Tulip Media

Entrepreneurial thoughts

Create a website for an SME/VSE

What web strategy opt for one SMEs / TPE ? What kind of site create and why do ? How to take advantage of your online presence ? I will try to give you some answers, while keeping a relatively high level of abstraction because it is above all general help relating to the methodology and not a technical guide strictly speaking.

Note: This article is the 4th chapter in a series of course on Management 2.0, the summary of which can be found here.

Introduction: what web strategy for SMEs and VSEs?

Here is a small file aimed at TPE And SMEs who start on Internet, and which will allow us to give some possible answers to carry out the task successfully. web strategy.

Given the multiplicity of cases, companies and fields, and as there are no miracle recipes or ready-made formulas, I will approach the matter in a more or less general way, but by distilling here and there a few ways to take according to the cases in which you find yourself.

We will first see what are the strategic issues relating to an online presence, before focusing on an methodology possible for the establishment of a first web communication strategy.

Being present on the Internet: simple communication gadget or real contribution?

A touch of skepticism

The first question that comes to the mind of a manager of a VSE or SME relates to real contribution of a website and online communication, and their quantification in terms of benefits. Some companies working in B2B and whose commercial contacts are mainly made through networking and an already established address book will not really see the benefit of having a website well positioned in their areas of expertise, and even less of have communication channels in several languages. However, this is a serious error.

An error shared with certain VSEs which, under the pretext of being micro-structures, or of depending on a defined and secure catchment area, claim that the Internet cannot bring them much, since their clientele is already established and that They cannot and do not wish to increase their activity (example of a bakery). This again shows little ambition and a lack of realism.

Indeed, apart from a few exceptions, a host of reasons justify having an online presence, including boosting your activity and refining your brand image.

Create a website to increase your turnover

You will find few business leaders to deny this observation. Establishing and refining web communication, whether by putting a site, a page, a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Tiktok account online, potentially generates a return on turnover sometimes colossal compared to the investment made.

More than 70% of VSEs/SMEs believe that the Internet allows them to extend their sales scope and diversify their product or service offering.

Here again, we are preaching the obvious. It remains to be seen how to do this, because it is not a question of putting your site online to see your sales and demand be boosted all at once as if by magic.

Create a website to improve your brand image

What's better than a website to present your range of products, display your values, and show who you are? Whether for practical reasons, or as part of strengthening its credibility, a website simply complements a brochure and a business card.

A website is a key success factor

More than just a showcase of its activity, having a website well positioned in search engines is a real asset, as much for an SME as for a craftsman. And for good reason, if half of VSEs are reluctant to work on their online presence – or do so but by botching the work – those who get into it seriously sometimes secure a near-monopoly.

I once looked for a piano tuner via Google. I clicked on the first link that came to mind, came across a piano tuner's website and called to make an appointment. I had to wait 2 weeks for it. Once there, he told me that he had coded his site himself, initially out of a passion for IT, and out of a desire to learn HTML. Since then, he no longer knew how to manage his activity, since his phone and his mailbox were overwhelmed with requests. I would have advised him to hire collaborators to travel throughout France, as his SEO was ideal. In fact, the reason for this ideal positioning on Google was simple: at the time there was no other piano tuner who had the presence of mind to position themselves on this query. He therefore took advantage of this monopoly for 2 years, the time to make a name for himself and become a reference in his field, which the Google algorithm did not subsequently deny...

We therefore see that taking digital issues into account by SMEs/VSEs can have extremely beneficial effects on their activity. While this observation may seem obvious to an experienced Internet user, it is much less so for certain craftsmen, especially when the field of activity does not relate to media or digital.

It is therefore sometimes interesting to recall the benefits of an online presence. Now let's move on to the method.

Methodology: how to implement a web strategy when you are an SME/VSE?

Phase 1: Analysis of the existing situation

Phase 1 is an observation phase. It is a little more subtle than it seems, because it is not only about noticing what we are missing, but also about knowing what we have, and whether we have control over it.

a) What is our current digital situation?

What do we have at the web level? A website ? A mail ? An account on a social network? Are we listed in directories or on Google Maps / Thefork for a restaurant / Apple Maps, etc…

b) Is there an existent that is a defect?

– Are there web supports that concern us and that we do not control, such as directories on which we have some unfortunate bad reviews dating from a long time ago and which undermine our online presence? If so, you must list them in order to take control of them later.

– Are there web supports that work against us? Negative comments, records with wrong telephone number, etc. If so, list them to rectify the situation.

c) Benchmarking of direct competitors

This step is one of the most important steps. It's about typing your competitors' names into Google to see where they stand, in order to position yourself relative to them, and see if their methods (or non-methods) work.

In a small town in a typical suburb, there are two pizzerias, side by side, completely identical, with the same offer and the same prices. One makes very good pizzas. Let's call it pizzeria A. The other one of the pretty decent pizzas, let's call it pizzeria B.
When you type “Pizzeria + city name” into Google, pizzeria B takes over the first results with its clear and very well-designed website (reminiscent of the websites of well-known pizza chains). Pizzeria A, which makes better pizzas, is completely invisible, with no telephone number and no indexing in restaurant directories.
One is so busy on weekend evenings that she doesn't know how to manage her demand, so much so that she had to delete her "One pizza bought = one pizza free" offer, which didn't help. no case causes the request to be filled. The other is deserted, even on match nights, and kept its offer of a free second pizza, in vain…

I can't count the times I've noticed this kind of example, whatever the type of business (restaurants, jewelry stores, laundromats, hairdressers, etc.).

Phase 2: Needs analysis

Phase 2 is obvious. It's about defining our needs, otherwise we don't know where we're going.

– Do we want to increase our activity? Regain market share?
– Do we want to increase our customer conversion rate? Gain credibility during negotiations by presenting our products, our partnerships or our customer testimonials?

There are as many needs as there are problems, it's up to you to see where you want to go thanks to the web.

Phase 3: Developing objectives

We are slowly but surely getting closer to the operational phase. Based on your needs, you can set realistic but ambitious goals.

Be careful though, the expression “Aim for the moon, you’ll hit the stars” is an assertion that turns out to be unrealistic in practice. Instead, set the stars as your goal (or even the clouds at first), then you can achieve, with a lot of work and patience, ever more ambitious goals.

In this respect, I favor incremental changes, in successive layers, even if it means taking your time, rather than excessively significant upheavals, which sometimes have very harmful repercussions for SMEs which cannot withstand too significant a change in their activity, both on the organizational level as well as the digital or managerial level.

The parenthesis is closed, here are some objectives that you can set for yourself:

SEO objectives

In terms of SEO positioning, what objective do you set for yourself? In other words, where do you want to appear in Google and for what queries? The less you are on one niche query, the higher you can set the bar. Example : “Fontainebleau men’s hairdresser” is a niche query, “Paris laundromat” is a larger query on which there will be more competitors.

Choice of web support

What web support do you want when the visitor arrives?

A Facebook page : one of the most effective supports for local businesses. I have seen tiny neighborhood chip shops reach thousands of fans on Facebook thanks to sophisticated and fun communication. Result of the races: a viral and inexpensive promotion, which resulted in interviews in the general press and a success in terms of activity.

A Twitter account : with a voucher Community Manager, responsible for building relationships, writing good words, or linking good articles relating to your company's activity, this strategy is very effective, particularly for companies that work in B2B.

An institutional website : to present your brand, allow visitors to contact you via a form, store their data in your database, etc.

An e-commerce site

A Google Maps sheet

- Etc…

Phase 4: Operational work

This phase consists of the allocation of means to achieve the objectives defined upstream. Although the field of possibilities is very broad, we can detail the generic objectives cited above which are often set by SMEs / VSEs.

Facebook page and Twitter account for an SME / VSE

Depending on the findings established in phase 1, we create or take over a fan page or an existing account. Care must be taken to ensure set up the account, and to invite the maximum number of members via your network of friends and collaborators.

You yourself, as a craftsman, can learn to manage these kinds of things, which are worth learning. For a large SME, you will need to consider hiring a community manager, responsible for your customer relations on the web, or outsource this work to a specialized company.

The most important points to benefit from a Facebook page:

– Bring it to life with fun and positive statuses
– Publish links related to your activity
– Publish entertaining content from time to time, if your activity allows it
– Publish the presses that mention you, thank them
– Organize games, competitions, etc.


Several solutions are available to you for creating a site:

– For a large SME, internalization web development is an option
– Otherwise, search for a technical service provider via your network (often the case of small businesses)
-The search for a service provider via the search engines and social networks, which teem with extremely competent web professionals
– Searching for a service provider via sites like Codeur.com Or Freelancer.com.
– Setting up a call for tenders from Junior-enterprises.
– The use of simple site creation and management modules, such as those provided by services such as Neocamino For example.

Tips for creating the website

  • Assign a project manager to the website creation mission

As part of the creation of the website, do not hesitate if you are an SME to equip yourself with a project manager who will act as a link between you and your service provider, otherwise you risk slowing down web development because not necessarily available to follow the course of the mission.

  • Favor known content management tools

Also favor the use of CMS such as WordPress, in order to be able to maintain control over updating the site, and to be able to leave a possible redesign to another developer who can easily take over the work of the previous service provider.

  • Analyze the portfolio of candidates for your call for tenders from top to bottom
  • Request documentation
  • Buy the domain name and hosting yourself, keeping access carefully, even if you can communicate it to your service provider during the mission

SEO positioning

Beware of service providers who promise you the moon in terms of positioning in search engines. Some techniques work, but it's not a completely exact science, so it's about being realistic.

Among the best known techniques:

- Work well the tree of your site, and the syntax, favoring simplicity, understanding by all, congruence and relevance.
– Complete your website with blog, by regularly posting your corporate news but also news relating to your business. Do not hesitate to call on your community manager or put a blogger on the mission, especially for SMEs specializing in a particular field.
- Create some landing page.

The Google Maps sheet

Often neglected, and therefore at the mercy of anyone, Google Maps must be monitored, updated and optimized. Above all, you need authenticate as being the owner/manager of the company, otherwise you risk seeing your profile modified by sometimes unscrupulous people.

Repair defects

As we mentioned in phase 1, you must visit each link on which your brand is tarnished in order to correct the situation. A file whose number points to your competitor must absolutely be recovered. Please ensure that you respond to negative comments in a professional and courteous manner.

In the case of consumers who are dissatisfied with your services, do not hesitate to explain yourself as professionally as possible:

– Separate problems from people, in order to defuse passions
– Recognize your share of responsibility
– Announce a change through the complaint, and propose a remedy

Beware of criticisms not taken into account, because between two restaurants for example, the Internet user immediately penalizes the one whose unsavory comments appear to him.

Phase 5: Comparison between short-term objectives and results achieved

If the long-term objectives cannot be achieved immediately (SEO positioning, number of fans/followers), the short-term ones should be achieved upon delivery (operational website and social accounts, contact modules, directories, etc…). It is therefore good practice to organize a meeting to assess the distance that separates our short-term objectives set in advance from what has been achieved.

Are invited to these types of meetings on web project manager, but also for an SME that can afford one Lawyer, for all legal terms related to the web, a Marketing Manager to assess the marketing impact on the web, a sales manager who will be able to see how to benefit commercially from the web channel, etc.

If one of the objectives is not achieved, the chain should be checked again to see where the process could have crashed. Sometimes it is a misunderstanding between the project manager and the developer. This may be due to the language barrier, for example, in the case of outsourcing abroad. This cause may seem absurd, but English can sometimes not be the mother tongue for both the project manager and the developer, who find themselves using this borrowed language in an approximate manner. Beware of unpleasant surprises!

Phase 6: Operational monitoring

This involves closely monitoring the continuation of the work, and evaluating if the long-term objectives are well achieved, or if at least we get close:

– Blogging quality control
– Monitoring of SEO positioning
– Updating static pages, updating the product range
– Bug fixes.

And many other things which depend on your company, your field of activity, and your relationship to the web (showcase, e-commerce, etc.).

It remains to be seen how to quantify the contribution of your web strategy to your activity, which leads us to respond to our initial problem, translated by the skepticism of SME/VSE managers. To do this, several tools are available to you, and several methods are possible:

– Analysis of statistics details of your site, via a tool like Google Analytics (or the statistics provided by Google Addresses for your Google Maps file, or the statistics of your Facebook page), will give you very precise information on your visitors.
– The number of customers who pass through your Contact form is quantified by nature.
– The number of customers passing order or subscribing to your services are easily quantifiable.
– By your satisfaction questionnaires, you can also quantify the number of people who have known you through the Internet (advertising, search engines, word of mouth, social networks, forums, etc.).


In short, know how to set achievable goals according to your needs. If you are an SME, you can outsource your web development by putting a competent project manager to monitor the file in the medium term. Do not hesitate to redefine your objectives if necessary, and to do so review of your web strategy at least bi-annually. For VSEs and other freelance entrepreneurs, I would advise surrounding themselves with a trusted person knowledgeable in subjects relating to the web in order to build a bridge with the engineer in charge of development. Furthermore, do not hesitate to ask for help on the forums and the social networks, the web is here to help you!

Chapter 5: Why e-entrepreneurs must learn (at least) to code »

« Chapter 3: The 6 stages of launching a project


My latest tweets

New shorts on Blooness 👉 Training dedicated to the best oilseeds for health is finally available in audio format https://buff.ly/3xo9fTS

New shorts on Blooness 👉 If there was only one supplement to take, it would be magnesium (along with vitamin D). The complete guide to the best multivitamins on the market still available here with free access https://buff.ly/49bHqvp

New shorts on Blooness 👉 The latest Blooness training on #proteins is available in audio format https://buff.ly/4aijbMW

Load more

Don't miss business advice by email

No spam, just an email when new content is published.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *