Table of contents:
- Content Problems
- Different Business Website Platforms
- Website Hosting Considerations
- Does My Business Need a Full-blown Website?
Content for a website is the most important part. When you are beginning the process of creating a website whether on your own or with a professional, there should be a clear understanding of where the content comes from. In many cases the content, in particular text for the site is coming from the client. In other cases, the website package may include content such as with our All-Inclusive Business Website Package.
What about non-text content such as photos, video, illustration, icons and other media? You may have plenty of photos of your business that will work well, and you should provide them to your web designer. Let the designer choose where to use the photos and which stock photos to use on the site. What good is a beautiful website without beautiful photos and imagery to go along with it. In other words, you don’t want a snapshot on your homepage.
Another type of content that many business owners don’t take into consideration is their inventory. If you plan to sell your products online, you need to have your inventory ready for that. Doing a full count and optimization of it is usually necessary. In most cases, your current inventory system can be linked to your website to sync inventory counts. This will also import other product information including photos and descriptions. This makes it easy for retail businesses to manage their inventory in one place, but the system must be well-kept and optimized for scalability.
Business Website Platforms:
There are several great platforms out there for building business websites, such as Squarespace, Wix, Clickfunnels and WordPress. They all have their pros and cons but one of them does stand out as more versatile and cost effective than the rest, and that is WordPress.
The main reason that WordPress stands out is because the base software to run a WordPress website is free and open source. It can also be installed on virtually any web server to host your site. Platforms like Squarespace, Wix and Clickfunnels are closed systems, meaning that the core software running the website is proprietary and requires a subscription.
WordPress does require a web hosting account whereas the closed systems usually include hosting. With that hosting requirement comes flexibility, in that you can host your site wherever you choose. If your current hosting provider raises their prices or changes their terms, you can migrate your site to a new host. With a closed system, if they change their prices or terms, you are stuck. You can build a new website on a different platform but for the most part, you would be building it from the ground up.
WordPress does have a steep learning curve. The DIYer with little website experience might find it difficult to create a well-designed website. We recommend hiring a professional to build the site and teach you how to use it. WordPress being open source, allows third-party developers to create and sell software called plug-ins which augment the functionality of WordPress. At 5611 Marketing Studios we have created a system of software that we call our “tech stack” which includes WordPress as the base and several other pieces to create beautiful and optimized websites with advanced marketing automation behind them.
Your web designer will usually recommend a hosting provider or will have a system they already use to help you host your site. Go with what your web designer recommends as they will know what kind of requirements your website will have for the server it is hosted on. When you pay for website hosting, you are basically renting part of server which is always connected to the internet and delivers your website to your users in an efficient and secure way.
If you choose to go with a closed system such as Clickfunnels, Squarespace or Wix, you will not have to worry about website hosting as they are included to make the DIY experience easier for most people. As a website designer, I recommend not using one of those closed systems and going with WordPress which is compatible with most web hosting platforms.
When choosing a hosting package, it’s important to consider how extensive your site is and how much traffic you expect to drive. A business website usually requires business level hosting and a business grossing $2M+ per year might require a dedicated hosting package. There are three primary levels of web hosting packages available: Shared hosting, Business hosting and Dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is where you share the server space with other websites and their traffic. This can cause delays in the delivery of your website if another sites on the server have high traffic, that’s why we say a business website usually needs business level hosting. Business level is also shared with other websites, but they allocate dedicated CPUs (Computer process units, ie. computer cores) and RAM to ensure your site is not slowed by other sites on the server. The highest level, dedicated hosting is recommended for larger businesses who expect high volumes of traffic. In this case, you are renting an entire web server where your website will be the sole occupant. Within each level of website hosting there are sub levels to give you the ability to scale as your site as your audience grows.
5611 Marketing Studios uses Godaddy web servers. We are a reseller and provide all of the necessary things a business owner would need to get setup to manage their online presence in a cost-effective way. See our Webtools section for pricing and feel free chat with us to discuss options.
Do I need a full-blown website for my business?
At the very least, any business should have a domain name (www.yourdomainname.com) which points to a self-branded home page of some kind. This could be a simple landing page or a “business card” style website (sometimes called a portfolio website) which shows off the best of your work. Either way you go, you should have a site published because there are several things a website can do for your business: inform your potential customers and collect data about those potential customers. Keeping your customers informed is easy, as a business owner I’m sure you already love talking about what you do, just type it and publish it. The second aspect is the more powerful of the two. Being able to collect data doesn’t stop at users filling out a form and sending you a contact message. You can track how they found your website, be it through Google, social media or they typed the web address in manually. You can see what keywords people are using where your website was returned on the search results. You can see how many people are finding you through organic search, meaning they just searched for your products or services and your website was their choice. These powerful tools will help you target your audience more precisely and convert more potential clients into buyers.
I am sure there are other considerations when it comes to different products, services and markets. The important thing I want to stress is to make a plan or have your web designer come to the table with a plan. A business website is typically not a DIY project, there are too many nuances that go unlooked by the DIYer which results in a website that either doesn’t perform or doesn’t represent your business in its best light. Hire a professional, they will help you see the big picture of the project and understand all of the aspects that need to go in to making a quality website that improves your business.