By now, most people who read articles about web development know that websites are the cornerstone of businesses the world over. But having a website is more than just building an online presence. It’s about presenting a basic function in a way that engages users. It’s about advertising and presenting the best your business has to offer. It highlights your strengths and focuses attention to what sets you apart.
Almost half all internet users say that if a business has an unresponsive site, they take that as an indication that the business doesn’t care. If a page times out or takes too long to load, people have already closed the window in search of somewhere else. People are notoriously impatient when it comes to browsing the net (myself included) so when a site is fiddly or confusing, it can instantly put off users from using your service. Hundreds and thousands of leads and sales are lost every day to bad first impressions, from poor design to slow loading times, which is why good website development is a necessity in this modern, internet age.
Websites are, on the whole, the first port of call for any potential client or customer. Websites are in fact not just ecommerce sites or fancy advertising spaces – they are resources, with information that answers the questions customers may have, descriptions of products and services, reviews, case studies, testimonials, contact details and much more. In a nutshell, if your customers are kept informed then they’re more likely to buy and return. But without a good website development, businesses can fall short of achieving their desired results.
What You Actually Need
More often than not, good web development starts simple and ends simple. One of the bigger mistakes people make when building a new website is trying too much. Not only does that make your website more difficult to use for the end-user but it also creates an endless list of things that will need to be paid for and never used.
A well designed and informative website, on the other hand, sets you apart from your competitors. Memorable designs or functionality leave a good and lasting impression. But this can be hard to achieve the first time, and even second time around.
Web development is only cost effective when done right. Good website development teams will create websites that are sustainable and need little in the way of redevelopment. After a one-off cost, businesses should expect to only pay for small updates and maintenance throughout the year. Bad website development on the other hand, will end in constant back and forth with programmers and designers, increasing costs and delaying access to a usable, effective website.
Here are my top five early-stage website development tips:
Dominate your Domain
A domain name is often the first thing you need when starting a website – it’s a digital address that people will use to access your site. Make sure to choose a domain that describes your business while also being suitable for marketing purposes. Nobody bothers to type URLs that are too long, too hard to remember or are too prone to spelling mistakes. If you have a URL you dislike, you can always redirect with a link-tagging tool.
Go Pro with an Email Address
Which business email holds more credibility? [email protected] or [email protected]? When I’m dealing with clients and using the services of business, seeing a free email domain address really makes me question how robust and trustworthy that business really is. Building trust and credibility online is hard enough already, and a free email just creates unnecessary doubt that you don’t want or need.
WordPress, WordPress, WordPress
They say saying a word three times makes it stick in your mind – and time and time again I find myself answering the question “Why WordPress?” Quite simply, it’s the most flexible and powerful website builder out there. The number of clients I have who chose other platforms only to come to me and ask for a complete rebuild on WorldPress is overwhelming. Save yourself the stress (and costs) later down the line by going to WordPress from the start. I explain more about why we choose WordPress on my blog.
Trust your Host
When developing a website, it needs a host – a digital space where your website content lives. Hosting prices range significantly depending on the amount of data your website holds, but finding a host you can trust to jump to the rescue whenever the site encounters a problem is key. The longer a website is down, the more leads you miss and the more Google and other search engines begin to see red flags, reducing your SEO capability.
Get Analytics and Make Sure to Use it
For those serious about their business, Google Analytics is the data analytics tool you need to understand how users are interacting with your website. Data such as how many people visit, what pages they visit and when do they click away, can all be used to help understand your website’s strengths and flaws, allowing you to improve revenue and user experiences. It may not have all the answers but interpreting the statistics can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s that important.
In this series of articles, I will explore website development, taking websites to market and a range of key subjects that are most important to ensuring a successful website first time around.