If you’re starting a new business, or already have a business but still haven’t launched a website to support it, there’s no time to waste. From branding and marketing your business, and teaching customers about what you do, to selling directly online and even measuring exactly where your customers come from, there are plenty of reasons why it’s vital to have a website in this day and age.
However, if you’re new to the task, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start and what to do–you’ll probably have more questions than answers. For example, should you choose free web hosting, or a paid product? What should the site look like, and what features should be included?
There’s so much to decide, and if you need some help, read on for some tips on how to build a website that really gets results.
Know Your Goals
Your first step should be understanding your goals for creating a website. To build a site that gets results, you need to know what you want to accomplish. This information is also something that you will need to let a designer or other contractor who’s helping you with your site know.
When thinking about your goals, make sure that the results are measurable. Some suggestions might be to increase conversion rates, generate more leads, find new customers in a new target market or demographic area, increase sales in general, build brand awareness, or reduce your business overheads.
No two websites will ever be the same, not just because of their design, but because every site serves a different purpose. The type of site you create needs to reflect its purpose and be completely built around it.
For example, if your main goal is to generate leads and entice new clients to enter the sales funnel (whether by signing up for a newsletter or making initial contact), your website should be designed around providing relevant information. If, on the other hand, your goal is to sell as many products online as possible, then you need to create a more strategically conversion-based website.
Have a Plan
Once you’ve worked out some clear-cut goals for the new site, put a plan in place. Determine your preferred launch date, and then work backwards from there to create a timeline showing deadlines of when steps need to be completed in order for everything to be done in time. Communicate your launch date to any designers you work with, and understand what your role in the process will be at every stage so that deadlines are met and work can be completed without any hold ups.
In addition, it helps to put together a specific business plan for the site once it’s up and running. Ideally, create a plan that covers the next three, six, and twelve months, as well as the next five years. Be clear on where you want the site to be at each of those milestones so that you constantly stay on track.
If you can, plan in advance the strategies you’ll be trying in order to achieve your goals, from email marketing and social media, to Google AdWords, search engine optimization, video and text content, and the like.
Choosing the Design Carefully
Obviously one of the most important parts of any website is the design. This doesn’t just cover the colors used, but also the layout.
Based on your goals, work out what pages need to be included. While most websites always require a home page, contact page, and “about us” page, you may also want to include additional pages, such as frequently asked questions, a blog, landing pages for each individual product, a wholesale specific page, a shopping cart, and more.
The best sites are designed to be easy to navigate. No matter where people end up on your site, they should be able to easily figure out how to get where they want to go, and it shouldn’t be difficult for them to contact you if they want further information or to ask a question.
Keep in mind, if you don’t have the available cash to hire a web design firm or to buy one of the higher-end software-as-a-source programs, some of the many free website creation sites on the market are worth trying. A few of the more highly-regarded options that are quick and easy to use are Sidengo, Carbonmade, Flavors.me, Wix, and All You.
Research Hosting Providers
The web host that you choose for your new creation is also important. You want to choose a hosting company that isn’t just affordable, but also provides a very high level of guaranteed up-time and security, has support if you require assistance, provides regular backups of your site, and is scalable, so you can increase your plan if you start getting a lot more traffic. Having a fast and reliable host will increase user engagement, and will even help increase your visibility in Google organic search.
Create Great Content and Promote It
Now that you’ve taken great care in building your website, you will need to promote it. If you simply build, they will not come. You have to get your brand and content out in front of a relevant audience. You’ll want to work to establish credibility as well. And your content can do all of these things for you. If you don’t have the time or resources to do this yourself, think about hiring a search marketing agency to take care of this for you. And as a bonus tip, work to get published on other relevant authority sites, making sure to link back to your website each time you do. You can find and capture other people’s audiences in doing this, if your content hold enough value, people will want to check out your site. And of course, in going this route, you can also hire a guest posting company to do the work for you should you not have the time.
Its amazing that 99 percent of businesses that build a website do not take these things into consideration. Be sure your plan is well thought out when you set out to build a website for your business. Following these guidelines will no doubt help to make sure you build a website that actually gets results.