Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Shareholders are their own.
According to the Small Business Administration, a third of businesses in the United States do not have a website. If you have one, you will likely miss out on attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and growing your organization. Because, according to Statista, one in three US consumers who have access to the Internet are looking for local businesses. daily. Another 16% search for this type of information multiple times each week.
But what does it take to develop a great website? The answer varies depending on the individual action.
Here are some key considerations.
Finding the right platform
Even if your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’ve likely heard of WordPress or Shopify. Originally classified as a blogging platform, the former, headquartered in San Francisco, has grown to become one of the most popular options for small and medium-sized businesses. Shopify, meanwhile — a multinational company based in Ottawa, Ontario best known for its online store platform and point of sale systems — is now generating nearly $3 billion in revenue. There are a lot of other players in the market, and which one is right for you depends on several factors. Start with what the site needs to achieve. Are you looking to direct inquiries, or do you want to make sales online… or both?
Who will build the site? Some platforms offer templates and drag-and-drop options, but most find them ultimately limiting. It helps to have a larger customization option.
Related: 5 things to consider when choosing a website platform for your business
Another early consideration is that even though most startups or growing companies have limited budgets, it is very beneficial to treat your website as an investment. This will be the first impression most potential clients will have of your organization – and this fact alone is why guidance from experienced web developers is important.
Make payments easy
Nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is complete, according to the Baymard Institute. To prevent your company from adding to this shocking statistic, it is important to select the most appropriate payment gateway and payment processor. They work hand in hand, and help make the payment process easy and convenient for customers online. Before committing to a service provider, consider whether their service will integrate seamlessly with the design and functionality of your website and other operating systems. Weigh the cost of subscriptions and individual purchases for each provider against the income your online business is likely to generate. Additional considerations include transaction integrity and fraud prevention. Reputable service providers will also be certified to demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations.
Create beauty and functionality
Successful design is about more than just creating a beautiful website; It’s about representing your brand online and getting potential customers to interact. Well-designed pages make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for, whether it’s information or a product. It also responds seamlessly to any device visitors use, be it a desktop browser, app, tablet, or smartphone. Of course, not everyone is born with an interest in design, so it’s worth getting professional support to make sure your business maximizes its chances.
Develop a successful SEO strategy
Even the best looking website can’t function if search engines ignore it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital and ongoing effort to improve content in order to rank higher in searches. However, the work does not have to be hard. Building a successful strategy is about understanding how your customers search for your business and creating content to answer their questions and solve their problems. Every page needs a clear focal point that can be easily recognized by the likes of Google.
Related: Help your business thrive online with a solid SEO strategy
The sooner you start optimizing your content for search engines, the faster you will start seeing results. Keep in mind that a successful SEO strategy undergoes regular changes, as search engines regularly update their algorithms, with the goal of delivering more targeted results. Keeping up to date doesn’t have to be hard, but if you’re too busy with other day-to-day operations to do so, consider getting professional support.
Focus on content marketing
Blogs, articles, and social media posts all provide opportunities for businesses to connect with potential customers. This content marketing is about creating opportunities that can be seen online, while delivering value to the reader. This doesn’t have to be difficult: As an expert in a field, you can share expertise for the benefit of the audience. Like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing is at its strongest when it is applied regularly and used to create a strong connection between a company and its stakeholders.
Related: A brand is more than an accessory: it is the foundation of any business
Without a website, your business misses opportunities. However, bad design can be just as harmful as anything at all. Achieving success online starts with understanding your brand and how your audience likes to interact with it. With this information, you and your designer can effectively refine the look and function of your organization’s web presence.