So, you have your own business, but you don’t have a website online for it yet. Of course you know having a business website is essential to the success of your business nowadays. Businesses that try to go without an online component to their efforts are at a distinct disadvantage when competing with other local businesses that do. They are also not expensive to make nowadays, relative to what the cost has been in the past. Still, there are several thing you have to take into account before and during the creation of your site; otherwise you might run into errors that undermine the effectiveness of your efforts.
The first thing you need to think about is what type of content you’re going to be featuring on your website. Content is king on the web, and without an ongoing source of interesting and helpful content visitors will find little, if any, reason to visit or come back to your site in the first place. Try to think about what topics you and your business have an expertise in, that you can inform people about, and try to think what phrases people might type into Google and other search engines to attempt to find this information. These topics and these phrases will form the sections and titles of the pages in your website. Once you’ve decided what kind of content you’ll be providing your visitors, commit to making and publishing something new to your site as often as possible, ideally every day. This is by far the most important piece of the puzzle of a successful business website; everything else comes secondary.
Next, you need to choose a good hosting company to house your site’s files and database, as well as a good registrar company to keep your domain registration for you. Quality among hosting companies and registrar varies wildly, with the most popular options not always being the best. Good research in this part of the process will go a long way towards avoiding many potential technical headaches later on. This is also one step where your web development company might be helpful in providing a recommendation to go with.
Speaking of which – you now need to choose a company to actually build your business website! There is no shortage of web development companies today. A good thing to keep in mind is to look for a company where a designer will specialize in the graphic design of the site, while a programmer/developer will specialize in the code and functionality of the site. While in the past it was easy for one person to do both jobs, nowadays web development is complex enough that it’s better to have different people specializing in each area. All the usual steps in choosing a creative company of course apply as well, such as looking at the company’s past work, talking to them in person to see what kind of ‘feel’ you get from them, and so on.
As the design and development processes advance, always keep in mind you want your website to be an extension of your existing marketing and branding materials. There should be a tangible feeling of consistency in look and feel between your online content and your paper brochures, television ads, etc. This consistency is the biggest factor in your company projecting an aura of professionalism.
How large should you build your website? This is a very commonly asked question from business owners who maybe do not have unlimited budgets to produce content with. Still, you should keep in mind that the more helpful content your site has, the more it will turn into not just an online advertisement, but more into a valued and often-used resource for your customers, who will keep coming back again and again. Thus the best answer to how much content is, as long as the site doesn’t feel cluttered and as long as you can afford it, as much as is possible. By making your website into an information center, you will attract the attention of search engines as well as the satisfaction and appreciation of both your old and new customers.