There’s no getting away from it – a website is a must-have for any business. It’s your very own digital shop window for potential customers that tells them everything they want to know about your company and what you offer. From a brand perspective, it also gives you the chance to show people what makes you different from other providers in your industry.
There are plenty of options when it comes to building your own website. Providers such as Squarespace and Wix allow you to use a variety of templates to create something functional and visually appealing. But while it can be tempting to go down the DIY route, you might find that your new site doesn’t have much longevity, especially as your business grows and you want to start adding extra functionality.
Plus, if you go it alone, you’ll need to manage every aspect of your site’s design, build and maintenance yourself – and that can cut into time that can be spent on another part of your business!
Things to consider
Building a website isn’t just about making it look good and leaving it be. There are lots of things you’ll need to think about to ensure it functions correctly and provides your business with what you need – both now and in the future.
Your branding & design
One of the initial steps during the start-up process is to build a professional and appropriate brand that conveys your style, resonates with your target audience, and generally sets you apart from other firms in your industry. When many people think of branding, they just think of fonts and logos – but it goes much deeper than this. Your brand should encapsulate everything about your business whilst being instantly recognisable and personal to you. Every page of your website should be developed in line with your company branding; all of its elements, from its hero images to its copy, need to leave a positive impression on the people who are viewing it.
Can you honestly say you have the design skills to come up with a brand image that’s going to make you look professional AND help you stand out? Do you really want to spend your evenings and weekends learning logo design techniques and getting to grips with design software to bring your ideas to life? If you’re a busy entrepreneur… probably not.
Your domain name and hosting
Next, you’ll need to think about choosing your domain. You’ll probably want to pick something that’s simple, relevant, and easy to remember, but there’s no guarantee that what you want will be available for you to use. Somebody else might have nabbed it already. You’ll also need to think about whether your domain name will support your SEO strategy. (Our digital marketing team can help with this.)
Additionally, you will also need to choose a provider to host your website. This is the company that you essentially rent your website’s ‘space’ from. You will need to consider things like their stability, security and the amount of uptime that they provide for your site, especially if you want to set up an ecommerce website; know that your site is going to host a lot of large files; or are expecting high levels of traffic from day one.
How visitors will find and use your website
The structure of your website has a huge impact on its success. If it’s not easy to navigate, and if it doesn’t guide the user through a clear journey, it won’t do much to convert interest into actual sales. While it may sound as simple as knowing which pages you want to include, creating a carefully considered sitemap can be vital when it comes to ensuring people are able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. We always recommend that you research UX best practices to understand exactly what is needed for your website for it to function properly for your audience.
Once you’ve created your site, you’ll need to write unique copy for each page and ensure that this text is optimised for search engines, so that Google et al know which keywords to rank your pages for. You can’t just stuff your copy full of your favourite key phrases. In fact, there’s a lot more to effective search engine optimisation (SEO) than first meets the eye.
Much like teaching yourself how to design a logo, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to implementing good, long-lasting SEO. And another thing to remember is, if your site isn’t correctly optimised from day one, poor work now could impact its organic search positions later on. Is taking a do-it-yourself approach to such an important aspect of your website work really a good idea?
Upkeep and maintenance
After all of these steps have taken place, you should be left with a well-functioning and inviting website for your visitors. However, the hard work doesn’t end there. You will also need to keep on top of ongoing updates to make sure the site remains secure and fit for purpose as technologies evolve.
Don’t fancy taking on any of the above?
As a professional web designer, I have access to all of the latest tools and technologies to create websites that not only look great, but also function as an additional sales tool for your business, helping to drive traffic, improve brand awareness and increase leads. While it may seem like a good idea to build your own website and save money in the short-term, using an expert will create a great deal more leads for your business in the long-term.