How to start a website

Your Website is a sales agent that works 24/7 and delivers the message you want to your visitor every time without fail. Websites don’t tire, don’t need a salary and don’t need to sleep. This makes your website one of the most reliable asset in your web marketing plan. Investing in websites has outstanding long term returns for your business.

Most conventional businesses don’t have a website or web presence and lose out on their revenue that can be generated thro web sales. Most small business owners are busy individuals who don’t have the time to invest to learn all the web knowledge and swim thro the technology mesh to setup their websites. Web design firms like ours help out business owners by taking their ideas and translating them to successful websites that are professional, delivers their message and help them get the web presence at affordable costs.

Before starting a website and hiring a firm to develop one for you, you need to focus on the basics. You need to answer a basic question, what do you want your website to do for your business?. For starters don’t draw up a website plan with all nice and flashy features you have seen on large sites. They may cost more and not provide you suitable return on your investment in the short term. Be very specific and list down 3 very specific things that you want your first website to do for your business. Start out small and then expand big, if the site is giving you returns. Have a list of feasible and qualified features that you actually need or features that will help you in your business. If possible jot down what are features that are “must have” and what are the features that are “good to have”.

General suggestions of features/pages needed on a small business site

1) Provide as much info as possible: In your website, have a good number of pages to describe your product/service/business so that visitors get a good glimpse of who you are what you have and what you are providing. But one important point to note is don’t stuff all the info in your home page, its boring and intimidating for the visitors, Have your info organized over a number of pages(having proper headings/titles) and if possible have small excerpts of your main content displayed as sections in your home page.

2) Enable Buyers to contact you: Have options for buyers to contact you or connect with you. Its mandatory to have a contact us page with a contact form. Moreover to enable more visitors to contact you easily, preferably have a quick contact form on the sidebar of all pages on your site. If you are providing a service and visitors have a provision for receiving a quote, have a “quick quote form” on all major pages of your site, or atleast the pages where you are describing the service.

3) Engage buyers: Have a newsletter signup form at an important location on the home page for interested visitors to signup to receive news and updates about your business and products/services. Offer freebie(a small thing for free, may be even an ebook with tips and tricks) to entice potential buyers to signup to your newsletter. Once visitors signup to your newsletter, provide them useful and relevant content regularly to build trust and encourage visitors to check out your new products and services. Additionally have links for social profiles(facebook, twitter) put in your site for people to contact you thro social sites.

Once you have developed the initial plan for your website(what you want your website to achieve), its time to find a suitable web design and development firm to create your website. Write down all your requirements in a doc and hand it over to your web development firm to give your web developers the initial idea of what you are looking for. Web design and development costs vary widely based on the nature of your needs, so make sure you have the precise needs captured.

For a new website development, these are the items you should be concentrating on:

1) A clean and professional design for your site. Not flashy, and should have nothing to do with Flash. Flash based websites are slow to load, Not SEO friendly and have problems in rendering in modern hand held devices

2) A content management system (CMS) is essential for small sites. Building your site on top of an Open source (read Free) CMS does not cost more, yet it provides you with definite benefits in the long run. CMS based websites enable you to change content of your pages on your own (thus saving cost) and are SEO friendly enabling your website to get indexed by search engines properly.

3) Check and recheck your site, till you are sure all the content you have in your site is authentic, all the info presented is the best and most convincing info/stats you have about your product/service.

4) Get your site reviewed by another person, to ensure that general visitor can easily understand and follow the info provided in the site and easily navigate in the site. Its essential for your visitors to be able to use the site easily. Visitors should not have to struggle to find info in your site

5) Use free Analytics(Like Google Analytics) to track visits to your sites. Google Analytics not only tracks number of visitors to your site and individual pages, but also important stats like bounce rates, which are important in understanding which pages of the site are performing better than others.

Its often helpful to have a discuss with your web developer the best course of action for developing your site. Once the web development starts make sure, you are available to answer development queries and clarify any issues. Always remember a better and timely interaction with your developers lead to a better end product.

Once the development is done, site is hosted live and you have reviewed the site to be working fine. Its time to invest in some SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO helps your site gets indexed in search engines and rank higher for your preferred keywords. Ranking higher in search engine will drive more traffic to your site.

Please get in touch with us to discuss the best solution for your website needs.