Setting up a new business can be a challenging task, and an essential part of launching it is making a website. It is necessary for connecting with possible customers, advertising your products and services, and establishing your brand. But how do you begin? This is a step-by-step guide that will aid you in the process of constructing a website for your new enterprise.
Define your Target Audience and Goals
Before embarking on the journey to develop your website, it is a must to have a clear and concise understanding of who your target audience is and what your objectives are for the website. Knowing target audience, their wants, needs, likes and dislikes will help to direct the design and content of your website and guarantee that it resonates with them.
Your target audience can be recognized by demographics, such as age, gender, and location, or by psychographics, such as interests, values, and lifestyles. Determining your target audience will aid you in creating a website that appeals to them and meets their requirements. It will also help guide the type of messaging you use on your website, as well as the “Brand Voice”.
AS well as identifying your target audience, it is also important to set precise goals for your website. These goals will assist in guiding the design and content of your website, and will also help you assess the success of your website. A few examples of goals for a new website should include:
Increasing online sales
Generating leads for your business
Providing information about your products or services
Building your brand and reputation
Choose a Platform
There are several different platforms you can use to build your website, including WordPress, Wix, Shopify and Squarespace. Each platform has its own pros and cons, so it’s essential to research and compare them before making a decision.
WordPress is a popular choice because it offers a wide range of customization options, a large community of developers who create themes and plugins, and it’s free to use.
WordPress powers somewhere around 40% of all websites, and over 500 new WordPress sites are launched everyday, and for good reason. It’s probably the most balanced platform where you have unlimited flexibility, with a relatively intuitive back end.
Wix and Squarespace are great options for small businesses that want an easy to use drag-and-drop website builder, with a wide range of templates and design options, though often look “DIY” and “templately.”
Its also important to not that Wix make it very difficult to move your website away from the platform when you are ready to upgrade to something more professional.
Shopify is a great option if you have an ecommerce store. Its dead simple to set up and start selling products. It can get pricey when you want to add additional functionality, and can be limiting on what is possible on the platform, but for beginners it’s a safe bet.
When choosing a platform, consider factors such as ease of use, cost, design options, and the level of technical skill required to maintain the website. It’s important to choose a platform that meets your technical skills and budget.
Design and Layout
Once you’ve chosen a platform, it’s time to start designing and laying out your website. The design and layout should be clean, professional, and easy to navigate. It’s important to keep in mind the goals and target audience you defined in step one.
When designing the layout, it’s important to consider the user experience (UX). The website should be easy to navigate, and the content should be organized in a logical way. The design should be visually appealing and consistent with your brand’s style guide.
It’s also important to ensure that your website is responsive, meaning that it adapts to different screen sizes and devices. A responsive design will ensure that your website looks good and is easy to use on any device, including smartphones and tablets.
Google will penalize websites that are not mobile friendly and prioritize websites that are fast loading and work well, especially on mobile.
You should put a lot of thought into the design and layout of the website. Make sure that it is easy for users to find information they might need, and make sure your “Call to Action” buttons are placed strategically and are clearly visible. Additionally, make sure to include enough “White Space” around different elements to allow users to easily move through the site, without it being to cluttered.
Now that the design and layout of your website are in place, it’s time to add content. This should include information about your products or services, your business’ contact information, and any other relevant information that your target audience may be looking for. Make sure to add high-quality images and videos if possible.
The content should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. It should also be optimized for search engines by using relevant keywords throughout the website. The content should be organized in a logical way and be easy to find.
It is also important to make sure text copy is easy to read. Make sure that you don’t have huge paragraphs of text that fall into the TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) category.
Its useful to break each piece of text copy into three sections.
- The Heading
Short and Clear to let the user see what this section entails at a glance
- The Subheading/Call to Action
Also short, how this helps the customer/offers value
- The Main Copy
Thee actual content or bulk of the text.
Optimize for search engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving traffic to your website. SEO involves optimizing your website’s content and structure so that it is easy for search engines to crawl and understand. This will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it more likely that people will find your website when searching for relevant keywords.
Some of the most important SEO techniques include:
- Using relevant keywords throughout your website
- Creating unique and high-quality content
- Optimizing your website’s title tags and meta descriptions
- Building backlinks to your website from other relevant websites
- Creating a sitemap to help search engines understand the structure of your website
- Optimizing your website’s images and videos by using descriptive file names and alt tags
By following best practices for SEO, you can increase the visibility of your website and drive more traffic to it.
Add a Contact Form
Making it easy for potential customers to get in touch with your business is crucial for building relationships and generating leads. Adding a contact form to your website will allow customers to send you an email or message directly from the website, making it easy for them to reach out to you. You don’t want to have to rely on them finding your email and creating a new email. Minimize the amount of work they need to do to become a lead.
A website contact form should include the following information:
- Name: A name field should be included to allow customers to provide their first and last name when contacting you.
- Email Address: This is a critical piece of information that should be required in order to respond to customer inquiries.
- Phone Number: If your business requires customers to provide their phone number in order to contact them, then it should be included in the contact form.
- Message: This field allows customers to provide the specifics of their inquiry or request.
- Captcha: Including a captcha helps to prevent spam and bots from submitting inquiries to your contact form.
- Submit Button: This allows customers to submit their inquiry once they’ve provided all of the necessary information.
Test and launch
Before launching a website, it is important to test various aspects of the website to ensure that it functions properly and provides an optimal user experience. This includes testing for functionality, usability, compatibility, performance, security, and accessibility.
- Functionality testing is crucial to make sure that all the features of the website are working properly. This includes testing for broken links, page loading times, navigation, and search functionality.
- Usability testing is also important to ensure that the website is easy to use and understand. This includes testing for readability, user interface design, and navigation.
- Compatibility testing should also be conducted to make sure that the website works properly on different web browsers, operating systems, and devices. This includes testing for cross-browser compatibility and responsiveness.
- Performance testing should also be conducted to ensure that the website can handle the expected load and traffic. This includes testing for processing times, page loading times, and server response times.
- Security testing should also be conducted to make sure that the website is secure and that all data is encrypted. This includes testing for vulnerabilities, encryption protocols, and authentication methods.
- Finally, accessibility testing should also be conducted to make sure that users with disabilities can access and use the website. This includes testing for color contrast, text size, text readability, and keyboard navigation.
Once you’re confident that everything is in order, it’s time to launch your website to the world. This is an exciting moment and the result of your hard work and dedication. But remember, a website is not a one-time project, it’s a living entity that needs to be maintained, updated, and improved over time.
Creating a website for your business can be a big undertaking, but by following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure that your website is professional, user-friendly, and effectively promotes your business to your target audience. With a great website, you can grow your business and reach new customers.