Starter 'Hive' Website
The internet marketing needs of small businesses seem to be hard to meet. GoDaddy and similar services seem to be very limited in what they can do beyond a cookie cutter website. Of three web designers we hired, two of them, after getting our business, were always too busy to get the changes made that we needed.
Time and time again, I hear similar stories from folks. If they've had a website built for them, it's gone out-of-date, is hard to update, isn't mobile-friendly, etc... and the people who built it have long since moved on.
There's far more that goes into building a good website than the companies who offer "free" or "cheap" websites would have you believe.
When we build a website together, the first thing we'll do is have an in-depth discussion about your bee business. About what makes you unique. What sets you apart from others, and what makes a difference for your customers.
I do this because I care about connecting businesses that offer good products with their ideal buyers. I don't want you to have a website that just sits there looking pretty (well, I do want you to have a nice-looking website, but I want it to work for you too)!
The websites I build are investments rather than expenses. They are built with love and a great deal of care. It's no accident that the websites I build look good on any device and any screen size... that's because I design every page to fit all the many screen sizes across all the many devices on which it's seen (over 50% of your traffic is now from mobile devices).
When I build your website, I go to great lengths to ensure it's speedy (over 50% of your visitors will bounce off your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load). When I create a website, I incorporate the latest web standards so that your website looks good now and well into the future.
I build on proven technologies that are focused on e-commerce, rather than relying on platforms for which e-commerce is an afterthought, a bolted-on piece that is clunky to use for both you and your visitors. Because your website will lose customers fast if the checkout process is not quick and painless.
Even then, it's not enough that the website be all of these things, because competition is fierce on the web. You're competing on a scale you almost can't imagine. Competing against numerous other similar offerings that are just clicks away. Competing with Amazon listings. Competing with search engine results that look similar to yours.
In order to stand out, your website needs to delight visitors. It needs to have personality. It needs to shout our your uniqueness on every page, not just your Home page or your About page (because most people who visit your website see a product page first, whether they come in from search engines or social media).
Only the best websites become memorable in this way. Only then do you get real fans who'll happily spread the word about you.
Why is it so difficult to have someone build you a good website? Or why isn't it possible simply to use some website building service? Because in both of these cases, the people selling you on these solutions likely don't care about your bottom line. There are many pieces to this puzzle—to building a successful website that actually sells for you—that are simply left out.
When you aren't familiar with this new landscape of digital marketing and technology, you don't even know the questions to ask. And oddly enough, many service providers (large and small) won't tell you what you should be asking. Because it's harder by far to build a good website that will actually deliver business results for you.
Your website is your digital hub, through which most all of your marketing flows. It is the place you point folks to when they want to learn more about your company. It is the place people discover when they're actively searching for products like yours, having never heard of you before. It is the most critical piece of all in your digital marketing strategy.
It should not be so difficult to have someone help you put up a good website that delivers results and that you can update easily (and it's important you be able to update your website easily too, because adding fresh content on a consistent basis is critical for search engine optimization... and search engines, like it or not, are powerful drivers of sales, far more than social media).
I will get you set up and ready to sell on a modern e-commerce platform that will provide an excellent experience for both you and your buyers (the platform I recommend is Shopify). I'll set up all your products and other pages, as well as setting up your account with all the right settings in place to begin shipping orders out. I will build your website "on top of" a custom built theme that I have designed and optimized especially with the needs of beekeepers in mind.
You'll be able to make all the updates you want to your website once we take it live, including adding (or updating) products, blog posts, new pages, and such. Or if you'd prefer, I can handle all updates and product/content additions for you, so you never have to deal with them (we can discuss a monthly plan for that work at any time if you'd like).
How we'll do this and what you'll get
After extensive discussion of your business, your current website (if you have one), your existing branding, and other websites that we like, I will compose a vision of your website with early-stage design proofs. There are no set number of "change orders" with me; we'll go back-and-forth until we're all happy with the design.
How your website will look to customers:
- Loads fast: Speedy website that loads pages and photos fast (if your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you'll lose half your customers)
- Mobile-friendly: The website looks and performs great on tiny mobile devices, ultra-wide screens, and anything in between
- Streamlined shopping: Shopping experience feels inviting and fun
- Photography: Beautiful product photos that pop with color and clarity (see my Product Photography service)
- Messaging: Compelling and memorable messaging throughout your website and your product descriptions (see my Copywriting & Messaging service)
The Starter 'Hive' is a very good foundation (the difference between it and my Custom 'Hive' service is that it is less immersive in terms of graphics, layouts, and deep customizations designed to take your marketing up several levels). If you're looking for a cost-effective foundation on which to build for years to come, this is a great choice. It is also possible to upgrade to a Custom 'Hive' at a later date.
How your website will look to you:
- Manage your inventory across channels (point of sale, website, social media), with all your product information in one place
- See sales statistics over time across channels and products
- Increasing website sales and growing customer base over months (see my 'Honey Flow' Promotion service)
- Likes and engagement growing on social networks (see my 'Honey Flow' Promotion service)
A few more nice-to-have details:
- Calculate all taxes and shipping costs automatically, and print discounted shipping labels for USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.
- Send out all order-related emails automatically to customers, including tracking numbers and out-for-delivery notifications
- Instant integration with Facebook's Shop and Reviews tabs
- Shoppable product links for tagging items in Instagram photos
- All product links as Buyable Pins when shared on Pinterest
Can you show me an example of a Starter 'Hive' website you've built?
Absolutely! Here's an example of one I built: Bee-Licious Honey
How long will it take to build my new website? What are the monthly hosting costs?
Typical project duration is 4.5 months. Typical additional monthly hosting costs (paid directly to the e-commerce provider I recommend: Shopify) are $29/month (for online-only commerce) or $79/month (for retail point-of-sale in addition).
I'm not located anywhere near Oregon, wouldn't it be better to work with someone closer to me?
There are many ways to overcome the challenges of working remotely these days. I will communicate with you in the ways that best suit you (email, phone, video calls). I do find video calls particularly helpful for working remotely, because we are able to share our computer screens that way, and I can walk you through various things.
I asked one of my clients located in Wisconsin about this and he said: "Working long distance is not a benefit but it is not a disadvantage. Your communications have been great."
You're just one person. What happens to my website if something happens to you?
I'm glad you asked, I think about this too. I build your website in code, and I'll give you access to where that code is safely stored. Steve Jobs spoke of how computers should be beautiful on the inside too (in terms of their hardware), and similarly the websites I build are beautiful on the 'inside' (the code itself).
What that means on a more practical level is that another web developer of a similar caliber and background would be able to step in at any time. Not only do I care how your website looks on the 'inside', I even add additional 'comments' in the code so that it is clear to another developer exactly what each piece is doing.
Have more questions?
Book a call to discuss them (just a friendly chat, not a sales call). I only want to work with you if I'm confident I can generate a positive return on your investment!
I'm Elise Fog, and I help beekeepers sell more honey to more people, by leveling up their online marketing.