Launching a new website for your startup should be the beginning of an era of growth and prosperity. But to get to this point, you need to make sure that you’ve got several core elements in place, or else your online presence will be dead in the water.
With that in mind, here are the must-have aspects of every good business website which should be on your to-do list.
A domain name
The domain name is the address that visitors will use to find and reach your site in their browser of choice.
You can take your pick of any number of domain names, so long as they don’t already belong to someone else. However, there are some best practices to follow, as well as missteps to avoid.
This includes ensuring that your domain name is short, sweet, and memorable. It should also be spelled in a simple, logical way. Try and grab a well-known domain extension as well; securing .com is better for marketing and user trust purposes than a more obscure alternative.
It’s impractical to host your own website, so outsourcing this to a dedicated hosting provider is an obvious choice.
The challenge comes when choosing a cost-effective web hosting service, because there are so many brands and packages out there. Consider your needs, and read about what cheap web host is the best before making a decision.
One aspect of a web hosting solution that you need to check up on is the type of support that’s afforded to customers. When problems arise, you need to be confident that your provider will be on hand to assist you in getting your site up and running again.
Unless you’re an expert in web design, there are a couple of options for designing your new site ahead of its launch.
First, you could make use of a site building platform, harnessing templates to create a site in record time.
Second, you could hire a professional design team to make your site according to the exact specifications you set down for them, including specialized WordPress web design services that offer tailored solutions to enhance your site’s functionality and appearance.
In terms of affordability and ease of use, the first option wins. In terms of flexibility and uniqueness, the second is the better choice.
Your needs and your budget have to be balanced here; there’s no point splashing out on a bespoke site if you aren’t using it for anything more than giving visitors information about your business, just as there’s no point using a premade template if you’re eager to stand out from the crowd and expect to be welcoming thousands of visitors every hour.
Regardless of the route you select, your site needs to be designed in an engaging and intuitive way. Don’t make the interface eye-catching at the expense of usability. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope, but always test the quirkier elements of your design before going live.
Search engine optimization
A well-built website is all well and good, but if people can’t find it then its chances of success will be slim.
SEO describes a series of tactics that are intended to improve the discoverability of any site to which they are applied.
There are too many areas covered by optimization to get into here, but the basic tenets are making sure that your site loads quickly, has unique and keyword-rich content, is linked to from other sites with good SEO themselves, and that mobile visitors can access and enjoy it without impediment.
Content generation is an especially crucial part of starting a new website, as without copy and multimedia elements to populate the pages, your website will look bare and won’t rank highly for your target keywords.
Quality trumps quantity every time, and this is also an opportunity to grow your brand identity and share it with the world.
You need to know what’s going on with your website from moment to moment, so that you can troubleshoot issues and also make improvements to it over time.
Analytics tools will empower you with the data you need to make big decisions, whether that’s about SEO, content strategy, conversion rate optimization or anything else.
In addition, it’s sensible to put together a plan outlining how you’ll maintain your website over the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
Knowing how you’ll respond to issues and outages, and carrying out preventive maintenance to reduce the risks of unplanned downtime, will make a big difference.
There is much more to running a successful business website than we’ve covered here, but a foundational understanding of crucial components that make up every site is a good jumping off point. Recruiting pros who know everything about what makes a website tick is advised if you are a total greenhorn in this arena.