No business can survive these days without an online presence. If potential clients can’t find you online, they probably won’t.
It’s no longer feasible to run a business without a web presence. A website is a necessity for entrepreneurs, small businesses and anybody selling products or services.
A business website can serve as an extension of your business card, with information about you, your business, and the services offered. Consumers turn to the internet for everything from product research to location and operating hours. Having even a simple website that’s well-designed can give you an edge in your field.
What’s the primary goal of a business website?
A business website generally serves as a marketing tool that provides information about your business. But focusing just on this generic objective would mean ignoring all the potential goals achievable through this powerful instrument.
Specific website goals and objectives will fit your overall marketing strategy and capabilities.
Increase sales tactics
Search engine optimization, well-organized content, user-friendly site, effective calls to action, increase conversion rate.
Becoming an authoritative resource tactics
Providing quality content on your website, regularly adding new information, establishing trust, marketing your site on other websites and social media.
Improve interaction with existing and potential customers tactics
E-mail marketing lists, online support (live chat), webinars, and content designed to give your visitor a reason to come back.
Build your brand tactics
Active social media program, promotions, reputation management.
Pursuing one of these goals doesn’t exclude the other. According to your overall digital marketing strategy, you might want to achieve one or more objectives. What’s important it’s to define them, in order to start implementing your brand new business website having in mind what you are trying to accomplish.
Define the domain name
Deciding your domain name is one of the most important steps of building your business website. It’s the URL you’ll be sharing with your current and potential clients and promoting on social media.
Ideally, domain names should be without hyphens, abbreviations and numbers, short, easy to remember and a top-level domain, such as .com. If you have to get too creative in a domain name or if you have to go too far from your original idea, you might want to move down your list of business name possibilities to the next name if there is a better domain name available.
Check if your domain is still available:
Choose a web hosting
Every website needs a hosting provider, a server where all of the data is stored for the public to access at all times. As a small business, hosting your own website is simply too large an expense, so you’ll need to select an external hosting.
Depending on your budget, you can follow two different routes. A shared web host, the least-expensive option, means you’ll share a server with other sites. Dedicated hosting costs significantly more, but it means that you get your own private server and won’t have to compete with other sites that could drag down your speed.
As you grow, you may find that you need to upgrade to a different web hosting, or even work with multiple providers to handle your website traffic and operations.
Below are some of the most popular website hosting providers:
Choose your Content Management Software
A content management system (CMS) is an application that is used to create and manage digital content. Most of the websites use a CMS because it’s easier to scale, integrate with third-party and it’s the perfect solution for companies with a low budget.
A website built without a CMS is more expensive for several reasons. It has a higher implementation cost and it requires a professional web developer for any tiny change you may want to apport. A CMS allows you to keep your website up to date and to post content in complete autonomy.
WordPress: WordPress is the most popular CMS. It has a large community, which means that there are many resources online and thousands of plugins to add a lot of different functionalities.
The only downside is security. Due to its popularity, it’s often the target of hackers. However, with the help of a professional web design agency, you’ll get all the support you need to protect your website. At Klicks Design, for instance, we add several layers of firewall protection, monitor and back up our clients’ websites on a daily basis.
Drupal: Drupal is another popular CMS. It has a large community, it’s easy to use and it’s flexible as WordPress. However, it cannot be compared with it in terms of functionalities and useful resources.
Squarespace: Squarespace is a service with a monthly and yearly subscription. It’s really intuitive and easy to use, but it has its limitations. It’s the right choice for those who want to build in autonomy a very simple website, without any complex functionalities.
Wix – Wix is very similar to Squarespace, with the same limitations. It is a great option for a self-made website. But it cannot go over a very simple design with basic functionalities.
Develop content & design
Content is a very important part of a website, but it’s too often neglected. It needs to be compelling to visitors and convey the right kind of information at the right level. If users have to struggle to find the information they need, they will leave the website to look for them elsewhere.
In addition to text, you will have to select a series of images that match your business and that support the content. One of the most common mistakes is using not professional images. Images are extremely important to give a sense of professionalism and to exalt the overall design.
Below is one of the most popular website where you can find professional images:
Visuals can include also stock art graphics, images of your products, headshots of yourself and other staff members, or other graphics that might illustrate your process or approach to delivering the service you’re selling. If you’re not a professional designer or photographer, you might want to hire an expert.
Make the navigation system intuitive and easy to follow. Every small business website needs at least these pages:
- Home page
- About Us
- Contact Us
Optimize your website (SEO)
SEO is a set of practices that are applied to a website to ensure search engines such as Google index and rank a website. Every second of every day, Google “crawls” the internet, looking for new content to index. Once your website is detected, an algorithm is then applied to determine where it should be placed in their index once a user searches for specific keywords your business is associated with.
This is why using the right keywords within your website is crucial to the overall success of your business. Tools like Semrush or Google Keyword Planner will help you choose the right keywords for your respective business.
Here are some things to consider when focusing on SEO:
- Keyword research
- Clean website code
- Fast load time
- Mobile friendly website
- High-quality content
- Writing articles regularly
- Making sure your website is HTTPS (SSL Certificate) and not HTTP
- Having many positive reviews on Google and Yelp
- Creating high-quality backlinks to external websites within the same industry
- Using Social Media to post engaging content that links back to your website
Maintain your site
Staying relevant is important, so update your business website frequently with blog posts on current industry events, new products and offers, and company news to keep visitors coming back to the site. You should also check at least monthly to ensure your software and all add-ons are up to date. If your software is not up to date, it’s in danger of being hacked, even if the website host’s security is strong. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, delegate the task to a trusted professional web design agency. Starting a website for your business is a low-cost investment that will help you to both establish credibility and reach a wider customer base than you ever could through traditional marketing techniques. If you keep your website updated with fresh, current content and are quick to address technical issues, you’ll never have to worry about not being found or not being present to your current and future clients.
Once you will have your modern and responsive business website up and running your business will have the strong foundation it needs to start building an effective online presence.