Building a new website for your business is always an interesting undertaking. It’s filled with hope for everything your new site could be, but it’s also a time of possible frustration as you try to make the site as good as possible within the finite resources you have at your disposal.
With that in mind, on our way to hosting thousands of websites we’ve picked up a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Here are five things to keep in mind if you’re just now embarking on building your first site.
1. It doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Website technology has come a long way in the past few years, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the options available for building small business websites. Gone are the days of custom development running into 5 digit costs for even a small website.
These days, using a user friendly system like WordPress and picking a theme means that even an individual who isn’t particularly tech savvy can have a basic website up and running in just a few hours and with greatly reduced costs.
2. Responsiveness is key.
With the majority of web traffic now happening on mobile, having your website work well on mobile screens is no longer just an afterthought—it’s the priority. A sleek, quick-to-load, and easy-to-use mobile interface helps visitors “on the go” get just as much out of your website as those who are visiting from a conventional PC. Thankfully, many WordPress themes these days are coded with mobile responsiveness in-mind.
3. You need a creative direction.
Every company, and by extension every company’s website, needs to have branding that inspires the customer with confidence that the company is good at what it does. While picking a WordPress theme ensures that your website has a somewhat uniform look, you’ll likely have to do a little more work than that to give your site a “finished” look.
If you can, try to do some pre-planning and come up with a concept for your site before you even buy the theme or install WordPress. Think about everything from layouts, to the kinds of fonts you want to use, to what types of images you want to feature. Writing these things out ahead of time can actually help you choose a better theme for your site when the time comes to make that choice.
If this kind of planning isn’t your strong suit, it may be worthwhile to find someone who is more familiar with this kind of creative work and who can help you through the planning process.
4. Keep it simple.
Especially if this is your first website, you’re going to be excited to add all kinds of bells and whistles to it. This might include things like different types of pages or different kinds of plugins to add extra functionality such as forms, image galleries, popups, and more.
There are two things to note here. First, as you begin to maintain your site, you’ll notice that the more you have going on, the harder it’s going to be to keep everything up to date and make sure it runs smoothly through consecutive WordPress updates.
More importantly, some of this extra stuff can slow down the performance of your site, and it’s been proven that site load speed is one of the biggest determinants of whether a visitor sticks around on your site or hits the back button and tries elsewhere.
So, go ahead and experiment (it’s inevitable), but keep in mind that bells and whistles are rarely what makes a website successful or not—going simpler might save you time and frustration down the road.
5. Choose a drama-free host.
Your host’s job is simple: provide a reliable, easy-to-use platform that just works. Your host should keep costs low, but not so low that they can’t provide around the clock customer service to help you out when things go wrong. Their platform should include some of the most commonly used features for the types of website you need, including building the site, installing webmail, backing up, and doing many of the basic maintenance tasks.
At CanSpace Solutions, a 100% Canadian company, we service companies of all sizes — ranging from small sole proprietorships to large multinational companies — with equal levels of dedication and support. Learn more about our website hosting services today.