Starting a new business can be one of the most exciting, anxiety-inducing ventures one can undertake in a lifetime. In this technological era, a website is another business necessity. While you may have a great product or service, without a website, your credibility diminishes greatly. Customers look to your website to find out who you are and if you’re trustworthy.
How do you get started? Whether or not you have a degree in computer science, your business can have an amazing website. A few important areas include salient content, superb organization, web management software, web hosting software, and user-friendly design.
Website Startup Guide Outline
Finding Your Voice
First, decide what the purpose of your website will be. You may have a great product, but is your goal to be an online seller? Or would you prefer that your customers come to your physical store? Asking these important questions will help you understand what content you want to put on your page and how you want to organize it.
Instead of a shopping cart on your page, you may prefer printable coupons if you want shoppers to come into the store. If you’re advertising a service, you may want to prominently display your contact info so customers can contact you for an estimate or consultation. Therefore, you really need to find the purpose and voice you want for your web presence.
While some content should be regularly updated, like your blog, there are a few things that need to be consistent and prominent on your site.
- A clear description of who you are. Clearly state your name, who you are, and the products and services you provide. This needs to be a top priority prominently displayed on your homepage.
- Contact information. This information should be on your homepage and on the header or footer of all your pages.
- Customer testimonials. This helps build your credibility. We live in a world of Yelp and Google Reviews. Therefore, genuine customer testimonials help potential customers feel you are trustworthy.
- An Obvious Call To Action (CTA). Customers want to know the next step to take. Whether that is calling you for a free estimate or consultation, customers can’t be expected to automatically know. Place a CTA prominently on your homepage.
Once you understand the purpose of your website and what information you need, organizing this information in a user-friendly way is key. Web surfers normally scan a page to determine whether to stay or move on. The usual attention span is very short, so the layout of your content needs to allow visitors to easily and quickly scan for relevant information.
A few ways to achieve this goal include:
- Break information down into shorter paragraphs. While you want to provide customers a lot of information, make the paragraphs shorter for easy reading.
- Use bullet points. These hold a reader’s attention.
- Important words or phrases could be highlighted. This way, you are in control of the reader’s attention, drawing his or her eye to what you think is important.
Since there are billions of websites on the internet and people use search engines to find them, a basic knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important. Coding allows you to optimize SEO. This includes using the correct keywords in your text, having plenty of links, creating effective title pages and URLs, and using images and videos.
You also have to decide what web management program you need, which depends on your industry and purpose. If you’re an online seller, you want web management software that will support plug-ins, such as a shopping cart function. If you want a low-cost option, there are free website hosts such as WordPress. Also, some companies will start you out at a lower cost and speed configuration and speed up as you see more traffic.
Your website is your online business card. The tools are out there for you as a small business to have an amazing website that not only looks great, but keeps up with large companies to attract the right customers.