Have you started a small business and you need to figure out a way to get out the word about your services or products? Do you know that your current website is not cutting the bill – and you know it’s time for a complete overhaul? Are you unsure of how to navigate the process without getting stressed out or running out of money? If any of these thoughts have been running through your head, you are in the same place as many business owners who know they need a successful website but just don’t know where they can begin. Read on to learn our five simple steps for getting you to the place you want to go with your website design. Putting together a new website is a time-intensive process that will take some of your budget. Follow these steps to make the key decisions to determine what you need out of a website and how to meet your web goals. Let’s get started:
Step 1: Discover Your Purpose
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when launching a website is that they launch it too quickly. They haven’t thought through the entire process of 1) why they need the website and 2) what the website will do to achieve their aims. Those are two critical pieces of information that serve as a good starting point for your new website. This is called the “discovery” phase. It’s a time in which you can begin thinking about answers to those important questions. Do you need a website because you need a place to showcase all of your products? Do you need a place to describe your services? Do you need to increase your sales? You may have several different reasons for needing a website, and you don’t have to limit your reasons to one. However, identifying why you need it will help you determine what features need to be on the website and how the content will be organized.
Step 2: Don’t Fear SEO
Search engine optimization is a critical component of a successful website. This is something that you’ll want to pay a company to do for you to make sure your Google ranking is as high as it can be. Some important components of search engine optimization are including meta tags, embedding optimal keywords, using good links, avoiding duplicate copy on your site and analyzing the performance of your site on Google Analytics. These factors are going to drive the ranking of your site and will tell you a great deal about the people who are visiting your site.
Step 3: Invest in Design
An effective website is well designed. It also is well hosted. Your design and web hosting are two key components to a successful website. You want a site that is functional and easy to read so that when your new customers visit they see your featured items and can find the information they need easily. But you also need a site that is not always down or temporarily unavailable. A poor web hosting company will crash often. So you need to do your research. Select a company with designers that fit your style. Select a web host that has good reviews and ratings. There are many different options for building your website – but don’t use a free template. It’s wise to consider using a platform like WordPress, an easy-to-use platform that provides more of a “drop and go” option for clients who don’t want to build a website from scratch.
Step 4: Use PlugIns That Advance Your Community
If you are building a website using a WordPress content management system, then you have more than 45,000 plug-ins at your fingertips. Plug-ins are crucial for the success of any website because they help you target and build your community of website users. Plugins such as chat rooms or message boards are going to help you keep in contact with your clients in real-time. You also can use social media plugins to advertise and cross-promote on your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Finally, there’s the option of using a plugin to create a private community of members so you can focus on building your audience and engaging with them in targeted ways. The possibilities are endless with plugins – and you’ll want to use them on your new site.
Step 5: Optimize for Speed
Make sure your site is optimized for photos and videos – if that is content you plan on featuring on your website. The problem with these media is that many people will come to a website that is not optimized, and the videos and photos do not load quickly. Don’t let that be your company! You’ll risk losing the potential customer. They lose confidence in your ability to provide and live up to your promises if they can’t even see what is on your website and get to what they need.
Bonus Step: Test, Test, Test
Finally, you can’t put your best face forward out there on the worldwide web without making sure your website is perfect (or nearly perfect) before you launch. There are many complications for the very best websites, so make sure you are testing multiple times before you actually launch the website into its live phase. You can do this through several ways. You can pay the company that designed your website to test it. You can have employees run test runs on the site. You can ask a key group of loyal customers to test and send you feedback. Whatever option you choose, however, make sure it simply involves testing every single page, button, link, video, photo gallery, anything that is clickable or submittable before you announce your new site to the world. You will thank yourself, and so will everyone else who isn’t sending you angry emails.
In conclusion, if we can offer you any advice that you remember from this guide it’s that you really need a website. You really do. And, you need a good one. Business owners cannot advertise and sell their products and services without a website that makes it easy for potential customers to find what they are looking for and makes it a cinch to actually go through the purchase process. You are essentially turning away from money from your business without a well-designed and streamlined website. As you consider what you need out of a website, remember these five steps that will help guide you through the process and help you achieve the results that meet your exceptions. With a little research, patience and perhaps a little more budget – you’ll be well on your way to waking up every morning with new sales notifications coming through your new website. We can’t wait to see it happen for you. Get started right now on your new website!