5 Simple Steps to Building a Business Website
A business with no website nowadays equates to a business with lost sales. Everyone is on the internet, especially on social media where your business can easily extend its reach beyond the immediate vicinity. So a business with no web presence is an unknown business. Point made, you need not hire or be a web expert to create a website for your business as there are just 5 simple steps to building a business website. Just follow the steps below:
Step 1: What’s in a name?
The first and perhaps the most important step in the 5 simple steps to building a business website, is naming your domain. Proper naming of a website domain is just as important as the naming of a product. If it’s not catchy enough, or not simple enough, not memorable—the website, the business or the product could fail. Steve Jobs named his company Apple to distance itself from the stigma that computers are difficult to use (back then they relatively were). Otherwise, they’ll probably just be another computer company. Microsoft’s simplified operating system Windows RT failed thanks to the fact that people didn’t know what to make of the name, aside from the lack of apps. Nintendo’s Wii U failed because many people mistook the new console for an accessory they don’t necessarily need to buy. You get the idea.
Your website domain by the way is what’s going to be your business name on the web so be sure to make it catchy. Simply put, when you type in Google.com or Facebook.com on your web browser, that’s their domain name. Hitchride.com for instance, could be a good name for a ride-sharing business or monsterchips.com for a cookie shop. Once you’ve thought of a good name that’s not taken yet, it’s time to register that domain name to a domain registrar such as Domain.com or domains.google.com to see if what you thought of is still available.
Remember the following for effective domain names:
- Keep it short – keep your domain name short and simple. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.com is not something everyone can remember.
- Avoid symbols and punctuation – avoid using symbols as much as possible even if they add uniqueness to help with your domain name. Symbols and punctuation are often far from the minds of internet users other than @, : and //.
- Include your location – for additional uniqueness, because what you thought of may be taken already. Adding your state or city could help. Monsterchipschicago or chicagomonsterchips could work.
Step 2: Your Website’s Home
Next is choosing where your domain will live in, aka your host. Simply go to Google and type in ‘web host’ to find yourself a good hosting service. To simplify, the most popular are GoDaddy, Hostgator, Weebly and BlueHost. Your host is where your website will live. Gone are the days when people and businesses buy their own servers and bandwidth to build a web presence. Hosting services are the best options because these companies will handle all the concerns of handling hardware, bandwidth and data backups. Of course these services come with fees. Carefully choose your hosting service as they will all promise competitive prices and almost the same services.
After choosing where your website’s home will be, you can then create your website. Most domain registrars off their own respective ‘easy-to-use’ website builders where even without talent, you’ll be able to create a website as you’ll get to choose between hundreds of website templates. You’ll still need every iota of creativity you have to choose and customize even if they say you don’t need to. Take it one day at a time, no need to stress about it. If you want it easy, Weebly has an intuitive website builder that lets users drag and drop website elements onto a page. If you’ve used Microsoft Word or Powerpoint for fancy page editing for brochures or flyers, you’ll be okay with Weebly.
Step 3: Content
Having a website means creating content that describes your business, your products and services as well as promotional material in the form of text, images, presentations and even videos. Business websites should be clean and organized. Heck, every website should be clean and organized unless you cater to post-modern abstract impressionists.
For a business website, you need pages for the following:
- Homepage or Home – should contain your business name, what it’s about and why your visitors should choose you over everyone else.
- Products and Services – describes the products and services you offer in detail. Five sentences of detail should be enough though you could go into more detail on separate product pages.
- About Us – Here you can shed more light about your company, its history, its mission and even your crew along with certifications and awards that allow for more credibility.
- Blogs – this is where content creation becomes challenging as this is where you need to engage with your customers through creative writing and editing. It’s best for your patrons to see something new on your website at least every week. This could be where you can promote new products and developments to your company.
- Contact Us – is where you put your email address, phone numbers and business address (include a Google Map is possible). You can also include an inquiry form for faster interaction as well as links to social media accounts.
And lastly, if you can make your website mobile-friendly (for phones and tablets) do it. Make it a point to do so as people hardly use computers anymore to browse the web. Many website builders have templates and generate code that allow for mobile-friendliness.
- Google Maps – include a map to your physical location especially if your business is retail
- Contact Buttons – email, twitter, facebook etc…
- Call to action – prompts for memberships or newsletters
- Mobile ordering – the ability to order products through mobile.
Step 4: Your Logo
Like your website or domain name, you’ll need to design a compelling logo for your business. A good logo can make your business look bigger and more important than it is. Depending on how it’s made, logos can also be made to pass on positive subliminal messages about your company. It needs to be as simple and as catchy as your brand name. You can either do it yourself or hire a professional design agency to do it for you and convey those subtle messages ‘buy me’, ‘you need me’, ‘I’m cool’.
Step 5: Design and Build your Website
You’re now ready to design and build your website. As mentioned, make it clean and organized. Make it compelling or engaging but make it simple. Here are some other important things you need to do:
- Keep it minimal – as mentioned keep it simple. No need to go overboard with designs and colors. The most colors you’ll probably need is five unless you’re selling art or candy.
- Fast Loading – again, going with simplicity, keep from using too many web elements to speed up loading times. Attention spans have deteriorated since the last millennium and people will skip your website if it takes too long to load.
- Clear Navigation – navigation should be clear, simple and intuitive. As mentioned in Step 3, design your website based on the pages mentioned and create easy-to-navigate menus for each.
- Call to Action – you want them to buy your products and services. Include compelling eye-catching buttons that say ‘click me’ and prompt your visitors into taking action without them realizing it.
You can create your website three ways:
- Hire a Freelancer – If you want to go cheap, you can hire from a number of microtasking sites like Fiverr or Freelancer—or the friend of a friend of a cousin.
- Hire a Professional – there are plenty of professional agencies out there that can help with the website including the all-important brand name and logo.
- Use your host’s website builder – or you could design the website yourself using your host’s website builder. Test your innate artistic talents on the world and cross your fingers. Lots of people have done so and succeeded.
Just follow the five steps mentioned and your business will have that much-needed web presence. Good luck with the business.