A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating the Best Website for your Growing Business
Regardless of what type of business you manage, your website should always be captivating and engaging. It's one of the main ingredients to a company's success that many people overlook; often assuming their skills and aptitude will be enough to carry them through. While that may be true, hard work and grit can only get you so far if you don't have the ability to broadcast and publicize your assets to the right crowd. Therefore, web design is almost just as crucial as one's skillset. If you're keen to know more, here's a guide to get the ball rolling.
1. Make a Good Name for Yourself
Think of a website's URL as the official gateway to your content. Without a domain name, your website would literally be inaccessible. Thus, it's important to make a good first impression of your site by thinking of a website address that's simple yet memorable. Take note: simple does not equate to simplistic. Often times, the simplest names end up being the catchiest; for example, Twitter is straightforward yet catchy. Its play on birdcall sounds “tweet” is a metaphor for non-stop updates on information. Thus, creating a domain name like this greatly enhances utility and searchability under the marketing concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without further ado, here are a few additional tips for you to try out:
- Use the appropriate domain extensions. Opt for a .com domain name rather than .net or .co for example. Stick with the common extensions. Only use .gov, .org, etc. if it is appropriate for your company's line of business.
- Extend your horizon. Your name should be broad and generic enough to capture a significant market area in the future and not be too focused on dominating a specific category. You'd want to encourage company growth as much as possible.
- Check the prices. Some URLs might already be owned by another person. In such cases, you'll either have to think of a new name or buy it off from the owner. Should you choose the latter, be ready to negotiate and decide wisely if the name is truly worth the price.
- Your URL should be SEO-friendly. If you don't intend to broaden your scope and would rather develop an area of expertise, that's fine too. In that scenario, think of domain names that could potentially narrow the search range like incorporating keywords or geolocation tags unique to your brand; for example, www.SGskaters.com.
2. Choose website hosting platforms with decent tech support
When you establish a website, it'll be operated on a website hosting provider (website host, for short) to ensure that it's viewable on the internet. Your domain name will be associated with this website host such that viewers are shown a website that's being stored under them.
As expected, nothing comes free in life. Therefore, be prepared to pay between $2 to $100+ a month depending on the caliber of support services and technology that the website host provides. Normally, these companies will offer you monthly and yearly bundles at discounted prices.
Here are some trademarks of a good website host provider:
- Don't be stingy. Website hosts with deals as low as $2 per month are often priced like that for a reason. This is because most of those offers are disguised under the plan of a “shared server”. This means that you're sharing their services with other customers which could heavily compromise your website's performance. Moreover, if one of the websites on the shared server gets hacked, your website would be affected as well.
- On the other hand, “dedicated servers” are the priciest. Their cost ranges from $100 to $2000 a month but with the guarantee of optimally smooth performance. Your website will be well maintained in the sense that a physical server machine is entirely dedicated to it. Hence, all of the website host's resources are at your disposal and it's definitely more secure than a “shared server” in the long run. However, only go for this plan if you're truly confident about making a profit sufficiently large enough to cover these costs. If your business is still relatively small and you're only able to break even, I highly advise against this plan at the start.
- The middle ground in all this would be a “virtual private server” (VPS). Being in the mid-range of $20 to $50 per month, it remains affordable while offering you ample technology and servicing. It's a machine programmed to work like multiple machines simultaneously, replicating the function like a “shared server” whilst maintaining a decent level of security and performance like a “dedicated server”.
3. Have a Clear Profile Description
Much like any account's profile, you'd want to make sure that your company's business is clearly stated in its profile. You want your company's message and services to be conveyed effectively to new visitors such that they don't get confused.
Utilizing a homepage banner could be a great way to execute this message: it could be a straightforward description or even a catchy slogan. Either way, people are going to remember your company through this. Therefore, first impressions count.
After you're done, you may also want to create a separate menu dropdown linking to an “About Us” page where you're free to include a more detailed and comprehensive description of your company.
4. Content Management
What good is content if it's poorly organized? If your website's interface isn't intuitive, visitors would be quickly put off and refuse to click around your webpage any longer. Thus, it's imperative that you employ a good content management system (CMS) to optimize your digital content. A good CMS shouldn't require you to possess too much technical knowledge to use. Furthermore, it should be tailored to the requirements of your business — different CMS caters to different categories of businesses and services. As a result, they differentiate themselves according to price, user-friendliness, and functionality.
Some popular CMS platforms include: WordPress, SquareSpace and Wix.
These are common household names when it comes to creating a website because of how well advertised they are. However, very few people know them to be CMSs because of their brand marketing. Luckily for you, you now have access to this information that most rookies don't.
While this article might not be completely exhaustive, there are a lot of good nuggets of wisdom that can definitely help you to build your website from the ground up. Another thing to note is auditing server logs for your website. This is yet another crucial tool that will determine the success of your website as it will give you information that website hosts and CMSs can't. At the end of the day, don't be afraid to explore your options and play around in different market spaces. It's your company and everyone wants the very best for their budding business. Hence, don't compromise and work within your means. Follow the tips shown above and your business is guaranteed to grow in no time.