Are you an entrepreneur just starting a business? Or have you had a company for a while but never created a website? I was once just starting out without one and didn’t know everything that should be done to create a website, but thankfully, The Hartford is sharing tips to help you know what to do.
You might be asking, “Why do I need a website?” A website is essential to remain relevant and be able to be found, and is especially needed is you want to have an ecommerce store to sell your products.
And as we know, the pandemic forced most of us to stay at home, so online shopping was the way to get what was needed. According to a 2020 report, 80% of consumers search online for products or services they need.
If you aren’t sure what you need on your website, take a look at websites of others in similar industries to see features that are helpful and will allow our customer to easily find the information they need. Once you’ve done some research, you are ready to begin!
The next step is to purchase a domain name (also called a URL which stands for universal record locator). Tips from the article’s author Anne Shaw include:
- Keep it short – If your business name is long, think of shortening the link. It’s easier to remember and type, especially if on a smartphone.
- Keep it broad – to allow for future growth. Switching it later would be an additional expense and a loss of branding.
- Make it memorable and relevant – you want customers to remember your site and visit it frequently.
Your next step is to arrange for secure website hosting. Determine the bandwidth you need based on your website’s complexity and expected traffic. According to the author of the article, so good options include DreamHost, HostGator, Histinger, and GoDaddy.
Step Four is to create the website. There are a number of options available to you. A professional web developer can be engaged, or you can find software to assist you in building it on your own. No matter which option you select, be sure your logo and design enhance the branding you want for your company and that it is maintained throughout your site. Options available to you include:
Host Your Site on WordPress
You can find thousands of available themes to help you design the website for your company. This option includes basic e-Commerce capabilities including analytics and payment processing tools. Your website will most likely need tweaks as your business grows, so be sure your site is maintained by you or a developer.
Small Business Website Builders
There are quite a few options from which to choose, but the author mentions:
- Wix – lets you design a retail website from scratch using a variety of readymade templates. Use your domain name and accept credit card payments and funds via PayPal with zero fees when paying Wix to host your site. Wix also offers ways to track your inventory, offer sales and discount codes, and deal with complicated shipping and taxation issues. discount codes, and complicated shipping and taxation issues.
- Squarespace – This soup-to-nuts website builder and hosting service features mobile-ready website templates, email marketing capabilities, integrated shipping functionality, and analytics to help gauge your most profitable customer interactions. Its collaboration with Google means it also offers secure, domain-based email capabilities.
- Weebly – Affiliated with Square (a payment processing company unrelated to SquareSpace), Weebly lets you design and launch a website quickly. It provides eCommerce tools to sell and ship products while also offering marketing capabilities, including Facebook ads.
eCommerce Website Builders
Are you selling products online? An eCommerce site may be essential for you! Options that may work for you include:
- Shopify – contains robust capabilities and simple website creation tools. The core Shopify account gives you an online storefront, shipping capabilities, payment processing, analytics, marketing assistance and 24/7 support.
- BigCommerce – offers numerous tools for merchandising, including built-in search engine optimization features in partnership with Google, social media sales channels on Facebook and Instagram, one-page checkout designed to maximize sales per visitor, and shopping cart recovery emails that bring back customers who’ve left your site before completing their purchase. The site also offers inventory management tools, along with a variety of payment processing options.
- Etsy – a specialized site for artisans who sell handmade items and vintage artifacts. Etsy permits sellers to list their items for 20 cents per listing, with a credit card fee and commission based on the final purchase price. Etsy offers secure payment processing and advertises items on partner websites to drive traffic to Etsy sellers’ listings.
Once your website has been built, it’s time to optimize it to drive traffic there. It’s important for your site to show up in website searches (the most prolific being Google). One important task is setting up keywords — words or phrases searchers would often use that relate to your business and products. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has you use these keywords in throughout your website so that potential buyers find your site in a search.
Once your website is built, it’s important that it’s maintained. Continuing to make changes or add content (such as articles on a blog) will cause you to show up higher in search results (and having fresh content makes people want to return to your site frequently).
Be sure to track your performance by looking at Google Analytics periodically. This feature helps you know which pages are drawing the attention of site visitors, how long they stay, and where visitors come from. This can help you create effective marketing campaigns to attract even more clients.
This can all seem overwhelming and confusing. If you prefer to have someone help you create and maintain your site, feel free to reach out to me for a referral to someone I know and trust. Reach out by phone to 310-534-5577 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.