The Basics of Getting Your Website Right

I’ve built hundreds of websites for small business owners, and a common experience is that many small businesses don’t know where to start when it comes to building a website that works. Many have already been burned by previous web designers who overpromised and underdelivered, or simply delivered something too complex for the specific small business. So, how can a small business owner ensure they don’t repeat the same mistakes and do get a website that works for them?

Key Priorities for a Small Business Website

Getting a website that works for you doesn’t have to be complicated if you follow these suggestions:

  1. Own your domain. Too often the web developer purchases the domain, oftentimes to simplify the process for their customers. However, this can lead to problems if the client loses touch with the web developer or the developer closes their business and allows the domain to be canceled. Malicious actors will buy domain names that expire and hold them hostage for a fee. Own your domain, put it on auto-renewal, and keep your contact information updated
  2. Customer experience is key. You may have zero design skills, but you likely know what your customers want from your business. What are the questions you are most often asked? What are your best selling products or services? You want the website to immediately provide the most important information.
  3. Plan your content ahead of time. Your web developer can design an incredible site, but they generally cannot create your content. You will need to provide logos, images, and basic written content for the pages and posts you want on your site. Creating a site map ahead of time with your developer will give you a roadmap for necessary content.
  4. Do not build your site on someone else’s real estate. Building a website on Squarespace or any other platform offering prepackaged sites may seem simple, but there can be costs associated with it when you want to leave those platforms. Building a WordPress site allows you to refresh or change web developers without the hassles associated, and, your organic SEO will remain intact.
  5. Make sure you can manage the website. Many small business owners cannot or do not want to pay a web developer to manage the regular updates to their sites. What often happens is sites become stale, or have outdated information. WordPress sites are easy to manage and allow you, the business owner, to make the small updates necessary.
  6. Build time into your schedule to update your site. Your website is the foundation of your marketing efforts. Regularly updating it with fresh content is critical, but it is one of the “nice to do” things in many business owner’s minds. It isn’t, it is a need to do, and time for it needs to be built into your site weekly.

Hiring the Right Developer

Now that you have a roadmap for creating a small business website, do your homework on selecting your developer. Look at their past work. Get references. Ask questions so that there is a clear plan and schedule for your site development.

If you’d like to schedule an initial consultation with me to discuss your website needs, email me here.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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