As a business, one of the most crucial elements to success is providing clear and useful information about who you are and what services or products you offer. The best way to showcase yourself to the world is with a beautifully designed and optimized website. However, there is a lot more to website building than just a beautiful design. In fact, if approached with the right mindset, your website has the potential to be one of the most important tools you have in running your business.
We have put together this guide to help you know what to look out for when building or rebuilding a professional website, apart from only a beautiful design. Knowing what to pay attention to will not only make a positive impression on your site visitors but also determine whether your business is successful or not.
Everyone knows it’s not enough to just get people to your site, you also need to generate business. After all, your website is a marketing tool that must convert visitors to customers. In order to captivate a potential client, you will need to do a few simple but necessary things right from the start.
Here is what we will cover in the guide to help you build the best business website:
- The Benefits of Redesigning a Website
- How to Create the Best Business Website
- Choosing the Best Website Platform
- What Kind of Website Can I Build With WordPress?
- How to Choose a Good Web-design Company
We will also give you dozens of tried and tested tips that will help your website rank better on Google, be SEO optimized, and just plain awesome from a design standpoint. All of these factors will contribute to improving your conversion rates over time, which as a business owner, you will be happy to hear.
This year has been a year of change for millions of people and businesses. I talk to new people everyday and hear so many stories of companies that are either doing something new to adapt or giving up and closing down.
I feel that this is the time to reflect what’s been good, what’s been bad, who has been good and who has been bad in your work and life relationships.
There been a lot of sad things happen in front of us and on TV but there also an incredible amount of people stepping up to really show what they can do when given the opportunity to help others or change their own life for the better.
For business owners, if we are open to change and accept the new way of life, we can rise above while everyone else is in pause mode waiting……
Give, give, give, and work like you never have before. 2021 will be the year of exponential growth or major failure.
We need to show more value to clients like never before. Start sharing knowledge and expect nothing in return and you will win.
Are you moving forward regardless of the challenges or sitting around waiting for something to happen? Your Business Website
A professionalsgreat business website will differ slightly according to your industry but will follow a few basic principles, regardless of whether you use a drag and drop builder or decide to have a team of build your website. Having a great business website means having a site that is not only easily navigated, but structurally sound as well. First and foremost, this includes implementing a user roadmap. A good site should aim to “take visitors by the hand” and guide them through the content. Not only should their experience on your pages be smooth, but the information presented should represent your business as best as possible. Show them the advantages or benefits you offer in a way that is natural and easy for them to grasp. The desired outcome is for visitors to see for themselves why your company or brand is qualified and capable enough to fulfill all their needs.
A site is also determined by the quality of your content. Great content is anything that helps educate and inform the reader or viewer. A big part of this lies in properly formatting text within the site and blog posts in a way that is easy to navigate and skim through. If the focus is to evidently geared to selling products and services, the customer will sense that, and we know that no one wants to hear another sales pitch. Users get far too much of that already all over the web. They do, however, want to learn about your product or service in an objective way. This means web development and web design should be another way for the customer to continue their buyer’s journey.
Another critical component of a great website is proper search engine optimization. As is to be expected, Google’s new algorithm is looking for more than just images with meta descriptions, appropriate text formatting, and relevant keywords. One, if not the most important thing to consider when building a modern and functional business website is mobile adaptive. When choosing the ideal website platform and theme, the best advice we can give is prioritizing themes and platforms that will allow visitors to navigate comfortably on mobile devices. This includes how text is displayed, menus that stay put as you scroll and how images are viewed in narrow mobile screens.
Checklist For Creating The Best Business Website:
Before you go about the task of redesigning your current website or building a completely new one, we recommend you take note of a few things you won’t want to miss.
- Choose A Good Domain Name
Your domain name is your calling card. Getting it right early on can save you a lot of trouble down the line. Your domain name should be simple and easy to recognize. Remember this is the first thing the client will see from your company as it comes up in response to a search engine query. Before committing to a domain name, take the time to conduct some research on Google to make sure you are the only one using your desired domain and that no other companies can be mistaken with your own.
- Use A Great Hosting Company
A good hosting company means security, storage, and speed. Shared hosting is likely to be less costly but can mean sacrificing speed or storage capacity. Make sure to take a good look at a few different hosting plans before making a final decision on whether a shared host is right for you. We recommend using WPEngine, Kinsta, Flywheel, and WPX Hosting. Don’t be afraid to invest a little time investigating your web host, to compare the features but any of the above-mentioned companies are great choices and have a good reputation in the industry.
- Make Sure Your Site Adaptive On All Devices
We don’t need to explain why an adaptive website is crucial in 2020. A site that is not up to date with the most popular and common devices has significantly fewer chances of achieving positive conversion rates. Make sure that your adaptive website is as informative and easy to navigate the desktop version.
- Use Modern & Attractive Design Elements
Graphic design is a hugely important aspect of your website. Even if you have just a few design elements throughout your site, you will want each of them to be the absolute best quality. Consider hiring a design agency to add a few unique touches to your site. When running an online store, the design is especially important given that the customer cannot physically interact with your product. Design trends change, but people will always expect high-quality images and appreciate a beautifully designed page that stands out from the rest.
- Showcase Your Services
Don’t get so caught up in designing the perfect site that you forget the primary purpose of the site – advertising your business. People visiting your website are there for a certain reason. They need to be told as soon as they arrive, what it is you do and why you are good at it. Services should be laid out simply, and pricing should be available for specific products or services when appropriate.
- Include Customer Testimonials And Awards
Simply describing the qualities and benefits of your product or services is not enough. People will want some additional proof of your quality. The best way to showcase this is by using real testimonies and feedback from people you have worked with. In addition to testimonies, consider adding any worthwhile awards. Awards are a great way to prove your quality and professionalism.
- Add Your Portfolio Of Work
Depending on your type of business, you may be able to provide a portfolio for your work. Same as with testimonials, an online portfolio is a way to demonstrate your skill and show what you are capable of doing. For certain types of business, their portfolio may be a collection of photos and videos posted on Instagram. In this case, don’t hesitate to link out to social media to show off your products. If you are using WordPress, a simple plugin can pull your IG feed straight into your site.
- Use A Live Chat Service
Live Chat and Olark are two great options to help you manage website visitors. When it comes to visitors, there are two important factors. The first one is capturing visitor information. The second one is communication. Quick communication with visitors can help provide guidance and info to anyone interested in your business. A live chat service lets you do this by engaging with the site visitor shortly after they land on your page. This type of simple, immediate marketing automation is effective because it allows contact with the customer 24/7 even when you yourself are unavailable.
- Add Many Places For Visitors To Contact You
It is a good strategy to have a contact form on the home page and contact page. Buttons throughout internal pages can link to the contact page. This will work together with the live chat to invite users to get in touch with you.
Again, you want the customer to have as many options as possible to contact you and to do it via the means with which they are most comfortable. So linking to your social media account, having a chatbot, including a telephone number and email, are all different ways you can ensure the customer will use one of these forms of contact to reach out to you.
- Optimize For Website Speed And Technical SEO
You may need a few technical skills to really get your site speed down to at least 4 seconds, but here are few tools that can help you see how you are doing. Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix allow you to enter your site’s URL and get immediate feedback on what needs improvement. It could suggest using a CDN (content delivery network) or scaling your images, alert you of pages that are not loading, and other similar problems.
Many website builders have their own site speed test, but we recommend using more than one to get a clearer view of what could be slowing down your site.
- Track Your Traffic Trends And Adapt When Needed
Heat maps can show you what areas site visitors are spending the most time looking at and clicking on. This is valuable information that provides insight into your site’s performance. It offers data on what is working and allows you to change other underperforming parts of your website.
Just as important as heat maps are the site’s analytics. Analytics will help you see how people arrived at your site. You can see if they directly searched for your domain, searched for keywords, or stumbled across one of your blogs through a guest post. Whatever the case, these tiny bits of information are key for your ongoing marketing strategy.
- Secure Your Website
Unsecured websites are a thing of the past. If you have a site in 2020, you absolutely need to have a digital certificate (SSL/TLS certificate). The digital certificate needs to be installed on your server. Doing so will help to make your site authentic and secure. Ignoring this will result in Google marking your site with a red triangle to show visitors it is unsecured. This will negatively affect website traffic because most people will not stay on an unsecured site.
Your hosting provider may offer an SSL/TSL certificate as part of their plan as is the case with SiteGround, this is a must so be sure to do a little digging to know what hosting company offers before you sign up.
- Maintain Your Website
Creating a website will take up a lot of time and energy. However, that is not the end of your efforts. You will want to have it maintained regularly to avoid any technical issues that can cause problems to your site’s stability. The internet is like a living organism, which means it is constantly changing. Your site needs proper maintenance in order to run smoothly. Things as simple as a software plugin releasing new versions and not updating them can cause severe problems on your site. Hiring a developer or company is the best way to keep your site up to date and functioning well.
Choosing The Best Website Platform
Once we get past the simple things like choosing a domain name and a secure website hosting provider, we can focus on one of the most important decisions you will make early-on that can profoundly influence you operating a successful business.
You have probably heard about WIX and WordPress, these giants know their game and have a lot to offer depending on what you are looking to achieve. While these are only two of the most well-known players, in this guide, we hope to inform you of a few other candidates.
What is the Main Function of your site?
One of the main things you will want to ponder early on is: what exactly is the use of your site? What are its primary objectives? Is it selling a service or a product, is it a resource or educational platform? Are you interested in having a shop, or are you interested in displaying images, do you want to show your eye for design or are you looking to portray a serious and formal identity for your business? Asking yourself such questions can help you pinpoint key things early on.
Whatever the case may be, you will need to choose a website builder that can not only meet the requirements you deem important but also provide 100% functionality.
Let’s take a look at the different website platforms available:
Wix is a DIY website builder that is great to use if you are unfamiliar with more advanced technologies and want to avoid a heftier upfront investment. Wix has plans starting at $8.50 a month billed annually, this is their most basic plan. They offer other paid plans recommended for entrepreneurs and freelancers for $12.50 per month and have other tiers available for VIP clients looking for first priority support.
We recommend WIX for beginners, small businesses, bloggers, e-commerce entrepreneurs, and others who need a simple and effective way to get a website up and running in as little time possible.
Blog posts are easy to edit, publish, and manage using this platform. There are endless options when it comes to themes and templates, one for every type of business owner.
If you are looking to start an online store, WIX could be an ideal e-commerce platform.
However, it is not without its limitations. Storage, speed, and more elaborate/coded design elements are not optimal for use on WIX. These limitations can be a deterrent for those with more sophisticated demands.
One of the best features offered by this web builder is the ability to edit using the front end drag-and-drop functions, no need to use the page manager on the back end to make modifications.
Another great feature is you don’t have to bother finding and paying for a web host. You will be able to build a modern and responsive site all in one place. You will also be able to edit styles that make your content easier to find and analyze on the web.
SquareSpace offers paid plans from $16 to $46 per month, each of which naturally, offers distinct features based on your specific needs as a business owner. Getting started is easy enough, nonetheless, we invite you to evaluate the pros and cons.
The most well-known e-commerce platform, Shopify, has earned its reputation as the guru of simple online shops. They have the design front covered with hundreds of layouts to choose from; they do a great job of utilizing simplicity without leaving out any necessary elements you would expect to find in an eCommerce store.
Some business owners may not require an online store. If this is your case, then you can discard this option altogether. However, if you are in the business of selling products that you want to display in a gallery mode, then Shopify might be just what you are looking for. We’d be surprised if you found a better eCommerce website builder, at a lower price. Shopify has a few different options for paid plans, their basic plan starts at $29 per month billed annually and offers a 14-day free trial.
Considered to be THE easiest to use builder out there, Weebly offers an unmatched user interface, again using drag and drop as one of the pillars of easy website building. This website development platform provides more than 40 mobile-friendly website themes. The beautiful designs Weebly offers make it simple to create a professional website. Weebly’s pricing is hard to beat, starting at free and ending at $25 when paid annually, for their business plan.
Many eCommerce sites choose Weebly because of the low upfront cost while YouTube would indicate that many video content creators choose SquareSpace as an alternative. Others use Patreon to give their followers access to special content via their membership plans for a small monthly contribution, this, however, is not a website but a tool for members of a niche community to engage one on one with a particular individual that has their own business for which they create and deliver content on a regular basis.
However, Weebly’s free version shows ads. While this might not seem like a big deal to a beginner, it can drive traffic away from your website. This means that you might help improve other companies’ conversion rates rather than your own. Blog, image gallery, and shops are all available pages as part of the Weebly design.
Joomla is primarily known as a content management system that helps content creators build websites. Joomla was once considered a great CMS, if not one of the best. However, nowadays, that is questionable.
Joomla is a well-known web development platform or site builder that powers 3.00% of all sites on the web. This platform is user-friendly and mobile responsive. One of the features we most like about Joomla is the RSS feed app. In terms of graphic design, there are hundreds of great templates to choose from on Theme Forest.
On this platform, you will find steps to building a beautifully designed business site or eCommerce site which you can customize by choosing a color scheme that fits your personal style.
Joomla websites are hosted on CloudAccess.net, some limitations are to Joomla are storage space and subdomain usage, but for $5 a month, you get these drawbacks out of the way.
WordPress is one of the most popular website building tools. In fact, around 20% of all websites are made with WordPress. With so many people flocking to WordPress, we have decided to dedicate a little more information to the website. After seeing some advantages and disadvantages of alternative website tools, we believe you will be as pleased as we are to discover all the customization options that are possible with WordPress when it comes to website building.
Firstly, we can say that there are templates for any budget. Depending on the features you are looking for, sites like Theme Forest, Elegant Themes, and Mojo Themes have endless options according to your specific needs.
Secondly, you may not even require purchasing a template! You can use built-in template builder options to design your site from scratch if you so desire.
Choosing a WordPress theme is kind of like shopping for clothes. You’ll find yourself having to do lots of window shopping, and once you’ve spotted something you like, you will need to see if it fits.
By this we mean, making sure the theme has all the right features to make it ideal for your type of business. Depending on the theme you decide on, you will be able to use front-end builders such as Divi, Elementor, and WP Bakery.
Admittedly, you will require some technical skills, but as far as customization goes, WordPress is by far the overall best option when it comes to choosing the right website builder.
Another reason we recommend using WordPress is that it is easier to update content and change design aspects, even while the site is live and published. You can easily add a gallery, shop, additional pages, and plugins whenever you want. If you are looking to reinvent yourself or your brand, WordPress gives you ample room to do so.
Build The Ideal Site With WordPress
What do we mean by IDEAL? Well, we gather you are in the business of a) making some money or b) providing valuable information to the public. In both cases, you are trying to get visitors to act upon something in particular.
Whether it be making a purchase, giving a donation, signing a petition, or sharing an article, we are all looking for our site visitors to be more than passive scrollers. An ideal site, in this sense, leads the person behind the screen to all the right bits of information. If you have all the bases covered, it will signify a successful transaction.
As for what kind of site you can build on WordPress, “What can’t you build on WordPress?” is a better question. NGO’s, medium and large businesses, educational platforms, and highly creative websites can all be built using WordPress themes. Custom coding is allowed in the backend to customize visual details even further and create sections that are not part of the template you have chosen.
WordPress is a great solution if you are looking for adaptive, easy to make websites. Mobile optimization is a must for any website that wants to be relevant. It is one of the deciding factors people consider when choosing a platform. WordPress has hundreds of fully responsive themes that have everything you need to be mobile-ready.
There seems to be one for just about anything. Booking, payment integrations, site speed, daily website backups, cache plugins, and much more. Regardless of whether you are building a simple website for a small business or an elaborate business website, plugins can provide intelligent solutions that can help you do business online.
In the same way, optimizing your site using SEO tools and tracking its analytics using Google Analytics, GTMetrix, or KISSmetrics are equally necessary. Many falsely believe getting the website live is the ultimate goal when it is only part of the process. Analytics will show you what you need to improve, as well as what is and is not working for you.
Hire a Web Design Company
With so much riding on a website, it might be best to leave the job to professionals. Make sure you do some research before choosing a company to build your website. Companies with testimonials and good reviews on reputable websites such as Clutch will have what it takes to deliver a good service.
If you are considering a website, look into their work. Check out how they manage the companies they list on their website. Take a look at what these clients have done with the company in question, and you may be able to see posts, captions, engagement, and even websites that have been created by the company you are investigating. A great company will be proud of the work they’ve done and will be happy to show you if it is not already posted somewhere on their site.
Building a website is not a simple task you want to learn on the go. After all, a website is your online presence to thousands of people. It is the most identifiable and lasting impression potential customers will have of you outside your social media presence. Having your website built is like getting a suit tailored for your wedding, you won’t mind coming in a few times as long as the outcome is amazing.
You are paying for a full-service, customized approach to fit your exact needs and unique style. We all have questions when it comes to the right digital marketing strategy, the agency you hire to build your site will undoubtedly be an immense source of knowledge that will not only help you answer questions but also implement the best solutions for your business.
Conclusion: Always Be Testing
When it comes down to it, the choice and fate of your online presence rests in your hands. We believe drag and drop builders can only get you so far. You can try the low-cost options, but in the long run, we believe that you will find the most value in hiring a dedicated agency that will guide you and give you the best solutions to make your business thrive.
We hope this guide has provided you with some in-depth information on things to consider for building the best business website.
Have you made a decision on what platform to use to build your website?
Leave us a comment below.