Are you about to found a company, or have you already started your own business? Then one of the most critical points for success is creating a professional website. Because customers are increasingly looking for a product or service on the Internet. Many people get their first impression of your company through your website. But what does a good website have to contain, and what exactly should it look like?
Here you can find out what you have to pay attention to when you create a website – from web design to the domain to the imprint – and how you can improve your website’s findability with the help of search engine optimization.
1.This is why you should create your website
Believe it or not, there are still many companies that don’t have a website. The entrepreneurs have even not recognized the value of an Internet presence. A website with a clear goal is essential and should be viewed as a business card on the Internet. Because a website is now just as essential as telephone or e-mail and therefore a necessity for every company, regardless of size.
The enormous information possibilities offered by Google and Co. have revolutionized our consumer behavior, which is crying out for a company website: more than half of all search queries already have an economic background. Because more and more users interested in a product or want to order service are specifically looking for information in advance on the Internet: What alternatives are there? What are the prices like? This is precisely where entrepreneurs need to be present to do everything for a growing customer base right from the start to do.
As you can see, your company may not even be selected without a website when potential customers are looking for possible suppliers. And now you can assume that your competitors are increasingly represented on the Internet.
2.Eight good reasons for your website
The advantages of having your website for your company are very diverse. In the following, we list the most important benefits:
# 1 website as a business card on the Internet
Your website is not only a showpiece but also a flagship for your company. A good website is a kind of virtual business card and the first step towards contacting interested parties in one. Here you can present yourself, introduce your products or services and publish contact details. A website shows potential customers what corporate philosophy you live, what sets you apart from your competitors, and your competencies.
# 2 Reach and Win Customers
Recommendation marketing through word of mouth is still the most important and most successful way of acquiring customers and orders—however, over 80% of Internet users today search for products and services on the Internet. So if you cannot be found on the Internet, you do not exist for this target group and cannot be reached that way.
# 3 Maintain and increase your image
Companies that have a timeless website radiate a modern image to the outside world. This is underlined by an attractively designed and technically good website.
# 4 Present references and products/services
Show your customers why they should buy from you and why you stand out from the competition. References serve to ensure that customers have confidence in the company company’s services. And here should not be saved. Because significantly more information can be conveyed with your website than is ordinarily possible with ”classical” advertising media for cost reasons alone.
# 5 Keeping customers informed through a website
Companies are also subject to constant change. Whether new products, changed opening times or a change of location: you can inform visitors about all the news on the company company’s website.
# 6 The website as an additional sales channel
With a website, you also have the opportunity to create an entirely new sales channel for your products, namely an online shop. In this way, you can reach customers worldwide and thus significantly enlarge your catchment area.
# 7 The website is your cheapest employee
Above all, no employee can relieve you of the fact that you are available around the clock with a website. For example, your shop is open Monday to Saturday, but your website is available around the clock regardless of opening times.
# 8 reachable worldwide
If you do it well, your website can be reached not only in Germany but worldwide. In this way, you can network with business partners worldwide and also reach customers from all over the world. And this is very inexpensive.
As you can see, a website can be more than just a business card for your company. Don’t let these opportunities slip by. How to create your website and what to look out for is explained in the next sections.
3.How you can sustainably build your company with a website
In the initial phase of your business startup, you have to implement many business-relevant things relatively quickly to be noticed and taken seriously in the market. This includes, in particular, the website of your new company.
In the medium to long term, the company website can develop into a vital customer acquisition tool. But only if the content is right. Therefore, when planning your company website, you should take these content-related points into account and expand them further over time:
- Communicate clearly what you want to offer your target group and the market
- The professional web design of the website (logo, images, etc.)
- Always publish current content on the topic.
- Dissemination of the website using other social media channels that are relevant to the target group
- Backlink building with other relevant websites
You may not win customers overnight with a website, but it is a way to build your business long-term and sustainably.
4.Free website? Possible, but
A lot of startups are using their ideas on the internet today. The technical knowledge for a reliable website should undoubtedly be available here. But what about founders who rely on more traditional branches and have no programming skills in-house? There are budget-friendly ways to create a company website: the open-source platform WordPress.org is very popular with startups and the self-employed. After it is installed and equipped with a template design, the system is relatively easy to use. There is also no shortage of inexpensive individual methods.
First and foremost, WordPress is a blog and not a company website. To convert it into a corporate website, several plug-ins must be installed. Regular updates on the server are required to ensure that the installation remains secure. If you have the necessary curiosity, you can certainly acquire this knowledge, which opens up an extensive range of possibilities. When setting up the platform for the first time, you can – or ideally should – commission a service provider. For larger company websites, we recommend using a proven content management system such as Typo3.
It should be noted that it is possible to create a free website. However, a certain amount of technical know-how is necessary. It is, therefore often advisable to hire an agency. As an alternative to this, there are now numerous website kits, some of which also offer free variants.
5.Website builder, or would you prefer an internet agency?
Every internet agency has its signature on how to create a website. So take a look at the references and decide whether the style suits your company. Inform the internet agency in detail about the business model to understand the idea behind your company and translate it into a suitable design. So-called mood boards are ideal for visualizing ideas. Then get two to three offers from the selected agencies. After the decision, you will accompany the website creation process: The internet agency should involve you in every major step, explain technical aspects to you and point out problems. An internet agency can also advise you by developing the concept for the website or giving you recommendations for photographers, for example. Hiring a professional internet agency to have your website created is not cheap. However, it is usually still worthwhile because it is an important customer acquisition tool (special start-up offers are available from around 1,000 euros).
In recent years, so-called website construction kits have developed significantly as an alternative in terms of functionality, design variety and usability, so that an option for founders and self-employed has established itself on the market. With a website builder, you can create your website without having to show any programming skills. The websites’ quality is impressive and almost equal to that of web designs by professional web designers. However, you should have a professional corporate design in advance and, ideally, coordinate with your designer.
6.Build a website: 9 success factors
As already mentioned, a particular website is now essential for every company and, therefore, for starting a business. To master this task, there are a few aspects to consider. In addition to technical questions when creating a website, design, texts and search engine optimization also play a role.
In the beginning, and depending on your goals, it can be enough to keep the website simple. Thus, the website initially serves as a business card on the Internet (with the possibility of making contact). As a business start-up, you can use social networks to set up a profile to address and contact customers. In setting up a business, it becomes clear which function the website should fulfill for the company and how the website can be further developed.
When creating a website, it is essential to be professional. Because the first impression of the website counts, the following tips can help you to create a good website:
- Use professional-quality photos and videos to add value to your website. Ideally, it would help if you created professional graphics yourself.
- The navigation of the website should be structured, and the choice of words clear and understandable.
- The design of the website should correspond to the USP of your company.
- The website’s texts should be easy to read, and the content should be straight to the point. Formulate a clear call-to-action.
The following nine factors are essential for a good website:
# 1 set goals
Defining a specific goal of the website forms the basis of a successful Internet presence. Without a (website) goal in mind, it is not possible to focus on the purpose of the respective task to be incompletely fulfilled. In the worst case, however, a completely different result is achieved than what was done. These basics also apply to building a website that is designed to serve a specific purpose.
In the beginning, ask yourself important questions such as:
- What do I want to achieve (contact, appointment, order)?
- What resources are available to me?
- How much time do I have for this?
- How do I get to my goal?
With the answers to these questions in mind, you can guide your activities in a targeted manner and work towards the desired result to reach the right goal in a reasonable time and in the best possible way.
You should not set too general standards (for example, generate high sales through your online shop), but instead clearly define how and in which area or within what time you want to achieve this goal. In this example, the measurability and traceability of the progress are of enormous importance – a prerequisite for continuously tracking where you are and when you have reached your goal. This is the only way to optimize and improve afterward continually.
In any case, the goal-setting has to be realistic – otherwise, it will probably never be achieved and will only lead to frustration.
# 2 Build a website: hosting
Hosting is used to publish a website. The task of hosting, i.e., the placement of a website on a web server, is carried out by Internet service providers. Under hosting, the providers offer web storage, databases, email addresses, and other data exchange products on the Internet. If necessary, they also take over the registration of domains.
Some offers from providers also include packages with so-called content management systems, with the help of which you can maintain the content of your website yourself. It is essential here that the design fits the requirements that you place on the website. Also, it can be helpful to seek professional help when setting up a website as a start-up:
# 3 Professional layout and design
The first few seconds decide whether a visitor delves deeper into your website – or whether he jumps off. So he must be convinced at first glance. In this brief moment, the look is decisive. You should, therefore give your website a professional layout and design. This also includes your logo, the font and colors that belong to your corporate identity. These should, of course, be coordinated with one another.
Also, note the relevance of mobile devices. When you surf the web with your smartphone, you want to see all the content visually prepared.
Nobody wants to fuss around on the display until everything is in view and can read what you want – then the user is annoyed and has long since left your website. To optimize your website also and especially for mobile devices. The best way to do this is to use a responsive theme. This means that the aspect ratio is then automatically adjusted to the browser size.
# 4 Ease of use
Make sure you pay attention to the usability of your site. In the best-case scenario, your visitors should be able to navigate through intuitively. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes when you start structuring your website.
Of course, you should choose the font and color so that the texts are easy to read on the one hand and match your corporate identity on the other. Also, some things have become standard over the years and that users are used to. Based on our experience, we expect, for example:
- that a company’s logo is usually in the top left,
- that you get back to the homepage by clicking on the logo,
- that for buttons the “back button” is listed on the left and the “next button” on the right,
- that we have a search mask.
# 5 Fast loading times
Website loading times are a very severe and relevant issue. You will also get impatient if you have to wait forever when you visit a website for the content to load completely. When you are out and about or with a restricted internet connection, it is still acceptable and understandable. But only then. Otherwise, the window will be closed rather than waiting any longer. And that’s precisely what your visitors shouldn’t do. Therefore, fast loading times are a “must”. Images, films and videos should be optimized before they are integrated into the website. There are various ways of doing this. Many image editing programs have the option of saving directly for “web and devices”. But do not lose sight of the sheer optimization of the loading time, that the pictures still have to be sharp. There are also tons of tools that can assist you with the compression.
# 6 Legal
An unfriendly legal situation and the excellent searchability of the Internet open the door to (often unauthorized) so-called “warnings.” Usually, a single picture from another website is enough for you to have to pay hundreds or even thousands of euros in a short time and years later.
Make sure you are legally on the safe side:
- Do not embed any third-party images on your website, except for royalty-free images
- Do not use any third-party texts on your website – duplicate keyword content
- Include an imprint on your website
- Formulate your data protection declaration and how you will use Google Analytics.
For many people, sending warnings is a profitable business. In particular, in the area of online shops, you should make sure that your shop is legally compliant and safe from alarms.
# 7 Current content
Nothing is worse than coming to a website, clicking the blog or press area and seeing news out of date. Make yourself aware in advance that you must always maintain your website. It’s work, but it’s worth it because this is also an essential criterion for search engines. Because to be found on the Internet, you first have to be visible.
# 8 search engine optimization
A website consists of a large extent of text, which should be easy to read and the content. However, search engine optimization also plays a vital role in the texts on a website so that customers can also find the website.
Because search engine optimization means using the targeted placement of relevant keywords to improve your website’s findability on Google and Co. on a specific topic, appropriate here is the page title, the headings and the internal and external links to the corresponding page.
An internet agency can help you with the design and creation of your website. It would help if you considered the following aspects when choosing an internet agency:
- Every internet agency has its signature. So take a look at the references and decide whether the style suits your company.
- Inform the internet agency in detail about your goal and the USP of your company to understand the idea behind your company and translate it into a suitable design.
- Be part of creating the website: the internet agency should involve you in every critical step, explain technical aspects, and point out problems.
- Make sure that you use a professional content management system (such as WordPress or Typo3). So you can make small changes (such as changing texts) yourself, and you don’t always have to call the agency.
# 9 Promote your website
It’s done! Your website is online and ready for the onslaught of traffic. But according to your analysis tool, hardly any visitors have ever gotten to your site. Why? That’s right; you’ve forgotten one crucial point: you have first to make your new website known so that visitors come. The following options are available to you how you can make your website known:
- Google My Business: mainly if you operate locally (e.g., a restaurant), you should register your website with Google My Business.
- Content is king: offer the user new content over and over again.
- Search engine optimization: To be found better on search engines like Google and Co., it pays off for you to optimize your website for SEO
- Online advertising: place paid advertising, e.g., in the form of AdWords ads
- Facebook and Co .: Social media channels are perfect for driving traffic to your website
Conclusion: Creating a website must be taken into account early on when starting up
Regardless of whether you run a regional company with a shop or offer services on-site – if your customers and potential customers cannot find you on the Internet, then you do not exist for them.
Therefore, business founders and young entrepreneurs should think about their online strategy very early on and ideally anchor the core goals in their business plan. Even if the start-up phase is usually very intensive, one should pay attention to the Internet’s critical communication channel. But remember: a company website is not an end in itself and indeed not a sure-fire success if it is to be used as a powerful weapon for customer acquisition. It applies to the side always to keep up to date about the content and technical perspective. Ultimately, above all, potential customers have to be enthusiastic about the latest information and ideally be retained for the long term. Since search engine optimized websites sustainably promote the image and the awareness, customer acquisition becomes much more efficient, and investments in this area are recommended.
If your budget does not allow you to commission an internet agency to create a professional website, homepage builders are an initial alternative. However, it would help if you only used them for the first time. Once the cash flow is correct, you should create a professional company website with experienced professionals’ help.