When building a website for your business it is all too easy to get overly caught up in the nuts and bolts details of design, web hosting, and software features. Especially if you are a small business, a startup or just delving into building your first business website.
The reality is that while you do have to mind the technical details, a strategic approach to building your website will optimize performance and reduce your overall bounce rate. A strategic approach also increases your ability to target your small business to the audience members who are most likely to convert into paying customers.
In this day and age, even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses need a web presence. Most potential customers will use the internet to learn about your business via product research, reviews, reading blogs & content to simple details like your company’s physical location or operating hours.
Fortunately, modern website design software is easier than ever to use. So long as you follow some basic steps to ensure your site has a professional look and is easy to navigate.
What’s The Primary Purpose Of Your Company’s Website
Your business website needs to include general information about your company to help visitors understand who you are, what you offer, and what you do best. This is especially important for e-commerce sites. This needs to be conveyed in your content as well as easy-to-use navigation tools.
Your home page and any landing pages need to be compact and easy to read. Navigation tools can then let interested visitors learn more without having to sift through a sea of other content on the home page.
Determine Your Website’s Domain Name
Your website’s domain name plays an important role not only in making it easy for people to find you, but also makes a statement about you. Ideally, you want a domain name URL that is easy to remember and avoids things like abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers that might make it hard for users to find your site again later.
This includes deciding on your TLD (Top Level Domain) which is the suffix at the end of your domain name, like .com, .net, or .biz. Most people try to secure a domain name that ends in .com, which most people consider to be the easiest to remember, however, a TLD is not a ranking factor, nor is it standard practice these days to stick with .com, especially when the name you want is taken. There are hundreds of new TLDs that may go more in line with your business such as .attorney .dentist .design .actor .store and so forth. So while .com is the traditional, times have changed, and these new TLDs give you many more options.
Select A Web Host
This is essentially the server where all its data is stored. It might be tempting at first to host your own website. Though most businesses that do later note that this ends up being a greater expense than if you outsource the site hosting to a third-party vendor. Not to mention a lot of the best business web hosts also provide you with things like performance and tracking data that can later help you optimize your content and minimize things like bounce rate. Having a great host is imperative for the speed of your website, which ultimately is a ranking factor with Google.
Some third-party web hosts will offer discounted rates in exchange for letting them do things like post banner ads on your website or harvest data like e-mail addresses from newsletter subscribers. If this is something that you think would impact your company’s image, or is not a direction you want to take with your intended target market, you should strongly consider steering away from these “Special Offers.”
What Is Your Agenda? Informational or Transactional?
Another important factor when choosing the host is how you wish people to engage with your brand. Do they come for information or booking your services, where creating a wordpress based website makes the most sense? Or perhaps they come to your website to purchase one of your 10,000 products whereas an ecommerce platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce makes sense because of the features built in to make everything work internally or with 3rd party tools. The more that is understood at the start can help create the best choice for building a website on a proper CMS that takes into consideration many factors that you may not be aware of that could be costly to redo down the road as your business grows out of its infancy that can be rather quick.
Strategically Build Your Pages With Proper Structure
An effective business website needs multiple pages, with each being dedicated to different aspects of the business. This includes things like a detailed catalog of your products or services, and might also extend to things like an active blog or podcast as well as an area where visitors and existing customers can connect with you.
Every great website is essentially a CMS – or content management system that displays the content. That content starts with a template so that your pages are all cohesive with your brand, and all pages fit together with colors, formatting, sizes and even the way things behave as people navigate.
You also need to make it easy for visitors to find you. This includes nuts and bolts things like a contact page with your business’s phone number, email address, and physical location. An “About” also helps visitors to connect with your brand image.
Make sure that all your content and graphics are clear about what your business does. Then distill these things down into clear, concise statements that help new visitors understand what you do in a matter of seconds.
The content you create also needs to have “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) in mind. This includes using keywords and phrases that search engines like Google and Bing are more likely to pick up on things like headings that answer common questions users might enter into search engines. This is one of the things that will help you rank higher than the competitor’s website.
Your content should also use strategically placed “Calls To Action” in the form of buttons, and “Buy Now” links as well as embedded promotional offers. This generates activity while also improving conversion rates. Just don’t overdo it. A lot of people and target markets are put off or will “Bounce” if a site feels too pushy about sales.
When choosing your graphics, try to avoid stock photos and two-dimensional graphics. Highly quality images and graphics that send a message with some degree of visual texture are more appealing and convey a message about your company’s professionalism as well as sophistication. Since your website is usually the first and only interaction with your brand, you have a few seconds to wow them, so they can virtually smell, taste, touch, or quickly understand how your products features and benefits is what they need. Definitely consider a video to convey this even more.
Test Your Website Before Publishing
The last thing you want is for first-time visitors to think that your website is always under construction or “Experiencing Technical Difficulties.” So, make sure to rigorously test every page, feature, and special function of your business website long before you announce that the site is going live.
This includes testing your newly designed business website on all major browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Safari. Be sure to click through each page, each link and use each feature on every browser to ensure consistent images and seamless functionality on all browsers and platforms.
This includes testing how your website will be displayed on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This includes testing how they will perform on IOS and Android platforms.
If your company’s website will be considered “A Place Of Public Accommodation” then you also need to test that all your pages and navigations tools are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act standards.
Promote Your Business Website On Social Media
21st Century commerce is increasingly driven by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram and Pinterest. They have become an effective way to connect with an active audience while expanding industry reach and can even be used to alert customers to new products or promotions. Then make sure that all of your social media platforms and pages include links that bring readers back to your website to help increase site traffic.
Invest In SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Once your website is built, increasing its visibility is paramount to driving more business. Just because you have a website, does not mean they will come. This is where having a great SEO company comes into play. There are hundreds of ranking factors, known and unknown, that Google decides why one site ranks over another. Hiring a company that is proficient in the minutia is often the deciding factor for how quickly your site can rank, and the diversity as to what it ranks for and where it can rank. This includes, but goes beyond, producing fresh content often, proper internal and external linking, site speed, site structure, and image optimization just to start.