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The Small Business Website Guide

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How to build a website that makes an impact on your business

Learn how to build a website that makes an impact on your business

The UK has over 59 million Internet users1 and 3.2 billion2 Internet users exist worldwide, making it a powerful medium to create awareness of your business. Being present on the Internet can offer almost any business a cost-effective solution to be visible and available to its customers and prospects. Any business can decide to be a part of this ever expanding digital world by registering its domain name (web address) and building its website.

When you build a website and want to create an impact, it will take some preparation.

Let us examine and review the basics.

Register a domain name - An important first step to doing business on the Internet is to select and register a domain name that helps boost your company’s visibility on the web. Choosing to use your own domain offers several advantages. Firstly it helps to brands your business it also gives you a consistent address on the web for customers to find you should you switch website providers. It also enables you to do things like have a company-branded email through the domain name. As well as a name you need to choose an extension, for example, a .com domain name is a good option because it helps provide instant recognition, visibility and credibility for your brand online, both in the UK and globally.

Define your purpose of having a website for your business. Is the website going to promote the company, serving as a marketing tool to advertise your brick-and-mortar business? Or, will the website be an online eCommerce store where visitors can purchase goods and services online?

Once you are clear about the purpose of your website, it would be advisable to do some web surfing. Review other websites for a design or functionality you like.

Design and appearance: A website should be visually appealing and professional. These general guidelines may help –

  • Take care about color, too much color can distract from the written content. A good color scheme may only contain 2 or 3 primary colors.
  • Allow for adequate white space in your design. Uncluttered layouts allow viewers to focus on your message.
  • Increase visual appeal with graphics and/or high quality photographs.These should be selected to add meaning or context to your written content.
  • Create trust through your content. Content on your website should be informative and relevant to your audience – by showing that you’re an expert and understand the needs of your readers; this will generate confidence in your brand.
  • Select a simple website navigation. Navigation is the roadmap of your website. Visitors to your website need to know three essential things: where they are, where they can go, and how they can get back to where they came from. Remember, visitors to your website are in a hurry -- don't make them hunt for information or keep them guessing about where they need to go next.
  • Be interactive. Build in feedback forms and other means of communication so that your visitors or customers can interact with you in order to share feedback or make a request.
  • Make your online payment system secure. If your website offers the option of purchasing products or services online, you will need to ensure that adequate steps are taken to make it safe and secure for your site visitors to carry out a monetary transaction on your website.
  • Test your website thoroughly before going live: Make sure all the text, images, colors, and page layouts are correct and there are no spelling mistakes. If left unattended, these are likely to make visitors to your website think that your business is amateurish.
  • Promote your website to help people find your website on the Internet. You can help boost your visibility by including your complete domain name in virtually every communication medium your company uses, from the business card to the office supplies. In addition to this, you may want to register your domain name on an online search engine because many Internet users utilise search engines to locate companies and businesses. Some technical adjustments may need to be made while developing the website so that it potentially responds more efficiently to certain searches made by Internet users, something commonly known as the 'Search Engine Optimisation' process.
  • Refresh and revise your website content regularly. A website that has the same information month-after-month becomes stagnant and predictable. Try replacing one of your key web page graphics with newer versions or adding the latest news about your company.

Now that you have a framework, you can go ahead and build your website!