Myth Busting SEO and Template Websites

Having your own small business website, in my opinion, is vital, not only for branding purposes but for building up content and a database.  If a third party platform like Etsy or Facebook closed down tomorrow, how big would the impact be on your small business? If the answer is catastrophic then you have an issue.  A website doesn’t have to be a shop or a blog, it can be just as useful to have a holding page which directs customers to the correct areas, social media and your sales platform.  Or even a way in which to capture potential and regular customers data so in the event that a platform does close down you can still connect with your customers.  Let’s face it 1,000 Facebook likes is not the same as 1,000 email addresses or 1,000 buying customers.
template website example

Build a website :

Building a website doesn’t have to be hard work, there are plenty of template sites available to take the hard work out of designing and building for you.  Some are free, some charge monthly, some yearly and some have add ons to make the user and customer experience better. Take Wix, for example, their basic package is free which gives you 100’s of templates, hosting and unlimited pages then you can add to this package from as little as £2.55 a month depending on your small business needs.

Write a list of what you need from your website. That way you have some kind of idea as to what package you are looking for. This will stop you from wasting time and money.

  • Do you need a shop facility?
  • How much bandwidth do you need? If you plan on developing a holding page you’ll need a lot less than if you are intending to sell products and/or write regular blog posts. There’s nothing worse from a customer point of view than an offline or slow website.
  • Own domain – free platforms will have their own url suffix (ie. which means you don’t build up a DA (domain authority) on your domain and you have to use the suffix on all your advertising which can look a little amateurish in my opinion.
  • Do you want adverts visible on your website?  Most of the free options will provide it for free in return for using your website to advertise themselves, which is fair enough but do you want that?
  • Do you want to be able to tinker with coding? Most people won’t but if you employ a graphic or website designer in the future they might need access to this so worth thinking about from the start.
  • Does this platform have the capacity to enable your small business to grow and move forward and can it sustain this growth?

Search Engine Optimisation : 

Search engine optimisationMany small businesses worry that using a template based website will reduce its effectiveness with regards to SEO and all their hard work, time, money and effort will be fruitless when competing on the world wide web with bespoke, tailored websites by industry experts.  But fear not, back in the “early days” Wix, like most template platforms had a pretty bad reputation with regards to SEO, but they learned valuable lessons and have gone on to develop everything you need to do for SEO which is both friendly and easily customisable.

What exactly is SEO and why do I need it? 

Search engine optimisation or SEO looks at what is referred to as “natural” or “organic” results of your websites online visibility.  ie. If someone types in “handmade party bags” for example where on Google’s results listing would Charlie Moo’s appear? It’s important that SEO is talked about, organised and displayed in your website back office in a jargonless fashion.  When you start talking about things in a complicated way it becomes harder to understand something that is actually quite simple.  Take alt tags for example which literally means “alternative tag” and is a couple of words you add to images. Most platforms have this visible when you upload an image HOWEVER most people add an image ensure it has a title and that’s it when really the alt tag is more important for SEO purposes. ie. Getting your product/blog post visible online. Your alt tags should always contain keywords and explanation as to what the photo is, so the image below’s alt tag is “handmade fabric party bags”.handmade fabric party bags

If this is still sounding complicated then look out for design tools the template site has to offer. Wix for example has an SEO Wiz, it’s a tool designed to make SEO easier for complete novices providing you with a streamline personal action plan which clearly details what you need to do in order to improve your website, why you need to do it, and how.   Knowing why you need to do something is key to understanding how to develop and maintain good SEO and ultimately drive customers to your website.

SEO Wiz also has some powerful features such as built-in keyword research, one click indexing submission to Google, and a preview of how your pages will appear in search results. This tool makes it even simpler for small business owners to do their SEO for their website in a super easy way, stressfree, without panicking and in an easy to understand fashion.

wix seo wiz

So what is stopping you? 

If you still don’t have a website or even a holding page for your small business. Take action, let today be the day that you start to research platforms, make your list of what your business needs and just do it.  If you don’t have much experience, why not get in touch with a digital marketing company like Bulldog Digital Media. Your future self will thank you. I promise it’s far less scary than if a third party platform you relied on was to shut down.

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  1. January 9, 2018 / 8:59 am

    Hi Jo, I really enjoyed your post! Last year I set up a web design company with a friend and all the points you mention are spot on. We always say to people that they can set up a site themselves as self build packages are much simpler nowadays, but we’re still here if the going gets too tough!

    • January 9, 2018 / 9:31 am

      Thank you. It’s always handy to have someone to talk to and get assistance with when you run into difficulties.