Building Your First Business Website As A Start-Up
Opening a business website is one of the easiest first steps you can take when setting up your new business, it offers an excellent way to attract new customers.
Any successful business gets started with establishing its online presence; it’s like planning a holiday, the first thing you would need to do is make sure you have a passport.
Without it you can’t get very far on your travels, a website is a bit like that. Without one, you’re not going to get very far either.
A modern-day company needs more than just name recognition: It also requires credibility through social media accounts, customer testimonials, reviews by industry experts – all things which are accomplished in time if done correctly from day 1!
Finally, it’s the year of your dreams! You’ve been waiting for this day a long time.
If you want to start a website but don’t know how then we’re here to help.
Trust us when we say that in 2021 there is going to be even more competitive than before and if you’re not online now – you’ll miss out on everything.
Unbelievable but according to Cluth:
- Only 61% of businesses have a website
- 25% haven’t got one due to not believing they have the technical knowledge to build one
- 22% cite cost as a barrier to building a website
If you aren’t planning on having a business website as a start-up, you’ll be in trouble
Here are ten quick reasons why you NEED a website, even if you’re the smallest micro start-up!
- A website will make customers have more trust in you
- It will allow you to attract new customers via search engines (if your SEO is up to scratch)
- You can showcase your products and services, how else will a potential customer know about them?
- You can publish case studies and customer testimonials to improve confidence in your business
- Allowing customers to contact you directly without hunting to find that info
- Add your website to Google maps so people can actually find you
- Helps build your authority as a credible business
- A website is never static, you can add new events, news, products as they become relevant
- Gives you a platform to link to, showing customers and social media followers what you have to offer
- Building a website can start from as little as FREE, with a little patience, so there really is no excuse
We will cover the options available for a start-up’s, which to choose, DIY or Web company?
This step-by-step guide will explain how to create a business website using two very different methods:
The first one is quick, easy and less costly than hiring a web designer by doing it yourself.
The second option will cost more in the beginning and will but give you more control over design features and is the best option if the budget is available. This option is using a professional web design company.
Web designers offer many services in addition to creating websites such as SEO consulting, logo development or social media management.
This article discusses 2 ways of building your own website for your small company—a DIY option with software like Wix, designed specifically for this purpose versus an investment in paying someone who knows what they are doing (e.g., specialist).
The latter requires time and money upfront while the former takes time to master yourself before it’s live on the internet, plus it may not look or perform as well!
Both options have benefits and drawbacks—read below for details about each approach.
How to create a website using a builder, the DIY approach
You don’t need to have any coding or technical skills in order to create a professional-looking website nowadays.
Although many of the website builders say they are super easy to create a website, from the feedback over the years with many clients, this isn’t always the case.
They can be tricky to use and the results may not be perfect.
We’re not trying to put you off using one to build your website, by the way, it’s more a case of not being hard on yourself if you struggling, in the beginning, to produce what you’re looking for.
Stick at it and you’ll get there!
Choose the right website builder for you
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to build your own website, there are lots of options out there.
All the builders below have e-commerce functionality so if it’s an online store you need to build or just a promotional website you’re after for your business then they can certainly help!
The website builders below are considered to be the best on the market.
Some offer you a free plan or trial that allows you to get an idea of what each builder has to offer before having to pay.
They all have their strengths in different areas.
Here are five of the top builders, it’s best you try them to understand which best fits your needs and which you can work with.
- Wix – prices start from £3.5 per month to £19 per month
- Squarespace – costs anywhere from £10 – £30 per month
- Shopify – not the cheapest around with prices ranging from basic at $29 to $299 per month for their or version
- Weebly – from FREE to £18 for their business plan per month
- Ionos ranging from £9 to £20 per month
The process most web builders will take to get you up and running
Sign up – For all platforms you will have to register with key information like email, mobile and contact details, some will require a credit card.
Decide on the website – It may sound simple but are you look for an online shop or just a simple brochure website. It will help you decide on the next step.
Pick a template – Once you have signed up and confirmed all your details the next stage is normally to look through hundreds of website templates and layouts and choose which you think is best for you.
Tailor the website – Add your own logo, pictures, text and sections. Choose the functionality that the website needs and check everything, then check it again.
Launch the website – Once you’re completely happy (did we mention checking the website!!) it’s time to publish the website.
Although it does seem really simple in the five steps above, take your time and don’t be in a rush. Ensure the text that you use is aligned with your business and the photos and images really reflect your products and business personality.
Work with a professional web company to build a business website as a start-up
If you have more complex needs and have the investment then this will be the ideal to get a website built.
Working with a web designer to create your small business website will allow you to build something truly unique, and fully customised.
Not only that, but they will have the expertise to not only launch a website but will have the knowledge to help grow it in terms of SEO, ranking and how to market it, plus other things such as improving user experience and user interface. They will also be able to iron out any issues that you could bake into the DIY version that will cause you issues down the line.
The timeline for this process is typically weeks or longer, it all depends on what you want from the website and how much input you need your web company to put in.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
Yes, using a professional web company, will cost you more than doing it yourself. But like anything, you will be paying for skills, experience, and technical know-how.
If funds are tight, then the DIY option could be great as a start off.
Build up your business and when you have the money available, consider investing in a web designer to grow your business further.
Using a company to build a business start-up website, may not be as costly as you may think.
Even if their initial quote is more than you can afford, consider reducing the number of pages or functionality the website needs to perform, to begin with.
Like we mentioned earlier a website isn’t set in stone, it should grow and develop with your business, bring on more elements as time and money become available.
How will a web developer typically work with you?
Normally there are a few stages that you will go through with a web company, now these are no different whether you’re a start-up business needing your first website or an established company needing a new website.
The three stages are as follows
- Fact-finding – understanding your business and goals
- Design – Building an outline/wireframe of the website
- Build – The is the development stage once the above two have been agreed
One final point worth mentioning before we delve a little deeper into what the stages mean is to understand that you will need to be part of the process.
You shouldn’t think “well, I’ve got a web company in, they can sort it”.
For the best outcome, you need to bring your ideas to the table to make sure you get what you want.
If you don’t your web company could start creating something that you don’t like but more importantly is completely not what represents your business.
The fact-finding phase of web design is a crucial time for your business.
During this period, a web company will learn everything there is to know about you and what you want from them.
Most importantly they will try and understand who your customers are, what makes them tick and what they want and need to see on your site.
They will go through all necessary documents that tell them anything they need to make sure your site looks just the way it should!
This process ensures an effective website that will help grow your company in any industry.
In this initial phase of the Web Design process, a web company will find out more information on how best to focus on your customer requirements by going over different kinds of information provided.
Some clients will literally have no idea what they want and what they need from a website, so if you’re in the same position don’t worry.
It’s our job as professional developers to bring this out of you and help you.
Before you do approach a website company, do your homework.
Understand what your business does, who your potential customers are and do competitor research.
Here are some questions that will help you start:
- What do you do?
- What makes you special, anything unique that other similar companies don’t offer?
- Who are you looking to sell to – are they certain age groups, locations, buyer interests?
- What would you like the website to do (e.g. live chat, checkout area, newsletter sign up etc.)?
- When are you want to push the green button and make the website go live?
- Do you have a budget for the build (it’s not a dirty question btw, it helps us understand the resources you have available to best help you)?
At this stage, a web company will plan the website on paper (well on screen but you get the idea), normally called wireframing.
They will plan the structure of pages, navigation, and content of the website. If the pages need certain elements or sections, this is where they get added in to the plan.
Once done and approved, the next stage would be to look at the actual design.
They may mock up several different colour schemes, or versions of the site with subtle differences.
This is your last chance to have input so don’t be afraid to speak your mind and suggest improvements – designers will really value honest feedback from you!
They have worked for many years doing this, this is one of the things you’re paying them for!
So at this point, your web developers will have a clear understanding of what you need and how the website should be laid out and designed.
It’s at this stage that the build will start, although in all honesty this can be done as soon as fact-finding is done.
If you don’t have a clear idea of what you need, a web developer can start building the site and introduce ideas as they go along.
They should make suggestions and let you know of any issues.
At regular stages, the web company that you have chosen will proof certain pages to you so you can check on the progress.
Again, speak out if you don’t like something. Although by now things should be pretty much nailed on, as you’ve been through the previous planning stages.
Once the site is built and ready to go live, the site will undergo rigorous testing to ensure that it all works.
That’s not to say that once a website goes live there may not be the odd bug, but as mentioned before, these can be easily sorted as nothing is set in stone!
Each web agency will work differently, in the above, we have just skimmed each stage.
It’s meant as more of an outline of what to expect rather than specifics.
Which is best, DIY or using a company for a business website as a start-up?
We can’t answer that, each customer is different and so are the projects.
It mainly boils down to three things, your expertise/ability to build the site yourself, what your customer wants and needs from the website and what budget you have available.
Both offer a way to produce a website you can be proud of. A website should grow and adapt with your business and with your customers.
It’s your decision to make, and we’re a little biased!
But we’re here to help as much as we can.
The best advice is to chat to a web design company, listen to what their thoughts are, most will be more than happy to offer you some free advice.