In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, it is no longer viable to run an offline business. As customers use the internet for everything, from searching for products to the company’s location and working hours, even brick-and-mortar stores need a web presence.
A well-designed website can give you a competitive edge in your industry and if you sell products or services, your business website will open up a new market as well grow your business in a simple and affordable manner.
In addition, your website will generate new customers throughout all parts of the customer acquisition cycle such as when a prospective customer:
- searches for information about a particular company
- retrieves contact information in order to reach out to you
- conducts a broad internet search to find a business that can help them solve a problem – and hopefully discovers you
Here are some basic tips and rules that will give your business website a professional look and feel, make it easy to find, and present your business in the best light.
Pick a Domain Name
A domain name is one of the crucial elements of your website. It is the web address of your website, a URL that you will promote and share with your current and future clients.
As such, it should be descriptive, short, and easy-to-remember. Also, try to avoid using any acronyms, abbreviations, or numbers so that it doesn’t confuse your visitors.
While looking for your domain name, you will also need to decide on your TLD (top-level domain), which is the suffix at the end of a domain name. The best-known TLDs are:
Although non-traditional TLDs have acquired more popularity in the past few years, .com is still the most credible and best-recognized option. People tend to trust .com business websites over other TLDs when looking for product or information online.
Once you choose your domain name, you will have to confirm its availability and then purchase it through a domain name registrar such as Squarespace, GoDaddy or Web.com. If the domain name isn’t available, try to modify it slightly in order to find the one that is.
Choose Reliable Hosting
Website hosting is basically where your website lives. In other words, a host is a server where all your website data is stored for your audience to access at any time. When someone types your domain name in a web browser, that browser fetches the website content from your website host.
For most small businesses, hosting your own website can quickly become too expensive, so you will need to choose an external host. Website hosting will also depend on the website building software you use. For instance, if you decide to build your website in WordPress, you will need to choose reliable WordPress hosting services.
There are several types of web hosting, including shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
- Shared hosting lets you share a server with other websites. It is the least expensive but also the slowest option.
- With VPS hosting, you are still sharing a server, but you will have more capacity for handling a larger number of visitors.
- Dedicated hosting lets you have the server all for yourself but its price makes it a viable option only for big corporate websites.
Pro tip: If your website is getting slower because of the number of visitors it receives, you can use a load balancer that redirects visitors to multiple servers in order to improve connection quality and speed.
Use the Right Website Builder
A website building software, as the name suggests, is what you use to create your website. For those who aren’t tech-savvy, this software allows a fairly simple web design process while the website itself keeps a professional feel and look.
Depending on your technical skills and the complexity of features you wish to add, some website builders will do the job better than others. Some of the most popular tools out there are:
– WordPress – the most flexible website builder, with countless customization options. However, WordPress isn’t that easy to master as some prior coding experience, at least with HTML and CSS, is a must.
– Wix – offers a good balance between flexible features and ease of use. This drag-and-drop website builder is simple and offers hundreds of stylish template designs.
– Squarespace – this tool helps you build visually stunning, minimalistic business websites that will appeal to all audiences. It has one of the best-looking designs that can make your company stand apart from the competition.
– Weebly – one of the easiest-to-use drag-and-drop website builders. It is simple to use but doesn’t offer as many features as other builders.
Now comes the visual part – designing your website and planning its structure. This includes fonts, colors, images, page structure, copy, graphics, and interactive features.
Since most of us decide whether to stay on a website or leave in a matter of seconds, proper website design is the only way to make a strong, positive, and long-lasting first impression.
Here are some basic tips about website design:
– Utilize call-to-action buttons. With clearly indicated actions inside them, such buttons draw visitors’ attention and drive them toward taking the desired action.
– The website should load fast. As we humans are getting more impatient, having a site that loads way too slow will make users leave it. Make sure that your web hosting service offers fast load times.
– Implement clear navigation. When people visit your website, they should easily understand what your business is about, how your product or service works, how much it costs, and how they can contact a representative or make a purchase.
– Minimalism is everything. The design shouldn’t be complex, so don’t stuff your pages with content and visual elements. Simplicity is your friend here. When the design is minimalistic, people can focus on other things such as buying your product.
Get the Most out of Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are an affordable and efficient way to increase audience reach and communicate with your customers about the latest news in your company.
For example, whenever you make changes to your website, talk about them on your social media outlets but make sure to balance it with engaging and non-promotional content.
Remember to add links to your social media on your website. Some of the more common places for this include the ancillary bar (in the top right corner that usually holds login or contact links) or the footer.
Moreover, make sure to always monitor your social campaigns. Social media metrics allow you to track your marketing efforts on social media and get a detailed insight into your performance and audience engagement.
Use the Power of SEO
Finally, no internet marketing campaign is complete without search engine optimization. SEO is important for every business website as a strong SEO strategy enables your website to rank better in search engine results.
This will help drive potential leads to your page. Defining meta-descriptions, title tags, and uniform resource identifiers that are relevant to your business and industry will ensure that you improve your rank in search engines for services or products you are marketing.
In addition, you will also need to include relevant keywords into your website content from the very start in order to generate website traffic. There is a number of free SEO tools on the web that you can use to improve your search engine ranking.
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