Building an effective website for your business can be a bit of a minefield. There’s the technical side to think about, as well as the steps you need to take in order to attract and impress potential customers. Here, we’re offering our top website development tips for ambitious business owners.
If you’re in the process of building a website for your business, or you’ve been putting off the task for a while, this guide should help you achieve your goal. The tips we provide are key, whether you decide to create your website yourself or use a specialist design company to do the job for you.
How to build a business website
1. Start with a great domain name
There are a few factors to bear in mind when you choose a domain name. Firstly, make sure it’s fairly short and easy to spell, so people can find your website quickly.
Secondly, aim to avoid limiting your business’s future growth potential. If you intend to expand into other products, services or sectors, it’s best to avoid basing your name around your current offering.
And finally, check to make sure your chosen name isn’t already a registered trademark, as this could result in legal issues further down the line.
2. Develop an effective website design
Whether you use a template from a website building platform or design your pages from scratch, you must make sure they’re easy to navigate. And if you’re a franchisor creating multiple sites for your franchisees, check they’re consistent in colour and format to achieve a professional look.
Have you ever scrolled through a company’s website trying to find out exactly what it does? If you have, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when a business assumes every visitor is already familiar with its brand. Let people know who you are with a clear and concise business description on the homepage.
Also, remember to include high-quality images and graphics - but be careful to avoid increasing the website’s loading time.
3. Create relevant content
One of the best tips for building an effective website for your business is to ‘localise’ your content. In other words, adapt your communications to suit your existing and prospective customers. You may need to carry out market research to find out which topics are trending in popularity among your target audience.
When creating content, think about the keywords your target customers will be using in their online searches and add them into your own writing. For example, if you own a gym in Bristol city centre, use phrases like ‘gym in Bristol’, ‘gyms in central Bristol’ or ‘Bristol gyms’ to drive traffic to your website. Just make sure it still reads well.
Also, give your visitors a reason to stay on your website; answer their questions, inspire them and give them insight into your industry and business. From Q&As to testimonials, blog posts to business guides, there are countless options when it comes to creating compelling content.
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4. Focus on SEO
Search engine optimisation should be a priority for every business owner - an effective SEO strategy will help you improve your ranking position on Google and attract more visitors.
As part of this process, you should concentrate on optimising your website structure, adding links and incorporating well-written content with plenty of keywords. Your site should also load quickly and be mobile-friendly. Additionally, you could encourage customers to leave positive reviews across popular feedback sites and connect your website to your social media profiles.
Read our complete guide to search engine optimisation (SEO) for more information.
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5. Introduce your team
People value authenticity, so showing the faces behind your brand can be incredibly effective as a way to attract customers. By adding a high-quality photo of each franchisee, accompanied by a short bio, you can start to build a connection with your website visitors.
Revealing the story behind your franchise could also help you establish a relationship with would-be customers. Don’t be afraid to tell people why you first started your business and how it has developed over the years. If they can see how much you care about creating a fantastic product and making sure customers are happy, they’ll be more likely to value your brand.
A lot of times with new businesses or website owners, they want to try and make their businesses look big. But that’s not always beneficial. A lot of customers want to know that there’s a real person who’s going to be working with them. So, including a good photo of yourself or your team is almost always a good idea.
—Emily Bracket, President of design and branding firm Visible Logic
6. Include a ‘call to action’
One of your main goals should be making sure visitors stay on your website for as long as possible. The more time they spend there, the more likely it is they’ll buy your product or service. Including ‘call to action’ statements is an effective technique, as it prompts readers to take another step.
For example, if you write a detailed product description, your ‘call to action’ could be a nearby ‘click here to order’ button. If you’re writing a blog post explaining an industry trend, you could add a ‘find out more’ link to another of your recent articles.
The key is to motivate website visitors to act quickly, without appearing aggressive or overly ‘salesy’.
Running a franchise network
Building an effective website for your business can be challenging and time-consuming, but it’s worth doing if you’re to attract a large number of customers. Many people perceive companies without an online presence as unprofessional, so having a high-quality site can make a huge difference when it comes to your credibility as a business.
Point Franchise researches the latest industry news and trends to create data-driven business guides for those in the franchising world. You can find more advice on running a franchise network in our daily articles, or use the search box to find information on a particular topic.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©