When it comes to creating a website for your business, where do you start?

Google It. It’s a verb, a sentence, an answer to every question. We can be empowered or dangerous depending on how good of a searcher we are. Business owners have the power to figure out how to do things they never thought they could, even creating websites for their business. Ever find more questions than answers out there? Or so many different answers that you aren’t sure where to start?

You’re not alone. You’ve likely found that you can get a website anywhere. Seriously – every radio station, media company and “guy” or “girl” you know can help you with a website, as can any agency or team – you name it. And the price varies more than anything you’ve ever had quoted before.

Build Your Own Website (Maybe)

There are lots of subscription options like WIX, Square Space and even Weebly. These are platforms where you pay a monthly fee or subscription to use their service. They take care of hosting, updates and all of those things for you. Odds are, something like this will be okay enough for you to get a site started and up on the World-Wide-Web for your business.

One caution – is that WIX has had issues being indexed by Google – so if coming up in search is a big focus for you, you might want to stay away from these. This is a “Google problem” per the articles we’ve researched, but ultimately if Google isn’t crawling or indexing your site – it’s your problem too. Don’t just take our word for it, here are a few articles we found in our research from SearchEngineLand.com TheAmericanGenius.com.

There are also a lot of other open source content management systems that you can use to build your website. You’ll hear people talk about WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. There are many, many more.  (There are also enterprise level applications that exist for businesses who require full-on system integrations with ERPs, shipping, CRMs and other applications used to run the business day in and day out. ). We’ll stop there before we make anyone’s head explode with more information overload.

What is a Content Management System?

Content management systems (or CMS as they are often referred to) – are a fancy way to let you know that you can manage the content for your website on your own. Most website options you’ll find allow you to edit content, change images and add/remove pages on your own. Good website development firms should give you access and show you how to maintain the site on your own. (We provide a user guide for our clients)

Wish we had a better answer for you, but the best content management system for your small business website likely depends on who you decide to work with, their experience with different CMS systems and the business requirements at hand. Every web development firm will have their go to platforms and expertise.

Don’t Start with the Web Platform

While we use WordPress for many of our client websites, and our own, other firms use other solutions. We use WordPress because it is well supported from many different developers. It also had a lot of different plugins, which can allows for scalable solutions as business and website needs change over time. Still, we always start with discovering how your website will support the business goals. Is it online sales, lead generation, building an email database, providing customer support, all of the above or something else…

Scalable Websites Are A Must

Creating a strong website foundation that can grow with you as your functionality needs change is important. Technology and consumer expectations change fast. Having a website that can keep up with the ever changing online space is critical. No one can afford to start over every year or two.

  • You can start with a simple marketing website about your products & services.
  • You may need to add job listings and applications to the website to help with recruitment.
  • Over time, you want to add a  password protected area for customers or suppliers to access private information.
  • Perhaps adding an online store for standard parts and accessories is necessary.
  • Even our website will grow soon by adding a portfolio of our work and examples of work we have done.

Clearly this is a pretty simply list of ways a website could evolve. We know it happens often and very quickly. Your business needs more than “just a website” – you need an online sales and marketing tool that helps you grow your business today, and well into the future.

5 Things to Know Before You Build a New Website

  1. Talk to a few different agencies or teams. They’ll all have a different approach and take on things, and will give you good food for thought during the process.
  2. Have clear idea of your business goals and objectives. If you are not sure, make sure the web development team helps you identify how the website will support these.
  3. Review other websites to identify your preferences for look, feel, navigation style, etc. (These can be competitor websites or sites you visit on a regular basis).
  4. Outline the content needs for your website – what pages, service descriptions, products and other resources are most important to prospects and customers.
  5. Think about your plan to keep the website fresh with new articles, images, content, etc.

Ideally, you should look for a team that you can work well with, collaborate with and that understands your business goals. In a sense, you can end up “married” to your website design & development team throughout the development process, and no one wants to go through an ugly divorce.

Still have questions or want to talk more about your website? We’re happy to help. Simply contact us today.