If you’re in 2018 and don’t have a small business website, then it’s time to make a change in the way you’re running your business.
Around half of all small businesses still lack a website despite the proven value of online marketing. Without a website, you’re at a major disadvantage compared to your competitors.
Not sure how to get started? Here are the 15 steps to a successful business website.
1. Know Your Purpose
Before you even start work on your website, it pays to know its purpose. Some sites are storefronts. Others provide information. Others still are social places. A site’s purpose defines its look and the technology needed to create it.
2. Know Your Brand
Your website is an extension of your brand identity. With the internet being as big as it is, it might be the only glimpse of your brand that some people get. That’s why you need to understand your brand and how you want to project it in the online space.
Your brand also communicates your business values. If you’re a law firm, for instance, then your brand (and your site) need to project confidence and competence.
A sloppy and outdated website could harm that brand image.
Your website launch should go as smooth as possible to establish your online presence. As with most projects, the key to a smooth launch lies in planning.
Take the time to plot out your website before you start to build it. Consider what aspects of your business you want to emphasize, how you’ll deliver content, and how your customers will interact with you.
4. Find Your Platform
There are a huge number of ways to build a website. For a basic small business, you might not even have to know any code.
One of the most ubiquitous platforms online is WordPress. You can start with free options and put a site together from pre-selected themes.
You can put an unambitious site together in an hour or two. If your business has more complex needs, you may want to recruit a professional who can access the full potential of the platform.
5. Register Your Domain
Your domain is your home on the internet. It’s also another part of your online branding.
Snag your domain early. You don’t want to conceptualize your site only to find your preferred domain isn’t available.
The ideal domain will be easy to remember and will share a direct connection to your company name. That makes it more likely that customers can not only find you but also remember where you are.
6. Design It
With the foundation in place, it’s time to translate your designs into reality.
If you don’t know how to create a website from scratch, consider hiring a professional. The more complex your site, the more likely you are to need a professional touch.
7. Think About Navigation
It’s tempting to think that most of us are digital literate in an online age.
In truth, awkward navigation remains a large barrier to online user experience. Customers can soon grow frustrated with cumbersome menus and will check out of an experience that doesn’t present them with what they want.
Make your site legible and easy to navigate if you want to turn visitors into customers.
8. Feature your Call to Action
A site is only as good as what it achieves.
Websites for small businesses centre around the “call to action”. This is the “Shop Now” or “Sign Up Here” part of your site. You need your call to action to take pride of place if you want to convert visitors into customers.
If your site isn’t mobile ready, then you’re cutting out a huge portion of your potential visitors. Check your site’s compatibility on devices from mobile phones to tablets to be sure it’s functional and legible.
10. Test Often
If you expect your visitors to let you know when they fall into a 404 error, you’re in for a rude surprise.
Testing your site often is the only way to be sure that it’s working as intended. Visitors won’t hang around to let you know – they’ll move on to a website that offers what they need, instead.
11. Get Smart with Your SEO
SEO is the secret language of the search engine. It’s how Google knows what comes in at the top.
Ensure your site has its SEO up to scratch to boost your visibility. Aside from the SEO housekeeping, consider working with other sites to get backlinks and boost your credibility.
SEO is a complex field to itself, but there are plenty of crash-courses available online to give you a decent start.
12. Promote It
Your site won’t do much good if no one sees it. Discoverability is a real problem for small business websites.
SEO should take of your site’s passive promotion, but promote actively on social media, as well. You need to get it in front of potential customers or you won’t get a return on your investment. Shareable content is the perfect way to do this through social media.
13. Create Content
Creating fresh content is a great way to keep customers visiting your site. Blogs are one of the most popular ways to do this.
They’re a fantastic way to create evergreen content on a schedule, which will keep your customers coming back.
14. Tweak it
Once you’ve built a stable foundation, it’s easy to make tweaks. You might tweak your site based on feedback, growth, or even a new season. Whatever the reason, tweaking your site keeps it looking up to date.
15. Update It
Speaking of an update, make sure you keep your site in step with new technology. Changing standards of security, screen resolutions, and simple aesthetics will all cause your site to age out of style if you don’t stay current.
Build a Successful Business Website
These tips should be enough to get you started on the road to a successful business website. With just some planning and a willingness to learn, you can transform the online presence of your business.
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