If you want to set up a business website, here are a few things you need to know to make it a success. These are five things we tell our customers whenever they want a new website.
1. Select an easy to remember, easy to say domain name. We talked about domain names in a previous post, so be sure to read it over. But the short of it is, select a .com name if possible, and if you run a local business, use your city’s name in the domain. NashvilleCarpetCleaning.com would be a good example.
2. Get reliable server space. You can find cheap server space, but you can’t always be guaranteed that the server will work properly or that the company isn’t going to have problems later on. Do some research and pick a web host that can offer you reliable uptime. After all, if your regular store was closed at random hours, you would lose business as people decided to never darken your door again.
3. Make sure your website is good-looking and easy to navigate. One of the things Google has been paying attention to for positive search engine results is “Time On Site,” or how long people spend on a particular website. If someone stays for a couple minutes, and visits a couple of pages, Google assumes it’s a well-done site, and they’ll start to boost it up in the search engine rankings. But if it’s an ugly site that looks like it was done by someone’s high school nephew in 2003, you’ll be lucky to break the top 100. Hire it done, or buy a book and teach yourself good web design.
4. In most cases, WordPress.org is a very good website/content management platform. It was originally designed as a blog platform, but as the developers have improved it, WordPress now has the ability to function as a complete website. I happen to like it because business owners aren’t tied into a single web developer who used a proprietary system that only that developer understands. Any time there’s a dispute between the owner and developer, it’s the owner who ends up suffering as his site is held hostage. With WordPress, anyone can make changes, so the site cannot be held hostage by a disgruntled freelancer.
5. Add a blog. We talked in a previous post about how important a blog is to your business (hint: Very), and this is an excellent way to boost your search engine rankings, to improve your credibility and expertise, and even increase sales. And since WordPress is a blog platform already, it’s no problem to add that blog feature without turning your website into a regular-looking blog..
A website is going to be crucial in the success of your business. You can’t rely on foot traffic and Yellow Pages ads as much as we could 20 years ago. A website can help you reach people outside your local community, and lets you reach customers literally all over the world.
About the author: Duncan Alney is the president and founder of Firebelly Marketing. He is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and photographer, and he’s working on his first social media marketing book, which will be out in late 2012. Duncan has lived on 3 continents and in 5 countries, but is proud to call Indianapolis home.