11 Steps to making a business website
How to make a business website in 11 steps
The purpose of a business website should be to get more customers for your business. This can take different forms depending on what your business does. If you are a brick and mortar shop, and you do not sell anything online, your goal is to get new customers to come into your store. If you only sell online, your goal is to get people to buy from your website. If you do a combination of both, then you want to both sell online and also convince customers to visit your shop.
Here is another way to think it, a business website is like a billboard for your business on the internet. When people are navigating the internet, they come across different websites. The same thing happens when they are driving around on the highways. The see a giant billboard for a business. Does the billboard convince the driver to become a customer? That is what you should be thinking when you are looking at a business website.
Some of these steps may seem technical, and if you are not comfortable with technology, it might be better to have someone assist you. Hang in there even if you cannot do these steps yourself, it is important that you are at least aware of them. You do not want someone coming into your shop telling you they work with Google and taking your money for nothing. Everyone works with Google, so do not fall for that sales trick. Ok so lets get started on the steps.
Step 1 purchase a domain name for your website
You need to buy a domain name. Think of it as a phone number on the internet. It is a way for people to lookup your business on the internet. The name you choose should be as short as possible, and it should be meaningful. Remember, people are going to have first remember this name, and then they are going to have to type it into their phone to lookup your website. If you make it too difficult to remember or too long to type, you are going to miss out on a large group of new customer for your business. Again, keep the name you choose short and easy to remember.
Now you are going to need to choose a registrar where you will actually pay for the name. You must pay for the name every years, but you can prepay for multiple years. There is actually a minimum charge that all registrars have to charge you a year. What they do is offer you discounts on the first year, then they charge a much higher rate on the next years. They are banking on you not wanting to go through the hassle of switching companies to get a better price. Most of them also offer a privacy feature that protects your name and contact information. The company that controls the internet ICANN, requires that you list your name, email, phone, and address. The problem with this is you tend to get a lot of people calling you and trying to scam you. They find this information online as you are legally required to provide it. What the privacy guard does is it will hold the domain in their name, but give you control of it. This is a very useful feature, but some registrars charge a very high price for this service. However, there are some that charge a very low charge. I am going to recommend the registrar name.com because their prices are very reasonable. They have a coupon code that gives you a domain for $9.99 at the time of this writing, and a privacy guard for $4.99. After that the price goes up to around $17 a year. Other registrars will charge $15 a year for the domain and $18 for the privacy. Also, name.com has very good customer service, they refunded me money on multiple times when I decided I did not want the domain I had purchased.
Step 2 purchase hosting for your website
A website is sort of like a car, once you own it, you need somewhere to park it. That is what hosting is. There are many different kinds of hosting. If you are not a technical person, you will want a host that provides you with a point and click type of setup. Ideally, they will have one click WordPress setup. This will allow you to change the words and pictures in your website from your phone of computer without the need to hire expensive programmers. I have used hostmonster.com since 2003. Their prices have increased over the years, but they have excellent service, and their systems run without problems. You can also use a company like squarespace.com .
Step 3 change the DNS settings to point to your hosting
Once you have purchased hosting for your domain name, you need to get the names of the DNS servers from your hosting company, and you have to enter those in the settings at the registrar from which you purchased the domain name. Think of it as your vehicles registration. It tells the registrar where computer to find the website at when they type in the name.
Step 4 choose a content management system
You should choose a system that makes it easy for you to change the words and pictures on your website. WordPress is the most popular content management system ( CMS ), but there are other options out there like squarespace that do an equally good job, they cover hosting and content management for you.
Step 5 add Google analytics to your website
Google analytics gives you simple reports telling you how many people are coming to your website. It can tell you which pages they are visiting, where they came from, and what time of day they visited. There is a lot more information there, but what is important is that you need to be able to measure things. If you do not know how many people are visiting your website, and what they are reading, you will not be able to know if your website is bringing new customers to your business. Last thing to know, Google analytics is free.
Step 6 add content and pictures to your website.
You should add your business address, hours, and phone number on your website. You should also add words to your website to explain your business to people. Writing blog posts on your website about topics related to your business is a free way to get a large amount of potential customers. The amazing thing is once you write something, it keeps getting new visitors every month if you write it about interesting topics. This concept is called content marketing. If you can spend money on one thing for your business, you should spend it on content marketing. You will get more money back in terms of new customers than what it will cost you to hire writers.
Step 7 test your website on Google’s free tools
People always tell me they have a Facebook page for their business. I ask them, how do you find things on the internet. They always say Google, so I say why are you not looking at how Google sees your business. If you search for things will Google, its obvious that your customers are also searching for things with Google. Google has free tools that will tell you if there are problems with your website. Things such as, does your website take too long to load, does your website work good on a mobile phone. All these things are important because they affect if your website will show up in the top results of a search or the bottom. The majority of all people searching will only look at the top 3 results. Everything else gets very little visits. So you want to make sure that your site passes all these checks. If you need help with this, please contact me using my contact below and I can provide you with more details.
Step 8 test your website on different cell phones
Since 2015, more people have used mobile phone to browse the internet than they have used desktop computers. What that means is if your website does not work well on a cell phone, you will not get many people using your website. Step 7 is very important in telling you this information, but it is not the whole story. Your website should implement a sales funnel. What this means is that your website should be designed in such a way that it directs people to become customers through a series of steps.
Step 9 write blog posts about topics in your industry
It is very important that your website have content that is useful and informative to potential customers in your industry. People are search for things on the internet. Google organizes all the information on the internet. If they find a blog post on your website that is well written, they give it consideration in returning it in the search results. What is most important is that you write what is called evergreen content. This is content that does not expire and it always useful years after you write it. There are many other technical details to writing good blog posts, please contact me below if you would like some additional help.
Step 10 share your blog posts on social media
It is important that you share all of your blog posts on the different social media platforms. This gets your content in front of people right away. If people find it useful, they will link to your posts on their websites. This linking will boost your ranking on Google search results. You should consider sharing content on sites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumble Upon, and other specific forums that target customers of your industry. After you share a post on multiple social media sites, you should monitor your google analytics to see how many customers are coming to your website. My best effort so far has yielded 500 new people in a single day. Other experts have seen thousands in a single day. You may not see these larger numbers right away, but if you keep at posting new content to your website, after some time you will see larger and larger numbers of visitors.
Step 11 paid ads on Facebook
After you share a blog post on your Facebook page, you have the option to boost the post. What this does is it will show the post to a set of people you define. You can say only show it to specific people in a set of cities you choose. You can decide to show it to only a certain age range. You can decide to show it to only people who have expressed interest in a certain hobby or topic. It lets you narrow it down to people who you believe would reflect what your average customer looks like in your eyes. Now for pricing, you can spend as little as $5 or $10 to show it to several hundred people. You can define how long the period will be for the boost, I usually target a week. If you are going to go the route of paid ads, you should also ensure that you have a really catchy picture and title for your post. When people see a post on Facebook, think about if it will capture their attention or curiosity. You want people to click on the post to read it on your website.
Thanks for reading this, I created it to help a family member out. My family member runs a small brick and mortar business in a small town in central Connecticut. They wanted to get more business from the internet, so I decided to summarize the steps they needed to follow here.
You can contact me on Twitter at @tysonmaly if you have any questions or find me here on Facebook