10 steps to creating a business website
By Ayoade Apelegan
If you are a business owner and your business doesn’t have a website, it is almost as if your business does not exist. As a business owner, your website is an extension of your business activities. Your business website is the online equivalent of your shop or business premises. It is where your would-be customers find you and make the first contact with you.
Gone are the days when business owners rely on providing services from the comfort of their home or business premises.
This post in addition to discussing 10 steps to creating a website for your business also lists some benefits of having a website for your business.
In today’s business world, there’s no excuse for not having a website as the reason why people visit a website is to find information.
Below are just a few of the benefits of creating a website for your business.
a) Easy access to customers
b) Improves customer service
c) A website expands your reach/market
d) Business with websites build credibility with contacts
e) Your website allows access to your business at all times
f) Websites give businesses their own unique online identity.
g) Whatever type of business you do, be it selling of goods or rendering of services, a website is a good source of advertisement for your business.
h) A website is always available to your customers and prospective customers alike all day and all year round. Even when the business is closed for the day or during the holidays, information about your service offerings can be gotten from the website with a click of the button.
i) A company with its domain makes an e-mail more credible and trustworthy rather than generic google addresses.
10 Steps to consider when creating a business website
1. Determine the purpose of the website
Before building a website for your business, you need to determine the purpose of the website. A few questions to ask yourself are:
Will the website be serving the purpose of a shop? Does it seek to give information only about the services rendered? Will the website serve as a source of information to clients and visitors where they get to read articles?
Understanding your target audience and what you want your website to do goes a long way in helping you plan the type of website that would be suitable for your business.
2. Get a domain name
A domain name is also referred to as a website address (URL). It is the gateway to your website.
Steps to obtaining a good domain name.
• To avoid confusion, keep your domain name short, and steer clear of abbreviations, acronyms and numbers if possible, to avoid confusion.
• After settling for a domain name, you will need to confirm its availability and purchase it through a domain registrar. Examples of domain registrars are GoDaddy, Wix or Web.com.
• If your preferred URL has been taken, you can call the company and ask to buy it from them.
• Make your domain name easy to spell.
• Keep it as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and type correctly.
• Use the appropriate domain extension. Examples of domain extension are “.com, .net, .co, .biz, .gov, .edu, .org.
• Always make use of the name of your business. This makes it memorable for visitors to your website.
3. Build a website
Before building a website, you should decide whether you want to build the website yourself or have a professional build it for you.
If you are thinking of building the website yourself, there are third-party website builders that allow you to build a website without coding skills. Examples of third-party website builders are Moonfruit, Squarespace, Weebly, Disha, substack. These third-party website builders allow you to build a website using customizable templates. Some of these website builders may require a subscription to access and unlock all the features.
If you’re considering having a professional build your website for you, you should consider the following:
Make sure the web designer understands the purpose of the website.
Check previous websites built by the web designer
Ensure the website is one which you can edit and update yourself without the need to have the web designer around
Factors to consider when building a website
When building a website, you should ensure each page on the website supports the primary goal of the website.
Make sure the website has a clear purpose and includes a call to action (e.g., learn more, sign up, click here, contact us or buy this).
Your website should also include a contact page, your customers’ direct link to you (phone number, email address, contact form and physical location)
Your logo should be on your website. This will help your customers identify your company quickly and easily on the web.
Also Read: How to start an Internet Service Provider Business in Nigeria
4. Choose a web host
A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a company that provides the services needed for a website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet.
Factors to consider when choosing a web host
Some factors to consider when choosing a web host are
Price: compare prices of the various hosts and take a closer look at the features that each host provides.
Tech Support: the support you get from your host should also determine if the web host will be you’re your preferred choice. You should find out if they provide back-up services, 24/7 customer support etc
Email features: you need to know if email services are offered and if there are space limitations
Server responsiveness and speed: how long it takes the page to load when being accessed should also be considered
5. Create and publish engaging content
When putting up contents for your website, you should view the website from the point of view of visitors to your site. Doing this will help you understand what the visitors look out for when they visit your site. Putting up quality contents on your website will make your website rank high in search engine results. This, in turn, ensures that people return to your site again.
Also, ensure that you post testimonials from customers on your site. This boosts the visitor’s confidence in the services rendered by your business.
6. Optimize your website
Website Optimization also is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps a business make strategic decisions to improve its site’s ranking in search engine results pages. Businesses can utilize SEO analysis results to help it rank higher, expand their reach, and drive traffic to its website.
Website optimization aims to help businesses attract new visitors through multiple channels by improving the content, structure, and overall performance of its website so it can be discovered by a wider audience.
Some website optimization practices include:
Fast loading speed;
Optimal website code;
A mobile-friendly website;
Having positive reviews online;
Keyword research and implementation;
Usage of internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading;
Usage of social media link to your website (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.);
Use of high-quality backlinks (i.e. links on external websites with related content) that lead to your website;
Some Search Engine Optimization analysis tools are;
• Check My Links
• Google Search Console
Click here to read about Market Research
7. Maintain your website
A website maintenance plan should be created to get the best out of your website.
Steps to maintaining your website include
Ensure software is up to date;
Use performance data to optimize and fix warnings and errors;
Run security scans to ensure your website is clean of malware;
Allow the users of your website to provide feedback about your site;
Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so they can be better catered for;
Ensure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day and at least 10 days back;
Check out your competitors from time to time to see what they are doing with their online presence;
Use “split testing” to see if certain variations of your website help performance; for example, if you are selling a product, you might have two versions of a particular landing page with different images and wording; (split testing allows you to see which version has a higher conversion rate)
8. Set up an online payment system
If your business is offering the option to pay online, you will need to integrate an electronic payment system into your website. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software or using trustworthy third-party payment processors. Examples of payment processors are; Paystack, remita, flutterwave
Also Read: Tax and Regulatory Matters for Foreign Investors in Nigeria
9. Market your website
One way to increase your audience reach and alert customers about what’s going on with your business is harnessing the power of social media.
Build referral traffic;
Take advantage of email marketing;
Submit your website to online directories;
Include links to your social media on your website;
Write content around a topic with organic search traffic potential;
After updating your website, you should post about it on all your social media outlets.
Submit your website to major search engines; will also help direct potential leads to your page
10. Protect your website
Regular and constant security updates are a must for your website. This prevents your website from being hacked by cybercriminals and fraudsters.
Website security involves protecting websites by detecting, preventing and responding to attacks.
Performing routine security checks on your office computers and developing an IT security policy for staff ensures that your company data and your website are secure.
Some of the ways to protect your website include
Hiring a security expert;
Choosing a good web host;
Updating your components/plugins/themes constantly;
Use a web application security platform (example: WebARX).
Installing antivirus software to protect you from malware or other viruses.
Using spam filters to reduce your chances of clicking on harmful links or downloading suspicious email attachments.
Changing your passwords regularly, ensuring they are always at least 8 characters long with a mixture of symbols, numbers and letters (both upper and lowercase)
Some examples of free website builders
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