Have you ever looked for a business or service online and been shocked there’s no website to visit? You can’t find the information you need, so what do you do? You move onto another website to find what you need. Imagine that your company doesn’t have a website or doesn’t have a digital footprint. How will potential customers find you online? They won’t. But they sure are finding your competition. Here’s why you need a website and how to get started with one.
Do You Need a Website for Your Business?
If you’re still wondering if your business needs a website, consider these statistics for a moment:
- According to a study by Deloitte on small business technology trends, “40 percent [of business owners] believe that digital tools are ‘not relevant for my business.'”
- Meanwhile, Google says, “Three in four who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores” or pick up the phone.
If you’re not being found online and your competition is, no wonder you’re missing out on potential customers. You’re not online for them to find you in the first place.
I Need a Website: Where to Start
Unless you have a marketing department or know an experienced web developer, chances are you’ll want to choose a digital agency to build your website. Here are the basic steps that an agency will take and work with you on to develop a powerful, authoritative, and conversion-friendly website.
How Much Does a Website Cost?
A website build will start in the thousands depending on the size and scope of the project. If you have a simple, five-page website, you’re going to spend much less depending on who builds it compared to a large e-commerce website with hundreds of products. Agency pricing on websites fluctuate so much. It’s hard to give a good range you can expect without sitting down and going over the details.
A reputable digital marketing agency will sit down with you and go over the scope of the project and what your website needs to beat the competition. From there, they’ll put together a proposal that outlines what needs to happen before the build starts, what happens during it, and anything additional that’s required to complete the website. This will include the overall cost of the project. Extra fees may be needed, such as graphic design, logo development, a branding guide, or content.
A good rule of thumb is if the pricing seems too good to be true and the turnaround time is quick, it may be a sign that your website won’t be what you need to succeed online.
Set Website Goals for Your Business
Before a website build even begins, your agency will sit down with you and go over your business goals online. Understanding what you want your website to do is key to building a website that meets those goals. It could be as simple as people filling out your contact form or giving you a call. It could be as broad as building your brand authority as an informational source in your niche.
Choosing a Platform for Your Website to Be Built On
Once your goals are cemented, choosing a platform to host your website on will come next. There are many content management systems out there, including WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and Wix. Many web hosting companies even have basic platforms to build simple websites. The functionality you need will determine the best platform your website should be built on for future updates and growth.
Securing a Domain and Hosting for Your Website
Every website needs a domain. Most businesses nowadays snag their brand name as a domain when they get started. Sometimes they go with a catchy domain to get people’s attention. If you don’t already have a domain, your marketing agency will help secure that for you. If you can get your business name or use your brand name, do it. Brand recognition online is crucial for success. Leverage a .com domain whenever possible, stay away from .biz and other kitschy top-level domains (TLDs) like .business or country-based ones unless you’re in that country.
Domain.com, Namecheap, and Name.com are a few examples of where you can register a domain. Some domain registrars double as hosting companies, too.
Find a Hosting Company for Your Website
Your website needs to have a “home” on the web, and that’s what hosting does. Hosting comes in many shapes and sizes depending on how big your website is and how many resources it takes to run. Your agency will make recommendations based on the above to give you the most reliable and affordable solution to keep your website up and running. Companies like GoDaddy, WPEngine, Bluehost, and Host Gator are some examples of hosting companies you can use.
Hosting can be expensive. Most companies offer a cheap option where you’re on what’s called a shared server. A shared server is stuffed with as many websites as possible. The problem with this is that if one website gets a lot of traffic, it slows down the speed of every other website on a server. If your website is too slow or doesn’t load, potential customers will be turned off and look for an alternative.
Take the time to examine the different hosting options and pricing. Your agency can help you figure out what’s right for your website that doesn’t put it at risk of not being available when customers are looking for your service or product.
Get Creative with Your Website’s Design
If you’re building a website yourself, you can use pre-made templates and themes to get the look and feel you want. If you’re going with an agency for the build, they’ll sit with you and go over what you want the website to look like. From there, they may use a theme or build out a custom design to meet your vision. Then, they’ll work with you side-by-side to continue to tweak it until it’s perfect. When working with a digital agency in this capacity, they’ll be able to integrate web design best practices to increase conversion rates.
It helps to know what type of websites you already like and why. If there are competitor websites you like, that’s a good starting point, too. The more direction or context you can give your agency, the easier it will be to design a website you’re proud to call your own.
Launch Your Website
Once you’re happy with your website, you’ll want to work with the agency or designer to make sure it functions before launch. The quality assurance (QA) process is essential to make sure your website is ready. Once all issues are addressed, your agency will work with your web hosting company and domain registrar to get your website online. Make sure to share the news on any digital channels you’re leveraging, like email marketing, social media, or video.
When you launch your website, it’s time to celebrate! Consider having a small get together at your office to unveil the new website. It’s a big step to invest in a website or get started with a new design that will change how you do business and how you grow online.
If you’re still scratching your head wondering where to start with your website, reach out to Altitude Agency today. Our goal is to help potential customers find your website and become fans of what you do. Don’t waste time pulling the trigger on getting found online – your competition is already there, and they’re already stealing your customers. Don’t let the competition beat you at what you do best. Build a website that crushes them online with us.