It is no longer feasible to conduct a business, even a brick-and-mortar one, without an internet presence. Consumers turn to the web for everything from product and service research to location and working hours. Having even a simple site that’s well-designed may provide you an edge in your area, and if you have products to sell, your website can open up new markets and expand your company cheaply and easily.
Website design applications have evolved so it is easier to use now more than ever. You do not have to understand coding to create an attractive and functional web design. Regardless of what program you use, there are basic rules and tips that will give your site a professional appearance, make it easy to locate, and show your organization in the best light.
Here is our step-by step guide to creating a successful and professional website design.
1. Determine the main purpose of your site
A company site generally serves as a space to provide general information about your organization or an immediate platform for e-commerce. Irrespective of whether you make a simple website which tells a bit about your business like for a mortgage broker website or a more intricate e-commerce site for a shoe store, the main thing you have to do is say, on the home page in plain terms, what your company does. Don’t make customers search around to discover if your organization can do what they want.
If you do not intend to accept payments through your website, you won’t need to do as much in setting this up. If you are a merchant or service provider and wish to provide customers the choice to pay online, you will want to use an outside service to get your payments, which is discussed later in this report.
2. Decide your domain name
Your domain name is one of the main elements of your website. It’s the URL you’re going to be sharing with your current and prospective customers and promoting on social networking. Consequently, you want it to be descriptive and easy to remember and type in. Try to keep it short, and steer clear of abbreviations, acronyms and numbers if possible, to prevent customer confusion.
In addition, you have to pick your top-level domain, or TLD. This is the suffix at the end of your domain name, such as .com, net or biz. However, non-traditional TLD names have grown in recent decades. Although these may be descriptive, .com is still the default.
When you’ve chosen your domain name, you will need to confirm its availability and buy it through a domain registrar like GoDaddy, Squarespace, Wix or Web.com. Do not forget to check copyrights to be sure that you’re not infringing on anyone else’s protected name with your site. In case your chosen URL is already taken, you can call the organization and ask to get it from them.
3. Choose a web host
Every site needs a “host,” a server in which all of the data is saved for the public to get at all times. As a small company, hosting your own site is just too large an investment, so you will have to pick an external host, many small business advisors can provide you with insights into the best hosting for small companies, as prices can be steep if you don’t know where to go.
Based upon your budget, you can follow two distinct routes. A shared web host, the least-expensive option, means you are going to share a server with other websites. Dedicated hosting costs significantly more, but it means that you get your own private server and won’t have to compete with other sites that could drag down your speed.
When choosing a host, think about how well that server can answer questions about its server places and reliability.
As you grow, you may find that you need to update to another web host, or even work with multiple suppliers to deal with your site traffic and operations. Keep a close watch on your website performance and the experience your customers have using your site so that you can determine your hosting requirements.
4. Build your pages
A fantastic site is more than a custom craft static home page. You will want to create numerous pages dedicated to different areas of your company, like a comprehensive catalogue of your services or products, or a section for business updates. In terms of your general website, you need to be certain each page supports the main objective of the site, has a very clear purpose and includes a call to action (e.g., find out more, sign up, contact us or buy this).
A contact page is your clients’ direct connection to you, and is among the most Important sections of a site, so ensure to include as much info as possible (telephone number, email address and physical location, if applicable). It’s also wise to include information about the founding group or personnel on an “About” page to assist customers put real names and faces to your own brand, in particular for services such as for mortgage broker websites, clients want to know who you are before they invest any money with you.
If your business does not already have a logo, hire a designer or make a symbol yourself to use on your site, business cards and social networking profiles. Logos for websites help your customers identify your organization quickly and easily on the net.
Be clear about what your company does. Distil what your company does into a clear, concise statement and lead with that. Visitors should be able to comprehend what you do within minutes of landing on your home page. A couple well-written pages are more powerful than dozens of badly written ones.
Place strategic calls to action. Call-to-action buttons tend to do best when they match the information on the webpage. By way of instance, a “Purchase Now” button is reasonable on a product page, but not on the about page. Rather a “Contact us to find out more” could be more suitable. Likewise, a page listing customer testimonials may have a button which takes the reader into the available programs and pricing.
Automate speed enhancements. Setup as many automatic speed improvements as possible. If you use a content management system (CMS), installing the ideal plugins will cache portions of your website so visitors do not have to download anything more than once. For WordPress users, Zalewski advocated WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache, which compresses files and enables visitors to navigate your website more quickly. Some of the more specialized aspects of caching and compressing files might need an internet development partner if you are not especially tech savvy.
Avoid stock photographs. Cheesy stock photography is your fastest way to turn an excellent site into a fair one. If you’re searching for photographs to use in your page, it is ideal to use a photo of your true team or workplace.
5. Establish your payment system (if applicable)
While this step will not apply to all business sites, companies that want to provide the option to pay online will have to integrate digital payment systems in their sites. The simplest way to do this is via e-commerce applications or third-party payment processors.
Many web hosts offer an in-house shopping cart or integration with e-commerce programs. Do some research to be certain that you receive a solution that is easy to work with and flexible enough to meet your needs today and in the future.
6. Evaluation and publish your website
Before announcing that your website is live online, make sure it works on all major browsers, like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Click through every page and attribute on every browser to make sure images appear, links are correct and the format looks smooth. This will take a while, but the effort you put in now will save future complaints from visitors who cannot access certain features.
Another important feature to integrate into your site from the very beginning is an analytics application. By setting this up when the site is live, you are able to iron out any problems and organize a proper setup. Once the site is live, it is possible to track page functionality and ascertain why a page is successful or unsuccessful based on your analytics.
7. Market your site on social media/search
Social networking, whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, is the ideal way to increase your audience reach and alert clients about what is happening with your organization. Whenever you update your site, post about it in your own social media outlets — but balance that out with real, non-promotional engagement.
Also have links to your social websites on your site. The most common places would be the footer or the ancillary bar (the excess menu at the top right that frequently holds contact or login links). Find out more about social media for company within our marketer’s guide.
Submitting your site to major search engines will also help direct possible contributes to a page, as will deploying a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy across your website. Defining name tags, meta-descriptions and uniform resource identifiers (URIs) which are related to your company and facets of your business will help make certain you rank properly in search engines for the goods or services that you’re trying to advertise. Alternatively, you can always seek out an AdWords agency for pay-per-click advertisement.
8. Maintain your Website
Staying relevant is important, so update your site frequently with blog articles on current industry events, new products and offers, and business news to keep visitors coming back to the website and to establish yourself as top business advisors in the industry.
You should also check at least monthly to ensure your applications and all add-ons are current. If your software isn’t up to date, it is at risk of being hacked, even if the site host’s security is strong. If you do not have enough time to do this yourself, delegate the job to a trusted employee or hire an independent website manager.
Starting a web site for your business is a cheap investment which will help you to both set credibility and reach a broader customer base than you ever could through traditional marketing methods. If you keep your website updated with new, current content and are quick to address technical Issues, you will never have to worry about appearing “not present” to your current and future customers.