Updated June 30, 2020
Creating a business website is one of the most crucial ways to build a brand and market a product or service. A business website will help spread awareness for your business and give consumers a chance to learn more about what you do. Even if you don’t plan to sell your products or services from your website, its presence will make your company seem more trustworthy and professional. Below, Credibly covers the basics of creating and improving a business website.
Starting a Website
Although business websites differ in format and purpose, there are some general aspects that all business websites should cover. We recommend handling these tasks at the beginning of the process to improve efficiency and reduce stress down the line.
1. Choose a Good Domain Name
Choosing a good domain name will help set up your website for success by providing an experience that is aligned with your brand. A domain name is the name of your website, which is also the address that users navigate to when searching for your website on the Internet. For example, credibly.com is our domain name.
The most important factors when choosing a domain name are simplicity, branding, and availability. You can check the availability and purchase domain names from a variety of providers, including Google Domains.
2. Select a Reliable Website Host
A website host is an internet service that allows you to make your website accessible on the world wide web. This is the space where the files of your website actually live.
There are two types of website hosts: shared servers and dedicated servers. A shared server is a server that hosts multiple websites simultaneously. While this approach is typically cheaper and often requires fewer technical skills, sharing resources can increase security risk and limit performance. Dedicated servers on the other hand are single servers that are solely utilized by your website. This allows for total utilization of server resources and customization, but it is typically more expensive and requires technical knowledge to configure and maintain. When looking at which type of server you want for your business, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of each and assess your available resources to determine which is the best fit.
3. Carefully Choose Your Content Management System
A content management system, or CMS, is a software application that can be used to manage the creation and modification of digital content. In short, a CMS allows you to make and design your website without needing to know how to code.
While most content management systems operate similarly, they have slightly different interfaces and features. WordPress is the most popular CMS on the internet due to its customizability and admin capabilities, but it is not the most intuitive platform for first-time webmasters. Squarespace and Wix are two alternatives that have easy learning curves and drag-and-drop page builders, but they are often more expensive, less customizable, and lack advanced features. With that said, Squarespace and Wix also provide domain purchasing and hosting, allowing for a simplified all-in-one package that may be ideal for business owners who do not have the skills or in-house resources to build out a WordPress website.
4. Think About Users When Choosing Design & Content
When designing your website, you should always be conscious of the front-end users who will be navigating your pages. It is critical that you provide an intuitive user experience and relevant information that allows visitors to quickly find what they need, such as product information, contact forms, and clear information architecture. The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely consumers will come back to it. By building a user path that is designed to add value and convert users, you should be able to drive significant business volume.
5. Keep Your Website Updated
A simple and often-overlooked tip is to ensure that your website is always up to date with the most current information. Be certain that your website contains accurate contact information, product and service explanations, and relevant content. This ensures that your brand and offerings are communicated clearly and effectively and that no potential customers are turned off by a bad experience.
Enhancing a Website
Once you have a basic website, you will likely have to improve or enhance it as your business grows. Between adding new content, improving user paths, and increasing your visibility on search engines, even the world’s leading companies are constantly striving to optimize their website and digital experience.
1. Consider Adding E-Commerce
E-commerce, or commercial transactions conducted online, can be a great way to expand your business as your target market is not confined to your local community. Everyone has access to the internet and purchasing products online is more common and easier than ever. While e-commerce isn’t a great fit for every business if your business sells a product that is easy to ship directly to consumers this is a great opportunity.
2. Use Analytics
Using analytics can be a great way to track and improve your website’s ability to convert prospects into customers. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are free platforms that allow you to keep tabs on how users interact with your website and how visible your website is on search engines. By understanding how your prospects find and navigate your website, you can implement improvements that increase traffic and conversions to drive more business.
3. Focus on SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of growing the quantity and quality of website traffic by increasing your website’s visibility on search engines. Increasing your website’s organic search traffic can be a massive growth opportunity as it increases your presence among relevant prospects.
Here are some basic key factors of SEO that can be used to increase website traffic.
- Keyword usage is the process of targeting specific terms or phrases with your web pages in order to increase visibility for specific search queries. By focusing on the keywords that add the most value to your business, you can effectively optimize your awareness building around the most important prospects.
- Site speed and security is important because if a website takes a long time to load or is easily hacked, it can have adverse effects on user experience, site traffic, and SEO. Be sure to always provide a positive user experience so that you can build trust with your users.
- Interlinking is the process of connecting different pages in your website, which allows users to easily navigate from one page to the next. This also influences SEO.
- Mobile-friendliness is critical because many users will search your website on their phone, tablet, or another smart device. A bad experience could be a deterrent for them in the future, so it’s critical to provide a solid experience on all device types. Google and other search engines also use mobile-friendliness when ranking your site on search engine results pages.
- Backlinks are links that point to your website from other online content, which is crucial for improving credibility and increasing visibility for SEO. When another website links out to one of your pages, it sends search engines a signal that the page is of high quality. Receiving backlinks from high authority domains and pages is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic as it provides referral traffic and a significant increase in visibility for organic searches.
4. Create a Blog
Blogging can be a great way to establish subject matter expertise, build authority, and shine a light on industry-relevant news. The continuous addition of new content keeps your website updated, provides new opportunities for keyword rankings, and gives business owners something to share with their audience on social media. By adding value and covering topics that your prospects are researching, you can build serious awareness without having to pay money for online advertising.