Building a website is a daunting prospect for some small business owners. So much so that, according to one study, nearly 25 percent of small businesses still do not have a website. And 10 percent have no plans to build one at all. In this Web-connected world, it's hard to imagine that those small businesses will remain in business much longer.
In some ways, it's understandable: coding, creating content, designing a layout that's easy to navigate—it just seems like too much. But you don't have to go it alone. Impress.ly, a website-creation platform, gives entrepreneurs the power to build beautiful websites quickly and easily.
Just finding the time to organize a good-looking small business website is challenge enough for many organizations. The Impress.ly team heard that small-business feedback loud and clear. "Business owners say, 'I don't want to deal with drag-and-drop or HTML coding;' or they tell us that Wordpress is confusing," says Curt Raffi, vice president of mobile engagement and application development at Endurance International Group, makers of Impress.ly.
Impress.ly lets you build your mobile-friendly small business website with exactly the elements you want.
Taking the Pain Out of Building a Small Business Website
A powerful automation platform gives Impress.ly the capability to do what small business owners want: just make it happen. "Impress.ly starts with a quick onboarding experience that asks if you have a social presence, such as a Facebook page, for your business," Raffi explains.
The program's native intelligence then examines the firm's Facebook page, Instagram feed, and other any other social media and Web assets. For musicians, that might mean music downloads; for restaurants it could mean menus and product photos. "Anything you have out there that supports your small business's mission or goal," Raffi says. Impress.ly organizes those existing assets into either a website or an app, incorporating elements such as your company's colors and logo along the way.
You decide what type of online experience you want to create—Impress.ly provides options to build a website, a mobile site, and a native application. They can even develop multiple formats simultaneously. If you decide want a website along with an app, Raffi says, "We can create both experiences at the same time."
Impress.ly presents everything in a way that's easy to understand and to manage. Raffi says that small businesses owners can opt for multiple formats up front or add them later, whichever approach works best for their situation.
Choose from a range of templates to find the right design for building your small business website.
Impress.ly Focuses on Mobile Sites First
One feature that sets Impress.ly apart is its mobile-first approach. "It's the first website-builder that gives you the ability to build an application, a website, and a mobile site—all from a phone," Raffi says. But small business owners who choose to build with Impress.ly aren't the only ones presented with a great mobile experience.
Impress.ly helps small business owners to provide a great mobile experience for visitors who access their site from a smartphone or tablet. Google and other search engines rank mobile-friendly sites more favorably, making a mobile-friendly site increasingly important. "If your Web presence isn't mobile-friendly, the search engines may ding you," says Raffi. The result: prospective customers are less likely to find you when they search for businesses like yours.
The Impress.ly platform can also create native apps along with websites. "An app may not be the primary goal of every small or midsized business but, for example, if you have a band or own a popular restaurant—and your audience is big enough—you may want a native application if" Raffi explains.
"Our native application functionality can provide push notifications and geo-location targeting," said Raffi. Part of creating an app is making it available through the usual online stores. Impress.ly helps with that aspect, too. "We have a wizard that walks you through the submittal process," Raffi says, adding that the wizard covers Apple's App Store and Google Play. While the prospect may feel overwhelming at first, but Impress.ly makes the process simple to understand and fast to complete.
Add Advanced Small Business Website Features
As you build your small business website, Impress.ly continues to offer guidance and features that may be helpful. "When you publish your site, you have the option to increase functionality with things like simple stores, ecommerce, menus, and scheduling," Raffi says. It all adds up to an online presence that gives customers the experience they expect without taking a lot of time. "In less than two minutes we can create a killer mobile website that acts both like an application and as a desktop site," Raffi says.
A free plan gives small businesses a taste of the Impress.ly experience. The starter plan runs $9 per month and includes social feeds and other basic information. The $14 per-month business plan offers ecommerce, reservations, and other features.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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