How to create a hit website for your small business


It’s harder than ever for small businesses at the moment amid rising costs and consumer confidence hitting rock bottom.

The tough trading environment means businesses have to do more to stand out. Lots have turned to social media, particularly TikTok, in a bid to go viral and bring in new customers – but this isn’t always a foolproof way of building a loyal customer base.

While social media may grab short-term attention, when it comes to doing business and turning your firm into a long-term success story, the digital property that really counts is your website.

One of the first things many potential clients, suppliers and customers will do is look your business up online, which makes a website a vital calling card for a firm, but it is also your shop window to the world and a way to create new business, grow your customer base and sell more.

Below we speak to two firms that during the pandemic successfully turned their small local businesses into thriving companies, largely thanks to their own website.

Omar Meho, left, says a website is essential for his Music Workflow Academy, while Chris and Sarah Fryer, right, say that selling online transformed their vegan pie business

Magpye’s online pie shop

In 2018 Chris and Sarah Fryer were growing fed up with their careers, as a full-time teacher and medical secretary respectively.

The husband and wife team, who are based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, were longing for change and saw a gap in the market for vegan and vegetarian food.

‘We were out and about at events in the North East and it was difficult to get good – or – any vegan street food. And we thought, wouldn’t it be a nice idea to start our own street food business?’ Chris says. 

‘We started to think about what we would do and Sarah came up with the idea that pies would have some mass appeal and be a good route to go down.’

Both were foodies but neither had worked in a professional kitchen, so before launching Magpye the couple developed their products at home.

‘We then got a horsebox trailer which we converted to sell pie and mash. We were both working part time right up until the pandemic started and trying to build: 2020 was going to be our first big year of street food events.’

From street food to delievery as lockdown hit 

What started as a street food venture soon became a delivery service as lockdown hit and the couple began exploring the idea of an online pie shop.

Chris says the couple were at a crossroads but decided to make the decision to put their all into the business full-time. 

Their hunch was right. Vegan food has become increasingly popular, with fast food chains now offering plant-based options and the range of products being offered by supermarkets increasing by the month. 

In March 2020 Chris and Sarah made their website using GoDaddy’s web building tools. Magpye has gone from strength to strength, selling pies on a national scale ever since.

The couple had spotted the market long before the rise in meat alternatives and so started out making their own ingredients, including their own chicken and bacon substitutes at one point.

Chris and Sarah Fryer launched their online pie shop during lockdown

Chris and Sarah Fryer launched their online pie shop during lockdown

‘We used to have to make our own vegan butter because it was just nothing on the market that was suitable,’ Chris says. ‘Various things like that have now come into the market and we can use more things off the shelf.’

Magpye have successfully recreated popular pies like steak and ale and chicken, leek and bacon with plant-based ingredients, as well as sweet treats like apple pie.

‘It was basically what we liked. Fortunately a lot of people seem to have the same sort of tastes as us!’

They’ve even branched out to make match day pies for eco-friendly football club Forest Green Rovers.

‘Developing our website was vital for our customers to be able to see what we do, order pies and make payment all in one place,’ says Chris. 

‘GoDaddy’s tools for email communications and order processing were hugely time-saving and also helped us to more easily organise the new systems we needed in place for our delivery service. Soon we were able to send pies across the UK, increasing our potential customer pool massively.’

Get a website makeover for your small business 

Standing out online, telling your story, connecting with customers and appearing in search engine results are part of the key to modern day business success.

Many small business owners struggle to get their heads round creating a strong online presence and when you are busy running a business it can be hard to find the time to get it sorted.

But it’s important to consider your digital presence as a priority, as both existing and potential clients, suppliers or customers will go online looking for you.

As part of our Entrepreneur Academy, This is Money, is offering small businesses the chance to get a website makeover and feature on our site in a video and story about how to create a better online presence.

Our experts will find out what the successful candidates’ website needs are and how this fits with their businesses’ plans, purpose and ambitions.

The small business owners will get advice on how their site should work, what it should look like, how they can promote it, and on advertising, marketing and SEO.

And our partner GoDaddy will help give their website a makeover or build a new site for them, with the process and their business featuring on This is Money.

If you would like to apply for your business to take part, email us at editor@thisismoney.co.uk with Entrepreneur Academy at the start of the subject line and give us some brief details of your business, any existing website or social media presence, and what you would like to achieve, in no more than 600 words.

We will then assess entries and get in touch with small businesses that we think could be suitable candidates.

I was booked to DJ in Dubai then lockdown hit

Omar Meho taught himself to DJ alongside his business marketing degree and since then has built up a successful career in the music world.

Omar Meho launched his company, Music Workflow Academy, when lockdown prevented him from working as a DJ

Omar Meho launched his company, Music Workflow Academy, when lockdown prevented him from working as a DJ

The 26-year-old has played in some of the biggest clubs in the UK such as London’s Egg and Fabric, as well as at festivals. He also owns his own record label and and is a mastering engineer. 

Although he is based in Chester, his career has taken him all over the world and he splits his time between Ibiza, France, the UK and Dubai.

He was due to be flown out to DJ at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai when lockdown hit. Overnight, events and travel, and therefore Omar’s income, came to a halt.

It was then that the idea for Music Workflow Academy came about. Omar’s friend suggested he try and teach what he knows about DJing – so from the spare room of his girlfriend’s family house, which was home to a drum kit, piano and a washing machine, the seeds for the company were sown.

Shift to Music Workflow Academy’s online DJ tutorials 

His girlfriend’s mum got him his first student, who is still with Omar today, and the next day he received a message from a student in New York: ‘At this point I knew I was onto a good idea,’ he says. 

Music Workflow Academy offers lessons on DJing, mixing and mastering, as well as sample packs, placements and playlist placement.

‘The pandemic actually sparked the growth of the business. Allowing me to take time off gigging and spending most of my time and money in clubs, it allowed me to focus and create a runway to launch the business.

‘Being online has allowed me to duplicate myself and scale the business to a global level.’

Two years later he has accrued 47,000 students across 170 countries and has expanded the offering to include music production too.

‘Setting up a website via GoDaddy has been pivotal for Music Workflow Academy’s success,’ Omar adds. ‘It has allowed me to create an online base and a brand which is trustworthy, speedy and reliable.’

Advertise your small business with Mail Metro Media’s AdManager

One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is getting their name in front of a wider audience, in order to build their brand and grow sales.

That’s where Mail Metro Media AdManager can help.

The self-service advertising platform allows small and medium-sized businesses to create their own targeted ad campaigns, which will appear across the UK’s biggest news websites – MailOnline, This is Money, Metro.co.uk and iNews.co.uk. 

It can put your business in front of our highly engaged readers and help you develop good value advertising that will boost your profile and really perform.

> Find out more on how on the Mail Metro Media Admanager works

 

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