The Internet might have been a novelty once, but now it’s practically a necessity. If you happen to run a business, the importance of being online is even greater — in fact, you practically can’t afford not to be. 70-80% of all shoppers look for information online before they visit a company or make a purchase. If you don’t have a website, that means all those people looking for the goods you sell or the things you do are coming up completely empty—which means those people aren’t becoming customers. If you want to stop your competition from snapping up all those potential leads, you need to create a website for your business and fast. The question is, how can you create an effective website for your company quickly enough to get in on this trend before you fall behind the times?
If you want to bypass those first few awkward attempts and go straight to having a website that really works for you, you’ll want to do some research ahead of time. For the completely uninitiated, this will mean looking at the most basic elements of creating a page. Even if you’ve made a website or two before, it’s always smart to revisit these principles and make sure you understand them correctly. Technology changes, so double-checking your knowledge against current industry standards is key to making sure methods you’ve used before will still work for you.
Web Hosting 101.
One of the first choices you’ll have to make when putting your website together is the hosting service that you want to use. Every website must have a host, so if you’re going to start your own, you’ll need to choose a platform. The best hosting services for beginners make things easy: just choose a relevant phrase for your domain name, select the hosting service that you want, and choose some e-commerce software (optional) to help you get started.
What Should Your Domain Name Be?
Your domain name will determine what your website is called, which makes it extremely important. You want your domain name to be something that reflects the most important aspect of your company, but also something that visitors and prospective customers can find without too much trouble. The length of an effective domain name should be just a few words, which makes it important to choose them judiciously.
Google will also use your domain name in part to determine how well your site performs in its rankings, which means that a site with a good name will be more visible and attract more traffic. Think about the keywords you might use in an SEO campaign: you choose them because they’re relevant to your company. A domain name should be similar in nature. Using the name of your company itself is usually a good idea, but you might also consider using the name of your most popular product or service.
Designing Your Page.
So, you’ve chosen your hosting service and your domain name—good for you! Now it’s time to put some thought into the way your page comes across to the users who visit it. This is a chance for you to go wild, filling your website with eye-popping imagery and mind-blowing interactive content—NOT. Unless you want to make your page incomprehensible and glacially slow, it’s best to keep the content on your site simple and easy to navigate (especially if you want it to attract and retain paying customers).
Many of the best websites for businesses are simple: a logo, some concise and legible text about the company, and a page through which one can purchase goods or services. Anything else is just gravy, and too much gravy can ruin the experience. Eschew high-res images and slow-loading videos in favor of simple scripts, and you’ll already be putting your website ahead of many others.
Web sites can be fun to make, but they’re also important marketing tools, and you should arm yourself with proper knowledge before you set out to make one. When you’re starting out, remember: don’t overextend yourself. Stick to small things you can do well, and you’ll see results much faster.