As a business owner, you know that you need a website. The internet is definitely the future, and it has been for some time. So even when your business is offline, and you have a physical store or office, you know that you’re missing out on a huge chunk of custom by not being online. But at the same time, when you are an online business, you know that simply having a website just won’t do. You have to get it right, know the ins and outs of websites and what you need, and be able to create the best possible site for your business. And when you’re not all that well versed in technology or the internet, it can feel a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Websites can often seem complicated at first. Because they involve code, plugins, development, widgets and more. Whether you want to know exactly what a widget is and why you need it, or you want to be able to drive a significant amount of traffic to your website, you’ll need to do some research. But when that tends to tire your brain, you might like to have it handed to you on a plate, in one concise article, right? So here it is – everything you need to know about the world of websites.
If you’re yet to launch your own website, then this section is going to help you to get started. If you have, then you may find that you can improve and enhance what you have by following these steps.
First off, you’re going to want to make sure that you get some hosting in place. You may be considering setting up a free website, but this isn’t really the best choice when it comes to professionalism and being able to grow in the future. In fact, it’s only ever going to hold you back. Instead, you need to look into web hosting options as listed in that post, and choose a hosting plan that suits you best.
Choosing A Domain
Along with hosting, you’ll also need to find a domain. When you have your own website domain name, your site will look more professional. To do this, you can find expired domains with someone such as FreshDrop or search to see what is currently available. And choose carefully, as you will ideally want your domain name choice to stay with you.
Building The Website
Your final step in getting setup is choosing how you’re going to build the website itself. When you take out hosting, you may find that you’re given a range of options by your hosting provider, so this will help you to decide. You may also find that WordPress, in particular, is an easy to use and manage platform to build your website from.
When you’ve got the framework of your website ready, it’s time to think about how you want it to look and what functions you’d like to be able to have.
This is where you can start thinking about the colors that you like, a logo, your font choices, and what kind of image you want to give off on your website. Unless you are experienced with code, which we are presuming you are not, you’re going to want to look into a template that you can use here instead. This is often an inexpensive way to get a design on your site.
At the same time, you need to be thinking about the key functions your need your website to do. There are a range of website features that are important, and you will be able to find widget and plugins to help you add this in. Essential, these are small pieces of software that allow you to add a particular function to your website, such as an email subscription tool. So work out what you want your website to have, and find the right plugins to help you do to do.
As you start to move forward with your website, you’ll want to make sure that you’re thinking about the user journey. This is how visitors of your site move around the website and effectively use it. As you start to gather this information, you may even want to hire a developer to help you edit your template or create a new design that will suit your user journey better.
You’re also going to need to populate your website with content. There is a range of information that you will need to include, so let’s go over what that will be.
Whether you want to add this in before you launch or later on down the line, having a blog for your business is a really great idea. Not only will it help with your SEO (we will go into more detail about this in the next section), but it also gives you content to share with your customers and site visitors too.
A contact page is one of the important pages that you will need to have on your website. But your contact information is often the most important kind of content that you need to include across your blog, and not just on that single page itself. You’ll want to have your information visible on the homepage, as well as links to your social profiles. You never want your customers to have to dig for your details, as they may choose to just give up if so.
Traffic Driving Strategies
Now that your website is essentially up and running, you need your customers to find you. But how? Here are a few ideas on how you can start generating traffic to your website.
In order for your website to show up on search engines like Google, it has to be optimized. And that is exactly what the practices of search engine optimization (SEO) do. To make sure that you’re optimizing your content and site as you’re building it, be sure to use this SEO checklist as you go along. This will help you to show up in searches and generate traffic to your site.
Next, you’re going to want to turn to social media. Because you can actually generate some traffic from social media if you take the right approach with your marketing. You’ll want to make sure that you’re applying tactics that will engage your followers and lure them to your website. Yes, it can take time, but it’s actually quite fun to test out different ideas and see how they do.
Finally, you’re going to want to think about doing some online PR. This fits nicely in the above two points. Getting links to your website from other sites will help with your SEO, and collaborations on social media and with other businesses or influencers can help you to generate some online PR and bring visitors to your site.
The Importance Of Analytics
Finally, you’re going to want to get to know your analytics. Why? Well, they are essential for you to be able to find success with your website. So let’s see how you can do that.
Knowing Where To Look
As you set up your website, you will find that you have some tools right there in your dashboard (particularly if you’re using WordPress). You will be able to see how many visitors you get and sometimes even where they came from or what links they’re clicking on. But, you need more. Registering for Google Analytics (GA) is important here. GA allows you to see how many hits your site has had and by how many people, how they found you, what pages they’ve been on, and what they have clicked onto. This data can then be hugely important to improving your website.
Using Your Analytics
Once you have got your GA hooked up, you’re then going to want to read something like this guide that will help you to get the most out of your analytics. This data is invaluable and can help you to understand your customers better, which will then help your website to meet their needs.
Continuing To Improve
Finally, you’re then going to want to make sure that you apply your data findings to tweak your site and get results. And you’re going to want to keep on refining your site and then finding new insights from your analytics over time to make sure that you’re always meeting your visitors’ needs.
It may seem like a lot, but when you approach your website in this way, by taking in the build, design, populate, promote, and refine stages that we’ve walked through, you should find that your website is exactly what you want it to be – successful!