If you have recently launched your own small business, or are currently developing a business idea, then one of the first things you must do is set up a website. These days most people are hooked up to the internet, and they use online directories and search engines to find anything and everything they need, from mechanics and DIY equipment to holiday accommodation and beauty therapies.
Very few people setting up a business will also have the skills to create their own website from scratch. Luckily, there are lots of different companies who offer web hosting services, doing all the behind-the-scenes work to ensure that your company’s website continues to work effectively when prospective customers pay a visit. In addition, companies like iPage also have templates which allow you to choose how your website is going to look, inserting your own text and photos and taking advantage of the extra functions they offer, such as cPanel, shopping carts and links to PayPal, making it easier for customers to buy direct, wherever they are.
Essentials for Your Website
Once you have the basics organized, it is time to start deciding what features your website needs in order to attract customers, and most importantly, to encourage them to buy your goods or services. Contact details are a must, whether you are providing the address of your store, if relevant, or just your email and telephone information. Even if you have used web hosting services to create an online retail section on your website, customers will want to be sure there is a way they can contact you directly in the unlikely event that there are any problems with their purchase.
Once you have some satisfied customers, whether they have bought from your store or online, ask them to write a review of your business. New customers are much more likely to trust a new company if you have some positive testimonials from people who have already used your services or bought your products. Most web hosting services will allow you to add a section for customer comments; make sure you monitor these comments, though, as you will need to respond quickly to any customers who post with complaints or problems to avoid such comments influencing other potential customers.
Get the Basics Right
Most of these services are provided by web hosting services, although they may incur an additional cost, and might be something that you consider adding to your website at a later date once your business has started making a little more money. Alternatively, you could check IT websites and magazines to see if there are any vouchers for services from web hosting companies, like an iPage promo code that could save you money on your web hosting basics or extra website features.
There are some basics that you, as the creator of the website, need to get right, and they don’t need to cost you a lot of money. Customers are more likely to be attracted to a website which looks colorful, attractive and professional. Think about your color scheme, and how it reflects on your business; if you offer financial services, it probably isn’t appropriate to employ a pink-dominated theme. In addition, you should try and use images where possible to make your website more attractive; some web hosting services will also have a library of stock photos to help you populate your website with images until you have your own. Be wary of using images you have just found on the internet, as many of these are actually protected by copyright.
Keep Your Content Fresh
If you want old customers to keep coming back, then you need to make sure the written content on your website is constantly updated. Web hosting services can give you access to blogging sites so that you can include blogs and issues related to your business. Keep this updated to include new developments in your industry or special offers, and customers old and new will always find something interesting to read. This won’t cost you extra money, but it will require you to devote a little time every week to keeping your website fresh and entertaining.