The internet is certainly nothing new, but for a fledgling business, maintaining an effective online presence is more important than ever. In this original series from tech.mn, writer Laura Beier spoke to industry professionals tasked with creating beautiful and functional websites and the founders who use them to help their businesses thrive.
Just like a website is built, we’ll be building this piece section by section over the course of the week. Don’t miss out on the great tips and ideas we’ve gathered.
How to create a business website posting calendar:
- Tuesday, November 10 – Why is a good website important?
- Thursday November 12 – What are the main components of a good website?
- Monday, November 16 – How to create a quality website?
- Wednesday, November 18 – Founders’ preview
Before someone walks into your store, calls for more information, or even thinks about buying your product, there’s a good chance they’ll visit your website.
A digital presence is not only important to the success of your business, but now that almost everything is virtual, it is absolutely necessary.
Whether it’s the importance of a quality website or things that can turn yours from good to amazing, we’ve spoken to local agencies and startups to answer all of your questions on how to create a business website.
Why is a professional website important?
Before we answer on how to build a business website, it’s important to understand why you need to build a website for your business first. Tom Keekley, Partner and Director of Clientele at the Strategic Agency Olive & Company, has a simple reason.
“You wish you did,” Keekley said.
Working primarily with B2B companies, Keekley explained that many companies focus on sales and development, but forget that marketing is an essential tool.
“More and more, you can’t ignore technology and the idea that your business website is always the first place people go,” he said.
Keekley recommends setting aside some of the change for marketing up front so it doesn’t become a bigger cost down the road. Comparing it to a family budget, he urges startups and small businesses to “stay realistic but look to the future”.
The whole point of a website, he added, is to get people to use your product or service.
“If your site isn’t built on this philosophy, they could go somewhere else,” he said.
Key points to remember:
- Your website is a crucial part of marketing
- Customers will most likely visit your website before interacting in any other way
- Allocate large funds within your budget to allow flexible online marketing as your business grows
What are the main components of a great website?
A good website should be visually pleasing, but it should also be an asset to your business, Kitty Hart, VP of Customer Engagement at Denamico, noted.
“A smart, ‘connected’ website helps a visitor through a buyer’s journey in a way that makes them feel good,” Hart said.
If your website isn’t delivering ROI, that’s an underperforming asset, she added.
Hart and Ava McFarlane, digital marketing consultant at Denamico, recommend a number of essential features:
- SEO optimized copy so your website ranks well on search engines
- Relevant and engaging content
- Several clear calls to action to drive visitors to your goal, such as purchasing your product
- Simple and precise back-end reporting.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system that can host all features such as content, emails, and sales is also recommended. According to McFarlane, Denamico uses Hubspot for clients. She recommends the platform for any startup, regardless of their stage.
Key points to remember:
- Without function, even the most beautiful website is not a valuable asset
- If your website isn’t delivering ROI, it’s a waste of time
- SEO Optimization Is Crucial To Building A Customer Base
How to make a business website
“The very first step to building a good website is making sure you have quality content,” Jessi Gurr, President and CEO of Iceberg website design, noted.
The full-service website development agency usually starts with a content consultation to determine a sitemap, determine a customer’s calls to action, and ensure that content is written for every page on the site. Web.
“You’ll want to make sure the content concisely explains what your business does and speaks to your target customer,” Gurr said. “The goal of your website should be to increase your revenue, and your content plays a vital role in achieving that goal. “
A clear layout for displaying content is also essential; you want to have all the main information without overloading your customer.
“You want enough information to tell your customers about your business and gain their trust, but you don’t want to overload them with information,” she said. “Either of these extremes will make someone back down.”
It’s also important to keep in mind what customers will be looking for when they are on your site. From an SEO perspective, simple is better.
“Some people are so in-depth at what they do, but that’s not what people are looking for,” said Hattie McCoy, Marketing and SEO manager at Iceberg.
McCoy suggests consulting with people who will be looking at the company from outside to determine these key terms.
Shane Bader, vice president of sales and marketing at Iceberg, also suggests a blog or news page for research purposes and to show that your business is staying up to date in the industry.
“[A good site] can really help legitimize your business, ”Bader said. “No one will take you seriously without a professional website. “
Key points to remember:
- Quality, customer-focused content is a priority
- Provide key information in a clear and easily digestible manner; do not overload your client
- Keep it simple
Overview of the founders
Founded almost six years ago, local startup HabitAware knew the ins and outs of building an effective website.
“Our website presence is very important to us,” said Aneela Idnani, co-founder. “It’s about making people understand what we do and how we are for them. “
As a company that aims to help people struggling with repetitive body-centered behaviors (BFRB) such as nail biting and hair pulling through the Vivid smart bracelet, there is a specific audience looking for education and help from HabitAware.
“You have to know your audience,” Idnani said. “Especially for a product like ours. We are for a very specific group of people.
As someone who has struggled with the BFRBs herself, Idnani mentioned a key strategy for the business – making an emotional connection through storytelling.
“It’s like going to a party,” she said, referring to how the site needs to connect with its specific audience. “If that doesn’t reflect who I am or the problem I have, if I don’t feel like I belong, I’m going to go.”
The storytelling works. HabitAware has sold to more than 60 countries, and 83% of customers say the bracelet has reduced their behavior.
Virtuwoof, a veterinary telemedicine company that helps veterinary clinics and hospitals provide virtual care to pet owners, has also learned the importance of a good website, especially since its product is an app.
“Our business is our technology platform and our applications, so our site is more informative,” said Allison Boerum, CEO and Co-Founder.
Boerum mentioned several features on Virtuwoof’s website that she finds useful, including a ‘contact us’ option on each page that provides easy access to the company’s main email contact and a live chat feature. which they added after the app’s release in March 2020. The live chat allows the team to connect with over 15,000 current pet owners on the platform and anyone else who is interested. by the company.
“It’s important that people get in touch quickly, and it’s been very helpful to implement,” she said.
Boerum and his co-founder designed the website completely in-house to keep costs down.
“If you’re ready to learn and play with it, it’s pretty easy to do,” she said.
As Idnani said, “A website is really a way to reach the world.”
Key points to remember:
- Appealing to emotion can create a powerful bond with a potential customer
- Include easy-to-find contact information on every page
- In-house web design can save a lot … if you’re up to the job