Where do you start with creating a website for your business?
Whether launching a new startup or optimizing an existing business, a website can be one of your most important assets. The process can also be one of the most frustrating if you aren’t prepared. Yet, done right it can be pivotal to your results.
Here’s how to get started and get it done efficiently…
The Need For Business Websites Today
There are many new online platforms today. We have social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. As well as business directories, and other platforms for blogging and doing business from Medium to Amazon and Udemy and mobile apps.
Still, despite all of this, or perhaps even because of it, business websites are not just still relevant, but essential. It’s a consistent presence and hub, and a slice of internet real estate you can own. One that has proven to outlast all of these other trends and fads. It’s an asset you can own. One that if you don’t, someone else may swipe and use against you. Or, at a minimum, can leave a void when your customers are searching for you or a solution like yours.
No venture, for-profit, or nonprofit should be without a website today. This is the same thing if you are going out for fundraising. You will need a pitch deck template to build the story and to create excitement from investors.
The Purpose Of Creating A Site For Your Business
Aside from just knowing you should have one, why create a site for your business? What’s its purpose?
As with anything else in business, you have to stay focused on what’s most important. Otherwise, you can be dragged into many time and money-draining detours and distractions.
So, start with the purpose or main driver for creating a site for your business now. Is it, for branding, a hub for your marketing, making sales, supporting fundraising efforts, building a community, building value in an asset, or just as a virtual business card?
Clearly write out your main purpose to guide yourself and your team.
Next, you can list your priorities in order of importance. What are the top 1-3 things your site needs to do for you? Is it to boost credibility, enable prospects to contact you, or to enhance social media presence?
Next, you can list some nice-to-haves for the future. Features you’d like to have, but which are not absolutely necessary to the immediate and most important goal. Or, features that can support scaling and automating your business as you grow. That might include AI chatbots or a comprehensive online catalog.
Choose Your Budget
You may want to do some rough research or get some rough quotes to guide this process before picking a number out of thin air. This way, you’ll have an idea of what you can get and the level of quality you can expect for your money.
Costs for business websites can vary dramatically. You might pay as little as a few thousand dollars for a basic starter website to tens of thousands for a pretty robust eCommerce site with custom features. Then, there are some infamous cases of the government spending billions on websites. There are do-it-yourself options, but don’t expect them to be truly free. You may still end up spending hundreds or well over $1,000 by the time you are done with images, video, text, and integrations.
Pick your budget or price range. This will help guide the rest of your decisions.
Pick Your Platform
There are many platforms to use to create your website. There are DIY website builders, as well as hosting platforms like Shopify and WordPress, as well as custom coded sites in multiple computer languages that most people don’t understand.
One of the top considerations here is ownership and the ongoing cost of modifications and alterations. Something really complex may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to change per page later. You can be at ransom to whatever website designers want to charge at the time, if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Then there are those that are easy drag and drop templates that a five-year-old can do.
Your decision may also be guided by the type of site you need. For example:
– Solo landing pages
– Online stores
– Personal and corporate business cards
– Social networks
Who Will Create Your Website?
Who will handle your website design?
If you have been a professional web designer, then you may be quite capable of doing this yourself. It may not be the most efficient method or best ROI on your time, but it is an option. If you are not experienced, then be wary. Most end up needing a pro to fix it and make it right. Don’t waste time and money if you’ll have to hire help anyway.
– In-house staff
If you have an in-house team that is already qualified and dedicated to tasks like this, then you could put them on this job. However, if they’ve only tried DIY building of basic sites in the past, and this isn’t really their specialty, then it may cause more friction and problems than good. It may seem cheap to use them on an hourly basis, but it could cost the relationship and wasted hours.
You’ll also find a lot of freelance designers online today. These are professionals that agencies typically subcontract your site out to anyway. Only without the middleman commission. You may find the same quality for a quarter of the price or less than going through an agency.
Agencies can help put together a more comprehensive online package for you. This may streamline the process for you, and if one designer can’t complete it, they should find a backup. Just expect to pay premium prices.
Create The Specs
Create the framework, page layout, pages list, content, calls to action, customer flows, and integrations like email, CRM, affiliate programs, ads, and payments. This will make sure your designer really understands what you want the first time.
Layout Out The Steps
What are the steps to getting from your specs to quotes to getting live?
Create A Timeline
Lay out deadlines and timelines for each step. Include penalties and bonuses for completion on time, and an understanding of what makes a difference to arriving on time and not. Like adding new customization requests.