These days, a small business without its own website is like a shop without a door. A presence online is vital to increase brand awareness, allow the easy referral of new business from existing customers, and most importantly what every business is created for - driving sales. If you want your business to succeed then you have to be online but there are many dos and don'ts of running your own business website. Here is a quick and easy to follow checklist:
DO pay for decent design
You've probably shopped on the web more than once and probably use Google to search for services as second nature. If you have then you already know that some sites look uninviting - something which affects their success. When you use the internet, you only get one first impression; a bad one can mean you lose a potential client with just one click of a mouse.
Many business owners choose to design their own website, which is fine if you know how to do it or are willing to learn. However, whilst it may cost more, paying someone to design a website for you will ensure you get a high quality design which will help to improve your e-commerce success. There are hundreds of easy to use website creator services out there. WebEden is a great place to start building your homepage.
DON'T choose a bad domain name
You don't have to have a web address that's the same as the name of your business but try to get it as close to it as you can or think of innovative and catchy names instead. If you want to know if a name you've thought of has already been taken then use domain name checker - www.123-reg.co.uk for example to find out if your choice is available. Lastly, remember that websites which end with .com or .co.uk are some of the most trusted, but could also be some of the most expensive. A domain name is an investment that any business must take very seriously.
DO have a content management system
When the internet first started up you had to be able to understand all sorts of complex coding languages to build a website. Today, most good websites use content management systems which allow the site owner to add content and make changes to their site easily, without having to use a coding language.
If you are paying someone to design your website then make sure it has a content management system. Otherwise, every time you need to make a change you will have to pay the designer to do it for you.
DON'T ignore social media
If you're not a tweeter or a Facebook fan then it's very hard to understand how social media can help your business. Social media is still growing and sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn are incredibly powerful marketing tools so start sharing content to get people talking and you'll soon reap the benefits.
DO choose the right server hosting
All websites are hosted on a server and you need to pay for that hosting. You can choose from a shared server, a dedicated server or a virtual private server (vps). Shared hosting is the cheapest but offers no choice over the software and operating systems you choose. Dedicated hosting uses one server to host one site and is the most expensive option. VPS hosting stores several sites on one server but creates a virtual dedicated server for each site, allowing it to offer the reliability and control of dedicated hosting with the affordability of shared hosting.