QuestionIt is often said that the internet offers entrepreneurs today a considerable advantage over those starting a business a generation ago. However, merely launching a website without fully grasping the technical choices that lie ahead; or the fundamental marketing and communications principles that need to be addressed; can result in the website remaining unappealing or, worse still, simply anonymous.

The concepts of search engine optimisation (SEO) and ‘good’ web page design are generally recognised. However, they must take into account what the consumer is looking for rather than what the business or the business’s web designer thinks the consumer ought to know; and they must enable the majority of consumers to easily locate and navigate around the site.

To take a simple example: a particular bakery may feel proud of its cakes, and might choose ‘cakes’ as a keyword. However, that bakery might miss out on a whole tranche of business if it does not link its website to keyword categories which revolve around birthdays and other kinds of celebration. Alternatively, failure to use a foolproof content management system such as WordPress might hamper attempts at effective use of SEO.

Likewise, once a consumer has found a site, a failure to provide a simple list of products with technically accessible images and clear product descriptions, can again adversely affect consumer interest and confidence.

To this end, helping to avoid a website turning into a missed opportunity should always involve discussing a business’s needs with SEO professionals as well as competent web designers.