Your First Business Website
When we think about setting up a new website, we automatically go to the question of website tools, which will be discussed here. More important, however, is the topic of website content, which will also be covered. Remember, your website is one component of an overall cohesive marketing plan connecting you to potential customers.
- For basic professional websites, no programming skills are required. However, building a website will be easier for those with computer proficiency. If this is something you do not want to personally take-on or you’re looking for something more complex, hire an experienced web developer.
- If your website is complex or yours is an online business, consider a web developer to ensure your critical business asset is well-designed and gives you all the functionality you require.
Professional websites can be setup easily with a Website Builder when you use one of their drag-n-drop customizable templates.If you need something highly customized, the website builder has options for experienced website developers, or you can hire a developer and let them choose their own development tools.
When using a website builder, it can be a one-stop shopping experience for:
- Domain name (e.g., MySite.com)
- Website templates
- Web hosting
- Storage (space for your content)
- Bandwidth (speed)
- Business email (available with premium versions)
There are free versions available. For business, a premium package provides: no ads, your branded domain name (which is recommended as free ones often include the host’s name), online payments, additional storage, and faster bandwidth.
A good resource for researching how to create a website and today’s tools is in this article or, if you use google, you could query something like “build a website”.
Whether you hire a web developer or do it yourself, the website content is for you to define. A web developer may help you with page design, but the messaging is yours! There are many good articles online that can help you get started.
- Resources – Reading and learning is always recommended. Score has a few examples. Though not robust, they are in a digestible format and will give you a start for what you need to think about both design-wise and business-wise. Links worth reviewing:
- Typical Pages – Websites are as minimalist or robust as you decide. Their sequence is important to guide your visitor to ‘close the deal’. A few common pages are:
- Home Page
- About us
- Products & Services
- Contact us
Create focus and purpose. Document answers to the following:
- Define the purpose of the website
- Identify target audience
- Value Proposition
- FOR [target audience]
- WHO [statement of need or opportunity]
- OUR [product/service name]
- IS [product category]
- THAT [statement of benefit]
- Identify keywords your target audience will use to find your site using google
- Research competitor sites – your customers will visit competitor sites too
- Outline your future website’s pages and purpose of each page
- Write in the active voice for the target audience. Write short sentences and avoid jargon.
- Use keywords in headings and subheadings to make it searchable by google. These are words that might be looked for by your customer in plain English as well as industry specific.
- Write compelling product descriptions that sell:
- Focus on the target audience
- Describe the benefits from target audience point of view
- Provide relevant details: features, intended use, what it does, dimensions, materials, etc.
- Remember to include images too!
- Review online resources for additional guidance on writing persuasive product descriptions
- Structure information to get the reader’s attention and keep them reading – see information pyramid
- Structure the page for ease of readability using
- Bulleted or numbered lists
- Make it interesting with pictures and videos
- Include a “call to action” [CTA] on each page (e.g., Download, Watch Video, Buy Now, Sign Up)
Refine and Finish
- Refine until the website and pages connect the target audience to your products & services
- Check for consistency (terms, formatting, etc.)
- Proofread for spelling, grammar, punctuation
- Test the site for functionality and navigation
You don’t have to go through this process alone.