In today’s increasingly fast-paced and interconnected world of business, it has become necessary for SMBs to have a website. But without the right tools and knowledge, your website is likely to be a wasted investment – and worse, it could harm business.
On the other hand, a well-designed website that aligns with your brand, and offers visitors fresh and relevant content, will help your business. It is the best way to generate new leads – and your homepage is where it all starts. Every business owner should view their website’s homepage as the company’s virtual front door because generally, it’ll be drawing in majority of your website’s traffic. So where do you start with a great looking company website? Here’s a few essentials you don’t want to skip!
1. Opt for a Reliable Web Hosting Company
After you’ve registered a domain name, you’ll want to find a reputable hosting company you can rely on. Consider the business brand and nature of your company when choosing, and look for one that’s within your country that offers responsive support. It’s best to know your hosting needs before making the final decision too. Think about what applications you’ll need, how big or small the web traffic volume will go and what features and add-ons they offer.
Price, area of focus, hardware and tech support will all come into play too. Backup and security options (vital for websites accepting online payments) are essential to keep your website and content safe and it pays to check out customer’s reviews, the web hosting’s reputation and client satisfaction before you pick. Make sure you review web hosting upgrade options, the hosting control panel to ensure its user-friendly and the terms and conditions for account suspension and user policies.
2. Optimise for Major Search Engines
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a vital part of a great website and helps to put your hard work in front of the right people. Utilising reputable SEO techniques keeps your blog or website ranking higher in organic search results for major search engines like Google, so your potential buyers or prospects can find your product/service easily.
SEO is paramount for attracting more quality traffic to your site and relies on quality content, internal links and meta descriptions to be effective. Image SEO is also important (and makes your content more appealing for readers) and should be optimised accordingly with appropriate ALT and title tags so the search engine spiders can crawl them. Creating a website that’s mobile-friendly and compatible with multiple browsers will boost SEO value too! For maximum impact, integrate with social media and Google+ author verification.
3. Utilise a Clean, User-Friendly Design
Website designs that are simple and clean create bigger appeal. Quality is key – with ample amounts of white space so viewers aren’t distracted by too many graphics or large amounts of text. Design with your target visitors in mind with a proper balance between customised templates and intuitive layouts. Make sure users can navigate easily across all your pages; with fast loading pages, mobile-friendly design and high quality photos and content.
Cramming too much information onto one page turns readers off in an instant so use only what you need. Clean and user-friendly web designs are paramount for creating an experience where people want to return to your site. Often, users will associate the quality of your website with your product and service too, thus; a clean design is essential to keep readers interested.
4. Incorporate an Effective Colour Scheme and Branding
An effective colour scheme and business branding go hand-in-hand with a clean, user-friendly design. The colours you use are more important than people give credit for because of the different emotional responses they can evoke. Keep your business branding (the voice of your company) in the forefront of your mind when designing the website and utilise relevant colours to reflect what your brand or service is all about. A good rule of thumb to follow when choosing a colour scheme is the 60-30-10 rule; which suggests you should use three different colours in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. This offers a simple way to create a professional colour scheme for your business brand, without distracting readers with too many colour and design clashes.
5. Create an Active Blog with Great Content
A content strategy should be defined at the very start of building a website to ensure your site delivers something truly unique. An active blog with fresh, relevant content is critical in the business realm and every company should make content marketing a priority for future success. Utilise onsite content via a blog to feed customers’ information about your latest products, industry news and product or company related information.
An active blog with helpful and engaging content will keep users coming back to your site, regardless whether they need to purchase your product or use your service right away. Ongoing content that is unique and interesting to your readers will help your brand (and website) become a trusted resource within the industry and build up quality traffic.
About the author
Jayde Ferguson writes for Design City, a boutique creative studio based in Perth, specialising in web design, graphic design and brand communications. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.