You may be planning a new business website because you want to increase sales, get more customers, or simply create a professional online presence for your company. Whatever the reason, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind as you plan your website.
The most common challenge that people have is knowing where to start. This can be especially overwhelming if you’re not familiar with web design, coding, or marketing. Another common challenge is finding the right hosting, domain name, and design for your website. And finally, many people struggle with creating quality content, consistently, and promoting their website.
I know how you feel. It can be really tough to get started on a new business website. There’s so much to think about, and it can be difficult to know where to start. In this post, I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step and show you how to plan your website effectively.
Decide what you want your new business website to do for visitors
When you’re planning a new business website, it’s important to decide what you want it to do for your visitors. Do you want to increase sales? Get more customers? Provide information about your company? All of these are valid goals, but you need to decide what’s most important to you. Once you know what you want your website to do, you can create a strategy that’s tailored to those specific needs.
If you want to increase sales of physical products, or even courses and events, your website should include a way for customers to buy goods or services directly from the site. If you sell physical products, the simplest option is to create an online store that’s integrated with your e-commerce platform (Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Amazon Stores are all options).
If your business sells courses or events, you should include a link to your course page (or event registration form) right on the homepage of your website. This will make it easy for visitors to find and purchase your products or services.
If you want to increase sales of information products (ebooks, membership sites, etc.), you can do what other successful businesses are doing – include download links for freebies (lead generators) right on the homepage of your new business website. This is an extremely effective strategy because it encourages visitors to sign up for your email list. You can then use your email marketing to sell products and services.
You can up your game by adding “landing pages,” which are pages where you encourage visitors to answer one specific call-to-action. In fact, this method is so effective that even Amazon uses it! Landing pages convert an astounding 20-50% of their visitors , which is why lead generation forms and landing pages are a must-have for any new business website. Think of landing pages as a page without the header and footer – nothing to distract a visitor from your intended goal.
Getting More Customers
Not all customers are ready to buy on the first visit. Some visitors considering higher ticket purchases present a longer sales cycle (the time from awareness to payment).
If you want to get more customers (generate leads) from your website, consider adding a blog or making social media pages for your business. Content marketing is an essential component of any online marketing strategy. In fact, it’s been proven that content marketing has a higher return-on-investment (ROI) for longer sales cycles than paid advertising.
If you already have a blog, great! Just make sure that it’s easily accessible from your homepage. If you don’t have a blog, don’t worry – it’s one of the easiest ways to get started.
You can even start with something simple like a free e-book or course. This is a great way to attract new customers and increase sales by capturing email addresses and delivering content directly to subscriber inboxes.
Choose the appropriate hosting such as WordPress, Wix or Squarespace
With so many website hosting options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. The easiest way is to choose a popular platform that’s easy for anyone with little or no technical knowledge to use. WordPress is the most common platform in this category, and it’s rapidly growing thanks in part to the limitations of more design-rigid platforms such as Wix and Squarespace.
Both WordPress and Squarespace include themes that are “mobile responive,” which means they’ll format properly on any device (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.).
If you’re planning to sell physical products (shoes, tools, books), you’ll need to find a hosting service that offers an ecommerce platform. Shopify, BigCommerce, WordPress, and Amazon Stores are all popular options.
If you’re planning to sell virtual products (courses, music, ebooks), you can use a platform such as WordPress or Squarespace.
WordPress is incredibly flexible, allowing you to adapt to any change in customer demand or business evolution. It’s also search-engine friendly, meaning your website will likely rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition, WordPress is free to use, and there are many plugins and themes available that will help you create a beautiful and functional website with or without the help of a professional developer.
Select a domain name
The next step is to choose a good domain name – the actual web address where your new business website will be hosted. An important part of branding is choosing a unique domain name that represents what you do or sell.
The most popular top-level domains (the part after the last period in your domain name) are .com, .co, and .net. However, there are many other options, including country-specific domains (i.e. .au for Australia or .uk for the United Kingdom).
When choosing a domain name, it’s important to consider the following:
- The domain name should be easy to remember and type
- The domain name should reflect what you do or sell
- The domain name should be available to purchase
- The domain name should short (6-14 characters is ideal).
Create your website’s design
The design is the single most important marketing aspect of your website. If you’re not looking to spend a lot on web design, use free templates or paid themes that are mobile-responsive and easily customized.
One thing to keep in mind when using a template: you will have to be comfortable not getting exactly what you want. That’s because a pre-designed template is created by someone who doesn’t know your business like you do. If you want to add functionality or design elements that aren’t already in the pre-built theme, you’ll need to have some developer skills or hire an expert.
If your budget allows it, consider hiring a professional designer with years of experience creating successful websites. They’ll be able to help you choose the color palette, typography, layout and features to maximize your new business website conversions.
Working with a professional designer allows you to focus on your business, rather than learning a completely new skill, which is time-consuming and often results in less-than-professional results. Spend some time studying competitor websites, website that you admire and websites that are successful in your business niche. Your designer can include the best elements of those sites in your new business website.
You can expect to pay a skilled web designer anywhere from $900 to $25,000 for a website, depending on the complexity, size of your business website and the developer’s experience.
Add content to your website
Next, you’ll need to create or hire someone to create original content for your website. This includes:
- Homepage content
- About page
- Contact page
- Blog posts
- Product or service descriptions
Your website, whether it’s an ecommerce or lead generation site, must include a content management system (CMS), which is a tool that allows you to manage your website’s pages, posts, products, media and contributors. WordPress is, by far, the most robust and easy-to-use CMS, capable of managing products, blog posts, subscribers, reviews, comments and just about any form of information you can imagine. Best of all, WordPress is free to use.
Promote your new business website
The success of your website – whether you’re selling products or services – depends largely on how well you promote it. Without a solid marketing strategy, your website will likely go unnoticed by potential customers. After all, nobody knows your business until they find it, and finding it requires that Google recognizes the value of your content. Google only serves results it thinks are the most relevant to its users, so make sure your website and promotions look professionally produced.
There are many ways to promote your website, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid advertising
Each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the strategies that will work best for your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are many techniques you can use to improve your SEO, including optimizing your website’s title tags and meta descriptions, creating relevant and original content and building backlinks from other websites.
Content marketing involves writing articles that attract traffic to your site. It can also include white papers, ebooks, infographics, slides sharing and webinars – all of which will help you generate leads for your products or services. The goal of content marketing is to attract traffic to your website – not necessarily to drive immediate sales. It’s a long-term strategy that will generate a steady flow of qualified prospects who share similar interests and needs, which you can convert into sales later on.
Social media marketing involves taking advantage of the massive popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to gain exposure for your business.
Paid advertising is one of the best ways to get immediate results. However, it’s also one of the most expensive strategies in terms of time and money you’ll spend. For that reason, paid advertising should not account for more than 10 percent of your overall marketing budget.
Referrals are important to driving website traffic because they build trust with potential customers. Ask for referrals from everyone you talk to – donors, volunteers and past attendees – and provide a space on your website where visitors can leave referrals. At the bottom of my emails, I include a request for reviews and a link to Google Reviews. As a result of simply asking, DecemberPress has 19 five-star reviews as of this writing.
Measure results and make changes as needed
One of the most important – but often overlooked – aspects of website design and development is measuring results and making changes as needed. Without proper tracking and analysis, it’s impossible to know whether your website is achieving its desired results or not. And if it’s not, you’ll need to make changes to ensure that it is.
There are a number of ways to measure the results of your new business website including:
- Google Analytics
- User Feedback
- Conversion Rate Optimization
Google Analytics is, by far, one of the most widely used tools for measuring website performance. It provides valuable information about website traffic, allowing you to see where it’s coming from, how loyal your customers are and what they’re searching for when they land on your site.
User Feedback is important because it provides you with direct insight into how your website is being used by current and prospective customers. You can learn a lot about what people think of your site by the comments they make, whether positive or negative.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is another way to measure website performance. It provides insight into the actions your visitors are taking on your site – whether it’s signing up for a service, downloading an ebook or making a purchase. At the same time, CRO can help you identify where you’re losing customers so you can make changes to improve their experience.
In this article, we’ve covered the basics about how to plan your new business website. We hope you found it helpful and will take advantage of our insight as you embark on this journey. If not, feel free to contact us for a consultation. Our team is ready and waiting with all the resources you need to design an effective marketing strategy that generates qualified leads from prospective customers who are looking for your what you have to offer.
What makes your company different from your competitors?
We have a knack for providing creative solutions to complex problems. Whether it’s web design, SEO, content marketing or conversion rate optimization, we have a proven track record of success with a wide range of businesses and organizations throughout North America.
How do I measure results and make changes as needed?
There are various ways to measure results including Google Analytics, user feedback and conversion rate optimization. Google Analytics provides valuable information about website traffic while user feedback gives you direct insight into how your customers are using your site – whether it’s signing up for a service, downloading an ebook or making a purchase. Conversion rate optimization provides insight into the actions your visitors are taking on your site – whether it’s filling out a form, purchasing a product or clicking through to another page.
Do you offer free consultations?
Yes, we offer free consultations for prospective clients. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.
Do you guarantee your work?
We provide a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee on all of the services offered through our company. If you are not completely satisfied with the results achieved on your behalf, please let us know so that we can make things right! We are constantly monitoring website performance as part of our hosting and care plans and will quickly address any outstanding issues that may arise.
When should I expect to see results from your efforts?
SEO takes time – typically at least three to six months before seeing notable increases in your new business website traffic from search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. However, it’s important to note that these results are often cumulative in nature and we’ll see an increase in your site’s rankings over the course of the campaign.
What type of content should I expect on my new business website?
You can expect to see well written, keyword-rich pages that provide users with the information they’re looking for – whether it’s a service, product or destination. As part of our ongoing efforts to bring visitors to your site who are ready and willing to take action, we’ll also include calls-to-action that prompt them to complete a lead form or follow through with a purchase decision. At the same time, we’ll monitor Google Analytics and other forms of web traffic information so we can address gaps and offer alternative methods for getting more people engaged with your brand.