardless of its size.
2. Local optimization
Local SEO can be easy, depending on your location, and so darn effective. Yet so many companies skip this step, and I don’t really understand why. (I can only assume it’s because they don’t know what to do, which is a solid reason to hire a web design professional in itself.)
You have an opportunity to rank well in your city, especially in cities like Madison that are not overly populated, and as long as your design is effective, you’ll be converting this local traffic into customers! Isn’t that why you want a website in the first place?
3. Well-crafted copy
Almost every small business I encounter tries to skip the critical step of creating effective, well-written content for their site. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to do this yourself, you need to hire someone (such as a freelancer) to do it for you. It’s that simple.
Remember: we don’t go to websites to look at pretty pictures (unless they’re pictures of puppies—everyone likes a good puppy picture). We want to learn about your organization and figure out whether you can help us solve our problems.
Effective web design can be effective only when the words around it are telling a compelling story and hitting the right brand message.
4. Business goals
Contrary to popular belief, simple websites need to back up real business objectives, just like large websites do.
Whether you’re trying to generate more leads or increase traffic, in addition to the one business goal I know you have—boosting sales—a simple design can and should be expected to help you accomplish these goals.
Don’t get me wrong: if you’re hoping to make $50k this year from your website, you’re going to need a lot more than a clean design and intuitive navigation. But there’s no reason a brochure website can’t turn a $2k investment into $10-$20k over a year.
Have you spent the time to define what business objectives your website is going to meet?
5. Real calls to action
I see this as one of the biggest mistakes business owners and designers make when trying to cut corners. They forget to ask visitors to do something. Ideally, something specific that takes them a step closer to closing a sale with you.
“Contact us” is not a call to action, it’s just a link. Good calls to action ask visitors to do something in exchange for something that benefits them.
If someone is going to contact you, what do they get in return? Not a price quote—that’s not a benefit. A real benefit is a risk-free, no obligation, 30-minute consultation with an expert. Now that’s valuable.
“Like us on Facebook” can be a call to action, as long as you’re expressing what people will get out of it. They’re certainly not in it for spammy status updates. A real call to action would be something like “Follow us on Facebook for weekly deals and specials.”
The right fit
If you’re starting a new business and plotting to take over the world, while still hanging onto your full-time job, a professionally crafted brochure website might be just what you’re looking for. We’re not talking about those cheap, templated websites that look like crap, do nothing for your business, and are generally a poor reflection on your company. And we’re not talking about the $5-$10K power sites Madtown does, either.
What you need is a designer like Krueger Web Design. A talented professional who can work within a modest budget and still produce an amazing brochure website that knocks your socks off, while still meeting real business objectives.
When it comes to web design, there is something for everyone—if you know where to find it.