Creating a brand-new business: it’s like climbing Everest, whilst spinning plates, jumping hurdles and trying to slam dunk all at the same time.
You’re an entrepreneur so the creative light bulb switching on is second nature to you. But even the most inspired and innovative ideas aren’t worth their salt without a website that gives your brand a strong, professional platform and online visibility.
A website that sings your brand identity from the rooftops will make entrepreneurial life a ton easier. After all, we live in a world where we Google before we shop, read reviews before we buy and ‘check-in’ wherever we go.
Your website isn’t just a source of information, it needs to convince, convert and make sure you’re cutting through the noise of your competition.
Overwhelmed? You don’t have to be. We’ll break this down nicely so it’s an enjoyable process, not a chore. But most importantly, we won’t throw technical jargon at you and expect you to nod knowingly. It’s tricky to learn the terminology overnight, but let us give you the basics first so you can keep in the loop and be connected to the process.
Let’s take a look…
Hosting & Domain
Similar to your house or flat, web hosting is like renting out a space. You pay a yearly rent (around £100) and keep all of your belongings there, which in this case would be your website content. Think of customers who visit your website as houseguests, except the more people that visit the more your rent goes up!
While hosting is your house, the domain acts as an address that lets your guests know exactly where to find you. It’s that simple.
TOP TIP: Always keep control of your hosting and domain account. Putting it in the hands of your web developer will create a dependency that will put you in a jam if you need to replace them, or they disappear (it can happen!)
It’s like keeping the keys to your house. Whatever your hosting plan, we always insist that the account is registered in the client’s name so there is complete freedom with both their ‘house’ and ‘address’. We’ll work with you to explore the best plan for you, it’s all down to individual needs.
CMS (Content Management System)
Your CMS is going to turn your house from an empty box to a space with rooms and facilities. On top of this it will act as a housekeeper with your content organised and accessible, in the places it should be.
A good CMS will seamlessly manage all incoming leads, sales and updates, giving you complete flexibility. There are a ton out there, but we use WordPress, which is the most industry-trusted, powering more than 28% of all websites on the internet. It’s highly customisable and unlike other platforms, it grows with you as your business expands.
TOP TIP: Don’t go with the latest fads when it comes to choosing a CMS. Use a long-lasting CMS like WordPress so even in a few years you’ll be easily able to update or redesign your website, without extra expenses creating issues. You can simply build on the existing CMS without starting from scratch. If the foundations are solid, the house won’t collapse just from hanging up a new shelf.
Using a phone, tablet, laptop or TV is commonplace now when it comes to surfing the web. If your website isn’t geared up for mobile-friendly use, the layout won’t be able to respond and adapt to your mobile screen, making it more than likely unreadable.
If you need more convincing, last year Google officially announced they will credit sites by promoting them higher up on the search rankings compared to non-responsive sites. It’s a win-win.
TOP TIP: View your finished website on as many devices as you can to make sure it’s nice and smooth throughout. Check it out on an IPad, MacBook, Samsung phone, iPhone…mix it up so there are no nasty surprises after the launch.
These are your belongings in your house; your furniture and decor. All the textual and visual elements of your site are included, company info, services, testimonials, contact info, photos, logo, gallery images, team members and case studies…it’s your brand essence.
Most web designers will ask for this from the get-go. Writing high quality content and website photos requires creativity and time, so make sure you ask your web designer if they can recommend a copywriter and photographer that are experienced and reasonably priced.
TOP TIP: There’s no doubt that copy is super important to engage your potential customers. But it’s proven that websites with high quality images give off a better impression than images from a mobile phone camera, so be careful what you put your money into. If budget is an issue, take your pick from iStock for professional, affordable images, or let us source the perfect images to visually represent your brand – we’ve been around the block a few times and know exactly what works!
Social media and websites
This should be a one-way traffic flow; your social accounts should drive traffic to your website, not the other way around. Don’t make your social icons and feeds a key focus on your site, as once you’ve diverted potential customers away you lose out on the opportunity to get valuable contact info. There are way too many distractions on social media, so try to keep them in the controlled environment of your website as long as possible. Don’t hand your guests a flyer to your office as soon as they get to your house!
TOP TIP: Regularly publishing engaging, valuable content across your social sites will be the best tool for driving that all-important traffic back to your website.
So that’s a wrap! Remember, try not to cut corners with your website creation and follow the above steps. It’s the holy grail of your brand identity and creating a positive user experience is your main goal.