As a business owner, you spend a lot of time finding and presenting your business to the right customers. You spend hours meticulously arranging your products, perfecting your pitch, or figuring out how to connect with your clients to close the deal. These are all important ways for you to present yourself to your clients. However, you may be missing a strong online presence.
A clear, comprehensive website can propel your business forward by creating an attractive experience for new customers and by reaffirming your business’ brand, objectives, and mission to your existing customers. A great website can also make it easier for new clients to purchase or request information online—saving you time and money.
Here’s how to set up a website for your small business:
Choose your platform.
There are many great platforms to build websites on. If your website needs are pretty basic, I suggest looking into a platform with lots of pre-built templates (ie. Wix.com.) For whatever platform you choose, sign up for an account and look through the different templates that are available. Ask yourself: How do I want the website to look? What types of pages do I want to include (See #4)? Remember, you can edit things like images, colors, and text, so focus on the layout.
Secure your domain.
You’ll need to secure your website domain—where your site will live (ie. www.mybusinessname.com). Most website platforms will also include hosting, but you can host your domain externally. If you already own your domain—great!— you can connect it to your account. If you don’t own a domain, you’ll need to check the availability of the one you want and purchase it.
Determine your brand.
If you have a brick and mortar store, chances are you’ve stuck with a theme as you’ve decorated, designed your logo, and presented your products. These things apply to your overall brand. Your website should reinforce your brand and create a seamless transition between your online and in person experience. Stick to the same color scheme, ambiance, and fonts that you use everywhere else in your business. Think of the way you want customers to perceive your brand: quality, fun, trust, high-end, affordable, etc. As you’re editing your template, make sure all the wording, imagery, and information support this brand perception.
Create the “Fab 4”.
There are four pages that every business website should include:
Keep your home page clean and simple with compelling images that support your brand, a short blurb, and a call to action. When you are designing your website, make sure to have your call-to-action front and center. Think of what you want the customer to do when they get to your home page, then make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish that goal. Remember, this is your customer’s first impression of your online presence, so make it count.
Whether or not your products/services are available for purchase online, you should have a product page that explains your offering. This page may contain an explanation of services with a form to fill out, or it may be a shopping cart where people can purchase. Either way, keep the experience clean, compelling, and concise.
There’s a driver behind each business—a reason why a business exists. Your website gives you the opportunity to tell your story, your mission, and your why. Create a page with a short explanation of why your business exists. Here’s an madlib to get you started:
“Business Name exists to help customer type with problem and we do this by services.”
Your customers should be able to get ahold of you. Have a page that includes contact information—the business address, and phone number.
Make sure each of these “Fab 4” pages have links on your navigation bar so that your customers can easily access them.
Before you launch your website, make sure to test everything you can. Check for broken links, broken pages, and anything else that could make it hard for your customers to navigate.