Setting up your website right, the first time

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In today’s fast-paced and technology driven environment, having a website for your business is absolutely essential. Whether you are just starting your start-up, or running an established business, not having a website, or having one that is poorly designed, can be a giant obstacle to growing your business. More often than not, companies have to go through a few different versions of their website before they get it right. When they do, their websites share two common threads: functionality and engagement. You want your customers to be able to navigate your site with ease, and have a great experience doing so.

Building a Website to Perform

The first part of making a functional website is choosing an appropriate web-hosting platform. Different companies are going to have different web hosting needs>A blogger looking to set up his next site is going to need WordPress, while a restaurant might choose a platform that allows them to set up an online ordering function. You will also need to estimate how much traffic you expect your website to have, as well how much it will grow in the coming months and years. You also want to find a platform that you can depend on. There is no point to having a website if your customers can’t reach it. In general, pick a web host that has an uptime score (that is a percentage of overall time that the hosting service keeps its web pages up and running) of over 99.5%. Anything lower than 99% is not worth buying. Finding a web host that can deliver on all the needs specific to your business, while delivering 24/7 reliability is the first step in building great website.

Another key element in improving the functionality of your website is the domain name and the design of your website. Picking a domain name is an underrated part of building a website. It needs to be relevant, and preferably involve the name of your business, while still being easy to remember. Making it SEO optimal is another consideration you will want to make when choosing the right domain name for your company. For the design, you want something that is as simple and aesthetically pleasing as it is easy to navigate. You don’t want your website looking like a graphic designer’s worst nightmare. Take a look at some of your favorite websites. How do they organize their information? How are they successful in designing their websites? Take what you can from them and move on. If it’s in your budget you might even want to consult a professional web-designer. They can have your website looking crisp from the get-go, with a professional and unique. look that you don’t always get from popular web design software.

The final piece in making sure your website works as it needs to is security. Features like an up-to-date SSL certification, a firewall, and a modern Transport Layer Security will all improve safety for both you and your customers. The Transport Layer Security even changes your domain from a http. to a https., which is a visible way for customers to see that you have a secure site. Testing your security measures regularly will give you feedback on how effective the steps you’ve taken are, and where you might need to improve.

Impacting Visitors on Your Website

So now that you have a website that is up and running like clockwork, let’s focus on how you can ensure that customers feel engaged and enjoy their time on your website. Design plays a big role in this, which we talked about before. It’s frustrating searching through page after page on a website without finding the thing you are looking for. Making sure your website is easy to understand and navigate is where you should start.

Nowadays it’s pretty much mandatory to have easy web links to social media, that people can use to let others know where they have been on the web. That’s a good thing. You want people checking in and posting to their social media accounts that they were at your website. Every one new customer is sure to attract at least 5 or 6 others. Load up on all the social media sites you can.

Having a running blog that pertains to your business can also create more active participation with your customer base. If you are selling clothes online, it might be nice to have a blog side-by-side detailing some of the latest trends in fashion. Whatever your business is focused on, your blog should be too.

A comment section can let customers leave their input on what they liked or didn’t like about your website or company in general. It can be another avenue for direct feedback from real customers, which is an important tool for growing your business.

Overall you are trying to create a sense of community and interest in your website. You want your customers leaving feeling satisfied, just as if they were leaving a brick and mortar store. Keeping your website running at full steam and creating engagement with it will help you nail your website the first time around.

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