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Having a website is as essential to a successful startup as business cards were decades ago. But building a website for your organization is only half the battle. Beyond what business cards did, your website is not just a place to share contact information and hope potential customers get in touch, but it’s also where you inspire users, attract them. and start turning them into customers.
Do it yourself or hire a professional?
One of the biggest decisions small business owners have to make is whether to hire professional help or start their own website. DIY website templates and builders are excellent for personal blogging, and their functionality is constantly improving. Initially, they are also a cheaper option than working with a professional web designer. However, they have some drawbacks.
Your creativity will be limited by the number of patterns included in your package. While it’s not impossible, you may struggle to get a close fit with your brand. This can lead to brand consistency issues.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is essential for your business to be found by search engines, but it can be difficult to achieve success initially without the help of an expert. Achieving great rankings also means regular updates.
As a founder, you are already scattered. If you’re not a web design expert, can you afford to spend a lot of your time building a website? It may save you money today, but will likely cost you in the long run.
Working with a marketing professional or agency allows you to focus on your existing priorities. Your web design and UI/UX will be bespoke and on brand, increasing your site’s chances of standing out from the crowd.
Related: 5 Reasons Your Business Should Have Its Own Website
How Professionals Approach the Website Development Process
Marketing agencies or professional web designers have a strategic process in place. The workflow will vary from agency to agency, but often includes determining the scope of the project, creating a strategy, and developing the site structure and wireframe.
- Project scope: scoping the project means gathering information about your business and its competitors. One of the most important points to determine is what your website should do for your business.
- Strategy: considering target audiences and keywords can be part of this step, as well as thinking about how users will move around the site.
- Structure of the site: time to think about content. While Google ranks websites that offer high-quality, problem-solving content to their users, more isn’t always better. Consider what’s important to your brand and stick to it.
- Wired: also known as mockup design, this is one of the first creative steps to help you get a feel for the layout of the site. If you’re using the DIY approach, this is often the first thing you notice about your model. Once you start dragging and dropping things, you start adjusting the look, but there will always be limits to your creativity.
Approach to the website design process
With website development well underway, it’s time to review the main areas of site design, including:
- Brand guidelines.
- Objectives and strategy.
- User experiences (UI/UX).
- Visual Appearance and Content.
A successful startup needs a website that is more than subjectively beautiful. Your organization’s website should represent your brand. This means that anyone who visited your social media accounts or met your team in person should instantly recognize it as yours.
User experience may have become a buzzword, but it couldn’t be more important. Creating a positive user experience starts with creating a website that loads quickly. Statistics show that pages that load within five seconds have the highest conversion rates.
In addition to being fast, your site should be optimized for mobile devices. The majority of website traffic today comes from mobile, and according to Google, 60% of mobile users have contacted a business directly from mobile search results. As a new business, you cannot afford to lose these opportunities.
Related: Vrooom! Why website speed matters.
The structure and content of your website are crucial to its performance on search engines. The text continues to be the primary basis for searches, making it the focus of the referencing work. However, remember the value of other assets on your website: descriptive text around images and graphics will help them rank. Clear calls to action (CTAs) make it easy for your customers to understand what you want them to do.
The visual aspect of your site must correspond to your brand image. Compromising your brand to fit a DIY model isn’t worth it. On the other hand, you might be able to pick up a template that allows you to follow brand guidelines while still providing creative options.
Choosing between the professional route or the DIY route when creating your business website involves many considerations. Time, cost, technological know-how and more all play into the decision.
What shouldn’t be up for debate is whether or not your business needs an exceptional website. A well-designed, high-performing website is critical to the success of a small business or startup. It might seem like an afterthought when you’re busy building all the other areas of the organization, but it can be the difference between securing those critical first customers or not and convincing investors for your next round of funding.
Related: Here’s How You Can Build a Highly Profitable Website