Everything you need to know for quickly and easily setting up your business website
It’s important for any business to have a strong digital presence – and a website is your digital shopfront. It’s your way of telling the world that you’re open for business.
Of course, the needs of each business are different. Some simply need to provide a contact number and a page to showcase their services, while others will need a full ecommerce site complete with beautiful content and payment functionality.
Your objectives, budget, and the functionality you need are specific to you – and these factors should be decided on first, so that you can effectively plan the size and scope of your site.
While creating a site from scratch may seem intimidating, it can be done quite easily, and without specialist expertise.
You can compare it to building a house. You need to:
Lay the foundation
Build the house
Decorate the interior
In fact, let’s put that metaphor into action by exploring what each of these steps entail.
1. Lay the foundation
First things first, you need a web host. Think of choosing your host as setting the foundations for where you’ll build your website: it’s the physical place where it’ll be stored. There are a number of hosts to choose from, each of whom have different packages and pricing options. Bluehost is a popular choice, but feel free to browse and choose an option that’s right for your business.
Also, this is often where you’ll have to choose your domain name. This should be something that’s not just easy to remember, but also fits with your brand. It can be a huge pain to change your domain name once you’ve chosen it (can you imagine changing the foundation of a house after it’s been built?) so be sure to plan carefully.
2. Build the house
Now you have your foundation, it’s time to build your house.
Nowadays, the best way to set up your website is through something called a Content Management System (CMS). Think of these like prefabricated apartments; Instead of laying down each individual brick yourself, using a CMS gives you a premade shell of a website, which you can change and customise as much as you like.
The depth and breadth of that customisation depends on the CMS system you choose. For example, Wordpress is incredibly flexible, but a newcomer may be intimated by the amount of options available. Wix, on the other hand, sacrifices flexibility for a much more user-friendly experience.
Now you have your website up and running, it’s time to make it look the part.
There’s plenty to think about:
Branding: Think about your logos and colour scheme, as well as photography and illustrations. If you need help, you can use services like Shutterstock to source pictures, or even hire a freelancer.
Website design and user experience: What message do you want to convey? How do you want visitors to feel? What pages will you need? How will you link them to together?
Content: Don’t spread yourself too thin – concentrate on designing a few really effective landing pages, with well-written copy and attractive media.
Call to action (CTA): What do you want people to do once they’ve reached your site? And perhaps even more importantly, how do you want them to do it? Website forms are a small business’ preferred CTA, but customers can worry how quickly they’ll receive a response. You may want to consider social media, live chat, and direct email as valid options too.
Once you have your objectives and branding defined, building a website can take as little as 10 minutes. Once you have the first iteration done, you can fine-tune it and add more advanced functionality as you need it.
These steps will give you a website that’s perfect for your specific business. Creating the site isn’t difficult, and neither is optimising it – which is something we’ll explore further in our next blog, Getting heard above the noise