When you invest your funds into a business, no matter the type, it’s imperative that you have a strong online presence to promote it too. A business website is one of the most essential tools of operating a venture in this day and age, and shouldn’t be ignored. A good site can help you achieve many things, such as attract potential new clients, build trust and relationships with current customers, develop the brand, and increase revenue.
However, many people who invest in their own small business struggle to keep up with the tech side of being an entrepreneur, and find it difficult to know the best way to create a website that actually gets results (or at least the type of results that you want!)
From understanding what your customers might be looking for online, and designing the layout effectively, to ensuring that the site is secure, running efficiently, and can properly process credit card transactions, there is much to think about. If you need a helping hand ensuring that your investment in a business website is money well spent, read on for some top tips to launching a website today.
Know Your Goals up Front
Before you actually start building your website, you should first be very clear about what exactly you want to achieve with your online presence. This not only helps you to communicate your requirements to a web designer, but also to ensure that the site gets designed in the most effective way possible.
For example, you may want to achieve any of the following through the launch of a new site:
- An increase in the number of customer leads you receive each period
- A rise in total sales
- More brand awareness
- Better conversion rates
- New clients in an untested market or for a new product
- A rise in repeat business
- A reduction in your annual marketing spend
Your goals can affect your decisions about things such as which features are added (or left out of) your website; the information that is conveyed throughout the site; and the different ways that potential or current customers can get in touch with you, amongst others. Once you have your particular targets in mind, you can incorporate them into the look and layout of the site and will be more likely to achieve them.
Understand What Your Target Customer Is Looking For
In a similar way, it’s also important to understand what it is that your target customers are looking for when they search online. This can vary significantly not just from industry to industry, but also from business to business.
- The demographics of your ideal customers
- What main problem(s) they need to solve
- What timeframe they generally buy within
- What their most common questions and concerns are
Carefully Plan the Design
When you’re ready to get started on creating your site, make sure that you don’t rush your decisions about its design. How the site not only looks but also is used is critical, and can radically affect the results that you receive.
You need to have a web presence that conveys the necessary information without overloading readers with unnecessary details, and that is intuitive and easy for visitors to navigate through. Your site should also make it easy for people discern straight away that they are likely to find what they’re looking for, so they don’t click away. It should have:
- An easy-to-read font and no clashing colors
- Good images and other graphics
- Plenty of white space (that is, empty space with no text or graphics)
- A sales funnel that directs visitors through to the completion of particular calls to action
Furthermore, when you’re working out the design of your website, make sure you keep in mind which functions your customers would likely want (such as a shopping cart, a blog, a forum, social media links, contact forms, or a newsletter sign-up option); and ensure that your company’s branding is consistent.
Choose a Reputable Website Host
Successful websites also typically have another element in common: a good website host. While it can be difficult deciding which provider to choose as there are so many on the market, you should remember that they don’t all offer the same level of service or quality. After you have spent considerable time, energy, and money on a top site, you don’t want your results to be affected because your site crashes regularly due to an unreliable web host.
When selecting a provider, read reviews on the various companies out there, find out about their uptime guarantees, compare their prices, taking into account potential “hidden” fees such as cancellation or set-up costs, and ask each business about the customer support that they make available.