Launching a business website should be the number one task on your to do-list if you are a new business getting ready to open your doors and attract new customers.
Even for brick-and-mortar businesses, a website is an essential element that brings in new customers and then keeps existing customers engaged with your brand. So don’t delay if you’re getting ready to open your new business.
Use this list of nine simple steps to launch a business website so when you open your doors to the public, your website is also set to welcome and receive new customers.
1. Choose your domain name.
A domain name is the address that users type into their web browser to find your website. You want your domain name to be as closely tied to the name of your business as possible.
In some cases, choosing a domain name that is exactly the same as your brand name can be difficult as many short and simple domain names are already taken. If you have trouble finding the exact domain name for your brand, choose a variation that still relates closely to your business. Consider adding the city of your location or a key phrase that describes your business further.
2. Find the best platform for your site.
You have a few options when it comes to launching a business website. There are a few different platforms that offer varying levels of customization, pricing, and ease of use.
- Drag and drop builders are the easiest to use website builders. As their name implies, these builders allows you to choose from select themes and drag and drop content and website elements to create your site. Examples of these builders are Squarespace, GoDaddy’s GoCentral Website Builder, and Wix.
- Content management systems offer more customization options than drag and drop builders, but they still don’t require full knowledge of website code. The most popular content management system is WordPress which can be installed on your site along with a premade theme.
- Custom code requires a web developer to build a website from lines of code rather than an existing structure. While a developer may pull from existing code, they will still create most of the site to your exact specifications. This is usually the most time-consuming and expensive option.
3. Know your audience.
When you build and launch a business website, you are going to need one important thing before you get started -- a description of your target audience.
Before you build any element of your site, start by creating a detailed description of who your website will be targeting. By knowing who your audience is and what they like, need, and want, you will be better able to design your site to reach your target customer. You can shape the design, copy, and messaging to directly connect with them.
4. Know your goals.
Next to knowing your audience, you also want to be clear on your goals before you get started with building your website. Simply having a website isn’t a goal. A goal is the specific action that you want your website to lead to.
A goal might be to get users to:
- Call your business
- Visit your business
- Make a purchase online
- Download a coupon
- Join your email list
- Sign up for your customer loyalty program
- Follow you on social media
- Educate and engage your audience
When you know your primary goal, you can create funnels on your website to drive users through your pages to the desired action you want them to take.
5. List the pages and functionality your site needs.
Now that you know who your audience is and what you want them to do on your site, you can start to put together a list of the content and functionality you need.
For example, if you want to use a blog to educate and engage your reader, you are going to need a featured blog page. If you want to sell products, you’re going to need ecommerce functionality that allows customers to buy directly from your site. As you plan to launch a business website, make a list of both the web pages and tools you will need on your site.
Content pages you may need include:
- Photo gallery
- Testimonials / reviews
Functionality you may need includes:
- Contact form
- Opt-in box
- Click-to-call buttons
- Ecommerce tools
- Blog comments
- Social media sharing buttons
- Social media profile links
6. Create branded design assets.
Branded design assets tie your website to your brand and make your online experience feel like your in-store experience. So before you start designing and building your site, think about brand consistency and make sure you have guidelines and assets for the following design elements.
- Brand colors
7. Create content assets.
Now you need content to fill your pages. In step five, you should have outlined the pages that you need on your site. Now it’s time to create the copy that will go on the pages. Either hire a writer or find someone on your team to write the most important pages of content for your site. As you create your content, remember to:
- Keep your target audience in mind and speak directly to them.
- Make the content easy to scan by writing in short sentences, paragraphs, and blurbs.
- End each page with a call-to-action that moves the user toward your end goal.
8. Hire a developer or create the site yourself.
At this point, you have a strong plan for your website as well as the design and content assets you need to actually put the site together. You can either start creating the site yourself or hire a developer to create it for you. Whichever route you choose, this plan will allow you to go through the process much faster and easier.
9. Create a calendar for upcoming content.
With this plan, you will be equipped to launch a business website site that attracts and engages your audience, introduces them to your brand, and welcomes them to do business with you.
Now, take the next step and make a plan for keeping your website (and your other media outlets) filled with content. Download our free editorial calendar template to outline your upcoming online and offline content plans.