Even though there are over one billion active websites today, a good percentage of businesses from around the world have still not carved out their own space on the Internet. Many business owners see websites as being expensive, complicated, or completely unnecessary, but that could be a disastrous mistake in the long run.
An eye-catching and optimized website will drive in traffic and then convert those visitors into paying customers. Whether you run a home-based business or an international conglomerate, it is absolutely vital to have a website that allows potential clients to find you and learn more about your company’s products and services. If you are unsure of where to begin this process, then read ahead for a look at step-by-step instructions that will allow you to create and optimize a world-class site.
Assess Your Needs
The first thing that a business owner needs to do is take a closer look at exactly why their company needs a website. While this might be as simple as providing your customers with basic information on a static page, most will want a little bit more out of their website. At the very least, your website must have updated contact information and a quick look at what you offer. Each page should also create a connection with the visitor and establish your company as a leader within the industry.
From there, the possibilities are endless. Websites can be used as an advertising platform or an easy way for current customers to make payments. They can also be a hub of information to help visitors with instructional videos, reviews, and other online services. While these might sound like lofty ideas that will be nearly impossible to implement, this process is actually quite easy when it is broken down into manageable steps.
Decide on a Web Hosting Solution
The next step is to decide exactly where your website will be stored. For many years, this was a complicated process that required a business owner to rent physical server space from another party, but that has all changed recently. In addition to larger companies that now offer extremely ergonomic and affordable server space, you can also store your website in the cloud, purchase your own dedicated server, partition a computer to act as a server, or even rent out a small portion of another virtual server.
This decision will most likely come down to your technical expertise and the amount of storage space your company will need. For smaller businesses and blogs, a free server with limited storage should be perfectly fine. As your business grows, however, you will want more storage space and professional support from a reputable web hosting company.
Register a Domain Name
Picking the best domain name is more difficult than simply adding .com or .biz to the end of your company’s name. Your domain name needs to be easy to spell, easy to remember, and a clear display of what your company is all about. Business owners should also avoid numbers and hyphens whenever possible.
Once you have chosen a name, you will then need to register it with a domain registrar. For those who do not want to go through an independent registration firm, many web hosting companies provide domain registrations as one of their services.
Design and Build Your Website
With the foundation laid, it is now time to actually design your website. Many business owners have heard of content management systems (CMS) such as Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal, but these are not always the best options for those who do not have a technical background. That being said, a CMS gives you almost unlimited control over the layout of your website. You can also pick and choose whatever web host you would like with a CMS.
The other option is an online web builder such as Jimdo, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. These companies take the guesswork out of building a website by giving customers the ability to choose a domain name, host their site, and then choose a layout all in one place. The costs can be higher and there is less room for customization, but these web builders require almost no technical expertise.
Promote Your Business
The final step is to begin promoting your website. No matter how attractive you have made your website, it will be a waste of resources until you can attract visitors.
In order to attract visitors, you must optimize your website so that it can easily be found on the leading search engines. Effective search engine optimization (SEO) requires a unique blend of tactics including email marketing, maintaining a blog, and staying active on social media. While all of these tactics take time, the end results could change your company forever.
Author Bio: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, Joe enjoys spending time with his family, reading about latest tech gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters