You’ve taken the time to think of a business name and are ready to take the first step to getting your business online, but don’t know where to start. You’ve come to the right place, this series with guide you through the 12 Steps to Building and Promoting a Website.
I’ll provide you with tips and resources that I’ve used and learned over the past 10 years working in web design and development industry. I’ll cover topics from choosing a name to the best marketing strategies, that will help you get the most out of your website and put you in the best position to succeed.
Let’s begin by Choosing a Domain Name.
After determining a name for your business, you’ll want to get a domain name. A domain name or web address is the address where you can be found online.
When selecting your domain name, I suggest you purchase a domain name that is similar to your business name. This will help with branding your business and making it easier for customers to find you.
For example, I purchased two domain names for my business: thehoppercompanyllc.com and thehopperco.com. I did this for two reasons, ease of use for my customers and visitors and to secure the legal name of my business.
The first thing I think of, in anything I do, is what’s going to be easiest for people trying to find my business. By doing this, I am creating a user-centric model that places users – visitors, customers, partners, etc. – at the center of my business.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when selecting your domain name:
Nowadays, there are several different TDLs that can be perfectly suitable, but the most common is .com. If you are not sure of who to use for a domain name registrar, please take a look at our Toolkit & Recommendations page for suggestions.
If you would like help thinking of a domain name for your website, you should checkout the domain name suggestion tool called NameMesh.
After selecting your domain name, you should determine where you want to host your website by selecting a web host or web hosting service.
A web hosting service provider is a business that provides a service and the technology required to make a website available to be viewed on the internet. This is one of the most important steps in this process before building your website.
You will want to make sure your web hosting company is using SSDs (solid state drives) for faster website performance, can provide you with a free SSL (for shopping and better ranking in search engines) and can provide support 24/7.
In addition, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind when selecting your web hosting service:
You can learn more about them on our Toolkit & Recommendations page.
As a business owner wanting a website, you are faced with two options: build the website yourself or hire a professional to do it.
If you want to build the website yourself, you can use services like Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy, but I would highly recommend hiring a professional web designer to build it for you.
Hiring a professional website designer will:
Think of your website as an investment rather than an expense. You should see anything you put into your website as a value that you seek to get some type of return on, whether that is inbound leads or a monetary value.
When using a template from a website builder, you are limited to the design and functionality of that template, which is often a one-size-fits-all design, meant to cater to the masses, rather than an individual solution custom-developed around your businesses goals like a professionally-built site would be. Instead of limiting your website’s capabilities with a template, you should have your website custom built to help convert visitors into leads and leads into sales.
Once your website is complete, you can publish your site and make it “live” for everyone to see.
If you hired a web designer to create your website, they should move your files from a test server over to the “live” server. This is usually included in the price of the project.
Before going live, you’ll want to double-check all of your links, pages and content.
Once again, if you hired a professional to design your website, then this usually done by them. If something does wrong while transferring the site, your web designer should be able fix it.
Social networks are great for building credibility and getting people to help promote your business. By using social networks you can:
If you are planning on hiring or have hired a professional web designer to build your site, you can use the demographics of your target audience to help interact with people likely to buy from or engage with your brand.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can have a huge impact on the success of your business. SEO is defined as the process of generating traffic to your website using non-paid, organic search results.
I highly recommend hiring a professional to implement it. With more than 200 SEO ranking factors out there, it takes a lot of time and research to understand this ever-changing world and make sure that your site is properly optimized. As someone who has been in the SEO industry for more than 10 years, I’ve compiled a list of important SEO factors that we examine every client’s site against to help increase their search engines rankings.
When thinking about building your business and the value that can come from SEO, you should look at every dollar you spend as an investment that can produce a massive return.
Some benefits and reasons to hire an SEO expert to grow your business are:
After your website is complete, you should register your website with search engines. Submitting your website to search engines will help crawler find and index your site faster and more completely.
Register your site manually to avoid potential harm to your SEO ranks from free search engine submission tools. I recommend registering your site with the top search engines, Google and Bing.
Online mapping sites can be a great way to get your name out there. Online maps offer reviews, directions and contact information for people searching for your business or services you provide in the area.
You can also use Yext PowerListings to control your listings for Google, Yahoo, MapQuest and Yelp.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC), also known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC), is an advertising model on the internet in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads are clicked by a user.
PPC campaigns are great for driving traffic to your site for a special promotion or a sale you may be running. However, using PPC campaigns can be expensive, which is why I suggest hiring a professional; you can lose a lot of time and money if you don’t know what you are doing.
As I mentioned earlier, SEO is going to be a better investment for your business because the results are permanent and not temporary like PPC ads are.
As there are many other marketing avenues, you will have to determine what avenues are best for your business and audience. Some examples include:
Maintaining your website is not only important from a security standpoint, but also gives your customers a reason to come back.
Here are some more reasons why you should properly maintain your website:
Every website should have a way to measure and analyze traffic. By tracking visitor activity on your website, you can learn what content is of value on your website by monitoring page views, time spent on different pages, bounce rate, etc. Knowing how your customers are using your site tells you what is working, what isn’t working and what to do more or less of to ensure your customer is having the best experience possible to keep them coming back (as well as gaining new customers).
Our web analytics tool of choice is Google Analytics. With Google Analytics you will be able to: