I Need a Website For My Small Business; Where Do I Start?

Developer Questions

I Need a Website For My Small Bussiness - Where Do I Start?

Marketing / Jul 26, 2017

Getting a website is an important step for any business, and it's only becoming more important every day. Let's assume you've taken the first step and registered your businesses domain; now what? Building a website can be a confusing and time consuming task. But, with the right guidance, it can be a smooth experience that adds a lot of value to your business. Let's dive in and take a look at getting started.

What Is The Purpose?

The first step to any project is to determine the purpose behind it. Think about your ideal website, and think about all the pieces of functionality it will need. Do you need a simple info site with a few paragraphs of text? Perhaps you want to collect emails for future marketing, or include a map to your location. Keep track of some of the sites that you like or have the features you want. This will help later when designing the site.

A good way to get an idea for your website is to take a look at your competition or other similar websites and see what type of things they include. You can also talk to a web designer who will be able to provide feedback and suggestions as to what is best practice for your industry. Working with someone who's done this before can really help generate ideas and build a website that works.

All this information will help you decide which platform to pick. If spend a few minutes googleing you'll come across a plethora of different platforms; some need a developer while others are labeled as do-it-yourself. Everyone of these is going have its own sets of pros and cons, so a bit of research goes a long way. Once again, getting the input of a professional is always beneficial. For simpler sites you might be better off with a simple web builder, but as the complexity rises getting a professional developer is going to often time be necessary.

How are Changes Made?

Touched on in a previous post, it's important to understand how changes are going to be made to the website. Many small business owners are not able to go in and edit the code, so need a different approach to doing so. This is especially true for sites that need frequent changes, for rotating specials as an example.

Luckily, most websites are built on a CMS, or content management system. Nearly every developer is going to be able to build your site on a CMS, and all do-it-yourself website builders are one by default.

If you end up going the developer route talk to them about their CMS of choice, and what sort of customizations are available to it. If you need the ability to add new pages make sure your developer knows this. You might also ask if there is any sort of training included. While a lot of modern CMS's are pretty simple once you get the hang of it, they can be a bit daunting at first. Getting the developer to walk you through the functionality is a smart move.

On the do-it-yourself route check out the features of the platform before commiting. If you're looking to do something very unique or complex you might not be able to do so on a generic web builder platform.

What About Marketing/SEO?

A big mistake many business owners make is sinking all of their time and budget into the site itself. Unfortunately, "build it and they will come", is not true on the web. Having a good website is useless if no one is visiting. Make sure to have marketing and conversions as the focal point during the whole process.

Before the project even beings, talk to your developer about how they go about SEO. They should offer a decent explanation about the various points regarding SEO when building your site. We, for example, provide an SEO audit report at the completion of our websites. Having a good foundation to build from is key in SEO, and doing it right the first time will save you money and headaches down the road.

If you're going the do-it-yourself route do a bit of research on your chosen platform in regards to how they handle SEO.

Also keep in mind your post build marketing plan. While there are a lot of free techniques, it's still good to have some sort of marketing/advertising budget. This allows you to outsource the work you might not otherwise have time for, or focus on some of the higher impact paid advertising channels. Once again talk to your developer and see if they can offer any sort of additional marketing or SEO work. We for example, offer various marketing packages at different price points after the build is complete. See if your chosen developer does the same.

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