It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, your business needs a website.
At the most basic level you, the business owner, need a presence on the web. The days of rolodexes and phonebooks are long over. People go to the web to find information. Therefore at the very least, your business needs a website with your basic information. People need to know how to reach you, and they need to know what you can do for them.
Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
The content, complexity, time and money that you invest in your website will be determined by a number of things: your industry, the size of your customer base, your geographic location… and the list goes on.
Building your first website may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a number of options to pick from depending on your skills, budget and time constraints.
- Learn to code HTML, or become a Full Stack Developer. Learning to code is a real option, but it is a major investment that takes years to master.
- Hire a web developer. Web developers range widely in skill and price. You can hire anything from a freelancer to an entire firm.
- Use an online web service such as Wix, Weebly, or Google Sites.
A website can be totally 100% free. The only catch is that you won’t have a unique domain name like we do. (See: www.EmpireStrategists.com) If you want a free website, you will have to settle for a domain that looks like www.YourCompany.Weebly.com.
Starting at about $20 a year, you can purchase your own domain name. Some website hosts (most commonly advertised are Wix, WordPress, Weebly and Squarespace) offer templates and tools that make web design easy. They typically start at around $10-50 per month.
What Your Website Needs
Every business has unique needs and requirements. Your website should be tailored to the needs of your business. Websites can range from simple to complex. A simple website is like a business card. It offers your visitors the information that they need to start doing business with you. A simple, barebones website can be relatively effective with only one page. Make sure to include a summary of what you offer and make it visually appealing. Generally we recommend having a few sections for a simple website including:
- Home page: Your Home page should feature a BLUF (a bottom-line up front). Your visitors should have an idea of what your business is about the moment they visit your page.
- FAQ: You can save yourself some time by answering common questions on your FAQ page. Don’t underestimate the number of billed hours that go wasted answering obvious questions.
- Contact: Add your phone number, email and physical address. We also suggest setting up a widget that allows people to submit questions through the website itself and be sure to require contact information.
- About: Your “About Page” is your chance to connect with your customers. This is where you can talk about your mission, your passion and why you care about what you do. It’s also a chance for you to show off a picture of yourself and your team.
- A complex website can offer tools, database services, eCommerce, live chat, forums, and other high value services. Your limit is going to be your budget, your time and your imagination. Remember a website is an investment and everyone’s investment needs are different.