What percentage of businesses do you think have a website? You would think it would be over 90 percent in our digitally-focused society, but it’s not even close. According to a survey of business owners conducted by Blue Corona, only 51 percent have a website. Not having a website in today’s marketplace is a serious blow to your reputation. Nearly 80 percent of consumers say they look at a company’s website before visiting their location or making a purchase. If you don’t currently have a website, then you are probably wondering how do I make a website for my business? The rest of this article will cover the website creation process from purchasing a domain name to launch day.
How do I Make a Website for My Business?
There is a basic process all well-designed corporate websites followed to get where they are today, which we’ve broken down into the following seven steps.
Step 1: Purchase Your Domain Name
Purchasing your domain name is the first decision you’ll make when creating a website for your business. The name of your business is the obvious first choice. Unfortunately, selecting a domain name isn’t always that easy.
One issue you might have is your business name is too long to be a domain. Let’s use a hypothetical business, Orange County Home Delivery Services, as an example. OrangeCountyHomeDeliveryServices.com is 33 characters long.
While you can technically have a domain up to 253 characters long, data from Alexa.com shows the top 100 websites have an average of 10 characters. A better option for our hypothetical business would be OCHomeDelivery.com. At 14 characters, this is pushing the upper limits of acceptable domain length, but it is much more memorable than the first option.
Another issue you might run into is another business has the same name and has already taken your domain. While you could select something other than .com to get around this issue, it is not a good choice for search engine optimization. Alter your domain until you can get a .com address that represents your business well.
Step 2: Select a Web Host
Once you have your domain purchased, you need to select a web host. Not all web hosting companies are created equal. An up-and-coming hosting company may offer a better price than a more established competitor, but they often don’t have the bandwidth to handle your site as it scales. Think of your web hosting budget as an investment in your website’s load time.
According to Google, 53 percent of people will abandon your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. The same study shows there is a 12 percent drop in conversion rate for every one-second increase in load time. Your choice of web host directly affects your bottom line.
Make sure to read customer reviews of several hosting companies before making your decision, and purchase a hosting package that leaves room for growth.
Step 3: Choose Your Content Management Software
Content management software is what you use to create and display the content of a website. While DIY website-building platforms have simplified content management systems, they don’t allow you to take full advantage of search engine optimization.
WordPress, on the other hand, offers you nearly infinite ways to customize your website to fit the exact needs of your business. If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, you can take advantage of Plugins.
Plugins are like apps that add a specific feature or capability to your website. Some are free, while some may have a one-time fee or monthly subscription. Yoast is an SEO plugin with a free and premium version, and it is a must-have for your SEO strategy. When it comes to corporate website design using WordPress, don’t fall into the tempting trap of using a free template for your site layout. You will get much better results if you bring in a website design team with experience in corporate website design.
Step 4: Develop Your Brand Identity
If you already have a business, then you already have a brand identity. You just need to digitize it for your website. What do you want people to think and feel when they hear your brand name? Whatever your answer is to that question needs to be reflected in your design choices. Well-designed corporate websites convey the company’s “personality” perfectly. Your main choices are font style, brand colors, and site layout.
Your font needs to match the tone of your business. A funky font might work for a graphic designer, but it would make a law firm look like a joke. The same goes for colors. Bright colors work for a fitness studio or activewear brand, while muted, neutral colors look better for more professional corporate websites.
Step 5: Take Care of Technical SEO
There are certain things you can do when designing or redesigning a corporate website that will improve your chances of ranking in search engines. First off, fancy animations, graphics, and videos can’t be read by the software search engines use to index websites. Furthermore, including such things slows down your page load speed, and we’ve already talked about how that hurts your business.
Crawling software navigates a site through internal links. How you structure your links affects the visibility of your content in the eyes of search engines. An XML sitemap displays to search engines all of the links you want to be indexed.
There should be a logical flow to your site architecture. To borrow an analogy from Search Engine Land, think of your website like a cabinet. Your main categories are the drawers of this cabinet, and the folders inside each drawer are your sub-categories. Finally, individual pages are the documents within the folder. Every important page within your site should be reachable within four clicks. Technical SEO is more complex than this quick overview, and it is an ongoing effort. Consider outsourcing to a corporate website design company with experience in search engine optimization.
Step 6: Make Sure Your Site is Optimized for Mobile
Google has been giving preference to sites with responsive web design since an announcement they made back in 2015. Sites with responsive web design recognize when a user is accessing the site through mobile and automatically sends them to the site’s mobile version.
According to Google, 75 percent of smartphone owners turn to mobile search to address immediate needs. Often times, this immediate need is for a product or service, which means your mobile site needs to be more than an afterthought.
Make sure your mobile site is optimized for local search. According to Hubspot, 50 percent of consumers who did a local search from their smartphones visited the store the same day.
When it comes to mobile layout, design for the fatter-than-average finger. Nothing is more frustrating than having to zoom in and out to press the right button. Like your main site, keep your mobile layout free of flash and pop-ups.
According to Google, the average load time for a mobile site in 2018 is 15.3 seconds, even though 53 percent of consumers say they hit the back button and try another search result if the site takes more than three seconds to load. Having a super fast mobile site is a big competitive advantage.
Step 7: Fill Your Site With Quality Content on a Consistent Basis
Creating quality content for your corporate website is an ongoing process that is essential in getting your website to rank high in search engines. While the design aspect of search engine optimization is important, the real power comes from on-page and off-page optimization. The following are some of what makes up an effective SEO strategy.
- Extensive keyword research to discover the terms your target audience is typing into search engines
- Creating ideal buyer personas to serve as the foundation for highly targeted content
- Mapping keywords to article ideas in an editorial calendar filled with educational content
- Writing and publishing articles on the company blog that educate users on a particular topic or answers a burning question
- Making sure each article is optimized according to the current on-page SEO best practices
- Building relationships with publications to get guest-blogs published and increase the value of your backlink profile
- Bringing in influencers in your niche to amplify your content on social media
Creating great content is a matter of answering the question or solving the problem that inspired the user to turn to a search engine. It sounds simple, but it takes lots of trial and error to execute.
Let us Create a Well-Designed Corporate Website for Your Business
You would not have achieved what you have so far without being a go-getter. You probably planned on designing your website yourself, and you are definitely capable of doing so with a DIY website builder. You also probably don’t have much spare time. Other areas of your business demand your attention to keep the ship afloat.
Investing in a website design company allows you to enjoy the benefits of a great corporate website without having to use up your valuable time. The steps we outline in this article for making a business website are just a small peek into the process we use to create and maintain high-performing websites for our clients. We would love to schedule a conversation with you to show you how we can meet your website needs.