Having a website has become a necessity for home-based and small business, entrepreneurs and generally, anyone who’s trying to market their products and specific services. Allowing the customers to find your business using search engines such as Google and Yahoo is imperative for creating and keeping new customers, no matter what marketing technique you’re currently using. Even if you’re not selling anything, a website can function as an online business card, detailing your information, as well as the animation regarding your business and the services you offer.
Not to mention that having a website is an excellent way to showcase your background, credentials, and experience you have gained and assure a potential customer that you’re the right choice for them. Creating and maintain a website has become fairly easy over the last couple of years and choosing between making the website yourself or hiring a web developer mostly depends on your skill levels, as well as the planned budget. Whether you hire someone or end up DIYing the whole thing, here are some things you should consider before designing your business website.
What is the purpose of your website?
The first thing to consider before embarking on the journey of designing your own website is to figure out . If your website is there simply to provide information to potential clientele about you and your business, then the website will be fairly simple and static. If you plan on churning a lot of content, such as articles detailing your business and the services you offer, then you might consider getting a content management system.
On the other hand, you might want invest in a social media marketing strategy and write a blog in order to attract and engage new, potential customers. Alternatively, you might be interested in offering services and selling products directly online. Deciding what you’re going to use your website for is very important, as it lays the foundation for any future work that might get done on the website, as well as dictates the specific business and marketing campaign you’ll end up using to promote it.
Finding the right hosting
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your website, the next order of business is to . Depending on what you plan to do with your website, you can choose between shared and managed hosting. Shared hosting is recommended for beginners, due to its low price point, however, using shared hosting means that your website shares the server with a number of other websites, which can be a problem with resources, especially on days with high traffic.
Alternatively, managed horsing offers a more dedicated solution, but it comes at a greater price point. Most managed hosting providers offer the most optimized configurations regarding servers that run WordPress websites, as well as automatic backups, automatic updates and some fairly advanced security features which safeguard your website from hacking attempts and malicious attacks. Which solution will you end up choosing depends on the type of website you plan on developing and the available funds you have at the moment.
Choosing the appropriate CMS
CMS, or content management systems are application which are used to create, run and maintain a website and its content. The top three choices include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. All of them are free and open source and allow you completely customize the core files in order to improve the way your website works. WordPress is by far the most popular solution, due to its easy to use content managing interface. Joomla is a bit more complex, but it takes some time to modify it before it can be used. Drupal is the most serious contender; as there really isn’t much you can’t do with it. Again, choosing the right one depends heavily on the type of business you plan on using your website for.
Templates and Plugins
Once you’ve decided on the hosting and found the right software, it’s time to start adding features. Joomla and WordPress offer thousands of different templates you can choose from to make your website feel and look just the way you want it. Some can be cheap and somewhat generic, while others can be a little more expensive as they revolve around a specific type of service or a product. You don’t have to get the most expensive on and try finding the one that offers the most features you’re looking for in a template.
Both WordPress and Joomla can be further equipped and enhanced with specific plugins. There are a lot of free ones, but you might have to spend a little cash in order to get the ones that actually get the job done. They come with different functionalities, such as adding social media buttons, adding e-commerce, compressing image files, caching files and some even offer an excellent protection against hacking and phishing attacks. Experts recommend that you don’t have too many plugins running at the same time, or your risk increasing the time it takes your site to load.
Mobile-first is the key!
In 2017, Google has announced , which dictates that all websites must be developed for mobile fist and then for desktops. This comes as a no surprise, as half of all internet traffic now goes through mobile devices. Failing to make your website mobile-first can result in your website getting penalized by the search engines, by lowering your rank in the search engine results page. This leads to decrease in user traffic and in turn, loss of potential revenue, so make sure to take the mobile first approach when developing your business website.
You might think that once your website is finally live, you’ve done all your work. But that’s only the first step. You still have to create content and engage the audience in order to churn a profit. Not to mention that like with all things in life, a website needs to be maintained in order to function properly. This is where hiring a web developer comes in handy as most of them continue to manage the website once they’ve made it.
Author bio: Sam Cyrus is CEO and co-founder of Green SEO, an focused on Digital Marketing. Sam is also a creative writer and his interests are entrepreneurship, business, online marketing, SEO and social media. He currently collaborates with .