A business, even a brick-and-mortar one, cannot survive without a web presence. Nowadays, consumers turn to the internet to find everything, including your business’s location and operating hours.
With just a simple, well-designed website, you can gain an edge in your field, and if you sell products, your site can open up new markets and help you expand your business.
Today, website design software is simple enough to be used by anyone. Creating an appealing and functional website does not require any coding knowledge.
You have to follow a few basic rules and tips to give your website a professional look, make it easy to find, and present your company in the best possible light. Your overall business strategy should reflect where you’re at in the stages of a business life cycle.
We sat down with our friends from Digital Silk, a company specializing in corporate web design, to create a guide on designing a corporate website in eight steps:
Step #1 – Identify your website’s primary purpose
Websites generally serve as a place where you can provide general information about your company or organization.
No matter what kind of website you create, whether a simple one with helpful information about your company or an advanced online store, the key is to say what you do on the homepage in clear and straightforward terms.
You shouldn’t make your customers dig around to see if your company can provide what they need.
You won’t have to work as hard setting up your website if you do not plan to accept payments through it. Let’s say you are a service provider or retailer who wants to offer customers the option of paying online. In that case, you’ll need to use an external service to accept payments, which we will discuss later in this article.
Step #2 – Pick a domain name
The domain name of your website is one of its most essential features. Pretty much all your marketing strategies will include sharing this URL with clients and prospects. So, make sure it’s descriptive and easy to remember. If possible, avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers so that customers are not confused.
You must also choose your top-level domain. This is the part at the end of the URL (.com, .biz, .net, etc.). Nontraditional TLDs have become increasingly popular in recent years. They can refer to a location as in .nyc or a type of business, as in .law, .agency, or .marketing.
Even though these can be descriptive, .com remains the most popular choice.
Your chosen domain name must be verified for availability and purchased through a domain registrar. Some popular registrars include:
Make sure you don’t violate anyone else’s copyright as you select your new domain name.
If the URL you want is already taken, you can contact the user directly and ask them to sell it to you, or you can purchase the domain through a company like GoDaddy that will contact the owners on your behalf.
Step #3 – Choose a host
Websites need hosts—servers where all their data is stored for public access. You’ll likely need an external host if you don’t want to incur the high costs of hosting your own website.
Two routes are available, depending on your budget. If you choose the less-expensive shared web host, you will share a server with other websites. The price of a dedicated hosting account is higher, but you’ll get access to a private server, so you won’t have to worry about other sites slowing you down.
Many web builder platforms offer hosting as part of their monthly plans, including Squarespace and Wix.
You should remember that hosting a website is not free for hosting companies. If you are looking for free hosting, you should know that they may use other compensation methods, like putting banner ads on your site.
Step #4 – Build your site
It takes more than a single static homepage to make a good website. Make sure you have a number of pages for different aspects of your business, including a catalog of your products or services or perhaps a blog where you post updates.
As far as your overall website is concerned, make sure each page supports your primary goal, has a distinct purpose, and includes a call to action (e.g., “contact us,” “sign up,” “learn more”).
Contact pages are one of the most important parts of a website, as they are the customers’ direct link to you, so include as much information as possible (for example, your business phone number, email address, and physical address, if you have one).
Additionally, an “about” page should include information about the founding team or staff so your customers can connect with your brand.
Hire a graphic designer or design your own logo for your website, business cards, and social media accounts if you don’t already have one. It will facilitate clients identifying your company on the web.
Step #5 – Configure the payment methods (if applicable)
The step will not apply to every business website, but those that want their customers to be able to pay online will need to integrate electronic payment systems. Using small-business credit card processing solutions or e-commerce software is the easiest way to accomplish this.
Most web hosts have their own shopping carts or integrate with e-commerce software. Research your options to ensure you get one that is easy to use and flexible enough to meet your current and future needs.
Step #6 – Make sure everything works
Make sure your website works in all major browsers before making it live on the web. Check each page’s format, images, links, and other elements in every browser to ensure they appear correctly. Although this may take a while, the effort you put in now will prevent you from dealing with future complaints.
You should also ensure that your website is well-suited for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In the era of mobile-first indexing, Google and other search engines prioritize search engine rankings based on the performance of websites’ mobile versions.
Incorporating an analytics program from the beginning is another critical component. If you do this before the website is online, you can iron out any issues and ensure a proper setup. As soon as the website is live, you can monitor page performance and analyze the reasons why some pages are successful and others are not so much.
Step #7 – Promote your site on all platforms
Utilizing social media such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter is the best way to reach your audience and inform them about what’s happening with your business. If you update your website, make sure to tell people about it on your social media accounts, but do that in a way that is genuine and non-promotional.
Make sure your website has links to your social media accounts as well. This is most commonly done in the footer or the ancillary bar.
Step #8 – Optimize for search engines
You can direct potential leads to your website by submitting it to major search engines and implementing a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Using title tags, meta descriptions, and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that are relevant to your business and industry can help you rank higher for the services or products you’re marketing.
The earlier you incorporate relevant keywords into your content and start focusing on SEO, the sooner you will be able to generate traffic.
By using the following strategies as you build your business website, you will be able to move up the ranks more easily:
- Select the right keywords — Make sure that the keywords you choose for your business reflect what your potential customers are searching for.
- Keep publishing content — When you regularly post on a blog and add to your website, you show search engines that your site is relevant to the chosen keywords. Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry by selecting topics your audience cares about.
- Compress images — You should compress your images, so your site doesn’t load slowly. When it comes to video, follow the same approach, ensuring that all clips load quickly and do not slow down your site.
- Add links — Links on your website page that lead to other pages on your site are called internal links, whereas external links refer to links to other sites of high authority and popularity. Position these strategically on your website to increase traffic. Remember that links must make sense, match the context, and do something for the reader; otherwise, linking can work against you.
With a website, you can establish credibility and reach far more customers than you can with traditional advertising methods.
Keeping your website up-to-date with fresh, current content and quickly fixing technical problems will ensure that you remain in the minds of your audience.
Using the tips outlined above, you can create a top-notch corporate website that will help you reach the very pinnacle of your niche.