Being a business owner is all about making decisions. It’s up to you to direct the business and make all of the big calls about the future of your company. But there are a lot of smaller decisions that you need to make that are just as important. Some of your most important decisions in the early stages of your company have to do with your website. Everybody knows that creating a great website is essential for all businesses but if you’ve never done it before, you might not realise just how much work goes into it. If you’re about to start designing your new company website, these are the difficult decisions you’ll have to make.
Should You Build Your Own?
This is the first big decision you need to make; do you build your own website or do you get a professional web design company to do it for you. There are some pros and cons on both sides so it depends on your personal situation. The most obvious benefit of building your own website is the cost. There are some great website building programs out there that make it very easy to create a decent website on your own without any previous expertise. A lot of them are free and the paid ones don’t cost you that much money. This is a good choice for people that are just starting a business on a barebones budget. Managing your cash reserves properly is very important so you don’t want to start spending loads of money on an expensive website.
However, the quality of the website that you’ll get if you build it yourself won’t be as good as one designed and built by professionals. When you’re using a website builder, you’re using templates and importing various features. That can be quite restrictive because you’ve got to work with the tools that you have at your disposal. You can still create a good website but if you want to do anything a bit out there and create a unique website with very specific animations or functions on there, you’re going to struggle. You’re much better off getting a professional web design company to build the site from scratch if you’ve got big ideas.
As a general rule, it might be best to build a basic website for yourself while you’re getting the business off the ground and then when you start bringing investors on board and making more sales, you can invest a bit of that money in building a new website from scratch. Sometimes, you might find that a free website fulfills all of your needs. If that’s the case, you might not need to pay for a new one.
Deciding where to host your website is the next step. If you use a website builder like WordPress, you can host the site on there and get a domain name fairly cheap. But if you do that, you don’t actually own the site and the content that is on it. It’s a lot better to host your own website instead. You’ll be spending more money to host your own website but it’s still relatively cheap (less than £100 a year). It’s a necessary expense if you want to have complete control over your site. When you’re choosing a company to host with, it’s a good idea to find out what other sites they host and have a quick look. If they’re loading slowly or some pages aren’t working properly, you probably don’t want to host with that company.
Finding The Right Web Design Company
If you are going to have a web design company build your site, you need to think carefully about which one you pick. Not all web design companies are created equal and you need to find one that matches your business. For example, a company that specializes in creating websites for restaurants is probably not going to be very good at building a site for an accounting company. A good place to start is your competitors websites. A lot of sites have a small credit at the bottom that tells you who built the site. Have a look at the websites of similar companies and see if you can find out who made them. That’s a good way to start drawing up a shortlist. The next step is to look at reviews of those web designers. Sites like Web Design Review rank different companies and list their benefits and drawbacks. Reviews are often the best way to get an idea of the quality of work and the value for money you’re going to get from a web design company.
Finding a company that does good quality work for a reasonable price is important, but it’s also essential that you find a team that shares your vision. When you’re picking potential companies, you should speak with them and go over your rough designs. If they have a lot of good ideas about how to bring the site to life and various improvements they could make, that’s a good sign. But if they’re not really that excited by your designs, you might not work well together.
Finally, you need to find out about their aftercare services. Any problems with the site that make it difficult to use will have a big negative impact on sales. You need a web design company that will sort those issues out quickly before they cause too many problems. You also need to update the site regularly with new content to keep people coming back. Ask about these things before you commission somebody to build the site for you and look for details of the aftercare when you’re looking at reviews.
What Should Go On The Site?
This is so important because you need to strike a balance on your website so you’ve got everything your customers need but you aren’t overcrowding it. An overcrowded website is always bad because it makes it difficult for people to find what they’re looking for. People aren’t very patient when they’re looking at a website so if they land on your front page and they’re overwhelmed with hundreds of pictures and animations all over the place and they can’t easily see the search bar or the category that they’re looking for, they’re going to get frustrated and consider leaving. However, you’ve got to avoid going too far the other way. Minimalism is popular in web design but you have to be careful. If you don’t have basic menus on your home screen and people really have to work to find things, your website isn’t going to work well. Make sure that you’ve got all of the relevant features on there and don’t go overboard with fancy animations and things that clutter up the page.
Writing good content for the site is important as well because it’ll drive a lot of traffic. The next big decision you need to make is what that content will be. If you want people to buy your products or services, you need to cement yourself as a leader in your industry. When you’re writing content, you need to create informative articles about your industry that encourage people to buy your products. For example, if you’re selling kitchen equipment, you need a lot of great recipes on your website. If you’re selling accounting software, you need advice on how businesses can manage their money.
This is perhaps the most important decision you need to make. Everybody is aware of the dangers of cyber-attack on businesses. If you lose sensitive data, you may be subject to fines and you’ll lose the trust of your customers. It’s incredibly difficult to rebuild that trust and it can have a big impact on sales. That’s why it’s so important to keep your website secure. The main decision that you need to make here is whether you’re going to handle it in-house or outsource it to another company. The benefit of hiring your own IT staff to handle security is that they’re always on hand as soon as something happens. When there is a breach in your security, it’s essential that you plug those gaps right away and limit the amount of data that is lost. That’s easier to do if you have your own dedicated IT staff. They will also be constantly working to improve your security systems. However, hiring a team of experienced IT staff is going to cost a lot of money and in the early stages of a business, you might not be able to afford that. The benefit of outsourcing is that you get access to a team of experts to handle your security without having to pay full salaries for all of them. They will be working for a lot of different companies so they’re not dedicated to your security and nobody else. That means the response times might not be as quick and they won’t spend as much time working on your security but it’s a more cost effective option.
You’re going to have to deal with all of these difficult decisions when you’re building your company website.
This is a collaborative post.