Top 5 Things To Do Before Starting A Website
It’s an exciting time when you finally decide to quit your job and start your small business using the money you have saved. Or maybe your startup got funded by a VC and you are raring to go with the next steps.
One of the key decisions is finding and settling on a good web design company who will actually design the website. Web development companies in outsourcing destinations such as India are a good option to opt for as they have a wide spectrum of skills and are up to date with the current web design trends, styles, and technologies.
Choosing A Great Brand Name For Your Business
One of the first steps you need to take once you decide to launch your business is decide on a brand name. This is easier said than done. Single word brand names are difficult to come by for startups these days since most single words have already been taken up by one business or the other. Your choice is to either go for an invented word as most brands these days are or go for a word that is a combination of two words. Think of the most well-known Web brands out there — Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest — they are all made-up words and must have sounded very peculiar indeed when they were first proposed as the name of their respective business.
So your business’s brand name will also seem somewhat awkward and ungainly when first pronounced. The founders have to stick their necks out and ignore the naysers. Remember that some of the hottest web brands and properties today — some of these are 2016 Webby Awards winners — have names like YouTube, Spotify, eBay, Giphy, Vroom, Tumblr, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Buzzfeed, Glassdoor, GoJobHero, Fatherly, Wealthsimple, FlashFunders, Coutts, OpenTable, Yummly, Oola, Epicurious, Momofuku, Lyderia, Twitch, Gamepedia, Smartreveller, Yeloha, WebMD, GoodRx, The Onion, Cracked, ClickHole, Funny or Die, wonnacott, Helmade, DITTO, Rabbit, wikiHow, Nextdoor, Netflix, Slack, Snapchat, Fodors, Seastreak, DogVacay, Fabrik, DWNLD, VOLO, Pandora, Guvera, Splice, musical.ly, Timeline, COMMON, Maple, Robinhood, Makr, and so on.
You could have a tentative list of five or so possible business brand names and then check to see if those domains are available for booking. The .com TLD is the most essential for a business website but for other niche sites, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are hundreds of new top level domains (TLDs) to meet specific needs.
Additionally, you might want to check if the Twitter handle associated with your proposed business brand name has already been created by somebody. If the brand name is a neologism, then the .com domain as well as the Twitter handle are likely to be available. You should purchase the domain and go ahead and create the Twitter handle for future use.
Research Your Competition
Researching your competition is required for both new businesses planning a website as well as existing businesses who are planning to expand their presence online or give a makeover to their existing website.
Competition research may help you identify the strengths and best practices of your industry peers and leaders. It may help you locate some lacunae of the competition — a competitive advantage for your future business plans.
If you are planning a niche dating website or an ecommerce website catering to a niche market, competition research is essential so that you don’t end up duplicating existing websites or businesses or social media sites.
Learn About Your Target Audience
Learning about your target audience will increase the likelihood that your website will be popular in the population segment you are targeting. The online behavior of consumers belonging to different generations — boomers, Gen Xers, teens — varies widely and you should have a very good understanding of their behavior.
Having insights into the preferences of your future audience will help you come up with the most appealing kind of website for your consumers.
Knowing your target audience will help you optimize your digital marketing efforts. You will know if you need to put ads on The New York Times/The Wall Street Journal website or if you need to go for social media marketing on FB, Twitter and other platforms.
Depending on the preferences of your audience, you can opt for either apps or mobile website.
Make Digital Marketing Plans
Your digital marketing plans and social media outreach efforts will obviously depend on the kind of startup you are planning. If your startup is in the Business-to-business (B2B) space or one that depends on innovation/patents and is in an environment that requires regulatory clearance — say, a biotechnology startup — then a simple website that describes your business will be enough.
But if your startup business idea is essentially consumer-driven and its success depends on persuading millions to join your niche social network website or buy products from your niche ecommerce site, then your entire focus from the planning stage of your website has to be on creating the maximum possible awareness among your target customers.
This is where digital marketing comes in. Digital advertising — (Pay-Per-Click) PPC ads, banner ads or display ads, social media marketing, content marketing — in its many different avatars will play a part in attracting visitors and customers to the site.
Digital marketing agencies such as Mind Digital can partner with business owners to design a digital marketing campaign that will be integrated, effective as well as cost-effective. Before you launch a PPC or display ad campaign, you need to decide on the keywords you are going to target as well as have the right landing pages necessary. This requires keyword research and getting the landing pages ready.
A web design company with experience in digital marketing will be able to execute all these multiple facets of a digital marketing campaign.
Similarly, social media marketing — Facebook posts, Facebook promotions, tweets, promoted tweets, and so on — should be targeted and conducted on the particular social media that will benefit your business the most depending on where your target audience is.
Some of the competition research and audience research described above will help formulate an effective social media marketing campaign.
Content marketing efforts such as consistent posts on the business blog help the website with a good rank in search engine organic search results. Content marketing campaigns work best when there is consistency in posting content according to a content calendar. Keeping to a schedule in the content space is a tough requirement and it will take professional digital marketing agencies with experience in content marketing who can deliver the goods.
Choose Your Website’s Platform
You need to decide if you’ll build your website using popular website platforms such as WordPress, Magento, Joomla or go for coding the website from scratch. Most websites these days are built using existing platforms as that reduces the website development time. Platforms such as WordPress have umpteen themes and plugins to take care of all your needs and it is a proven platform with millions of websites having been built using it which are online.
Choosing a platform like WordPress will mean that you can focus on other aspects of your business as well as making the website more useful for your consumers in other important ways such as usability, navigation aspects and content.
If you are planning an ecommerce website, Joomla or Magento will work fine as they come with the components and features that are a part of every ecommerce website.
Additional Things To Do Before Starting A Website
✓ Encryption Is The Future
As numerous hacking instances as well as revelations about online mass surveillance by agencies like the NSA and the FBI show, online customers and plain website visitors are under increasing threats of hacking and surveillance by various national government agencies.
Website visitors will gain peace of mind when you use https on your website. Even Google gives a ranking boost to sites that use https.
✓ Install Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, you will learn where your visitors are coming from, what they visit on your site, and when they leave your site. Better to install Google Analytics before website launch, so that you can track how your launch efforts panned out. It will also help you keep track of how much your website has grown since then.
✓ Some More Things
The website should contain clean, SEO-friendly code and be compatible with multiple browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Having Captcha tests will reduce the amount of spam you have to deal with on the website’s contact forms, site forums, comment sections, etc.
A sitemap on the website helps both visitors as well as search engines like Google to navigate your website and find all of its content.
Outsource Website Design
As you proceed with your plans to develop a website, one of the things you will need to decide is finding a web design partner. Often it makes to go for a web design company in an outsourcing destination such as India. Indian web development companies such as Mind Digital have a demonstrated track-record of delivering on hundreds of web development projects of different sizes.
Partnering with an Indian web design company from the planning stages of your website will translate to a smooth integration of the different aspects of a great website — it should have the proper SEO baked into it from the beginning and the website content should match the images.
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