Ask yourself two key questions about your new website: What do you need it for? And who will be visiting? Your site must be relevant to your customers or they will quickly click away.
It’s also worth considering what functions would you like the site to perform. Will it be a sales tool or just for marketing? Does it need to be interactive with your customers? Would you like to be able to take payments?
The domain name you choose should both reflect your brand and be easy and simple to find online.
Build it yourself or let someone else do it
If you’re not a proper designer it’s probably best to hire a professional. It’s a good idea to think about your website going forward. Most need ongoing management so if you’re going to be too busy with other aspects of the business, do let someone else take control. Your site should be up to date and a proper showcase for your company at all times.
Make your design simple, fresh and unique
Your homepage is the door to your site so make sure it looks good. You also need to include important information to answer some of the questions potential customers will be asking. Try and keep your homepage as clear as possible and make sure you have good visuals as well as text.
Think about visitors with mobile devices
More and more people now access the web using mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. Take advice on what will make your website responsive to make sure that almost everyone will be able to see your products and services clearly.
If you are showing off your products online, make sure they look the business with great photographs. No matter how amazing your site design is, you are unlikely to sell much if your product pics aren’t up to scratch.
Get ready to sell
Whether you decide to build it yourself or get someone in to help, consider creating an e-commerce site from the beginning or build a website which can be added to in the future.
Taking payments online
Not as difficult as it may sound, there are many ways to take payments online. The easiest and most secure option is to use a payment provider. Customers will be directed from your site to a secure payment page. This means that your own site never actually holds sensitive card data and that the customer is directed back to your site once payment has been made.
Consider site loading times
Remember that slow load times can make the difference between potential customers buying from you or not. People expect rapid responses online so it makes sense to regularly check your site’s performance from time to time.
Always try to achieve the best user experience
Bear in mind that potential customers are often visiting your site for specific facts and information and want to find them quick and easily. Take time out when building your site to make it is arranged in an orderly way. This will save you a lot of reorganising later on.
Spread the word
Although some people will find your site anyway plan active steps to help build your brand and customer base using Social Media Marketing. Put aside a small amount of marketing budget to try advertising your website with social media.
Kevin Wilson is managing director of WebBoss.