Your businesses website says a lot about your business without customers ever stepping into the storefront. Much like your physical location, don’t you want to make a first impression that lasts?
A well-designed website allows customers to browse inventory, read up on services, find contact information, and even make purchases. Similarly, a badly-designed website can cause for confusion and even result in a loss of business. Taking the time to set up a properly-designed website is crucial for long-term growth potential.
Many business owners are too focused on the day-to-day process or are unfamiliar with web development to know how to code, set up a website, or maintain it. That’s why we’ve assembled a seven-step checklist for entrepreneurs to use when building their very first site.
1. Know What You Want
Websites serve different functionalities and can vary wildly in design. Consider social media websites and compare them to news sites or government sites. Clearly, there’s a different approach needed for each to be an effective place to go for your customers.
Before you go off to purchase a domain, start looking around at websites you like and wish to emulate. Find websites for businesses similar to yours and consider what they’re doing right and what they could improve on.
Looking around at other websites will not only aid in inspirations, but give you a better idea of how an effective website conveys information, navigates, and performs.
2. Find A Website Builder
With that in mind, it’s time to begin looking at the types of services offered online that will help you build a website. A good website builder will give you the tools you need to customize and set up the content of your site without inundating you with major requirements of coding and graphic design.
Website builders vary in quality, features, and customization. Consider long-term growth when looking through these and pick the best builder for you.
3. Start Adding Content
With your website builder locked down, it’s time to start adding the content of the site. Begin to fill in sections of your website, including the landing page, products and services pages, and any about sections or history. You may also want to launch a blog with your site, so if that sounds like a possibility for you, consider a builder that has lots of features aimed at blogging.
As you add content, work with your web designer to make everything look just the way you want it. If you have the capital and the time, consider skipping website builders and hiring web developers and copywriters for the creation of your site. Either way, there are many avenues to pursue.
4. Set Up E-Commerce
If your business needs to sell products online or otherwise ask for credit card information, you’ll need to build E-Commerce into your site.
E-Commerce software is used by websites to handle the business of money. Many of these services, like PayPal or Stripe, can be implemented into a website. Talk to your web developer or look through the services provided by your website builder to sort out what you need to do to set up your website to start accepting income.
5. Get it Hosted
With the site completed, it’s time to hand it over to a web host to present to the world.
Web hosts are service companies that handle the business of placing your website onto servers, to be accessed by your customers when they request to see the site. Many web builders have web hosting services built into them to make it easier for the entrepreneur.
In other cases, website hosting services will tailor-make processes to make it easier than ever to transfer your website over to their servers. For example, if you make a website through WordPress, you can utilize WordPress hosting services to transfer your files and get ready to open for business.
6. Set Up the Domain
The last step in this process is to set up your domain, or web address, so that your customers can access the right site. Domains can be purchased either through independent online stores, through your web hosting service, or through your website builder.
As we’ve mentioned before a few places consolidate these services into one to make it easier for you. In any case, once you’ve set up your domain with your web host, you should be able to see your site from any computer in the world.
The final step in starting a business website is to simply troubleshoot your site!
Type in the URL and browse your website from a variety of different devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smaller laptops. Take note of the way the formatting changes and if there are any issues in formatting that you’ll need to change later on.
It’s also a good idea to test out the E-commerce functionality. Purchase an item on your store and ensure that the money spent is transferred in the right amount to the right location. If you face any issues here, it would be best to talk with your E-commerce platform directly and see what needs to be fixed.
Once you’ve checked off all of these boxes, you should be left with an inviting and welcoming digital storefront. Depending upon how you’ve configured the site, you may be able to access analytics about how your website is performing.
These analytics will tell you how many people visited your website, which countries they originated from, how long they stayed on the site, and much they integrated with different pages. This information can be used to better expand the website in the future as growth and bandwidth assuredly grow.
While there are various ways that you could set up your business website for your customers, we think this is the quickest and easiest way for any entrepreneur to get started on their next big venture.
Was this article helpful and informative? If you have any tips for small businesses building a website, share them in the comments below.