During the recession of 2007 through 2010, the rate of new business births dropped about 12 percent, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. During that time, the number of business “deaths” increased. In the years since, new business startup rates are still low, but failure rates are declining, even though firms tend to employ fewer people and stay smaller.
If you are starting a business, taking time to plan and design a website should be a priority. In today’s increasingly digital-reliant world, having a website is likely the way in which potential customers will find you. A website will also help to establish your business credibility. Luckily, there is a wealth of help available, and a number of free services for you.
Common Website Elements
In many ways, your type of business will determine the design and content of your website. Every website, however, has certain common elements:
- Logo or identifiable company icon
- Company name
Before getting too involved in the specifics, research the online presence of your competitors and similar businesses in other geographical markets. Pay special attention to the qualities of websites you find appealing or effective, and note the reasons. Then, when it comes time to make decisions for your business, you will have a direction, and a focus.
Company Name and Logo
Your company name and logo will be your “face” to the public, and should not only represent the product or service you offer, but also be attractive, easy to remember and memorable. You’ll find many resources to assist you, including logogarden.com which can coordinate your logo with your website design, and even with your print collateral. Your logo, along with your company name, become the foundation in designing your website and building your brand.
Static and Dynamic Content
Websites have two basic kinds of content — static and dynamic — and a high-quality mix is the best. Static content is the copy found on landing pages that provide information like About Us, Services, Contact, etc. Dynamic content is what keeps your site alive. It’s found in blog posts, RSS feeds and calendars. In addition to informative or illustrative text, consider how you’ll tie in email lists, newsletters and links to external resources.
Photos, illustrations and graphic content attract viewers and add interest to a website, and are always best when localized and personalized.
If you cannot afford professional website development, you must rely on ingenuity and available resources. Keep it simple. Up-to-date content is vital, as is a call to action on every page of your website. As with other aspects of business management and development, you must avoid “clutter,” and trust your intuition. Logic and common sense are invaluable in planning a website. Tutorials, tips and a wealth of good information is available from thesitewizard.com.
Test and Maintain
Finally, you should not plan to go live with your website until you have thoroughly tested all the links and verified all information. Regular maintenance is vital to the health, well-being and continued effectiveness of your website. Periodically, you should check all the pages, schedule regular times to update information, including the bottom-of-the-page copyright data, and view your site from the perspective of a customer. Make changes as necessary.