Modern businesses have to have a website, but you already know that. What you need to learn is how to make your website a reality.
If you’re thinking about creating a website for your business, there are ten essential steps you need to take to make sure it’s a success. In this article, we’ll go over each step so you can create a website that achieves the most important goal every website has: generating leads and sales.
Let’s get started.
Why a website is important for your business
I’ve seen it more often than you’d imagine: businesses that are only operating on social media and don’t have a website.
If you don’t have a website, you simply don’t have what it takes to compete in today’s business landscape.
According to a Verisign 2015 online survey, 84% of the consumers believe that businesses with a website are more credible than those who rely on social media to promote their products or services.
Here’s why you need a website if you want your business to grow.
- It increases brand awareness. Potential customers can learn more about your business and your products and services, the key first step in any sales funnel.
- It improves customer service. You can provide an additional support channel for customers who might have questions or problems.
- It leads to greater online visibility. Websites appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), giving your business a better chance of being found by potential customers.
- It enhances sales and revenue. Most importantly, you can sell your products or services directly to customers. Websites generate leads and sales, period.
Your website should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. Think of it as your base of operations. All your marketing efforts should ultimately send potential customers to your website to contact you or make a purchase directly.
How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?
You’ve got three major costs for your website: design and development; content development and SEO; and hosting and domain fees.
There’s no definitive price tag for design and development as this varies depending on your budget. However, if you want something that’s high quality and will last you for years, something that’s simple to maintain, you should be ready to invest at least $5,000.
If you’re wanting to create an ecommerce website, you can expect to pay at least double that. And that doesn’t include the cost of content. You’ll have to pay for your content to be written separately by a content writer (again, unless you think you can DIY it). This can cost anywhere from $50 a page to $500 a page.
If you’re serious about getting the most out of your website, you’re going to have to hire an SEO team to feed keywords to your content writer so that your website is more likely to show up on search engines. A good estimate for SEO is about $1250/month minimum and some agencies can work on a project basis.
Hosting and domain fees generally range between $100 and $300 per year. This fee includes the price of registering a domain name and hosting your website. Don’t skimp here as you need a high-quality host to ensure your website loads quickly.
How to Make a Business Website
1. Choose a content management system
Your critical first step is to decide what type of content management system (CMS) you want to use. This often depends on your website development/design company and what they recommend. Many of these options, like Squarespace, will sell you a domain name and host your website. That will save you time (and sometimes money) by choosing a content management system that’s a one-stop-shop. Where you pay the price is on your ability to optimize and design your website. Your SEO capabilities suffer on the lower end CMS platforms.
Check with your website design/development company and see what they build in. Usually, they build in a specific CMS, so you won’t have to actually make a choice here as they’ll do it all for you. Opt for agencies that work on wordpress, webflow and shopify.
2. Choose a domain name
3. Find a web hosting company
4. Choose a website template or design your own
If you want to make your life easier, choose a marketing agency that works with expert developers. Designing your own website without years of design experience can leave you with something that looks and feels amateurish, which will make your business look bad when customers visit. If you’re going to DIY it, use a beautiful template (many CMSs have them) and make minimal changes to make it unique to you. Try not to change the design and focus instead on your content.
5. Add your content
6. Optimize your website for search engines
If you’re not hiring an SEO company and you’re not a professional SEO, you’re really going to struggle here, but it’s still possible to take a few key actions that can help. Here are a few key things you can do to help optimize your website for search engines:
- Make sure it loads quickly and looks good on mobile
- Use a keyword research tool to find keywords to target that your audience might be searching
- Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions for your pages
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
- Create content regularly on your blog
- Submit your website to online directories and search engines using tools like Google Search Console
7. Get people onto your website
Just because you built it doesn’t mean they’re going to visit. You need a way to get customers onto your website. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Share your website content on social media (including blog posts, deals, landing pages, etc.)
- Pay for search ads or social media ads to bring in interested customers
- Invest in an SEO plan to grow organic traffic (traffic you don’t pay for)
8. Track your website's performance
Tracking the performance of your website is a critical part of understanding how well it’s performing and what areas need improvement.
By tracking website data, you can determine whether people are finding your site, how they are finding it, and what they do when they get there. To determine whether your website effectively achieves your business goals, you can also track conversions, such as sales or leads generated.
There are many different ways to track website data, depending on what information you want to collect. One popular approach is using web analytics tools, which collect data about website visitors and their behavior.
These tools can provide information such as where visitors are coming from, what pages they are visiting, how long they are staying on your site, and what actions they are taking.
If you’re looking for help here, we have partners that help set up the analytics and goals of your website. Reach out.
9. Make changes and improvements
The internet is constantly changing, so keeping your website updated with the latest changes and improvements is essential. This includes everything from the look and feel of your website to its content. You’ll want to keep producing fresh content to keep the search engines happy, but you’ll also want to update the design every few years so that it doesn’t get stale. Search engines pay attention to your website. If it doesn’t get updated regularly, they notice.
We have partners with website maintenance packages that include design and development updates.
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