Mentor Corner: Setting up your website for success with Clay Ravin

It’s been reported that people spend an average of seven hours online every single day. That’s roughly 420 minutes of opportunity for your business to find and connect with potential customers. 

But if your website isn’t set up for success, your business has very little chance of success. In our increasingly digitised lives, optimising your online presence is more important than ever. 
MIC and Digital Solutions Mentor, Clay Ravin knows this all-too-well. The web development expert and founder of Red Galleon has fond memories of getting his very first computer in 1983.
“I’ve been involved with computers all my life,” Clay smiles.

“And now I specialise in websites and e-learning programs for anyone from sole traders to businesses with hundreds of employees.”

Clay - who has worked with a vast range of entrepreneurs including people making pet enclosures, art galleries, drone photographers, self-help gurus and a professional wine reviewer - loves that there is no such thing as a typical business in his line of work. It’s about the journey.

“I love being there at the start when the website or business might just be the twinkle in someone’s eye, and seeing it through to reality,” he says.

“It’s often led to long term business relationships and sometimes even personal friendships. It’s a bit like helping with a child in a way. It’s their baby, afterall.”

With decades of experience in the industry, Clay knows what it takes to create a website that will do your business justice. Here are his top tips for setting up your website for success.

Tip 1: Put the customer first

When you’re creating a digital shopfront for your business, it can be tempting to create it from your own lens as the business owner. But all too often, this ends with a lot of unnecessary words, a difficult-to-navigate website, and missed sales opportunities.

“Think about the customer experience of your website,” Clay advises.

“Too many people think about the website from their own perspective and their own needs, rather than making it as easy and rewarding as possible for the clients. This includes SEO as well; how do your customers find you? Have you researched your keywords?”

Tip 2: Don’t underestimate design

If budgets and timelines are tight, it may be tempting to cut proverbial corners at the start of your journey by foregoing proper design. But a well-designed website can be the difference between a business that thrives and one that barely survives.

Why? Customers are inundated with thousands of ads and websites every day. "If yours doesn’t look the part, it won’t make the cut", warns Clay.

“Get a designer to help you,” he says.

“They’re often more affordable than you think. I’m always happiest when I’ve worked on a website a designer has built. They make more sense visually, there’s more cohesion and professionalism.”

Clay notes that coming up with your own design ideas can be helpful - especially if you’re in the industry with a role like visual artist - but says: “For most people, a designer is very helpful.”

Tip 3: Invest in reputable web developers 

Much like design, web development has a number of cheap alternatives on offer. “Be very wary of who you trust to build your website”, warns Clay.

“Almost everyone I know who’s done that has been burned by it. I think it’s very important that you meet the developers, whether it’s in person or via Zoom or online. It’s important to make sure you get along with them. It can be a long process and they’re bringing your dream to life - so you want to make sure it’s done correctly.”

But this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.

“All small business owners out there, make use of the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Services program. It’s a fantastic resource.” 
Need further assistance with implementing your marketing strategies? Choose from 40 different mentors. Register for one-on-one mentoring through the Digital Solutions Program.
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