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How to Create a Smart Website to Promote your Small Business

2/8/2015 Anant Goel

Building your own business website can be overwhelming, demanding, and stressful.

You see, many people can create a website for you. The question is: can they create a website that can generate traffic for your business? Can they build a website for your businesses that will make people take the next step… whether it is to fill-out a form or buy something?

And it doesn’t matter if you create your business website by yourself or if you hire someone to do it for you. The fact is, you need to know what it takes to create a smart website for your business. And let me tell you, it’s not as complicated as you may think.

In this article I will show you the six steps for creating a successful website for your small business.

STEP #1: Define Your Target Market

After choosing your business niche, define your target market. Who is your ideal customer? Who do you want to come to your website and buy from you? Your answer can’t be just everyone. 

You need to drill this down… because everything that you will do next will depend on your answer here. From the layout of the website, the colors you choose, to the fonts, social media platforms, the content, etc…

Here’s an example:

If you’re a trendy clothing designer and your ideal customers are 15 to 19 year old teens, consider how the people who purchase your trendy clothes think, their buying habits, demographics and what media they pay attention to? For your trendy clothes for teens, you know they pay attention to pop culture media outlets, probably hang out on sites like YouTube, Instagram, and Pintrest? So, on your website you want to have a link to your YouTube channel, create some videos for them and show them on your site. Also, the fonts on your website should be edgy and hip, and the same for the colors and images. This is opposed to elegant fonts that Saks Fifth Avenue or JCrew might use.

Also, your copy should appeal to those teens. A good idea will be to use their slang when you describe your items and services.

Here are some topics of questions to help you come up with your ideal customer:

1. Age

2. Marital status

3. Gender

4. Income

5. Children (how old)

6. Favorite hangout spots (online and offline)

7. Favorite stores

8. Favorite vacation destinations

STEP #2: Pick a Domain Name

You really need to spend some serious time and think about your business domain name?

Imagine this: you are in a party and you chat with someone new. After telling them about your business they will probably say: “Wow, I like your services. What’s your website’s address?”

Now, if you have a fancy or complicated domain name, do you think this person will go home and check your website? Or even remember your URL? Of course not!

Your domain name should to be simple, intuitive and memorable, a combination of keywords and your services. Take the time to brainstorm your keywords because once you create your website, you will not be able to change the domain.

I buy all my domain (and hosting) services from Godaddy and BlueHost; as I find their services very reasonably priced and excellent.

STEP #3: Website Platform

There are countless ways to make a website.

The key is finding the right one for you. In the digital age, having a website for your business is an important step in establishing a solid web presence, but there are dozens of sites begging users to pick them.

With so many options, it can get complicated to pick the right site for your business. Are you the artsy type and want a personal website? If so, head to Tumblr. Are you a stiff-straight office professional and want a business website? You might want to look into WordPress.

I hear questions like “Should I use WordPress, Wix, free website platforms from schools, Weebly or should I just hire someone to code my website?

Here are the differences I see between those platforms:

a) Website Builder Platforms (Wix, Weebly, School site)

These platforms are easy to use. The emphasis is on “easy”. Most of the time, all you need to do is to drag and drop images and text boxes. However, they are very limited when it comes to optimizing your business website. What I mean by that is; if you aim to promote your website and rank high on Google and other search engines’ result pages, it will be almost impossible with these platforms. Why? It’s the way these platforms are built. It might change in the future but for now, if your business is important to you and if you want to generate online traffic, you might want to re-think about this type of platform.

b) Coding (HTML, PHP, CSS…)

When I first started, coding was the only way to build a website and the result can create an intricate and beautiful website. However, coding is time consuming and complicated and not many people are doing it today. You can hire a programmer to create your website, however you will not be able to take over and update/edit yourself should you need to.

c) Content Management Systems (WordPress)

Most developers get started as a website designer with coding. Then over a period of time they switched to a website builder platform and eventually moved to a CMS, hence WordPress (with some coding).

There is a learning curve with CMS platforms like WordPress. However, once you understand what to do, the sky is the limit and you can create an amazing, complex, and traffic generated website. Since this platform is an open system, there are thousands of plug-ins and widgets that people have created and are waiting for you to use them. There is practically everything you can think of.

One more huge benefit: optimizing your website for search engines is quick and easy with CMS platforms. 

Here’s an interesting article about: How to choose the best platform for your personal website

STEP #4: Home page

Your homepage is the first page your prospects will visit. This is the place where they decide; if to continue reading what you have to share with them or just move-on to your competitor’s site.

Interesting fact…

“Did you know that on average, people spend less than 7 seconds on your homepage before they decide to stay and interact with you… or just move on?”

 Less than seven seconds! That’s it!!!

In those seven-seconds, you will need to position yourself as the expert in your field, share your information, and get your visitors to take the next step. Sounds crazy, right?

Here’s the link to a FREE guide on: “The Five Must Haves for Your Website

STEP #5: Optimization

Your next step in creating a successful website is to get traffic onto it. A website without traffic is like car without gas. It’s nice to have it but it’s just sitting there.

How can you optimize your website to promote your business?

·         By writing blog posts and articles

·         By sending newsletters with links to your website

·         By sharing it on social media

·         By keeping the information on your site quality and relevant

·         By implementing keywords onto your pages

·         By being your own marketing expert and use Internet/Social Media Marketing tools and services to promote your business

·         By creating focused Microsites to promote your business with news, events, coupons, and special offers

·         By joining trade groups and associations; and participating in local networking meet-ups

·         By producing an event and inviting the people on your contact list, as well as local college and university students, local media outlets and the public. Keep it free and offer an incentive for people to attend.

What you need to know is that Google checks your website every couple of weeks (nobody knows exactly how often) and if they find fresh content on your website with relevant keywords, they will rank your website higher on their search results pages, plain and simple.

Now that you know how to create a website for your business, please share your experience with us by posting a comment here.

[Curated content based on excerpts from posts, blogs, media articles, and sponsored research]

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