8 things to know before building your first website

by | Dec 18, 2020 | Websites | 0 comments

Don’t have a website for your business? What you need to know before building a website for your small business.

1. You don’t need a website

Yep, I said it. Having a website isn’t right for everyone and it especially isn’t right for you if you haven’t really decided what you’re offering and who it’s for. So if you don’t know what work lights you up, why you’re in business in the first place and who you love working with, you need to deal with those things first! You might struggle with getting the right website if you’re relatively new in business when all the answers to these questions need some refining with some brand strategy.

Most new entrepreneurs don’t have the budget to invest in a good website and could lose hours, days, weeks or even months trying to design it themselves. If you aren’t working in a design field then you could end up with a website that gives a bad first impression to your potential clients, has no focus on serving them and to top it off sucks your time. It may just be better to get a few clients first and get your website when you can invest in something that will work as hard as you do.

2. Choose the right platform

Let’s get straight to the point. Go with WordPress. The great thing about self-hosted WordPress websites is that they can grow with your business, they’re flexible, so you can be too. We don’t know which direction our businesses might go, WordPress ensures that you can do what you need to, to support your business goals as they change.

3. You have to plan your website

Building a website isn’t just picking some colours, writing some content and putting it online. You need to plan the flow of your site, how will you get visitors to the information they need and how will they engage with you so that your business can thrive? What serves your clients and you the best? Make. A. Plan.

4. You need a clear message

No one will buy your stuff if you don’t tell them what it is, who it’s for and how it will make their lives better. Get your brand messaging crystal clear before you start thinking about a website. Or better yet, work with a designer who helps you do just that – say hello to me here 😉

Not great at writing? Consider hiring a copywriter to help you craft your content, it’s more important than you might think!

this is hte sign you've been looking for sign for niche brand success

5. You don’t just need images, you need optimised images

There are two things that will stop you in your tracks when thinking about building a new website. 1. you don’t have images 2. you don’t know how to use your images. First up, there are some great stock image libraries where you can find relevant images for most websites. A better choice is to have a brand/product photoshoot so you have fresh, unique and on-brand images to use. And to the how to use them part, if you download stock or receive image files from your photographer each image is likely to be several megabytes in size. Add these to your website and it’s likely to load VERY slowly, affecting your SEO and turning away potential website visitors. Speed matters; learn how to optimise your website images for speedy page loads here.
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6. How will people find you

How will people find your website? Truth: if you build it, they probably won’t come. This is a hard truth for many and one of the things people tell me they hadn’t really thought about when we chat about designing their website. You need to have a plan to get traffic to your site, whether that’s from social media, Pinterest, search engines or referrals.

7. Your website hosting matters

There are so many hosts to choose from and you might be tempted to go for the cheapest option but what’s important is that the hosting does everything you need it to. Get your hosting based on features and make sure it’s adequate for what you need.

Top things to look for in a host for a small business website:

  • Enough space for your website files and database
  • Speed, will they deliver your content quickly
  • Optimised for the kind of website you have – WordPress requires Linux hosting
  • A free auto-renewing SSL certificate or access to premium certificates they will install (some hosts charge a fee for installing certain certificates)
  • Green hosting – if you care about the environment you might opt for green hosting – find a good list of green hosts here

Finally, don’t pick a website hosting company expecting them to support you with website issues, a host is there to provide hosting support, not website support. 

8. You need to give your website some TLC

Make sure you’re taking care of your site regularly, it’s not a build it and leave it situation. Make offsite backups, run updates weekly, scan for performance and security issues and make changes as needed. If you don’t look after your site it might stop working properly or get hacked, that can be expensive to fix and could cost you your site. 

So there you go, some food for thought if you don’t have a website yet. These are also some good things to remember when you’re looking for a website designer. A good designer will help you with all this and more, or they’ll refer you to someone in their network that can help.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach out hello@meancreative.com

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