Creating a website should be a top item in your online marketing goals especially in these times when virtual connection is the way to find and meet customers. The company website may serve as a gateway to gather information, or the actual destination where a sale takes place. It’s an opportunity for a visitor to discover what makes your brand unique, to find the information they’re looking for, and to guide them in their decision to buy.
You may have all sorts of marketing campaigns running: Ads on Google, posts on Facebook, blog articles. And all of it is bring in new customers, and they eventually end up on your website.
All of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces of online real estate that you own.
An effective website is simple, well thought out, and highly functional. It should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can accomplish their goals effortlessly. Your business goals and the needs of your target market should overlap. And most importantly, your website only needs to appeal to your target market.
So spend your effort creating the website to work for that audience and here are 6 tips to help you achieve the goal of creating a website for your business.
Registering a domain name (your website address, link or URL) is like registering your company name with the company registrar, only this time with a domain registrar. The domain is your business’ virtual address. Pick a domain name that makes a strong impression on your users, along with something that will be simple to remember.
Here’s what you need to consider when registering a business domain name:
Simplicity – Make sure its easy to spell and something that is both memorable and catchy.
The shorter a domain name is, the better the user experience will be.
Chose an appropriate domain extension or TLD. Although most people will encourage you to go for .com (TLD for commerce), that is not necessarily the case. These days, there are a few choices to choose from such as “.net” and “.co”. Make a choice that will best represent your business or organization. Domain.com has a great post about TLDs or domain extension.
Think of the bigger picture – Make your website name general to take into account future growth potential. For instance, a website name such as “Amazon.com” is much broader than “Booksonline.com”. This allowed the company to sell almost every type of product rather than limiting them to only books. (which was their original purpose).
SEO Friendly Domain Name – If you can include a keyword that helps make it obvious what your business does while keeping your domain name catchy, unique, and brand-friendly, go for it. But, stay away from domain names that might be considered “keyword-rich” or “keyword-targeted” (such as best-women-shoes-for-women.com or expert-digital-marketing-seo-uganda.com)
While these types of domain names once carried weight as a ranking factor, their tendency to be associated with low-quality content means searchers (and search engines) may now view these keyword-dense domain names with a negative bias. Take some time on this part of creating a website so that you don’t have to change names along the way.
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A hosting company is simply that company that provides the technology to store your website files and retrieve them when a user requests for them. Your domain name will be the address to where your files will be stored online or hosted.
Look out for a hosting plan that covers the features creating a website will need like loading speed, space enough for your website files, up-time, security among others.
Consider subscribing your domain name with the hosting provider because most providers will offer to register your domain for free if you host with them.
Some hosting providers charge monthly subscription but we recommend you go for an annual subscription to have a peace of mind. A hosting service can cost anywhere between a few dollars to over $100 per month. It all depends on what technology and support your business requires. For about 98% of companies, a regular hosting plan under $100 a year will suffice.
Our Digital Marketing Company simplifies this process by adding new clients to our dedicated hosting plan to save them some money and also to keep an eye on their website in case of hackers trying to infiltrate their website.
We have used Siteground to host over 600 websites for 10 years, we love it to bits and you will too.
A few years ago, creating a website was done in HTML static form, meaning that if you wanted a small change to your website, you would have to call your web developer. Nowadays, a client is more than capable of making these subtle changes without the assistance of a trained professional, thanks to Content Management Systems like WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Squarespace and others out there.
Almost all our websites are built on the WordPress CMS because it’s the world’s most popular and it has a large community of developers and thousands of plugins to increase the functionality of any website. The majority of web developers have some familiarity with it so it is not difficult to find an individual or agency that can work on your website. The platform is flexible enough for any type of business to take advantage of.
Wix and Squarespace have been recently popularised by advertising simplicity to create a website but still taking the far lower market share compared to WordPress. These two provide a monthly subscription type service that makes website and blog creation an easy “drag and drop” experience.
Simplicity was the major goal of Wix and Squarespace creators and that to me is not enough for a great website. The two companies forego unique functions that are required by most small businesses for simplicity. If you cannot afford a professional web developer, Wix or Squarespace may be a viable alternative. However, since your website is usually the first interaction between your business and a potential customer, we recommend not cutting corners here. When trying to make a strong impression, avoid the two.
Content is like the major ingredient of a successful website.
When creating a website, remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention–otherwise they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important web design tips to keep in mind:
Take a look at your competitors to see how their website pages are structured. What do you like about their website and what would you want to improve upon. See what keywords they are using as well.
Research your target audience to have a better understanding of what these potential visitors want from your website and find a way to make this easy to accomplish. A good UX (user experience) will ultimately increase your traffic and result in increased sales in the process.
Make the navigation system intuitive and easy to follow.
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One of the most forgotten important step in creating a website is Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. Without doing SEO, your website will never get found among trillions of websites online. Don’t forget to optimize your website so that search engines can find the pages and serve them to the right users when they search for keywords related to your business.
Google and other search engines have set guidelines that website designers should follow to get their websites crawled, ranked against other websites and stored for future search reference. These set guidelines are what developers call Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
When creating your website, most of your initial SEO efforts will be spent in finding great and competitive keywords that you expect your prospects will be searching for in Google. Use keyword research tools like Google Trends to zoom in on what your customers search for and leverage your website page content to show those keywords using SEO guidelines.
Here are some guidelines to consider when dealing with Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an ongoing process that, if done correctly, can mean the difference between showing up on the first page of Google and having a good amount of traffic or showing up on page 100 and having absolutely no traffic.
Get professional SEO guidance from an expert.
Successful business websites are those that continue testing small changes on their web pages to find what converts visitors into buyers.
For example: what happens if the color of the Call To Action button switches from blue to red? Or what will be the user response if you moved some content from the bottom to the top?. While you often will see only slight movement up or down, your site will be stronger overall if each change in the series causes a small increase.
During testing, commit to making only one change at a time. You might experiment with button color, text or placement of elements. Then, depending on your website traffic, wait a few weeks before analyzing the data and deciding whether that change becomes permanent or reverts to the previous layout.
In conclusion, as a starting business you shouldn’t be spending more than is necessary in creating a website that will market your business. Your website should look good and be easy to use and find information. It should not be overly expensive to create. In fact, it might be better to direct your funds elsewhere, especially if you have concerns about cash flow in the company. Save your money for marketing your business online.