Today, brands have to have some form of web presence in order for their business to thrive. We no longer can solely rely on traditional physical stores alone. Many consumers, especially the younger ones, turn to their digital devices to search for all kinds of information including operating hours, location, and product prices. Even having a simple and well-designed website can keep your business up to date with the current competition. Not only will you be able to promote your products so they can sell better, but your website can also help to expand your business and open up new markets easily.
It is now easier than ever to create a functional and attractive website with website design programs. Here are eight simple rules for you to follow to maximize your efforts in creating an online presence for your business.
1. Figure Out What You Want Your Website To Be
Usually, a business site offers an overview of what your company does or a platform for your e-commerce sales. Regardless of what information your website provides, the most basic and important thing for you to communicate is the purpose of your company. You do not want your audience to get lost on your website to only find out your company does not provide something that they want.
No matter what the main goal of your website is, it must be easy to maneuver around. It should also be clear to the customer what the focus of your website is. To do so, always think from the point of a user and their specific user experience.
2. Determine the Name of Your Domain
You will need to decide on a domain name which is the URL that you will be giving current and future clients as well as your social media platforms. You’ll want the name to be memorable as well as descriptive. As such, it is important for you to keep your domain name short and refrain from using any acronyms, abbreviations, and numbers to avoid any potential confusion with your customers.
You will also have to settle on which top-level domain (TLD) you want to have for your website. While .com is the default TLD many companies have opted for, choosing nontraditional descriptive TLD names has been the growing trend today.
Once you’ve chosen your desired domain name, confirm if it’s available and buy it using a domain registrar such as Wix or Squarespace. Be sure to check for copyrights to prevent any cases of infringements on anyone else’s protected name. If the URL you want is taken, either choose another name or call up the company to see if they are willing to sell the domain name over to you.
3. Select a Host
A web host is a server for all your public data to be stored. If you’re on a tight budget, choose a shared web host where you’ll share servers with other websites. On the more pricey side, you can also select a dedicated host for a private server. This may also reduce any issues with the speed of your site as you won’t be sharing servers with any other websites.
4. Create Pages
A single home page may not be sufficient when you’re competing with other businesses. Create as many pages as you need to communicate the various services that your business offers such as a blog section for your company’s products or a detailed catalog of your services. Each page should meet a clear purpose for your customers such as for them to learn more or to contact your company. Here are some simple tips for you to consider when creating pages:
- Be clear on the purpose of your business
- Position call to action strategically
- Set up automated speed enhancements
- Stay away from cheesy stock photos and invest in high-quality photos or images
5. Allow Your Customers to Pay Online
This step is purely optional, but it may be a good idea for your business to make use of electronic payment systems for customers to pay online. You can do this through an e-commerce system or through third-party payment processes. Before you execute this, do your research and make sure the programs you are working with are flexible enough for your purposes.
6. Do A Test Run Before You Publish Your Site
Before you publish your site on the internet, do a test run to ensure that they work on all of the major browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox. Click through every page of your website on each browser to see if the images appear, links are accurate and the formatting looks decent.
If your website is programmed to appear on mobile devices, do give it a rough check as well as some media may not be formatted properly for a good user interface. While it may take quite a bit of time, it saves you the hassle from any reputational loss and complaints from visitors who can’t seem to use certain functions on your site.
Another key feature you might miss out on is your analytics program. It will be a good idea to get it running from the beginning so as to have accurate results on how your website is performing or tweaking your website based on your analytics report.
7. Utilize Social Media and Search Engines
Social media is your best method to reach your audience and alert them of any updates to your company. As such, do make posts on your social media platforms when you make important updates to your website to increase the traffic to it. You can also add links to your company’s social media platforms on your website. Besides social media, you should also apply search engine optimization (SEO) to your site by building relevant keywords into your content from the launch of your website. Defining meta-descriptions, relevant title tags, and uniform resource identifiers (URIs) will help you to rank highly in the main search engines. If you’d prefer to outsource this task, Sortlist can help you find agencies that specialize in SEO.
Congratulations, you have covered most of the key points of starting your own business site. All that’s left is to maintain your site with frequent posts to keep your audience entertained and always coming back. This also includes ensuring that the software you use and any add-ons you may have are working correctly. If maintaining the site seems like a heavy task for you, consider outsourcing the maintenance of the site or delegating it to a trustworthy colleague.