A business website is an important and essential way to establish your company’s digital presence, share your message and display your brand. However, designing a website from scratch requires a lot of planning and consideration.
As successful business leaders, many members of Young Entrepreneur Council have experience creating effective business websites from the bottom up. Below, 10 of them shared what they believe should be the first considerations you should make when designing a new website for your business.
1. Your Ownership
The single most important thing to do when creating a new website is to make sure there is one, very important sentence in your contract: “If at some point I want to take ownership of the content of my site and move it to another company, I will pay you X amount, and my website and all of the content within it will be mine completely.” I was in a situation where I tried to switch website companies, and they wanted to hold my website and all of the content hostage. I am so grateful I penciled in that one sentence before I signed the contract! – Sheila Nazarian, Nazarian Plastic Surgery
2. Your Call To Action
What is the call to action (CTA)? Every website should usher the visitor toward a single point of action that represents the next step in the buyer’s journey. If your website isn’t prompting the reader to take that next step, it’s incomplete. At several points, but especially at the end of the content layout, you should gently encourage the reader to proceed to the next phase. The key is to emphasize that doing so is for their benefit, not yours. Make it clear that there’s something they can learn or use by moving forward with your CTA. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
3. Your Mobile Experience
Focus on the mobile experience first, then worry about the desktop experience. For most businesses, your customers will be visiting from their phones more often than their desktops. Cut down on what isn’t necessary. Look at your current analytics and consider the features used. Do users care about the live chat feature? Are people not scrolling down the page to see your lead form or main call to action? If not, get rid of the chat feature and move the call to action up on the page. – Chase Williams, Market My Market
4. Analytics And Tracking
SEO, UX/UI and user journeys should all be top priorities when designing a new site, but one of the most important aspects that you need to consider at the start of building out a site is analytics and tracking. You can make informed decisions when building out a site, but ultimately, you won’t know how your users will navigate your site and the type of content they gravitate to the most until you get the site in their hands. Analytics and tracking data are crucial in order to understand your users and allow your team to make data-driven decisions to improve your site. Your customers should be what drive your site improvements and changes, and without a robust data-collecting system, you will be spending money on content and features users won’t even look at. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled
5. User Experience
User experience is everything. UX/UI is so often overlooked. People just want to sell and feature their services or products and fail to take into consideration the thought process and mentality of new eyeballs on their site. They assume people know what and who they are, what they offer and how it works, etc. Design for people as if they know nothing about you, your services or your products. Don’t make them search for it or try to figure it out. It should be in their face. They should be able to ascertain within seconds of hitting your site what you’re all about. – Scott Levy, Fuel Online
6. The Platform You Choose
When designing a business website from scratch, it is important to consider how user-friendly the platform it’s built on will be long term. Unless your company has a web designer on staff full time, having a website that’s easy for anyone on your team to edit will be the difference between a current, up-to-date website and one that sits around with outdated info waiting for someone to make changes. – Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
7. How Pages Are Named
A seemingly simple yet extremely important consideration when first building a business website from scratch is how the pages are named, including the URL slug of the pages. These items impact how search engines will rank each page, so they should be well-researched and planned. The page title and URL slug both indicate to search engines what the main topics and types of information are on the webpage, which the search engines then use to compare with the content within the page. When these items don’t seem to match up, search rankings can suffer. So, it’s wise to use an SEO tool, freelancer or agency to help with planning your page titles and URLs when launching a new business website. – Richard Fong, SecurityForward.com
8. Your Website’s Purpose
It is vital in the world of the internet to have an online presence, whether you have an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store. Websites increase your brand’s credibility, convey your brand’s message to the user or consumer and make your business discoverable in search engine results. The first thing you should do before you dive into the technical aspects of building a website or having one built for you is determine what your website’s purpose is. Why do you need a website? Who will your primary users be? How will your website meet your customers’ needs? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can determine how to best meet their needs and relay the information in a clear, concise and aesthetically appealing way. – Ian Sells, Rebate Key Inc.
9. Your Content And Message
A major factor in the success or failure of any business website is communication. You have to ensure your website has a clear and unified message for visitors, as this is what drives sales and inspires them to do business with you. When designing a website, it is crucial to write high-quality, original content that is relevant to your company and customers as everything from the quality of your content to the keywords used affects your site’s ranking in search engine results. – Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited
10. Your Branding And Theme
When designing a business website, it’s important to consider your branding and theme. If your site’s appearance isn’t cohesive, it’ll appear unprofessional and few visitors will take your business seriously. It’s crucial to create a clean, cohesive design that’s user-friendly and leads visitors where you want them to go. This ensures they can easily navigate your site and engage with your content. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms