Does your small business do not have a website yet ? If so, it’s time to take a step forward and develop one that’s right for your industry. Consumers expect to find companies and brands online. Without a Web presence you are missing out on an excellent opportunity to make a good impression and reach new customers.
Having a well-designed website can be an effective way to market a business and compete with the big brands in the industry. The wide variety of offers available made everything much simpler. Whether you are creating your first website or redesigning an old site, we offer you a step by step guide to help you design, manage and promote a professional website.
Establish the main goal of the website
A corporate website generally serves as a space to provide general information about your company or as a direct platform for e-commerce. If you do not intend to accept payments through the website, site development will be easier. However, if you are a reseller or a service provider and wish to offer your customers the possibility to pay online, you will need to use an external service to receive payments.
Even if you have a company that operates in the service industry, you can include a strong invitation to interact on your industry’s website. Whether it is a contact request form or a newsletter subscription, the purpose of your website is to reach as many customers as possible and the correct definition of its elements should be established from the beginning.
Think of the user experience, how does a visitor view your web visa? Whatever the fundamental purpose of the website, it should be easily accessible and accessible to its users and offer excellent navigability even on mobile devices.
Decide on the domain name
The domain name is one of the most important features of your website. It is the URL that you will then share with your current and potential customers and should be something easy to remember, to encourage a possible return to the site. Look for a domain name that is short and without abbreviations, acronyms and numbers if possible, to avoid any confusion.
You will also need to decide your top-level domain , or TLD (top-level domain) . This is the suffix, or the last part of your domain name. Since many domains ending in .com or .it are already busy, you can consider a different TLD such as .net .eu or .biz.
Moreover, for some time new extensions have been registered, among the most interesting we mention .APP, .ART, .BAND, .BLOG, .CASA, .CLOUD, .DESIGN, .EAT, .FOOD, .HOTEL, .NEWS, .ONLINE , .PIZZA, .RESTAURANT, .ROMA, .SPORT, .STUDIO, .SRL
Once you have chosen the domain name, you need to confirm the availability and purchase it through a domain registrar such as Serverplan, Register, Aruba, GoDaddy or Wix. Do not forget to check the copyrights to make sure you are not violating someone else’s secure domain name.
Choose a web hosting service
Each site needs a “host” , a server in which all its data is stored and made accessible to the public at all times. As a small business medium, owning a dedicated server is too big and often useless, so you need to select an external host.
Depending on your budget, you will have several solutions available. A shared web host, the least expensive option, means that you can share a server with other sites. Dedicated hosts have significantly higher costs, but if you have a server dedicated only to your website you will not have to “compete” with other sites that could lower the speed of the site.
When you choose the hosting service, you do not have to consider only the costs, but you must also consider the location and reliability of the servers. You should inform yourself about the efficiency of the services offered, the technical assistance service and check the speed.
With the growth of the website, it may become necessary to update the hosting service, or even work with multiple providers to manage traffic and operations on the website. Keeping track of site performance and user experience is critical to determining hosting needs.
Create internal pages
A good website consists of multiple pages. It is advisable to create pages dedicated to different aspects and services of your business, such as a detailed catalog of your products or services, or a blog section for updates etc. The contact page, which will be the direct connection of customers with your business, is one of the most important sections of a website, so be sure to include as much information as possible (phone number, e-mail, address, etc.). It is also advisable to include some information about the team or staff on the “About” or “About Us” page to help customers connect your brand to real names and faces.
If your company does not have a logo, turn to the professionalism of a graphic designer, it will also be essential on business cards and social media profiles. This will help your customers identify your company quickly and easily on the Web.
Here are some tips that will help you create efficient and content-rich pages for your site:
Mobile First: designing a website giving priority to mobile devices
Until recently, a web project started on the desktop, and only then was studied how to make it compatible with smartphones. The overtaking in the number of users who browse through the new devices is now a reality. How to use a website with a smartphone is very different from that for the PC. It is therefore necessary to study new design approaches that take this revolution into account. Your website is not a sheet of A4 paper!
Be clear about what your company does
Explain what your company does in a clear and precise way. Users should be able to understand what you do or offer within seconds by visiting only your home page. A few well-written pages are more effective than many badly written pages.
Create effective calls to action
Call-to-action buttons tend to be better if placed where visitors also find the information they need. Instead of putting the call to action buttons all over the site, on each landing page and blog post, take a more strategic approach and place the button where the visitor should be ready to make a decision. For example, if you have a page that describes your products or services, you should enter immediately after a “buy” button or a quote request form.
Improve site speed
Optimize your site to be fast. If you use a content management system (CMS), installing the right plugins to cache parts of the site will ensure that visitors do not have to download anything more than once. For WordPress users, we recommend the W3 Total Cache plugin that can compress files and allow visitors to browse the site more quickly. If you are not particularly tech savvy, some of the technical aspects can be taken care of by a specialized web developer.
Avoid photo archives.
Photographic archives are the fastest way to turn a large site into a mediocre site. If you are looking for photos to be included in the web page, it is better to use photos of the team or office.
Set up a payment system (if applicable)
Although this step does not apply to all corporate websites , for companies that want to offer the ability to pay online it will be necessary to integrate electronic payment systems into their websites. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software or third-party payment processors. Some hosts offer an in-house option for e-commerce integration, but not all of them do. So, if you have to choose a payment system yourself, do some research. We recommend PayPal a secure and widely used payment system.
Test and publish your website
Before publishing the site, make sure it works on all major browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Click on each page and feature on all browsers to ensure a seamless user experience. This will take time, but it will save you from future complaints from users who will not be able to access certain features.
Make sure the web pages are responsive . Open the browser of your Smartphone and consult the site in its entirety and ask yourself: Is the text readable? Are the menu items easily accessible? Do not dwell on doodles, think about users, essential and targeted information: in short, worry more about the functional aspect of the graphic part.
Another important feature to incorporate into your website from the beginning is an analysis and reporting program for the site like Google Analitycs. By setting up monitoring before the site is launched, you can predict problems and coordinate an appropriate configuration. Once the site is launched, you can monitor the performance page by page and determine the reasons for success and failure of each page.
You can see which of the marketing campaigns are bringing the most conversions and examine any metrics such as cities, browsers, etc. to shed light on how the audience interacts with your site. If you choose to implement this function after the site is published, you will lose important data and you will not be able to see which elements of the site have been successful from the beginning and which are not.
Advertise your website on search engines and social media
If your company does not have a profile on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn , create it now and include links to the homepage of your website. This is the best way to increase your visibility and keep current and potential customers informed about what is happening with your company. Every time you update the website, post a post on your social media but balance everything with genuine, non-commercial posts.
The reporting of your website to search engines will help potential direct contacts with your page, such as the implementation of an optimization strategy for search engines (SEO) . Define title tags and meta-descriptions that are relevant to your company and your industry will help you position yourself correctly in search engines for the products or services you are offering.
Creating relevant keywords on your website from the first sentences on the site, and paying special attention to SEO optimization , will help you generate traffic from the initial phase.
Dedicate particular attention to the maintenance of your website
Staying up-to-date is just as important as being on the Web, updating your website frequently with current posts regarding your industry, new products, offers and company news, so users will be motivated to return to the site. You must also test the site periodically and make sure it is using the latest versions of the CMS to avoid security vulnerabilities. If you do not have time to do it yourself, delegate the task to a trusted employee or rely on a web agency.
Developing a corporate website is a low-cost investment that will help you increase your credibility and reach a much larger clientele than you could achieve through traditional marketing techniques. As long as you keep your website up to date with new and relevant content and you’ll be quick to address technical issues, you’ll never have to worry about “not existing” for your current and future customers.