Whether your goal is to promote your business or establish a personal brand, creating a website is crucial for all entrepreneurs. A strong online presence allows you to reach a wider audience, build brand visibility and trust, attract new consumers, retain existing ones, and potentially improve your revenue as well. Websites are key to entrepreneurial success, and here are some of the most important steps you should take when setting up your first website, from the domain name and web design to content and SEO:
Find a great domain name
Your domain name or website address is often the first thing users notice, meaning it should always leave a lasting impression. While using your brand name is a great option, make sure the domain name is also short, easy to spell, and without any hyphens or numbers. Using an appropriate extension is important both for search engines and your audience, so aim for more trustworthy extensions such as .com, .org, etc. Memorability is absolutely essential for ensuring your audience comes back as well, so choose a catchy domain name that’s easy to remember and revisit in the future.
Purchase good hosting
In simple terms, website hosts are companies that offer the services and technology necessary for accessing and viewing a site on the internet. You need to connect your domain name to a hosting provider in order for your website to be shown when users visit your site address. Hosting services can differ greatly based on the option you select, they can significantly vary in price, and they could provide different solutions, including dedicated servers, shared servers, and virtual private servers. The type of services and technologies you choose will depend on the needs of your business, but always make sure the host offers proper safety, security, and support.
Select an e-commerce platform
If you plan on selling products and services through your site, you will need the appropriate technology to achieve this. When enabling users to transact with you financially online, selecting a platform that suits your business model is key. The most popular e-commerce platforms at the moment are Shopify, which allows you to create and manage online stores, WooCommerce, which can turn WordPress websites into online stores, and Business Squarespace, best for simpler and more basic e-commerce needs. No matter which platform you go for, make sure it aligns with the goals and requirements of your business.
Acquire an SSL certificate
SSL certificates are used to authenticate the identity of a website and enable an encrypted connection. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an important security protocol that keeps internet connections safe, and this certification is absolutely necessary for organizations that want to secure online transactions and keep the information of their customers safe and private. When setting up your website, getting an SSL certificate should be your main goal as well. Not only will it encrypt and secure your website, but it will help to build trust, reliability, and credibility among your customers as well.
Focus on the user interface
Functionality and security are undoubtedly important, but the design shouldn’t be overlooked either. A simple, engaging, user-friendly, and memorable interface is essential for leaving a great impression on your audience and driving results. So, make sure you create standard pages such as ‘Home’, ‘Products’, and ‘About Us’ sections, design intuitive navigation systems, incorporate call-to-actions like ‘Buy’ buttons, use easy-to-read fonts and beautiful graphics, and utilize consistent branding throughout the site. Focus on creating a fast website that loads quickly and uses optimized images and graphics, to ensure a better user experience and build a website your customers will truly love.
Optimize your site for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way your website can be indexed on search engines and rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO generally includes aspects that were already mentioned, such as SSL certificates and fast loading speeds, but also other important practices like keyword research and implementation, quality backlinks and internal links, linked social media profiles, having mobile-friendly sites, etc. SEO is a continuous process, but it is absolutely essential for reaching a wider audience, driving organic traffic to your website, encouraging users to make a purchase, and ultimately increasing your revenue.
Create a content strategy
New, high-quality, and regular content is crucial both for engaging users and performing well on search engines. For that reason, you should create a strategy for publishing great articles, blog posts, images, and other types of content on your website, as well as on your social media pages or any other external websites that link to your own. If you’d like your site to rank highly on SERPs and encourage audiences to keep coming back to your website, you will need to publish relevant, interesting, and engaging content as often as possible. Along with texts and visual posts, including customer reviews and testimonials can also be of great help for the attractiveness and trustworthiness of your website.
Evidently, setting up your first website may not always be a simple task. But if you follow the advice above, you will be able to increase your chances of entrepreneurial success in the digital world as well as the physical one.