Every modern business needs a website if they want to reach out to consumers online. No matter what type of website you’re looking to build, there are a few basics to cover when you first get started:

  • Domain name: Use a name that ends in .com as opposed to .net, .org, or .biz. Avoid hyphens or limit to one if necessary. Make sure you are the owner of your domain name and no one else has access or control. If you register it yourself, you can confirm your ownership. Register with companies like GoDaddy or Network Solutions that are well-established and offer quality support.
  • Web designer/developer: If your website is not intended to generate business, you may not need extensive web design or development assistance. However, if you hope to drive traffic and seek new customers from your website, a professional web designer or developer can make sure your site is fully optimized.
  • Hosting: Free hosting works for a great many people, but if you want people to take your site seriously, it may be worth it to pay for quality hosting. Think about what you need your webpage to do and find the best option that can give you what you want. For example, if you want your website to have the ability to process credit card transactions, you’ll need to find a host that is PCI compliant.
  • Content management system (CMS): WordPress is an inexpensive and open source option for smaller businesses and will work well for many people. Regardless of which content management system you choose, make sure it can update your content on any browser and has sufficient support when you need it.
  • Mobile-friendly: The mobile-friendliness of your site can have a major impact on your user-satisfaction, site traffic, and search engine rankings. Over half of Internet traffic is accessed through a mobile device, and you don’t want to miss out. Find out about Responsive Web Design and make sure it is implemented on your site to appeal to mobile consumers.
  • Put the Customer First: Make sure you are designing your website with the consumer in mind. You may like a certain design that research shows won’t appeal to the majority. You may want to focus on telling people what you want them to hear. The beauty of website design is that you have the freedom to do what you want, but if you want to make your site a successful platform for customer interaction and revenue generation, find out what your consumers want, and make sure to give it to them.
  • Content optimization: Content should be original and relevant to the consumer. Every page on your website should cater to what the consumer wants to see. Using an effective keyword planner and professional content writers, you can optimize every word of your content and generate a significant increase in site traffic and retention.
  • Image optimization: Consumers love great-looking images. This may be one place you want to scrimp and save, but good quality images that are viewable across all devices and platforms can lend authority to your page and increase user satisfaction. Avoid free stock image sites and spring for high quality images that users want to see.
  • Call to action: Every webpage on your site should include a direct CTA. People are looking for information, but they are also looking for advice and instruction. Leaving them with a clear message of action gives them something to do, and keeps you on their mind.
  • Build your list: Your opt-in email list is one of your most valuable resources. This means you have direct access to consumers who appreciate your content. Lead magnets like free downloads, discounts, contests, or other items of value give visitors an incentive to provide an email address and stay in contact with you.
  • Contact information: Make your contact information easy to find. Whether it is your phone number on every page, and/or a dedicated ‘Contact Us’ page, you want to make it easy for potential customers to reach you. Avoid CAPTCHAs and stick with GravityForms or Wufoo to keep visitors happy.
  • Measure traffic: Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your visitor’s behavior. These tools tell you how many people are visiting your site, how they are getting there, what search terms are being used to find you, and how effective your keyword marketing is. These tools provide a valuable resource if monitored regularly. They can help you fine tune your marketing strategies, reach more people, and boost your search engine rankings if you make good use of the data. In combination, these tools can also help you identify problems on your site so they can be fixed quickly.
  • Social media: Your website should be the main source of information about your business. Utilize social media accounts to drive traffic to your main website and provide blogs or other relevant content that will keep users coming back.

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