Tips for Creating Your New Business Website
There’s a lot to do if you’re starting a business. One of the most important tasks you’ll undertake is creating a website.
For most businesses, critical first (or second) encounters with potential clients happen online. Whether someone finds you on their own, or you’ve met a potential client on a plane - you can safely assume they’ll look at your website to see if you’re legit.
At a minimum, your new business website should:
Clearly and succinctly express who you are, what you’re offering to clients and why they should choose you over a competitor.
Look professional, with sharp, unique and relevant graphics.
Be easy to navigate; guiding visitors quickly to the information they want most.
Render correctly no matter what browser (Safari, Chrome) or type of device (mobile, desktop) it is viewed on.
Make it easy and obvious for visitors to take a desired action (read more, download helpful content for free, call you, email you, etc).
I could go into more detail on each of these points (and update this list based on business type), but let’s leave it at this for now. Here are some important considerations as you evaluate how to accomplish the items on this list.
Are you capable (and willing) to build a website yourself, or do you need to hire someone else to do it for you? What can you afford?
If you want or need to go ultra-low budget and build a business website yourself, you can build a free website using a service like Wix, and find free stock photos on sites like Pixabay and Unsplash. (Most photos on these sites have a Creative Commons License and are free to use for commercial purposes. Be sure to double check the license and attribution rules before using photos, though).
Perhaps you need some help from a professional or want to hire someone to take it all off your plate. If you’re hiring a firm or freelancer, get very clear on what it is you need so you don’t overpay.
Do you have a very specific design in mind? do you need complicated functionality?
If you have a detailed vision for your website or need it to do something very complex, you might want to find someone who knows how to write code and design a completely custom website - AKA - NOT a pre-existing template from the types of services listed above.
This is an important distinction. Hiring someone to write custom code and design a non-templated website should be far more expensive than hiring someone (like The Write Shop) that uses a template service and customizes it with content. Be sure you know which thing you’re being quoted for!
In my humble opinion, most start-ups (especially small businesses) don’t need to fork out the cash for a completely custom website. The template services out there these days provide great looking, professional sites at a fraction of the cost.
Are you comfortable writing your own content? Have you budgeted for a content writer?
The look and feel of your website matters, but the content matters even more. Flashy design won’t help you if you aren’t displaying information that’s relevant to your visitors, building trust and telling your story well.
If you’re confident writing it yourself, that’s great. If not, whoever writes content for you should be taking the time to thoroughly understand you, your business and your goals. Whatever the case, make sure the content itself isn’t an afterthought. Keep it short, engaging and to-the-point.
Investing in a great-looking website and well-written content for your business is completely worth it. But you don’t need to rob a bank to do it.