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"I'm thinking about creating small business website. Do you have any tips on getting started?"

This is a question that comes up frequently and it's an important one. A little planning can result in a better framework, one that can increase the likelihood of a successful website and one that can evolve appropriately over time.There are some obvious things you'll need for a website like a domain name, hosting space, and a design. However, what we're talking about in this article, is a very important initial step in the creation of your small business website: thinking about content. Content is the term used to refer to the text, pictures, and other media used on the website. The text and other media will be laid out on the pages of your website, usually separated into sections and pages. Appropriate content will be crucial ot the success of your website.



Writing Your Text


We can work with you to plan some of the content and how it might be organized, but it is important that you do not wait until late in the process of creating a small business website. Taking time to think about it first will not only help you organize your site more efficiently, it can improve chances of appealing to your target market. Making a good first impression encourages people to stay on your site and learn more about your business and what you offer. For that reason, both the design and the content should be appropriate for those you wish to reach. So spend a few minutes and outline what the website contents should be. This outline can be the basis of a user-friendly navigation system, and can be fleshed out into complete blocks of content. If you need help with content, web developers often provide writing and editing services, but you'll be glad you got this process started, early.





Now let's talk about pictures. It's obvious that if you're selling a product, having pictures of the product makes a lot of sense. You may have already hired someone to take professional pictures for you. If so, you're in good shape! If you're taking the pictures yourself, use a high quality digital camera to capture clear and professional-looking photos. Quickie cellphone snaps may be fine for sharing with your facebook friends, but displaying them on your website could make for a shabby impression. If you're selling a service, having photos of your team in action can demonstrate your strengths and build confidence in your web visitors. Again, if you're taking the photos yourself, use the same tips as above. Stock photography is another popular option for website owners who don't want to take their own photos or use a photographer. With the rise of inexpensive stock sites such as iStock and Shutterstock, it's simple to type a description of a photo you want (ie: woman talking on phone) and get hundreds of options that you can purchase for about $2 and up, per photo. Keep in mind, you're not buying exclusive rights to the photo. You're simply paying for the right to use the photo in any of your marketing materials. So other companies might buy the rights to use the photo as well.


Speaking of images - don't forget about your current marketing materials. Have a logo? Great! You'll need to have a high quality digital copy of it for use on your website. If you've already created other branded materials such as business cards or brochures, and you want to carry over styles from those, onto the website, be sure to have copies of all of them handy. They will prove useful during the design process of your site. Thinking about some existing websites that you like the appearance of can also be helpful.




Domain Names, Hosting & More


Once you have made some progress wth the outline and pictures, it will be much easier to start thinking about domain names, hosting space, and whether you will bring in a web developer or web development company to help. If you want to go it alone, there are many resources available on the web, some for free. If you decide to opt for a professional service, you'll want to check out local & regional web developers to see what they can offer. If your needs are pretty simple, there are many developers who help.  If your needs are more complex, you may want to considering working with a team.  It is really impossible for one person to keep up on design, programming, usability, Internet marketing, and all the other things that can affect your success! If you already know someone who uses a professional web developer, ask them who they use and if they like the service. The initial work you put into thinking about content will come in handy when you meet with a web developer to discuss your needs.


There are lots of other considerations concerning a small business website, such as SEO or other marketing approaches, how content will be managed over time, or whether you need custom software or some of the currently available tools. Each of those is a subject unto itself, that won't be covered in the scope of this short article. Hopefully this article has helped you think about what you need to create a website for your business. When done correctly, it's much more than just putting up a page with a little text and a picture on it. It's an opportunity to appeal to new potential customers by playing up your business's best features, and beginning to create a sense of trust that could turn a potential customer, into a satisfied customer.



Trying to start a small business website and need some help? We work with small businesses frequently, and offer affordably priced website solutions to get you started. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on your small business website.

PO Box 1938 Muncie IN 47305-1938 USA