Web Design Advice for Local Businesses
I need a website for my livery service, can anyone recommend a good, cheap website company who specialise in equestrian websites … ?”
I answered this question recently on a horse forum and really the advice I gave is valid for any small, local business in any niche.
“Having worked as a freelance webdesigner (I don’t any more), I advise you to not focus on finding someone who specialises in equestrian web design but just to find a local company that does good web design for any niche.
You can work with people remotely but there’s no substitute for sitting down in front of someone you are doing business with.
Have a look at the websites of local business in your area, find a site site that suits your needs and contact that company to find out who made it. Otherwise scroll to the bottom of the site and there may be a ‘designed by:’ tag there.
Another bit of advice for you. Make sure you register the domain yourself and if possible also set up the hosting. You may need advice on these subjects but a good web design company will point you in the right direction. You need to do this to avoid any possible future scenario of you not having control over your own website.
Also, if you are expecting to get your site found when someone searches for livery yards in your area you will also need someone who can do SEO. If I were you I would try to find a company that builds your site to SEO best practise from the start as it will probably cost more than the site cost to build to have an expert go back in to work on it later.
Lastly take a look at Google Places (if you haven’t already). It’s important that you register a Google Places page for your business regardless of whether you have a website or not as it it will help you to appear in Google Local search results.”
Of course there is a lot more to web design, SEO and local search than I’ve covered above but the main point I wanted to make is to not be restricted by looking for a designer that works within a certain niche. This may apply to particularly competitive verticals but for the for average, smal local business you are better off looking for a good allrounder and most importantly someone you can trust to build your website.