In today’s digital world, all businesses need to have a website that showcases what their company is all about. This is because a well-presented and relevant website allows you to express your company values, purpose, and mission. Within that, an effective website informs visitors of the products and services you offer.
An informative, easy-to-navigate company website should also be seen as invaluable when it comes to reaching a wider target audience because as your website visitor numbers increase, so will your company’s profile.
This makes it essential to choose the right type of website for your business. However, that can be much easier said than done because one thing is very clear. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to establishing a website that meets your specific company needs and goals.
Approaching the design, construction, and content available on your company website should be viewed as an essential part of best business practices. After all, it is your digital face to the world.
5 Steps to Take When Choosing Your Business Website
Before rushing gung-ho into creating a website for your business it is important to understand exactly what you want it to achieve. By defining these needs you will then be far better placed to implement the type of website that does your venture justice and that appeals to your target audience.
To help you define your priorities, here are 5 important steps to consider:
Step #1 - Determine what the primary purpose of your website is
Your business website should serve as a medium to provide general information relating to what your company is all about, your values, and a mission statement. It also needs to clearly state the services or products you are offering.
If you are selling products then an e-commerce solution also needs to be put in place.
However, regardless of what type of business you have, the homepage must state in plain terms what your company does. Visitors to your site must not have difficulty finding out exactly what you are offering and whether that is something they need.
An effective way to achieve this is by considering your personal user experience when searching for things you need. You are sure to have favorite websites and will have visited others that are less than impressive.
Use that knowledge. Take away ideas from the best websites visited as well as those that are less than satisfactory..
By doing so you will begin the process of providing a good user experience, one that makes your website easy to navigate. A satisfactory user experience is proven to bring visitors back time and again. Coming back for more can then translate into new business.
Note: Those companies in the service provision or retail sector need to consider online payment options. This means that external payment service providers need to be researched and then integrated into your web presence.
Step #2 - Deciding upon a domain name
Thought and time are required here. Deciding upon a domain name that is right for your company is one of the most important decisions you will make. This is the URL (Web address) that you will want to share with current and potential clients as well as using it to promote your company on social media.
Your domain name should be descriptive of your company. It should be easy to remember and just as easy for users to input. Wherever possible, keep it reasonably short, and avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers.
From there, you need a TLD (Top-Level Domain). The TLD is the suffix at the end of your web address. This is most commonly .com. Other traditional TLDs are .net or .biz. However, nontraditional TLDs are now more common and .io is viewed as a TLD used by a wide variety of marketing companies and startups.
If you are only concentrating on the domestic market you operate in then you can use the TLD relevant to your country. However, .com is still the TLD that most companies go for.
You don’t always get what you want!
Deciding on a domain name is one thing, securing it is another! You need to check that the domain name you are after is still available. This is a very straightforward process.
To do this, access the web, type in ‘Domain name availability’ or ‘Domain name generator’ - Choose a link offering this free checking service, (GoDaddy and Domain.com are two popular options), input your wanted domain, and see if it is available.
If it is available, buy it, if it is already taken you can reach out to the owner of that domain name and see if they are willing to sell it (or use a domain buying service to negotiate on your behalf). Both of these options are more expensive than taking a brand new domain name, one that has not yet been claimed.
Step #3 - Choose a web host
All websites need a host. This is a server where all of your data is stored and allows the public to access your information 24/7. While it is possible to self-host your website this is seen as being an unnecessary expense for a business just starting. The better option is to go with an external host.
You can go for a shared web hosting service which means you will share the platform with other sites. Choosing a well-reviewed, established, shared web hosting service is a sensible approach.
When looking at shared web hosting providers contact them to make sure they can answer and provide data on questions you raise. Things to take into account include upload/download speeds, where their multi-located servers are placed, cloud offerings, and backup functionality.
While this will come later it is worth mentioning one thing. Once you have chosen and implemented a web hosting service provider you should keep a regular check on site performance to ensure it is up to your expectations.
It is also recommended that you go for paid hosting services. Yes, there are ‘free’ website hosting options out there but these are not really free. That is because they will come with ads or banners on your website. This does not give the most professional approach if you are serious about promoting your business.
Step #4 - Build your pages
View your website as being far more than a static homepage. The goal should be to produce multiple pages dedicated to different aspects of your business. Depending on the type of business you have, this should include separate pages on the services or product categories you offer. A blog section is also recommended as this can be used to regularly ‘inform’ visitors on topics related to your business.
Whatever pages you decide to include, each page should support the primary goal of promoting your business. Regular CTAs (Call To Action) should also be included. Examples here are “contact us”, “learn more”, “sign up” or “buy this”.
Concerning your contact page, view this as being a direct link from your customers to you. Make this easily accessible.
The "About" page is another one that should be included. This should contain details explaining your company’s beginnings and mission as well as showcasing the founding team's abilities.
If not already done so, consider a logo. Your logo can be self-created or you can hire a graphic designer to complete the task. This logo can then be used consistently on your website, social media profiles, and business cards. Keeping consistency throughout will help your clients quickly identify and remember your company.
DIY or outsource web design?
If you have the expertise to build these pages that is fine. However, many startup businesses have more than enough on their plate to start with. If that is your case then outsourcing the design, build, and development of your website is a sensible way to go.
As your business develops you will likely employ an experienced web/SEO (Search Engine Optimization) team member. Their responsibility will then be to manage and regularly keep your site updated.
Step #5 - Test and then ‘go live’ with your website
It is essential to test your website before publishing it. If you have outsourced this work then that is the responsibility of the web design company. If not, you need to comprehensively check that what you have put in place works as it should. Either way, it is essential that you spend time checking all aspects before publishing your site.
You need to ensure the site works with all major browsers out there. From there, click through each page and feature on every browser to ensure the links are correct, the format looks good, and the images show up as expected.
While that will take some time, it will save negative customer reactions from elements of the site that are poorly presented, links that simply do not work, or stated features that cannot be accessed.
Do not dismiss mobile compatibility or an analytics program
You must always make sure your website displays correctly on mobile devices.
Along with other search engines, Google has migrated to mobile-first indexing. This prioritizes the performance of your site’s mobile version when it comes to search engine rankings.
As for an analytics program, this should be implemented from the very beginning. Doing so will allow you to monitor site traffic and analyze the data.
It will also allow you to understand what elements of your site are being looked at and which are not. In that respect, such analysis is an excellent tool when it comes to the effectiveness (or not!) of marketing campaigns and promotions.
Once the above steps are completed, you are ready to go LIVE!
Startups Should Seek Assistance
The experienced team at WOWS Global has given the above information to help startup founders understand what is required to establish a website that is right for their business.
WOWS is not in the website business but we are firmly entrenched in the startup world.
We have created a secure, online digital ecosystem that is specifically designed to help startups at any stage of their journey grow most effectively. To browse the comprehensive services we offer and view a website that we are proud of, please visit www.wowsglobal.com
While assisting founders with smart startup management tools is a key role, WOWS is also South-East Asia’s most active investor matching platform.
As such our mission is to connect startups with like-minded investors who are ready to invest in startups that match their investing strategy.
Any founder looking for advice, and support, or to avail of our extensive suite of services will benefit from what WOWS has to offer.
To find out more please reach out to us for an initial, no-obligation discussion on: