You’re ready to realize the dream of starting your own business and you want to make sure you do everything possible to ensure its success. On your startup checklist, one of the most important items is a website. With all the software available for building your own website, you may be wondering if professional website design is really necessary.
If you’re just getting your business off the ground, you’re watching every dollar and doing your best to get the most out of it. It is easy to see why a DIY website might seem like a good option, but you might want to reconsider. Professional website design could be one of the best decisions you make when launching your new business.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
With so much of today’s business being initiated and even conducted online, you’ll want your website to be unique and professional. It is a potential client’s first impression of your business and your brand. In addition and equally important, your website has to catch Google’s attention.
Ultimately, you’ll want to get your business on to page one of a Google search. This puts your website in front of a larger audience made up of those who are searching for what your business has to offer. When it comes to a business website, it is not as simple as “build it and they will come”. There are many components involved in designing and developing a well-constructed site, and they are all intertwined. Professional website design will help ensure that they all work together.
When it comes to a business website, it is not as simple as “build it and they will come”Click to tweet
Before a website is constructed, a needs analysis should be performed to determine what your site needs to accomplish. Are you looking to generate leads, sell products, or interest investors? This should also include competitor and keyword research The structure of your site will be based on those needs in order for it to reach your target audience.
Once a needs analysis is performed, it’s time to plan your website. Planning should begin with a site map. This document is an important tool in professional website design. It is a list of proposed web pages and where each will be positioned on the site. Their location is based on their importance.
Website Development and Design
Once a website build begins, user experience or UX design begins. Wireframes are put into place to create the foundation of your site. Wireframes illustrate how each page will appear on your completed site as well as how they will be navigated. They direct user experience by determining the location where specific information will be found on the site. It is a visual outline of a website, similar to a blueprint.
Once the wireframes are in place, the user interface or UI design comes into play. This deals with the aesthetic aspects of a website which make it attractive and appealing to your audience. Visual design fleshes out the wireframes with brand colors, typefaces, graphics, iconography, and other aesthetic assets. It is important to understand there is a science to each of these design elements. It is that science combined with your business’s specific purpose that guides a website designer in the choices they make when designing your site.
Domain Registration and Hosting
A domain is the address of your website. You will have to choose a domain name for your website, then check to make sure it is not already in use. If the name you’ve chosen is available, you will want to register it and you may have to purchase it. Hosting needs to be set up as well. A web host or web hosting service provides the database needed for your site to be viewed online.
All of the copy on your website, from the page copy to the blogs needs to be created. The page copy is somewhat static and only needs to be updated occasionally, keeping the website fresh. Blog copy needs to be created on a consistent basis. All of the copy needs to be created incorporating keywords and phrases for Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Simply put, your website must say what you do in order to rank on Google.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that focuses on three specific aspects of a website: prongs, technical, relevancy, and authority. SEO is commonly measured by search positioning on search engines like Google. Every business wants to make it onto page one of a search, and an SEO professional can perform SEO best practices to best position your business. Unfortunately, these practices are not that simple and they are constantly changing. It is vital to stay up to date on these changes to maximize your SEO results.
Completing the Build
This is where the technical stuff happens. Coding turns your professional website design into a fully functional, interactive site. With DIY web building software, there is no coding or much other technical stuff involved as the process is automated. You would choose from a limited number of templates, fill them with your pictures and content and you’ve designed your website. Unfortunately, numerous other businesses are using the same templates, minimizing the chances of your website being unique.
You want your website to stand out and catch the eye of your target audience. Professional website design can utilize custom themes, custom plugins, interactive details, or business-specific functionality, tailoring your site to the specific needs and offerings of your business. It can include a shopping cart or live chat and should always include a responsive design across all devices. It is vital that your site be responsive and perform the same no matter what type of device it is viewed on.
Ready to Launch
The main purpose of a launch is to establish you and your brand as a new authority in your field. Once all the components are completed and combined, it’s time for your website to go live. Professional website design includes a launch plan, which provides a clear vision of how the components of your site will come together and make your launch run smoothly.
A solid launch plan should include a soft launch to make certain everything is working properly. After a successful soft launch, you want your official launch to make some noise. This involves social media posts and ads to get the word out and put your site in front of the right target audience.
Are We There Yet?
If you go with a DIY website, by this point you will probably be panting in anticipation of the finish line. If you’re not, there’s a good chance you missed a few things along the way. And it’s not time to relax just yet. Launch follow-up is equally important to the success of your website and your business.
In the days and weeks that follow your launch, you need to be evaluating your website’s performance. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are valuable in helping you measure search traffic, collect information about how people are interacting with your site, figure out conversion rates, and more. This will let you know if and where adjustments to your website need to be made.
Keep in mind that even with professional website design, the work is never done. There are updates, blogs, social media, and more to take care of if you want to keep your website on the cutting edge.
Even though the budget can be tight for a startup, professional website design, as well as website maintenance, SEO, and social media management, is a sound investment in the future of your business.
What? A Professional Website Design for Free?
Yes, it’s true! If you’re an entrepreneur in need of a great website, here’s your chance to get one for free! Last month, Creative Click Media announced the launch of the Great Entrepreneur Challenge, a nationwide search for the next great entrepreneur idea…and your startup idea could take the top prize!
The competition is intended to celebrate aspiring entrepreneurs, with a grand prize all-inclusive digital platform designed to turn one creative business idea into a reality. It runs from March 1 to April 30, 2017, and a winner will be announced on May 6, 2017, at the conclusion of Small Business Week. Submissions will be considered and judged by Creative Click Media staff.
Don’t miss out on your chance to start your business off with a great website! For more details on the Great Entrepreneur Challenge, please visit creativeclickmedia.com/great-entrepreneur-challenge or reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.