Running a business is no small task, especially when you have to juggle multiple tasks like accounting, management, sales, and marketing. The least desirable task for those who are not tech savvy is to create a website.
Despite your disinterest, having a website can do beautiful things to your bottom line. In fact, 44 percent of online shoppers begin by using a search engine, and 61 percent of global Internet users research products online, according to Ispos.
What does your online presence -- or lack thereof -- say about your business? Customers expect the best even before stepping foot in your shop, and your website is a clear reflection of your professionalism.
With that being said, here are 10 considerations that should be made when building a business website:
1. Establish Goals: What do you want your website to achieve? Goals help define, clarify, and analyze your Internet marketing efforts, and compare them to the results you achieve. Goal setting streamlines communications from within your organization as well by aligning internal teams with a common vision. Spend as much time planning your website as you would executing marketing tactics.
To start, create a SMART goal for your website:
- Specific: Answers "Who, what, where, when and why"
- Measurable: Is quantifiable
- Actionable: Is easy to execute upon
- Realistic: It is reachable
- Time-bound: Is bound within a time frame
Use your goals as key performance indicators (KPIs) based on conversion, referral, and share of voice metrics.
2. Establish an Audience: If there's one thing you need to grasp about content strategy, it is this: know your audience. Good websites connect to their audience on an authentic level. Both demographics and psychographics matter: Know who they are, where they live online, what they know, what they want to know, and how they look for what they want to know.
Get audience data from your customer service team, social media analytics, and focus groups.
3. Choose the Right Website Builder: The horse comes before the plow, right? Make sure you have chosen the right website builder. Factor in usability, cost, plugins, compatibility, user reviews, restrictions, and customer support when selecting the right website builder. If you are not sure what website builder to go with, take this online quiz.
4. Choose a Domain Name: What's in a name? A lot. Before building your website think about if you want an exact match to your brand name or do you want subtle connection? Come up with a list of options, and then determine what domains are available.
5. Consider Your Host: Consider where you are going to host your site. Is it going to sit on a private server that you maintain or with a hosting company? Will your server be able to handle the traffic you anticipate?
6. Make it User Friendly: Forrester revealed that 29 percent of sites fail to comply with basic usability principles, and 50 percent of online sales are lost because visitors can't find content. A clean, easy to navigate website is what every company -- no matter what industry -- should aim for. Lightboxes, white space, and big font are all elements to make it easy for visitors to understand why the site exists and why they should stick around.
Also, make it easy for your users to do the following:
- Read content
- Navigate from page to page
- Subscribe to your email list
- Leave comments
- Share your content
7. Create a Content Strategy: Content strategy includes more than just brainstorming webpage concepts: it includes content analysis, SEO optimization, categorization, management, and promotion. Create a structure for your website content prior to building out your website.
Use a color-coded system in Excel spreadsheet or Google Drive, or a proprietary tool to highlight your plans. Have meetings to discuss the plans. Assemble teams for the different plans, and appoint people to lead those teams.
8. Have a Promotional Plan in Place: You shouldn't pour tons of resources into a website and not promote it. Promote your website through all marketing channels, online and off. Adopt a company-wide email signature with your website, promote your website through direct channels like paid advertising and PPC, and use PR and social to increase awareness.
Take it a step further and use URL tracking so you always know what channel your traffic is coming from.
9. Tie In Analytics Platform: Marketing ROI can always be found in the numbers. Make sure that your website data is being tracked by an analytics platform such as Google Analytics. It is crucial to gauge how users react to the changes, if the bounce rate increases and if you still get enough people through the important and correct sources.
10. Understand the Commitment: Realize the time and energy that will go into developing a killer, converting website. Align the right resources, set up your internal team, and get help if you can't do it alone.