How to Make a Business Website: Step by Step Guide
If your company still doesn't have a website, it probably means that you are falling behind your competitors, and losing deal opportunities. But, there is time to catch up by learning how to make a business website and putting it into practice.
It's important to notice though that nowadays it isn't only about having a website. Just make a search on Google and in less than one second thousand results appear about the same subject.
It's necessary to distinguish yourself to be seen as relevant by your target audience, and building your website already optimized for search engines is part of it.
Investing in user experience, creating an appealing design, providing interesting content that speaks to your potential customer's pain points are fundamental.
You are going to see how building a business website with attention to the details and always valuing quality, from infrastructure to content, can make you gain credibility and increase profit.
1. Plan Your Website
The first step on how to make a business website is to have a well-structured plan for it. Define what is the purpose of your website, what goals you aim to achieve by building it. For example, if you want to sell online, to become an authority in your sector, or build brand awareness.
A business website can have more than one goal, but you need to have them established to develop strategies to get the results you expect. The objectives you set are going to serve as a guide to selecting the proper tools and features to use on the website.
The design and content should be developed considering them as well. Besides, by defining the goals, it's easier to create key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your website performance.
Once the purpose of your website is clear, it's time to research your target audience to have a better understanding of who they are and how your website can be useful and attractive to them. It will help you further when you have to define the design, and the content you are going to publish.
Talking about research, you should also take a look at your competitors' websites. What are the standards when it comes to websites in your market-industry area? How can you stand out from your competitors? Try to answer these questions in your website plan too.
2. Create a Domain Name
A domain name works as the address of your company on the internet, enabling visitors to access your website through it. It's important to create one that is easy to remember and spell, to avoid trouble finding your website.
Make it as short as possible, for example, "www.companyname.com". The domain extension ".com" is one of the most recommended for being simpler, and people are used to seeing it. Prefer this one instead of ".net", or ".co", for instance.
There are some specific cases where other extensions are more advisable, such as ".gov" for government sectors, ".edu", used by educational institutions, and ".org", used by nonprofit organizations.
As for the name itself, you should avoid using numbers, hyphens, and other characters that make the name more complicated. Try to use a short and catchy one, and make sure no other websites are using the same name or registered trademarks.
3. Choose a CMS Software
CMS, which stands for Content Management System, is the software you are going to use to develop your business website. A CMS contains a website builder feature that allows you to create your pages by using pre-built templates and customizing them with a website editor, which usually works with a drag-and-drop tool.
You can customize your website by making different sections, including the home page, a blog, an online store, an about us page, and much more.
The CMS platforms don't require coding or design skills, which makes it much simpler to have your own website. Besides, you can use the platform to manage, create, edit and schedule content.
The best CMS software comes with multiple features that are going to optimize your work. It includes, for example, security protocols, to make sure your website is protected, SEO tools, to make it search engine friendly, and inventory management tools, for your ecommerce.
Some of the most known CMS software are:
4. Choose your Hosting Provider
While many CMS software already offers you a web hosting service, you have the option to use a different company and select a hosting type that best suits your business needs. To learn how to make a business website is important to understand the difference between CMS and web hosting.
CMS allows you to manage your website content, and the web hosting service is responsible for making your website available for people to access it, maintaining it online. There are 4 main different types of web hosting:
With shared hosting, you will share a physical server with multiple websites. It's considered a more affordable option, and it's a solution used by many small companies that are starting to develop their presence online and have a low traffic rate.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server, where your website will be hosted in a server that is divided into compartments. Despite still sharing the same physical server with other websites, it provides you with dedicated resources.
By using a dedicated hosting service, you will have an entire server to store your website without sharing it, which means more resources such as bigger storage space and unmetered bandwidth. This option is indicated if you have heavy traffic, but it's more expensive compared to the others.
In cloud hosting your website will be hosted in a virtual server instead of a physical one. This system uses a network created from multiple servers, if one server fails, you can count on other ones to keep your website functioning.
Some of the most popular web hosting providers are:
5. Develop your Website Pages
Once you have chosen your CMS software and web hosting provider, it's time to focus on developing your website pages. Counting on pre-built templates provided by the CMS of your choice will facilitate the work since you already have a basis to work on.
But, it's important to customize the template, so every section of your website is aligned with your brand's visual identity. Choose the color palette, fonts, and graphic elements carefully. Consider your target audience profile as well.
Another crucial element is the content you are going to insert on each page. They must be constructed to give useful information to your target audience, from the home page to the product description. Also, pay attention to how you organize the content, it must be easy to understand and find the most important information.
6. Focus on User Experience
User experience must be in your and your team's mind at every step of making a business website. Put yourself in the place of someone who is accessing your website and think of how to make the navigation easy and simple for them to wish to continue reading your pages' content or to make a purchase.
When you provide a good user experience, you can reduce the bounce rate, increase the time spent on your website by user session, and encourage them to buy, if you have an ecommerce store.
Pay attention if the design is constructed to highlight the main information, and make it easier for users to find the sections they are looking for. Also, avoid including too many graphic elements, which can be confusing and tiring to the eyes.
Readability is another important issue, pay attention if the contrast between the colors of the font and the background enables users to read the text without having to make an effort. Other features such as an organized menu and a search bar can also improve user experience.
7. Implement SEO Best Practices
When you want to know more about a subject, a company, a product or even remember the name of a song you like, where do you look for it? Probably your answer is Google.
According to Internet Live Stats report, Google processes over 40 thousand search queries every second, which is more than 3.5 billion searches per day. In a report made by Google 59% of shoppers interviewed said that they use Google to research before making a purchase in-store or online.
Making a website that follows SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices is fundamental to conquer more organic traffic and reach your target audience, whether you have an ecommerce or not.
To optimize your website for search engines, pay attention to choosing website builders for SEO, which provides you with responsive templates, allows you to customize URLs, create meta descriptions and page titles, and add alt text to images.
Besides, the website builder should also have 301 redirects and enable you to develop sitemaps. It's also important to select strategic keywords, related to your business, and create content focusing on them.
Pay attention to page loading speed, and if your website is secure, these also affect how Google evaluates the quality of your pages to rank them.
8 . Test your Business Website Before Publishing
After you understand how to make a business website and have developed it, don't click publish without testing it. Review the design of each page and the content, check for spelling errors, and misconfigurations.
Test usability as well, if the buttons are working properly, redirecting to the correct pages, and see the load time. When a page takes too long to load, users feel compelled to close it quickly, which is bad for SEO and for user experience.
Your website doesn't need to be perfect to be launched, there are some details that you are going to see the need to change as you analyze the performance and the users' feedback. But, the testing part helps to reduce errors.
9. Nurture your Business Website with High-Quality Content
Once your business website is released, it doesn't mean the work is done, on the contrary, you will need to update it with high-quality content.
If you opt for inserting a blog section, which can be valuable for SEO purposes, you will have to create a plan regarding when new articles are going to be published, and which subjects to talk about.
Having a blog section that is weekly updated with relevant articles that speak directly to your target audience's interests shows that your brand is online active, and wants to provide valuable content for its visitors.
It can help you to guide visitors into the customer's journey, and to develop authority and credibility in your market sector.
Plan what you are going to publish, analyze the most pertinent keywords regarding your target audience, and develop articles focused on different steps of the buyer's journey.
For instance, you can write a blog post talking about a problem that the customer has just become aware of. On the other hand, you can present products or services that solve this issue, but this is going to be focused on customers that are already on the decision step of making a purchase.
10. Monitor Your Website
When it comes to how to make a business website, it's also necessary to know the importance of monitoring your pages, after the website has been launched. You can use web analytics tools such as Google Analytics.
It allows you to have access and analyze valuable key performance indicators, like the quantity of organic traffic, the main sources where your traffic comes from, the average time spent on each page, the main exit pages, bounce rate, conversion rates, and much more.
If you have an ecommerce site, you can identify more precisely the steps of your customer's journey, see what can be done to increase sales online, and reduce the abandonment cart rate. Besides, it's fundamental to keep track of messages that are sent by visitors and answer them fast.
You need to pay attention to the technical issues as well, intervening immediately when problems such as page errors and downtime occur to prevent it from affecting the website performance.
By monitoring your website, you can improve continuously, and offer a great user experience by implementing insights the data provided by web analytics tools will give you. Keep up to date with new trends, and features that can enhance your pages too.
How to Make a Business Website is Just the Beginning
Understanding how to make a business website and put it into practice is only the starting point to discovering how the internet can help you grow your company and strengthen your brand. Join your marketing and sales team to develop strategies that align your website content with social media, and email campaigns, and make the most of what each one of those channels has to offer.
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