Are you thinking about starting a business? Consider these tips to help you become a more confident first-time entrepreneur.
Whether you own a clothing store, food truck or consulting company, a website plays a critical role in your small business.
Studies show that more than 70-80% of people will research a company online before purchasing. And they usually get that information by visiting the company’s website.
Even if you don’t have a website, your company might already have an online presence. The problem? You don’t get to control the narrative of your business when it’s mentioned on social media, online reviews and other websites.
Having a website is one way you can manage what customers and potential customers see and hear about your business.
Whether you’re building your website from scratch or improving an existing one, we’ve got six best practices to help you create a site that works for your business. These tips come fresh from a recent expert panel discussion about Website Best Practices, courtesy of Dupaco’s Virtual Business Lab.
|1| Determine your goals
Just like you did with your business, you need to think about the goals of your website—and why you’re creating it.
Thinking through your website’s purpose will help you build a site that best serves your business. Ask yourself these questions to help you identify that purpose:
Think about it this way: Your website is another employee of your business. It’s an extension of your team. So ask yourself:
Your website is like your company’s business card. It not only clarifies who your company is and what you provide, but it sets the tone for how customers will feel when they visit.
And if you’re a new business owner, creating your website gives you another place to figure out more about who you are and what you offer. As your company grows and changes, the purpose of your website will evolve too.
|2| Know who should create your website
Just like filing taxes, you’ll need to decide whether you’re creating your website or hiring someone to do it for you.
Ultimately, this decision comes down to your time, budget, aptitude and comfort level.
If you detest technology and have the budget, you might be better off hiring an expert to help you. But if you’re fairly tech-savvy and have the time and interest, many online programs can guide you through the creation phase.
If you hire someone to do the job for you, you’ll still want to understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how to manage your site moving forward. It’s still your website, so you’ll need to know how to maintain and update it.
|3| Feature clear calls to action
Think back to the purpose and goals of your website. What do you want people to do when they visit: Buy a product or service? Fill out a form?
Whatever your goal is, tell your visitors clearly and concisely. Otherwise, your visitors won’t take that action.
Here are some examples of clear calls to action:
Unlike a physical store, there’s more than one way to access your website. So you’ll want to include these calls to action throughout your web pages. This way, visitors will know what they’re supposed to do no matter which door they enter.
One word of caution, though: Don’t include too many different calls to action on the same page. Otherwise, you risk overwhelming visitors and losing them.
|4| Optimize your website for search engines
You want people to find your business online. And optimizing your website for search engines is an important step in that process.
What does that mean? When people Google a search term related to your business, you want the search engine to suggest your company’s website as a result.
Search Engine Optimization is a bit mysterious, but there are key steps you can take to help search engines understand what your website is about to help guide people to your site:
|5| Make your website mobile-friendly
Your site might look great on a computer. But how does it look when you visit it on your phone?
More than half of website traffic comes from a mobile device, according to Statista. So it’s important to make your website mobile-friendly. You want it to both look and perform well for someone landing on it from their phone.
Otherwise, they won’t have the experience you were hoping for.
|6| Start small
Your first version of your website does not need to be complicated.
You can start small. It can be one beautiful, well-functioning page built to grow with your business.
While you want it to look good, don’t get lost in the perfection of the details. It doesn’t need to be the perfect color, the perfect font or the perfect image. Instead, you want to keep moving forward.
Get it out there and come back to it.
Just like your business, your website will evolve. And you can keep refining who you are and what you want to share with the world.