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When you’re starting a business, it’s essential to create a digital presence right at the start. A business website can be centralized place to direct people who are interested in your business. It can also help you start generating traffic, leads, and conversions almost immediately.
There are dozens of ways to build a website quickly and easily. You could pick one approach at random and hope for the best. Or, you think carefully about how to build an effective business website, and deliberately craft a site that will start to draw business right away.
We’ve looked at tons of business websites and researched many ways to build a website and compiled the 10 best tips for building your business website.
Choose a Strong Domain Name for You Business Website
The first—and often hardest—task when building a website is choosing a domain name. It must be simple, clearly convey the business name or purpose. Obviously, it can not be in use by another website.
It’s best practice to go with a brand name rather than a generic sounding title. You want to build name recognition and help future customers remember your business.
Here are some criteria to follow when deciding on your domain name:
- Stick with .com or .net endings, as these are most easily remembered.
- 10-16 characters is the optimal domain length.
- Make sure no other sites are using your name or a variation. Be as distinct as possible.
- Avoid hyphens, numbers, and other confusing layouts.
Once you’ve decided on your domain name and determined that it is available, purchase it right away. You don’t want anyone to snap up your perfect name while you put together everything else you need.
Pick a Flexible Business Website Builder
Website builders are platforms that allow you to create pages and visual elements on your website with ease. Most include a drag-and-drop functionality. This allows non-web design savvy people to create beautiful websites as well.
Content management systems are a bit more extensive than a website builder. They provide similar layout elements. They also have the capability to host blog content and more.
As you decide on your website builder or CMS, you’ll want to ensure you have maximum flexibility in customizing and updating your website. This will help you make sure it can grow along with your business. You may need to balance costs with your current and future needs, but keep in mind that a little extra cost now could benefit your business later on.
Use a Responsive Business Website Template
As more and more people primarily view websites on mobile devices, it is critical to have a mobile-friendly website from the get-go. Using a responsive template ensures that your site will instantly adapt to any device it is viewed on, whether that’s a large desktop monitor or a small smartphone.
For example, this film website, Made By Hand, looks like this on desktop:
But adjusts to this view on mobile:
Customize Your Business Website’s Theme
Tools like WordPress and Wix come with hundreds of pre-made templates that you can use to build your site. If you go for one of these options, be sure to make significant modifications and adjustments to the template so it looks distinctly yours.
Otherwise, you’ll be one of a hundred websites that looks exactly the same, making it harder for you to make an impression on your prospective customers.
Be Clear & Concise
You might have a complex and detailed vision for your business, but your customers don’t need to know that. Keep your copy short and to the point. Focus on what you are offering right now that will meet an immediate need for your clients.
Make sure that you include clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your page to help guide the user toward purchase. CTA buttons like this “About Us” button can help encourage action from the user whether they’re about to purchase or trying to learn more about you:
Use clear headlines and brief paragraphs to get your point across. Add images and charts to enhance your point, and as a means to avoid huge blocks of text.
REI’s climbing page keeps visitors on track with clear headlines and calls-to-action:
Where something needs more insight, like the featured app, they provide that detail while still being concise.
If you have ideas for a dozen different services and pages you can build out on your website, resist the urge to build them out all at once. Start with just a few pages that are essential to your business, and focus on getting those as perfect as possible.
You don’t have to break the bank to come up with an effective business website. By focusing on these few key features, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to fit the work that goes into the site into your business budget.
The top navigation focuses on their three main services as well as additional information like pricing that customers will need. Visitors know exactly what to expect from any page they click on.
As your site starts to gain traction from these core pages, you can expand to secondary or tertiary pages to provide more context and information on your site.
Think About SEO
While it will be months before you start to see significant organic traffic performance, it’s important to incorporate best SEO practices from the beginning. Things like URL structure, site navigation, and internal linking are all elements that are easier to optimize from the beginning rather than retroactively once you launch a full-scale SEO campaign.
Read through some SEO basics like this resource from Backlinko and incorporate these elements where you can.
Set Up Analytics
Traffic data is going to define your marketing campaigns and strategies, so start collecting it as early as you can. You may have pretty low metrics for the first few months, but establishing these analytics early allows you to monitor the full progression of your website across multiple marketing channels.
Setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console are fairly simple and straightforward tasks—you just have to copy a piece of code into your site.
Update Your Business Website Regularly
Websites are not a “set it and forget it” deal. You must update it regularly to ensure your customers are getting the best information about your company. This will also help you make sure customers can easily contact you to make a purchase. Too often, businesses don’t prioritize their website, leading to frustrated customers and even loss of conversions.
Designate a time every month to review your site and make any necessary updates. Ideally, you won’t have major changes to make, but you can do basic maintenance to keep your site functioning properly.
Keep the Customer in Mind
No matter what your business is, the single most effective way to build a business website is to keep the customer at the forefront. Consider what they need, how they think, and what will entice them to take action on your site. Also, be sure to incorporate each of these considerations into every aspect of your site.
When you serve the customer first, you see higher conversions and better results from organic traffic. Search engines are designed with users in mind, and they’ll reward websites that are too.
Establishing your business website can feel like a daunting task. There are plenty of easy ways to make it an effective tool for attracting and converting customers. Can you add more elements to make your site stand out? Make your site easy to remember and catered to your customers, so they are clear about what you offer and how it helps them. Build your website with a strong foundation so it’s easy to scale as your business takes off.