Whether you’ve just started a new company or you’ve been in business for a long time, if you don’t already have a functional website up and running, you’re going to want to get started on that right now. Having a professional website is of the utmost importance if you want to attract the largest possible customer base, get your brand out there and improve your image, so what are you waiting for?
If you don’t know how to go about building your first business website, here are some simple tips to get your started:
Buy a Domain
First and foremost, you are going to want to buy your own web domain. This is the address of your website, and as such, you will need to choose a name that, if it isn’t your actual business name, says something about the products and services you offer. A .com name will make your business seem more trustworthy and authoritative than a .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com one, and you can buy domains and hosting packages for just a few dollars per month, so there really is no excuse not to buy your own domain and hosting package.
Set a Goal
Every business is different, which means that every business website must by necessity be different too. This means that, when you are working out what you want your website to look like and how you want it to perform, you will need to first think about your company how it works and how a website could make it even better. Once you know that, you can set a goal to create a website with a clear intent and the ability to assist you and your customers in having a better experience all round.
Before you do anything else, you will want to start creating content for your new website. You can either write this yourself or spend a little money hiring a professional to do the hard work for you. Either way, you will need to work out exactly what you want your website to say, how you want your company to come across and how much information is enough to satisfy future clients. It is no good filling your website with vague statements and the bare minimum of useful information if you want to make sales, so take the time to flesh out what you want to say, even if someone else will be doing the writing for you.
Design Your Website
‘How do I design a website?’ If that’s your first question, then the answer is: ‘You don’t!’ Unless you know what you’re doing, it is much more sensible to hire an experienced web designer, who will be able to create an impressive site on your behalf. You can also use templates, but then you’re much more limited in what you can do and you will still need to learn a few things to be able to tweak the design a bit.
Today, probably the most important aspect of web design is mobile compatibility. More and more people are choosing to access the internet via smartphones and tablets, so you need to ensure that your website looks good on these kinds of devices, if you are going to make the right impression and make it easy for your customers to make a purchase. A good web designer will be able to create a responsive website which adapts to any device and browser for an optimum viewing experience.
PCI DSS Compliance
‘What is PCI DSS Compliance? It sounds complicated.’ I can hear you say, but don’t worry. Basically PCI DSS Compliance relates to the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which is concerned with the security of data taken whenever someone makes a payment online. If you are going to be taking merchant payments on your website, there is a good chance that you will need to be PCI DSS compliant, so that your customers’ data is as safe and secure when making a transaction on your website as it is possible to be. It is important that you look into your responsibilities and do everything you can to implement them before you start accepting payments online.
Your startup website is likely to have several different pages, and some will be more important to you, and your customers, than others, which is why you need to develop a page hierarchy, which directs people to the right places and makes your website as easy as possible to navigate. By putting the important stuff such as the contact and about me pages, front and center, you will draw more visitors to these places.
Develop Your Own Style
A big part of building a successful business is building a successful brand, which means that you will need to develop your own unique logos, graphics and photographic styles that say something about the type of company you are and which appeal to your target demographic. In order to do this, you should feel free to check out the competition and see what they are doing, but it’s important that you don’t just imitate them – you want your company to be seen as fresh and innovative, not as an inferior copy if an existing business.
Unless you’re artistically blessed, you will probably want to hire a graphic artist to take care of this for you, although there are basic programs that can help you create simple logos at a pinch until you can afford something more impressive.
Make it Personal
One thing that makes new business websites stand out is the personal touch. Instead of setting up a basic website that does everything it can to try and sell a product, but which is devoid of personality, take the time to add your photo, and the photos of any staff members you have, along with bios, mission statements, and anything else you can think of that brings a personal touch to the page. This will instill a stronger level of trust in your company and make people more likely to subscribe because they can see a human face and an interesting story behind the business.
Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You
Once you’ve dealt with the hard work that comes with setting up a new website, you will want to ensure that it is easy for customers to both contact you and make a purchase. This means making your contact details easily available at the side of the page, or on their own dedicated page that can be accessed from the main page. It also means adding a quick one-click payment option or trolley button that is easy to use. When potential customers have to jump through hoops to get where they want to be, they often give up completely and look for a simpler website that will give them what they want without all the extra effort.
Keep Adding Content
Once your website’s up and running, if you want to see a steady stream of visitors, you will need to continuously create and publish interesting and informative content. This will ensure that your website gains followers, increases its profile and sees a steady stream of new visitors as well as loyal customers. At the very least, you should aim to publish one article per week, but businesses who publish content each day usually see better results than those who slack off in this department. If you don’t have the time to write the content yourself, hire a talented freelancer to do it for you.
Have you recently set up a new business website? What tips and tricks did you use to make it a success?