Building a Business Web Site
Building a Business Web Site
If you’re like most small business owners who want a web site you have no idea what all that technical stuff means. In this post I’ll give you some tips on what you’ll need to get your web site up on the web and bringing in customers. Of course everyone’s needs are different. It’s a lot different to build a web site for a small business who wants to have a web presence and get out information about the business vs. a small business that wants to have e-commerce capability and sell items through an online store. In this post I’m going to focus on the small business that doesn’t need e-commerce, but wants a web site to grow their business.
This is the first thing you will need to decide on before you do anything else. Your domain name is like your business address for the web. It needs to be memorable and easy to spell if possible. You will buy your domain name through a domain name registrar like GoDaddy.com. You will need to create an account so you can purchase and manage your chosen domain name. Once you create your account, the next step is to do a domain search to see if your chosen name is available. If possible, try and find your chosen name with a .com extension. This extension is still the most sought after because it was the first. Most people will automatically type in “your domain name.com” when searching for your business. It’s better for you as the business owner to register and pay for your own domain name. This will prevent someone from holding your domain name hostage should any unforseen circumstance arise. Make sure to keep up with your login information. You or your web site designer are going to need it for the next step.
Web Site Hosting
Your web site resides in files on a web server at a web host. You will pay a monthly or yearly rate to the hosting company to store your files and provide you with access to your web site for design, and for people to access your web site. Don’t worry if this is a little complicated. Most designers can recommend a good hosting company. Choosing your hosting plan will be important, and you should work with your web designer to choose what’s right for you. Most hosting companies make it easy to scale your plan up if you need to expand your web site or you need other services as your business grows.
Web Site Building Software
The next thing you will need is some kind of web site building software. Many small businesses run their web site off a platform like WordPress. Although most people think of WordPress as being aimed at bloggers, the platform has a lot of functionality for building web sites up to and including e-commerce web sites. I run all my web sites on WordPress, and my web site Gary Davis Photography has e-commerce capability. You can go there and have a look around if you want to see some of the things it’s possible to do with WordPress. Most web hosting companies have WordPress as an option to install in your hosting plan.
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Web Site Template
WordPress comes with some free templates installed as options. However, you probably want your site to look unique and reflect your business sector. This is where a premium template can pay off. Premium templates typically have a small cost associated with them. But in my opinion they are a better option than trying to use the free templates and make them fit your needs. There are premium templates for most business sectors. They are pretty easy to customize to fit your other business advertising such as color scheme, adding logos, etc. Be sure to take your time and choose your theme with some thought, as well as input from your web designer.
Now that we have everything in place, it’s time to start building your site. As they say, on the internet, content is king. As a designer, I often have a list of questions I need answered before I can begin building a web site. Some of the questions you’ll need to provide answers to include a list of products or services you offer, short bios of key people or owners of the business, key goals of your site, high quality photos of products or personnel, etc. Remember, your designer is not the expert on your business. That would be you. So it’s important you make time to get all this information together so your site can be as accurate a reflection of your company as possible. After all, your web site represents your company 24/7 on the web. You want to give your potential customers a reason to want to do business with you, and not the other guys showing up in the search engine results.
You want to choose a web designer who can optimize your sites for the search engines by writing your site with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind. However, beware of anyone telling you they can get your site on the first page of the rankings right away. No one can promise you they can get your site listed at the top of the search engines. Although there are ways to increase your chances, the search engines change their ranking algorithms all the time to try and return the most relevant search results. With proper SEO, over time your site should come up in local searches very high, as it seems now that some search engines are using geolocation to make local search more reliable and relevant.
If all this sounds hard, then your best bet is to hire a good designer and let them walk you through the process. If you’re in need of a web site and you’d like to speak to me about web design services I offer, please feel free to contact me from my contact form, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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