Most start-up businesses need an online presence. Even if you’re not going to sell directly online, a website will help you with the following:
- Increase your visibility
- Enable potential customers to check you out before making further contact
- Make a good first impression with a potential customer
- Enable you to market your business to customers who do not live locally
What’s more, the internet presents a level playing field. Even if you’re a one-man-band start-up, your website can create the impression of an established, professional, experienced business.
The question is, how do you get a website if you lack the skills and knowledge to create your own?
Read on and I’ll tell you.
1. Template, bespoke, or web builder?
Your first choice is to decide how you will create your website. You have three basic choices:
- Commission a web designer to create a totally from scratch.
- Create your website using a template such as WordPress OR
- Use a website builder such as 1 or Moonfruit
Bespoke designs tend to be more expensive. However, depending on your budget you will get a completely unique design that doesn’t have to compromise. If your start-up website needs very specific or complex functionality or features, this may be your preferred choice.
Whilst a WordPress website does have more constraints than a totally bespoke option, it will cost less, can still be customized, and remains relatively easy to add and amend your content once your site is live. Here’s a very brief overview of how WordPress works.
- Use a theme to give your website a unique look. There are thousands available. Themes are simply templates (or skins) that influence the look of your web sites font, the presence of sliders, the page layout, the colors, etc.
- Then add to your web sites functionality by adding plug-ins. Some plug-ins are free whilst others incur a charge. You’ll discover plug-ins for just about everything ranging from more basic requirements such as SEO and social media shares to more complex features like forums and directories.
- Integrate a blog. WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform and is well designed and set up for this function. Blogging is a very effective marketing tool that works much better if it’s connected with your website rather than being located on one of the free blogging platforms like Blogger or WordPress.com.
Finally, Web site builders – often have lower start-up costs as they are often paid for on a monthly basis. Your functionality is likely to be more limited as customization is generally more restricted. You will also find that if you outgrow the functionality, you cant easily transfer over to another web host and may have to rebuild the whole site.
2. Self-hosted v piggyback domain
Your domain gives your website a unique address and a specific place within the web where it can be located.
A self-hosted domain is one that you own.
In order to set your website up on a domain that you own, you first need to acquire the domain. Your domain should reflect your business name and you can check its availability via the National Business Register. You then need to organize website hosting. A web host is simply a company that manages powerful, high-speed computer servers with the capability to publish your website. When a visitor types in your domain address, the host ensures the site can be visited.
You will find it possible to build a free website and piggyback a domain name off the provider. For example, Vistaprint offers a website builder if you choose their basic package.
However, you need to weigh up the cost savings against the impression such an address gives to your potential customers. It’s ALWAYS worth investing in your own website domain.
3. Your logo and branding
Once you’ve chosen your preferred method of site creation, your next step is to think about your web sites look and feel. That’s where your logo and branding will have an impact.
Your logo should be more than a stand-alone graphic. Instead, you’ll want it to communicate your brand identity, and your values, and help you stand out from your competition. So although you can commission logos very cheaply through sites such as Fiverr.com, if you’re serious about making the right visual impression it’s worth investing in a professional graphic designer who will:
- Spend time consulting with you so they can really understand what your business is about
- Get clear on your likes and dislikes
- Get a feel for your market and your target customer
Then armed with this essential background information, you’ll be assured of a unique logo that accurately reflects your business.
Your logo will form an important, highly recognizable feature on your website as well as influence your web sites typography, color scheme, and overall feel. Research shows that website visitors take just seconds to make a decision to stick around or click elsewhere, which means your logo and associated branding is essential for making that all-important first impression.
4. Your written content
Often start-up businesses spend a lot of time thinking about the look of their website and less time thinking about the quality of their written content.
Whilst your web sites design will influence visitors visually, your written content (or copy) needs to do the job of persuading your visitors to take action (whether that’s to read more, buy or make contact).
As such, it’s well worth taking the time to avoid common content mistakes and to ensure your message is clear, and effective and entices visitors to want to do business with you.
As a minimum, your start-up website needs these four pages:
Home page: Here’s where you need to stand out from your competition, convince your target audience to choose you, and explain what makes your business special. To learn more about writing a killer home page read this article
About Us page: This is your opportunity to allow visitors to learn more about your business and you. This article explains more.
Services pages: Use this page to list your products/services with compelling descriptions that explain how you will benefit and add value to your target customer.
Contact us page: Make it really easy for a potential customer to get in touch and include a phone number, email address, social media icons, and even a contact form.
With a WordPress-based website, you’ll find it easy to keep adding content as your business grows. You may want to add a blog, include a testimonial page, add a portfolio of images, set up landing pages for specific products and services, etc. A WordPress website makes this really easy because you can simply add a page, enter the content and publish. What’s more, you don’t need to be techy because no complicated coding is required for this.
5. Your start-up website made easy
Building a website takes time. Just finding the right web designer, graphic designer, and copywriter to work with can be a headache, and then they probably won’t work together!
And if you’re itching to get trading? This delay can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you lack the necessary skills and experience.
So if you’re looking for an easier way, Virtual Business In A Box can help. Simply buy a box and you’ll access the VBinaB team of professionals who will work together to get your business online. In fact, it’s a pain-free route to a hardworking, cost-effective, professional website for your new business.