TIPS & TRICKS

Do I need a website for my small business?

Joshua Cook, Chief Branding Navigator
4 April 2017
Many start up business owners ask if they need to create a website, and more and more of them are deciding not to. But is this the right choice?

I recently attended a local farmers market, speaking to everyone from vegetable farmers to craft breweries, and asked the same question: “Do you have a website?”

Most didn’t. These entrepreneurs believed they were too small to have a website, or that a Facebook page was enough.

This way of thinking is a mistake. Consider this:

67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally, according to SiriusDecisions.

If you have decided not to create a company website, it is time for a change of heart.

I get it. Websites require time and effort. They involve setup, maintenance, design, and many other tasks that some of us don’t yet know how to do. And it doesn’t help that marketing agencies intimidate us by talking about features and benefits we don’t yet understand, not to mention that their prices are high.

It can seem like all the research in the world can’t overcome the barriers to creating a great website, so we look for website replacements, like Facebook or other company listing services.

I’m here to tell you that you need a website.

Even a simple website does some important things for your business and your customers. Websites add credibility to your business, and offer prospective customers a resource for product research and contact information. Further, you control the content on your website – there are no distractions from the information you are trying to share.

Thankfully, I’m also here to tell you that websites aren’t as hard as you may think. You just need the right resources.

Here are the five steps for starting a website:

1. Your URL

Think of an “URL” as your businesses online address. You will share your URL with others so they know how to get to your business.

For example, my URL is creativecompass.ca. Here is how you find and purchase an URL:

  1. Go to GoDaddy.com
  2. In the “Find your perfect domain name” box, type your companies name.
  3. Repeat the process until you find an available name that works for you. Try to keep the name simple – people need to be able to remember it easily.
  4. Buy your domain name before someone else does. Domains are cheap, so grab it now. (Seriously – don’t wait! Many domains were purchased out from under business owners who waited too long!)

2. Pick Your Platform

If the URL is your address, the “Platform” is the layout of your business. Platforms are sort of like blueprints – you want to ensure you pick the one that A) you can build, and B) that will be sufficient for your business.

Are you going to build and maintain your website? If you are a beginner, you’ll want to stick with Wix or Squarespace to get started. If you are willing to learn some new skills, WordPress.org is undeniably one of the best platforms around. (For example, CreativeCompass.ca is built on WordPress.org.)

WPBeginner created a phenomenal pro-and-con list of current blog platforms – don’t let the title fool you, this is a great list for full websites.

3. Website Hosting

Think of “Website Hosting” as building that holds your business – it is the walls between which you will create your website. You’ll need to make sure your hosting (i.e. your walls) can support your selected platform (i.e. your blueprint).

We’ve already mentioned GoDaddy.com in step one – they are a great hosting provider with reasonable prices and incredible support. We suggest giving those folks a call and asking for help setting up your basic site, using the platform you’ve selected.

4. Setup

Setup is the foundation and basic construction of the walls of your site.

By now, you probably think I am on GoDaddy’s payroll (I’m really not – just a big fan of theirs). They can help guide you through the setup of your site, and will show you the ropes. We configured our WordPress site with GoDaddy.com – setup was incredibly easy, and we were ready to go within an hour. Other hosting providers will also be able to get you setup, depending on the platform you’ve selected.

Once this is complete, you should have a username and password to make changes to your website.

5. Design

This is the decoration and layout of your business. You’ll choose colours, images, text, and so on to share your business with your customers. Start simple, and grow your site over time.

Remember to consider what your customers are looking for – you can define your customers using our Buyer Persona template, and start creating better content immediately.

 

Of course, truly great websites require a lot of work, but even a simple website is better than nothing (or a simple Facebook page). Remember when you start out that less can be more – don’t clutter your site, or include paragraph after paragraph of text. Listen to feedback, and grow the site over time.

I do believe that anyone with the desire to manage their own website can do so, if they have the time. But if you decide that you need a little expert help, feel free to reach out – maybe I can help! Or just shoot me a note with your questions – I’m always happy to lend a helping hand!

Now go get started!

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

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