Learn what considerations to think about before planning your new business website.

You know every business needs a presence online, and your website is like the headquarters for your business. Throughout this post we’ll discuss necessities and options to consider while making your dream website come to life. Price ranges have been included for each section, with links and in-depth reveiws.

Pre-Site Steps

Competition Research

It’s impossible to compete with other businesses if you don’t know who your competitors are. That’s why it is imperative to conduct research to discover who are the biggest competing players in your local area. We utilize powerful analysis software and competition algorithms, ranking hundreds of independent factors, in order to get the most comprehensive competition audit for your business and local competitors. Once we know exactly who the competition is, we can pinpoint who our customers are.

Customer Research

Understanding who your customers are will help you tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with these specific people. Customer research can cover a number of interesting areas; from customer preference to persona and intent modeling. We can develop a profile of your ‘best’ customer, based on real-world data from existing customers. Once we have identified who needs your business’ products and services, we can then work to get you in front of those exact people.

Keyword Research

Knowing exactly who our competition is, and who the people are that are looking for us is invaluable information for any small business owner. Keyword research is the icing on the market-research cake. Instead of describing data mining, natural language processing, and vernacular semantics… We’ll just use an example.

Let’s say you own a landscape company, and you describe your service as grass clipping, and yourself as a grass clipper. While we can understand what you do, it may not be the best description for your business. Now let’s say the research shows our customers actually call it lawn mowing. Our customers are searching for lawn mowers near me, lawn mowing service, and home lawn mowing company. Your grass clipping service will probably never be found by these customers, due to the difference in perspectives.

Website Steps

Domain Name

Cost: $12-$15 /year

Your domain name is like your business’ identity online. The domain name, sometimes also called a URL, and usually looks something like “www.google.com”. The domain name is like the street address of your home. It is the location I would go to see you, or the place I’d send mail to get to you. Your domain acts in a similar way online. When customers visit your domain they will see your business website and be able to contact you.

For more information on domain names, check out How to Pick the Perfect Domain Name for Your Business.

Website Hosting

Cost: $36-$350 /year

Hosting is what keeps your site online. When your customers navigate to your domain, they will see your website. If the domain name is like the mailing address, than the hosting is analogous to the land. Hosting gives you a physical place to build your website. Just like purchasing a piece of land, there are many factors to consider before choosing a hosting company. Some of the most important are speed, support, and technology.

To learn about website hosting options, check out How to Choose the Best Hosting for Your Business.

Site Design

Cost: $40-$200

Creating a custom design for your business site will cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, we have a better option.

Website themes are the magical way to get a professional website theme without breaking the bank. The design of your website is controlled by the theme we choose. Think of it like the paint and decorations inside of your new home. A majority of the design and feel of your website will be controlled by the theme, things like the fonts used on your site, the background colors or pages, and what menus and blogs look like.

Learn how to find the perfect website theme, read more about How to Pick the Perfect WordPress Theme.

Content & Design

How many pages are needed?

Does your company have an extensive list of products and services? Does every single service really need a dedicated webpage? Do customers ask lots of questions before they purchase? Do we need in-depth product explanations on each page?

Who will write the text copy?

Will we be outsourcing the copywriting to someone else? Are you, the business owner, going to author every word that appears on your website? How will the customer and competition research impact the text on your site? How will the tone resonate with your audience?

Where are the pictures coming from?

Do you already have excellent images of your business, team, and products? Professional photographers can be hired to work with you on location to capture the best images of your business.

Don’t skimp here and take pictures with your phone, it will look like you took pictures on your phone.

Website Functionality

Will your business need a blog to share news and other stories?

How do you plan to engage your customers down the road? Do you have amazing customers that do wonderful things with your products? Why not feature your best customers and your services in an informative post? Sharing current customer successes can be the best way to interact with your prospective customers and demonstrate the value your business provides.

Do your clients need a forum or other support area?

Do your clients pay a recurring fee, and expect service and support with their membership? Forums or other dedicated support areas can automate much of the administrative burden of supporting your customers. You can provide private access to video tutorials, customer discussions, and much more; all in an effort of delivering the best experience to your customers.

Will your business sell online in an e-commerce store?

Does your business sell physical items, memberships, or digitally downloaded products? We have custom sales solutions for each e-commerce client. Your website can manage customer orders, purchase shipping, and facilitate much of the back-end operations for your company. Or your site can effortlessly handle recurring account billing, re-downloads of purchases, and other marketing processes in order to automate the numerous time-consuming tasks you face throughout your day.

Will customers need to submit forms to request service?

For service businesses that work with individual clients at their location, there might be a number of questions you ask every single client. While this set of questions is important, the information is invaluable to understanding how you will help your new client. Instead of a repetitive 20-minute phone call for each new customer, imagine we could send them a link, where they could share with us and describe their problems in their own words. And because we like to make your life easier, the customers’ answers are stored and accessible anywhere on Earth. Now that’s a pretty cool way to automate.

Site Estimates

Basic Static Website: $600-$2,000

An informational site might be perfect for a business looking to put their brochure online. The simplest sites in existence let you get online fast, but leave must to be desired. Low-cost investment can mean limited design choices and space for your content. In order to not get tied to a developer that has to manually update your site, look for user-editable options.

Standard CMS Website: $2,100-$8,000

Content Management Systems are the most current approach to web development for small business. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are the top CMS choices; with over 30% of the websites in existence built with WordPress. It’s probably an excellent choice for your business. The infrastructure and setup tends to cost a little more, but these web platforms offer nearly limitless potential. Paired with the right competition research, these sites will become the center of your marketing strategy.

E-Commerce Website: $5,000-$10,000+

E-commerce websites are by far the most expensive option for your business. If your business requires a large, full-featured online store for your products, variations, image galleries, shopping carts, discounts, shipping, payment processing, inventory management… You get the picture. Your online store can streamline and automate many of the repetitive business processes, allowing a business with increasing sales to reduce costs while supporting expansion. E-commerce websites are the most expensive to keep online in order to safely accept customer credit cards online.

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