Having a website for your business can be a costly business. It can also be very time consuming. You may be happy to pay someone to build your website and take it all of your hands but if, like me, you like to tinker with things yourself (and save yourself some money in the process) you can cut out the middle man and build yourself a tidy website that will grow with your business. We take a look at the best way to build your own business website, the steps you will need to undertake and the best software to use to enhance the experience.
Of course, in order to build your own business website without it leading to moments of wanting to throw your computer out of the window, you will. need an intuitive interface. Choose one that helps you through the process and offers you hosting and management of your website all in one place. We will talk about this later but in the meantime, let’s decide what it is that you want your online marketing to achieve before you get to the process of building your own website.
Identify Goals Before You Build Your Own Business Website
You may have a really cool name for your website and a logo which you are really pleased with. You may also have some really impressive pictures that you are keen to use but do you even know yet what you want your website to do? What is the purpose of your website and how will it be used? Before you start throwing things together and getting carried away, take a step back and work out what you want from your website.
Identifying what you want your website to do is perhaps the first step before you start to build your own business website. Are you going to use it to sell or do you have other goals in mind? Websites have many difficult functions and businesses have them for all sorts of reasons:
- To tell people more about a business
- To sell products online
- To keep up with the competitors
- To have a shop front on the high street of the web
- To make money from blogging
- To share experiences and advice
There are millions of websites out there costing some which cost less than £100 to build and others which cost tens of thousands of pounds. I recently worked with a customer that had spent £40,000 on their website. On the flip side of that I built one myself for less than £100 to prove to myself it could be done.
With any website, big or small, they all have one thing in common and that is they all want to be seen!
Your starting point should be deciding on the purpose of the website and what you want it to do. Once you know the aims and objectives of your website, then you can take the next step.
Decide on the structure
How many pages will you need on your website to deliver the important messages? A small website may just have one simple landing page or a few pages. Usually a website consists of the following:
- Services – this may then be split down further into sub sections detailing different services
- Gallery – photos of previous works
- Online shop – again this can be split down further into categories
- Contact us
What Content Will You Use?
You need to make sure that you have plenty of content. The preferred level of text for your pages to stand a chance of being returned by Google is 300 words. That’s 300 words minimum for every page. Of course, this is how many website start off, you can add to it later. You don’t want too much content that your customers have too much to read. Stick to short, small headlines or snippets of text on the top half of the page and then have the bulk of your text further down. Be sure to use professional imagery.
You can use stock images, or pictures that you have taken. you can even use customer photos of your products with permission. Also be clear about what your business is from the top of the page. You want it to be immediately clear what customers can expect from the website whether that be with imagery, headlines or your website strap line.
Keep it Simple and Fresh
Tempting as it is to write a complete overview of your business which you are so passionate about, it is important to keep it simple. Write a list as part of your plan of all of your unique selling points before you begin to build your own business website:
- What makes you different?
- Why should people buy from you?
- What do you offer that no-one else does?
- What are your key products and services?
Also consider the layout, it doesn’t need to be full of fancy graphics, videos and all singing and dancing animations – in fact, this will be detrimental to the optimisation of your website as it will be really slow to load and people will get bored. Keep it fresh with plain colours etc. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise on appearance, just consider the user experience.
A Website that Grows with Your Business
Some businesses start off with a few pages and the website then grows. I have seen clients that have started out with 5 pages and now have over 50 pages plus their blog. Thanks to managed solutions such as WordPress and hosting packages such as Bluehost, it is now so easy to add pages and build your own business website which grows as you do. A WordPress website means that it can grow with your business no matter how big or small. In fact, I have worked with many customers now and 90% of them prefer WordPress for the flexibility and ease of use. It is such an intuitive interface that once you have selected your theme, you can then just add content as and when the need arises.
Optimisation is Key
Having a really attractive, well designed website is great. What’s not great is if no one sees it. Unfortunately, you can’t just launch a website and hope that people arrive on it. You need to put some work in. Share it on Facebook, share it in Facebook groups, share blog articles, use platforms such as Reddit and Quora too answer the questions that your website answered. Most importantly make sure your website is optimised.
Using a managed WordPress solution with a hosting package such as Bluehost means that you can add a handy plugin (dead easy to do) called Yoast! Yoast allows you to optimise your post for the terms you want it to be found for. It’s what I use for all of my clients big and small and what I am using now to optimise this blog. It gives you a step by step guide to what you need to do to ensure your posts and pages have a chance of being picked up and returned in Google searches. Over time, you can start to build up content that matches the things that your customers are looking for in search engines.
Use a Solution That Offers the Complete Package
When I originally built this website I didn’t know about bluehost and I ended up purchasing my hosting and managed WordPress solution from one provider and then buying a separate SSL certificate. The trouble is, if you are planning to build your own business website, you often don’t know where to start. With this, at a cost of £6.99 per month, you get everything in one place. It’s so easy to access everything in one place and means you don’t have to have lots of different logins for the various solutions.
Have more questions before you build your own business website or want some help with your website or digital presence? Get in touch and let us know what you need.
At Engage, we have a particular preference for bluehost, so much so that we are affiliate members. If you sign up to their hosting package, we may earn a commission. We don’t mind sharing that with you though as we are more than happy to recommend them to businesses looking for their own website solution.