So you’ve decided to start a new small business and you want an internet presence. Or, you want to expand your internet presence because you’re hoping to attract more business. Many small businesses are reluctant to build a presence online because of the time or expense required. New devices come on the market often and web browsers are always updating with new standards and features. So what do you do? What can you do to make the best use of time and money for your site? What if you could get the best website you can without spending a lot of money or time? Here are 7 tips for building your first small business website.
1. Use the Services of a Web Designer and Web Developer
A web designer can, with good site navigation, simplify the experience of helping readers locate the answers and solutions to the challenges your business satisfies. The designer makes the experience enjoyable as well as informative, and the developer can ensure the site operates effectively and efficiently so it is easy to update and provides the best user experience when new features come along.
It’s important to use both services and often the web developer is also a decent designer, but the designer may not be as experienced in web development. You can help both do their jobs better with thorough planning.
2. Branding Ideas to Consider
When people search online for your sales specialty you want them to easily find your site. That should be a top goal for your online presence. Think about what you want to be known for. That is your brand.
Think about your customer. Is he or she bold or conservative, brash or soft-spoken? Now think about the color schemes to use in your design. Perhaps dark colors work best for your customers’ attention. Would your target market respond more to cool colors such as green and blue colors, or would warm hues of red and browns be more their choice?
For example, you may find that greens and blues identify with customers interested in outdoor products such as lawns and gardens, where browns and gold such as polished furniture and interior decorations may appeal more to indoor products such as home furnishings.
Does your company logo design fit with the colors your target audience responds to best? Shapes and typefaces along with colors and slogans add to the impact your brand needs to capitalize on. Your logo should reflect what your business is, and register company identification when it is seen.
Does the typeface you use in your website appear sophisticated or plain, or somewhere in between? Is this reflected in your logo?
What is your message? What do you want to convey to customers? An experienced SEO copywriter can help you concentrate focus on your website, simplifying the complex and guiding the customer to purchase from you. It’s also easier to design a website around the text than to create content around a design.
3. Business Name
Consider naming the business carefully. In the World Wide Web, your first choice will be to have a name that includes the words that your target market is searching online for. If your business sells widgets, and yours is the longest lasting, or lowest cost, or the highest quality, you may want to have a name that reflects this, such as Highest Quality Widgets, or Low-Cost Widgets, or Long Lasting Widgets, for example.
Register your company name with the local government as a DBA (doing business as), and to prevent liability of you and your personal finances, it is recommended that you register as a limited liability (LLC) at least. If someone slips and falls on your property, for example, you won’t personally be sued even if the company is. Also, establish a bank account and merchant account under your business name to accept credit cards for payment.
4. Domain Name & Hosting Company
The best domain name is one that uses the company’s name in the URL. It helps to be something memorable to your customers.
Even if your company name is different, you want your URL to contain the keywords as mentioned above, such as lowcostwidgets.com, if you know that your customers are mostly searching for low-cost widgets.
Find out if this name is available as a URL before making your decision. If the name is not available you will want to register another name. Just do a quick search online to see what shows up.
Finally, register your business as a dot com (.com) with your website hosting company, or registrar, and buy a security certificate (SSL) for your website to add security to your website payment transactions. This is also a selling point that your market will appreciate, knowing that their personal and credit information is secured with your business.
5. Draw a Visual Sitemap
A visual sitemap can be very helpful in planning a site. Simply take a pen to paper and write down the sections you would like to have on it. For example, if you are selling items online, you will probably have the main heading at the top of the page, such as Electronics, and then subheadings in a drop-down menu for products such as Computers, TVs, Audio, etc.
Keep it simple and do not create more than three levels to allow the users to quickly find what they are seeking.
There are various shopping cart solutions available as plugins for your website, simplifying the effort of designing and building your site. A good web designer can help you find the shopping cart solution that best fits your needs.
Draw lines between every major section of your site and the home page to indicate that they should be linked from the home page. Under each section, add boxes for additional pages you would like in that section and draw lines from those boxes to each main section box. Create boxes to represent web pages and draw lines to connect them to the other pages until you have every page you want on your website listed.
This exercise is more than worth the effort so plan wisely and save time later on.
6. Market Your Website Online
The most desirable way to market your website is through organic search engine optimization (SEO). It allows your site to be found by people who are looking for the solutions, services, or products that you sell. Often a good copywriter experienced with SEO can save you a lot of valuable time.
To get the ball rolling, you may want to invest in PPC (pay per click) types of advertising which will help get your site noticed for specific keywords and phrases that your target market uses. Your site will then be at the top or near the top of each search results page for that specific phrase.
Use free social media platforms and submit to free directories, and don’t be afraid to spend a little bit of money expedite this process.
Submit blogs to blog and RSS submission sites. An experienced SEO copywriting source can be the best option for this service.
7. Maintain and Update the Website
Maintenance can be the most tedious part of website design, but in order to keep your site going well and looking good, it needs regular maintenance and updates. Test your site as you’re building it, and again after it’s been live for a while.
The best sites on the web change frequently and are kept up-to-date. Decide who adds new content at least weekly (frequently asked questions pages, blogs, news pages, for example) and who fixes problems as they are found.
Research is more than worth the downtime, so regular testing will ensure your site continues to perform as expected for different devices and browsers that come along.
In addition to regular testing, you should produce new content on a regular basis.
If you have any questions regarding your new website or expanding an existing site, contact Golden Oak Web Design by calling 602-633-4758.