An online presence is a must for every business today. If you don’t have your own website, the chances are high that you are just going to get lost in the crowd. No matter what kind of marketing strategy you have in plan, you need to make it possible for your prospective customers to find you via Google search and use your website to get the information that they need about you.
It goes without saying that you need a website if you are selling products. But even if you aren’t, your website is the place where people are going to look for info about your business, credentials, experience, background, and the like. So, here are the steps that you need to take in order to create your first small business website.
Determine the purpose
The first thing on the list is determining what your website’s purpose is going to be. You may want to create a somewhat static website that doesn’t require you to periodically add new content, but serves as the location where your prospects can find the necessary information about you.
On the other hand, you can use your website to write a blog or post articles about things that are of value to your customer base. Here you can educate them about your products or services, and provide them with valuable information on how they can improve their lives. There is also, of course, the option of running an eCommerce website where you are going to sell your products online.
Knowing the purpose of your website is essential because it will help you decide how to develop it.
Decide what your domain name will be
Your domain name is the URL that you are going to share with your customer base and promote via social media channels. This is why it is important that it is descriptive and easy to remember. Keep it short and make sure it’s not confusing.
What you also need to decide is your top-level domain (TLD). It’s the suffix that you find on the end of domain names, like .com, or .net. While there are traditional TLDs, you can opt for a non-traditional TLD as well, as a part of your business strategy.
Afterward, you need to see whether it’s available and purchase it via a domain registrar such as GoDaddy, Wix, or Squarespace. It’s important that you don’t infringe anyone’s protected name.
Pick a web host
The next step is choosing a web host. It is the remote location that is going to hold your website and software that you are using, and make it available for users. The choice partly depends on the software that you are going to use, but also on how fast you want your website to be and how many visits you have in mind. In some cases, you can start with less expensive shared hosting services, and upgrade to a better-dedicated hosting as your business grows.
Build your website
In most cases, a good website consists of multiple pages that cover different business aspects. For example, there can be a blog section, a page that catalogs your products, etc. As web design experts at Nirmal say, it is important that every page has a clear purpose, fits in with the main goal of the website, and includes a call to action.
Your “Contact” page is very important, because it needs to serve all the necessary information that your customers need in order to find you or contact you. So include all you can – your phone number, physical location, e-mail address, etc. You should also have an “About” page where people can find the information about the team behind your business, and put names and faces to the brand.
A good logo is essential for your brand image. You can hire a graphic designer or create one yourself. It needs to be present everywhere, from physical locations to the online world, as it is the main thing that enables your customers to identify and connect with your business and brand.
Test and publish
Before your website appears online, you need to make sure that it works on all the major browsers. Browse your website on every browser and see whether all images show up, links work properly, and the format looks the way that you envisioned it.
It is also essential that you implement an analytics program into your website from the very start. It will help you deal with any issues and properly set up your site. Once you are live, you will be able to monitor how your pages perform and see exactly why a certain page works or doesn’t work.
Finally, it is essential that you maintain your website, in order to stay relevant. It is also important that you check your software and add-ons on a monthly basis in order to make sure that everything is up to date and that you are safe from hackers. If you don’t have the time to deal with this on your own, you can hire a freelance website manager, or assign this task to an employee that you trust.