It goes without saying that a modern, professional, optimized website is table stakes for small businesses that hope to attract business online. Whether you’re going to try your hand at building your first site yourself or are outsourcing the work to a developer, you need a strategy to guide you along the way.
Here are three critical questions you should ask yourself as you begin to build a small business website.
Understanding the end goal when you build a small business website is critical to making informed decisions during the design and development process. The most common objectives are one or two of the following:
- Make me look credible online: A well-designed website can help establish your business as a professional and trustworthy entity in your industry.
- Give people a place to find my past work: Your website may serve as an online portfolio to showcase previous projects.
- Drive new leads for the business: Your website can serve as a valuable lead generation tool, providing visitors with a way to contact you or make a purchase directly through your site.
- Create a way for people to buy my products and services online: If you’re selling products or services online, your website needs e-commerce functionality, allowing customers to browse and purchase items directly through your site.
Starting with the end goal in mind is critical to making some early-stage decisions about your website. For example, a site that will drive new leads will have very different requirements than a site that is an online portfolio of past work. A savvy website team will address your goals at the beginning of the project to ensure they’re designing with your desired end state in mind.
You may also be interested in: What are the essential components of a business website?
In many cases, it takes more than a solo developer to deliver everything you need and desire from your website. A team approach will help you build a small business website that delivers on the goals you identified in question one above.
Here are the skillsets you may need to bring on board:
- Strategic direction: An experienced marketing professional can ensure your website fits your overall marketing strategy.
- Copywriting: Effective website copy is critical to capturing your brand’s voice and optimizing for search engines, particularly if SEO is a key goal.
- Graphic design: From high-level mood boards to photography and custom visual elements, a talented graphic designer can bring your brand to life.
- User experience (UX) design: A UX designer can ensure that your website is easy to navigate and that visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Developer: A skilled developer will build your site and ensure that it’s optimized for search engines, accessibility, and security.
- Quality assurance: Testing and proofreading all pages and functions will ensure that your website works correctly and is free of errors.
- Project management: A project manager will keep the project on time and on budget.
Websites are never a one-and-done project. Once your site is live, you’ll need to keep the front and back ends updated and maintained to protect your investment in the site, much like regular tune-ups and oil changes protect your vehicle. There are a few components to consider here, but the long and the short of it is that most sites benefit from a package that includes more than simple, low-cost hosting. You’ll need to consider:
- Security: Regular updates, secure server space, and backups are essential to protecting your website from hacks and other security threats.
- Maintenance: Regular updates to plugins and themes, periodic testing of forms and functions, and relevant content updates are critical to ensuring that your website remains functional and serves your business needs.
The most effective website development projects draw on a dream team of talented professionals who can capture your voice, bring your vision to life, optimize for SEO and conversions, and ensure the site will remain functional over time. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! We know that creating a new business website may seem daunting, especially after reading about everything you need to consider ahead of time. Let our experienced team handle everything, from the initial strategy to the final launch, as well as ongoing hosting and maintenance services.
To help start-ups, small businesses, and solopreneurs get their websites (and their marketing) off the ground, we’ve created a Digital Marketing Starter Package that gives you everything you need now to build your online presence. By spreading the cost of website development out over time, we help businesses get online and start growing. Contact us to learn more.