What Really Goes Into Building a Business Website?January 19, 2021 2021-02-26 3:36
What Really Goes Into Building a Business Website?
This article aims to give you an understanding of why your small business website is the foundation of your digital platform and how you can use it to leave a lasting impression on your target audience.
- What is a website, and how does it work?
- What do you need to build a website?
- Build a website with the right functionality
- Should you DIY or hire—and how much will it cost?
So often, small businesses, growing businesses, and entrepreneurs ask us a similar question: I know I need a website, but where do I start?
This question has been asked more and more over the last 9 months, as many have discovered the essential nature of an online presence; the need for a high-performing website is more pressing than ever.
People can’t visit your store or eat at your restaurant, and your marketing team can’t attend any tradeshows or events. In general, you’re unable to run your business how you used to.
It’s never been so necessary to consider how to improve your online presence, because people need to be able to connect with you online.
By making it as easy as possible for people to find out about your business—and support your business— your website and online platform can help you build trust with your ideal customers.
1. What is a website, and how does it work?
A website is a page (or collection of pages) on the Internet and World Wide Web that allows people to access information about your business.
One of the easiest ways to describe a website and its components is to think of it like a car; purpose-built to connect you to the world around you.
To ensure it runs smoothly, you’ll need:
- A domain name: This is your website’s key identifier, or your car’s license plate.
- Hosting: This is a service that connects your website to the World Wide Web, or your car’s fuel.
- Content Management System (CMS): This is WordPress, or any other platform that allows you to build and manage your website, or your car’s engine.
- Theme: This is the layout — both visual and functional — your website is designed to follow, or your car’s paint job.
2. What do you need to build a website?
Building a website is a process that goes far beyond choosing a theme and investing in hosting.
At its core, a website is comprised of:
- Strategic Direction
- Website Design
- Website Development
- Website Content
A website’s strategy outlines the core purpose of a website and dictates its place in your sales cycle.
What type of aesthetic and experience do you want users to have on your website? What is your brand positioning? Who is your target audience? Should they be inspired by your experience to get in touch with you via a contact page, or are you trying to direct them to your online shop?
Your strategy is what provides direction to your website, and includes its overall creative direction, brand strategy, business objectives, and purpose.
This is the look, feel, and overall aesthetic of your website. The makeup of website design includes:
- Sitemap: The basic organization of your website’s pages and how they are laid out within one another. Most often, you can find a basic sitemap at the top section or bottom section of websites.
- Page layouts: The layout of each page — including the white space, images, and sections you create — to assist with the flow of information and usability of a well-designed website.
- Theme or custom layout: Web design requires a theme or custom design of your website’s sitemap and page layout to determine its overall look and feel.
This is the process of implementing a theme, customizing a page or feature, or custom-coding a website design.
- Coding (programming language) The complex set of digital commands used to implement each aspect of a website’s design.
- Platform: This is your Content Management System (CMS) used to build and house your website and its content.
- Security: Any digital measure taken to protect your website and its content.
Content is arguably the most important—and most difficult—part of your website to create and source. It’s what most entrepreneurs and business owners struggle to compile, but it’s what really makes a significant impact on your visitors.
This is the text, images, and other media on your website, and includes:
- Text: The words on your website, including page titles, headers, sub headers, and body text.
- Photography and media: The photos, videos, and illustrations that appear on your website.
- Translation: The different versions of your website for each language of your target audience. E.g. French and English for Quebec-based businesses.
- Call-to-action (CTA): The main action you want people to take on your website. E.g. Read your blog, contact you, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.
3. Build a web platform with the right functionality
Today, a website is so much more than a page on the internet; it’s the home base of your online presence. And it’s the functionality of your website that make it a complete online platform.
A website’s functionality is how your website works and how people interact with it . For example, newsletter sign-up sections, buttons, social media links, and contact forms are all specific functionalities of a website.
With just a few unique integrations, you can transform a simple, static website into a dynamic web platform that works to support your growth objectives.
“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” — Tim Berners-Lee
Thankfully, WordPress (our CMS of choice) and other platforms make managing many of the features above quite intuitive.
Your website can — and should — be developed and designed to act as a robust, practical, and modern web platform, equipped with the right integrations and features.
Examples of website integrations for small businesses:
- Email newsletter
- Social media accounts
- Analytics (Google Analytics, LinkedIn Pixel, Facebook Pixel)
- Contact forms
- Booking apps
Examples of website features for small businesses:
- Online Payments
- Online Bookings
- Digital Downloads
By including these integrations and features in your website, you can centralize your marketing strategy to create an online platform, driving real results in a competitive environment.
Discover tips and ideas on how to transform your website and your business here.
4. Should you DIY or hire—and how much will it cost?
A website is your digital foundation that brings your online presence to life, and it’s an important investment in your business — whether you do it yourself, or hire an expert.
Seeking professional services
We want to help you build a professional, results-driven website from the get-go. If you choose to work with an expert (like us!) but want to see your options, we’ve created an article on understanding proposals and budgets.
Thinking about DIY-ing your website? Download our complete Website Checklist to help you along your journey.
No matter the direction you choose, the decision to upgrade or create a small business website or transform it into a powerful online platform is a big one.
Take time to familiarize yourself with both the technological and creative sides of the process by downloading our website checklist to make you’re representing your business as accurately as possible.
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