7 Steps to Setting up a Website for Your Business
Setting up your own website can be one of the most affordable ways of promoting a small business. There are many benefits to having a website, such as helping you build credibility and acquire new customers. But for any website to achieve any of those aforementioned benefits, it needs to be well-setup, designed, and responsive.
One of the benefits of having a responsive website is, it allows potential and existing customers to browse through your site easily. Over and above that, customers can learn more about your products or services, and make an informed decision. That said, an unresponsive website can cost you more than you care to admit. Say, for instance, your website is not mobile-friendly, or the general user experience (UX) of your site is poor or non-existent – potential customers will go elsewhere. At least 88% of online shoppers wouldn’t return to your site because of a bad UX. Moreover, these recent stats show that 94% of potential customers compare brands based on how their website looks alone. As if that is not enough, it takes only 50 milliseconds for an average user to form an opinion about your website.
Why do you need a website?
A website introduces your business to the world at large. To illustrate this: say you want to open a store, but you have a limited budget. In this case, an e-commerce site would be the best option than a brick and mortar store. Besides, it is more convenient for clients to simply purchase goods online and have them directly delivered at their doorstep than going out to a conventional store.
However, before you hire any website designer or developer to create your website, make sure that you set realistic goals that are easy to measure for your website. Even in 2021, the SMART model will still matter; which means, your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Some examples of SMART website goals for your website may include:
Once all your goals are set, follow these easy steps when creating a website for your business:
1. Hire a professional website designer
It’s essential that you hire someone who is adept at building websites. Of course, unless your business specializes in designing or developing websites. By hiring a professional, you ensure that your website is designed or developed by someone who is well-versed in using all the latest technology.
An outsourcing platform such as Flowz is the first place to look if you want to hire world-class talent at an affordable price. Once you sign up with Flowz, you’re likely to find an experienced designer who has built over 1000s of stunning websites. What’s more, depending on whether or not the web designer has all the necessary information, the designing and development process of your website won’t take long.
2. Buy a business domain name
Prior to setting up a website, you should reserve a domain name. GoDaddy and Squarespace are some domain registrars that you can use to do this. The most important thing about getting a domain name is, it needs to help you achieve your business goals better.
“It’s crucial that you choose the right domain registrar,” reiterated an independent web designer, Jennifer Thomas. “Then make sure that the company you are using is reputable, and offers you free email accounts, ” she cautioned.
There are many companies that are offering free hosting services, and Bluehost is one such company. Bluehost has been getting rave reviews for quite some time, as more and more small business owners prefer it. The Bluehost name is currently listed toward the top of many review categories, and there is a tenable reason for this.
However, registering a domain does not do anything on its own. When you register a domain, you will get an IP Address of your website, MX records to deliver your email, and so on. There is something else you shouldn’t get wrong, no matter what. That is, using the wrong domain extension. For instance, avoid using a .edu extension unless your business is an educational institution. To be safe, just go for a normal .com extension and forget about all these other fancy extensions that you don’t understand.
3. Get a business email address
Your business is not consummated without an email. You will be using an email to receive or send messages to various people. So, in order to have a functional email, you will need an email address; which is a unique identifier of your business. Apart from that, an email address has a way of setting you apart from the pack. That will largely depend on how it was set up.
Let’s use Bill Gates’ email address as an example. His email address is easy to spell and to memorize. It is [email protected]. Having a professional email address like this lends you credibility and trust in the eyes of customers. Now, imagine if Bill Gates had one of those generic Gmail or Yahoo accounts and decided to email a report to one of his acquaintances he has just met recently. How many people do you think would respond or let alone open an email like that?
4. Choose a business website builder
In the past years, you had to be a coder of note in order to build a website. Right now things have become a lot easier. Today anyone can sign up with Wix and get a working website within minutes. That doesn’t mean everyone will be proficient in using website builders such as WordPress and Wix to build their website. That’s why there are professionals who can do that for you.
Again, outsourcing platforms such as Flowz.com have highly experienced website builders that can help you choose the right template for your business, and help you design your website. Web designers will also customize your text, images, and build a website that represents your brand well.
While you search for the right website builder, ask yourself this: What types of media will you include on your website? Will your website have a blog, an animated video, or a map? Does the web builder you have chosen support the kind of content you want your website to have?
5. Choose a business website plan
Needless to say, you should always ensure you choose a website plan that will suit both your budget and your business needs. Before you take out your card to sign up, it is highly recommended that you read and understand all the terms and conditions. Additionally, it’s wise to shop around and compare prices before you make a final decision. Most website builders offer a free plan or charge between $5 to $40. So, if your budget is stretched, go for website services that have all the services in one place. If you struggle to find one, don’t fret. A professional designer can help you do it.
What is the difference between website development and website design?
Most people still use the words website design and development interchangeably. But the two are not the same. While website design involves mostly web graphic design; which is the user interface design of the website, website development involves a great deal of coding and focuses on the performance of your website
6. Choose the right template
Remember, whatever template you pick, it will be the foundation upon which your website will be built on. Choosing the right template for your website is as important as picking the right dress for an event. Choosing the right template can be overwhelming though, especially to someone with no designing experience. Yet, equally thrilling for someone launching a new business. So, in order to choose the right template, consider the colors of your brand, products or services you will be offering, and the features you’ll be adding to your website.
7. Preview and test your website
At this stage, you are about to launch your website. You need to preview and test your website. Byran Andrade, a seasoned web designer who has worked on numerous websites says there are certain areas he focuses on when he previews a website
“The most crucial thing you need to do before launching a website live is understanding how potential customers are going to view your product or services on your site. Can they immediately see what they want to see? Can they search for any or all your product range easily?,” says Byran. According to Byran, you need to ask yourself if your products contain all the necessary information that customers need. “Also, say you have an e-commerce site; ask yourself how fast your potential and existing customers can make a purchase on your online store,” he explains.
“User experience is vital in an online business realm. This also takes into account how the products are showcased and the interface should represent the brand clearly so that the customers can connect with your brand,” Bryan says.
That said, previewing and testing your website is not an easy task. It involves creating a checklist that will allow you to be sure the website is not only well-designed, but also works smoothly. So there are certain things that you need to test before launching it live. First and foremost, check the content. Is the content easy to read? Next, check the images. Are all the images optimized properly? Is your website user-friendly, and are all the tabs working? Can people navigate your website easily, even when they use their smartphones? And so on, and so forth.
Furthermore, you can test your website in multiple browsers. Some of the browsers you should use include:
Lastly, optimizing your business website for SEO should also be on your checklist as well. And since SEO is not for everyone, you might need to consider hiring a specialist to optimize your website for you. The right SEO specialist will have both the know-how and the right tools to help you rank high on search engines such as Google.
Need help with setting up a new website, or even redesigning your current website? Follow this link to find out more.