Have you ever been faced with composing a work document, only to hit writer’s block before you begin? Big projects can be hard to start and creating a website is no different. Many of the “big brands” make owning a website appear effortless, but there is a bit of planning that goes into web design – even simple business websites.
When considering how to create a successful website for your small business, we break down the essential “must have” list for starting a successful website.
The Essentials of a Successful Website
- A Planned Approach. Write out all the things you want your successful website to do. Do you want to sell products? You may need an eCommerce site. Do you want to create a community gathering place for your customers to communicate? You may want to get a message board or forum up and running on your page. This isn’t just good planning, many website builders have limitations as do some web hosts. Knowing what elements your business website needs before purchasing hosting or design packages can save you money down the line.
- Register a Domain Name. There are a lot of ways to do this, some right and some wrong. For example, you always want a domain name to be registered to the business owner, but in recent years we have seen a growing trend of domain names registered to employees. It’s a simple mistake. An employee is often in charge of a company website including domain registration. Unfortunately, if this employee leaves the company, the ownership of that domain goes with them too. It can be a legal mess to untangle, so register your domain under your name.
- Make a Logo. Make sure you have the original, large format art of your logo. Store this in a fireproof safe. Graphics can always scale down, but enlarging a logo can be impossible. Once you have a logo finalized, you can start thinking about a style and color scheme for your website, complimenting your logo to establish your branding.
- It’s Not Just A Pretty Face. Make sure your website is search engine friendly with an SEO plug-in like Yoast. This will help your website be found on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Since more than half of all web searches are done from a smartphone you need a mobile friendly design. If your company has a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want a website that your customers can view on their mobile phones. This lets them check your hours, location and reviews on the go.
- Content Quality is Key! To get traffic flowing, every website must include content that is valuable to your audience, but what content should you offer? Knowing your customer personas (demographics is only a part of this) is essential to making successful content. Write TO your customers, give them the answers only they are asking, make them smile with your wit, be the voice of your brand.
- Quality Web Hosting. Finding a web host isn’t always “apples and oranges”. Make sure they can support your CMS and expected traffic (bandwidth). Let us recommend some reputable, trustworthy hosting companies that we use for our projects. Already have a host? We can work with almost any web hosting company, no problem!
- Updates and Backups. To keep your website running smoothly, you’ll need to keep it updated with security patches and regularly backed up. This can become a chore for many small business owners. Our Peace of Mind Maintenance plan manages these so you don’t have to.
- Protect Your Site. Malicious software (malware) and viruses (major productivity killers) often come to your computer or phone through your email or the contact form at your website. Let us integrate spam fighting tools and methods at your website to stop the hackers before they reach you.