So you have your shiny new business up and running, but now you need a website, or possibly your website is going to be your shiny new business? There are many options and this only adds to the confusion. This article will outline a few different options you have and how to prepare the necessary items required for your website design process to go smoothly. To Do List for Your First Website…
- Build a website yourself, or have a friend/family member build it for you
- Go online and find a website builder, this is software that allows you to build your own site
- Hire a professional web designer or design firm to build your website
The choice you make depends on how serious you are about your business and how important it is to your income, it not be based on the cost. For example, if you are starting a hobby and want to create a nice blog to show it off to friends and family, then your best bet is option 1 or 2, however, if you are going to rely on your website for income, or at least want it to generate leads and sales for your business, which are vital to its growth and survival, then you want to make sure your website is the best it can be. It’s not the 90’s anymore, and a website is now the most important part of any business, so you should certainly not cut corners in this segment of your advertising budget, as it will only hurt your business down the road.
So in case you have not guessed it yet, we recommend option 3, you should hire a firm to build your website, because it’s too big a project and far too important for one person to learn from scratch. The required tasks, such as design, development, marketing, and maintaining a website effectively, require an experienced team with specialists in each area. Here are just a few of the services required to run a website.
Custom Web Design
You want to make sure that your design is unique, you don’t want to have the same site as your competitor, it’s important to stand out from the competition and your website is going to be the first thing your customers look at. Make sure it’s designed well, easy to navigate to the target goal you have in mind, and built with both human users and search engines in mind. Only build the site first for human visitors and second for search engines.
A responsive website is currently the best way to build a new website. Responsive means it will respond to different screen sizes on mobile devices, laptops, PCs, and so on. The screen adjusts to allow the user to view elements on the page easier than if they were viewing it in the same format on all screens. For example; on an iPhone usually, the screen will morph into a layout similar to an iPhone app. The menu shrinks down to a mini menu icon, also known as a hamburger menu because it looks similar to on, and the text and images enlarge so they are easier to read. For a full explanation please read this blog post on responsive web design.
Your website color scheme should match your logo, many times when a web designer builds your website they will also offer you a logo design. First, be sure to check their portfolio and make sure their style is in line with your branding. If they are a good fit, then it will usually be a good idea to have them design your logo along with your website, because then they will match perfectly. A logo is very important for your branding, it should be easy to remember and very professional looking.
The website hosting you choose could make or break your business, depending on the type of website you need to build. For example, if you only want a small 10-page website for a mom and pop store than a shared hosting provider will do the trick nicely. You can find thousands of shared hosting providers with a quick Google search. However, if your website is going to rely on lots of traffic to build income and leads, then it needs to be able to support this traffic. You don’t want your site caving in when it matters most, such as when you run a TV ad and get thousands of visitors in one day, this could cost you a ton of money. So in this case you want to make sure it can support traffic spikes. I highly recommend either a dedicated server or at least a VPS (virtual private server), as this will allow you to grow and handle traffic spikes.
- Search engine optimization
- Social media marketing
- Facebook Page
- Twitter Page
- LinkedIn Page
- Pinterest Page
- Email marketing
- Link building
- Content marketing
- Video Advertising
- Local SEO and Marketing
- Google Local Listings
- Related directories
- Pay Per Click
- Google Adwords
- Linkedin Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Twitter Ads
- Video Advertising
A shared hosting environment or a managed server will usually include a server administration service that will take care of most of the required duties involved in maintaining your server. However, if for some reason you are running your own server and it’s not managed then you will need to also hire a server administrator to perform upgrades and maintain a secure environment for your websites to run.
Once your website is built, much like a plant, it needs to grow or it will die. Even a small 10-page website should have a blog, where the new content can be added to draw in new traffic and increase leads. You will also need to perform upgrades to software and systems used to run the site and regular backups to make sure your valuable content is not lost. It’s usually a good idea to have the same company that built your site do the maintenance because they know the site very well and can tell what is wrong much faster, which in turn saves you money.