So, you know you need to have a website for your small business, but you don’t know where to start. There are so many things you need to know, but you don’t feel you have the time to learn how to create a website and run your business at the same time. In this article, you will find a list of things you need to take care of to get your small business website up and running.
Domain Name Registration
A domain name is the web address that users will type or see in the address bar of the web browser used to access your site. There are lots of companies who will sell you a domain name and some are more reputable than others. Network Solutions is the standard, but they’re also more expensive. Look around until you find a company that gives you a good price, but also gets good reviews from its current customers.
Next, you need a place to put your site. The files that you download to see the web sites you visit are stored, or hosted, on computer servers around the world. A good hosting company will offer reasonably priced monthly service with limits on the amount of storage space you have and how much traffic you can get to your site. Make sure that the company has good customer service (read the reviews) and an uptime guarantee. 99.9% is the industry standard. You can also choose between shared hosting, dedicated hosting or cloud hosting, but that’s an article in itself.
While many web hosting companies have simple systems for creating your own website, you will probably want to have a web designer create a custom look for your website. You want to have a site that matches your company colors and logo, as well as one that shows your potential customers who you are and what you do in a professional manner.
If you choose to use the system provided by your web hosting provider to create your website, you can skip this part, unless, of course, you want your website to have some sort of functionality that is not provided in their standard offering. You need to find a company that will create a site with clean, modern code that will be interpreted well across all the Internet browsers currently in use. They should also be able to create a site that will incorporate social media and follow best practices for search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you have an email address or have browsed the Internet, you have most likely run into the term SEO. Basically, search engine optimization is the process of ensuring that the content on your website has been created in a way that is easy for search engines to find and index. While many companies tout their ability to “get your site to the top page of Google”, search engine optimization is really creating a site that is easy for the search engines to find and read the content, which is what you should be doing anyway for your site visitors. While it is more complicated than that because of the huge competition for website visitors, that is the fundamental premise of SEO.
Social Media Marketing
It has been said for practically forever that businesses survive and thrive on “word of mouth” advertising. Social media is the digital equivalent of friends telling each other about your business over a cup of coffee. The great thing is that you now have the ability to find out that these conversations are happening and proactively tell people who are interested in your service or product about what you do and why you do it better than everyone else.
Website Updates & Maintenance
This is the part that can be the hardest, because websites require constant updates and maintenance and this is the part that is usually overlooked or neglected. Website visitors and search engines don’t return very often to sites that have content that doesn’t change frequently, because everyone is looking for something new and fresh. Technologies change and browsers get update, both of which can cause issues on your site. Make sure that you plan for regular updates to your site when you hire a web developer and set up a relationship with your hosting company.
And so much more…
While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it is a good place to start to make sure you cover your bases when creating a website for your small business. If you want to learn more about any one of these topics, check out our library of small business online marketing articles.