An introduction on how to set-up your first business website

If you’re starting a new business then a website is an essential tool for attracting customers and gaining credibility. Creating a business website can be daunting but we’ve prepared ten top tips to get you started.

Anicca’s Managing Director, Ann Stanley, will be giving a presentation on how to set-up your first business website to students, staff and graduates at De Montfort University (DMU) tomorrow (Thursday 24th November). The presentation will form part of DMU’s Campus Enterprise Opportunities (CEO) start-up sessions which are designed to give an insight into enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Here’s an overview of the top tips for setting up your website:

1. Objectives
Know what your business wants to achieve. A website is supposed to be used to help further your business and so it helps to know your business aims before you start. Your site can be: – a ‘brochure’ site offering information – selling online – supporting customers in another way Think about what you want to offer through your site, who your competitors would be and who are your target audience.

2. DIY or agency?
There are two routes to setting up a website; do it yourself or contract an agency. Have you already got a website? If you have the money then contracting an agency to do the technical stuff elevates the stress from you but if you want to do it alone then make sure you take advantage of the free Business Link courses.

3. Planning
A successful strategy for your website will include a mix of design, content, functionality and navigation. To see a full diagram example and budget table download the presentation at the bottom of this blog post.

4. Design
Before you start to design your website pages you first need to establish a strong brand identity and logo. When designing your brand make sure you take your competitors, target audience and your own personality into consideration.

Remember, first impressions count. Making sure you have a user-friendly design will determine how many visitors you convert to sales. Your business website needs to have the right balance between design, content and functionality – The Magic Triangle diagram.

5. Content
Website content should be user and search engine friendly. Make sure you tell your visitors what you can do for them in a conversational tone. Our attention is easily waivered so put the important information at the top of the page. Remember that buyers may be looking for information about products – the more you can give them, the more likely they are to be able to make a decision to buy.

6. Functionality and website build
A business website should be built with easy to use navigation to ensure you keep visitors for as long as possible. Having a clean and clear website will give your company a professional look so it’s important not clutter pages with different functionality which would make it difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for.

7. Other considerations
Images are a vital part of web design. Your images should have an alt tag (alternative text), providing a text description of what is in the image – you will often see this if you place your mouse pointer over a picture on a web page when a small piece of text appears below it. This is of use to both people with disabilities who need a description of an image they cannot see and to search engines, which cannot understand the contents of a picture.

Getting the right balance of text is a common pitfall for many websites. If you include too much text you risk overloading your visitors who might automatically click away from your site. Too little text will get the same reaction if you are not providing the visitors with the information and details they need and having little to no text can affect your search engine rankings too.

8. Hosting and technical requirements
Your domain name is your internet brand and so it is vital you get this right. Your domain name should be consistent with your offline brand and something easy to remember.

Most web developers will offer hosting as part of their service, but you may also have the choice of choosing a third-party host. There is a huge range of web hosting available, from free to thousands of pounds per year – the key is to determine what you need for your site and to anticipate how it might grow and develop.

9. Marketing
A new website will find it hard to get ‘natural’ results in the first six months but there are several techniques to acquire those all important visitors.

Some of ways to get visitors include pay per click – Google Adwords, pay per conversion – affiliate marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and social marketing. Anicca Digital can offer you all of these techniques tailored to suit your needs. Contact the team today to find out more.

10. Measuring performance
Your website should become an integral part of your business. If you monitor both the results from your website, and what visitors are actually doing on the site, you’ll be in a good position to see if there are any areas of your site which are ineffective – and then you’ll be able to change them.

Keeping your website content fresh and update is important if you want to retain visitors and keep ranking high in Google results.



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