Starting a new business is exciting. However, there are many things that can go wrong – and that is incredibly daunting.
One of the most important elements of starting a new business in the 21st century is having a high-quality website.
This will help you encourage users to trust your brand, while simultaneously encouraging sales.
To find out what the basics are, MyBroadband spoke to South Africa’s leading hosting providers about the best practices when it comes to starting a business website.
Hetzner brand manager Athena Turner told MyBroadband that the first step in creating your business website is to choose the right hosting partner.
“When you’re starting out, you may not realise the partnership element in a web hosting provider, but if you find the right partner you’ll be working together for years,” said Turner.
Key considerations when choosing a hosting partner include good customer service and 24/7 support.
“A website always evolves and you will need support at varying levels – throughout,” said Turner.
Turner added that owning a domain is as important as legally registering your company.
“It’s a key ingredient to successfully branding your business, as a domain lends credibility and legitimacy – especially for small businesses that may not have a brick-and-mortar, branded store or office,” she said.
According to Turner, .co.za domains are the most popular at Hetzner, with 74% of customers using this domain extension – .com is only used by 17% of their customers.
She added that it is important to keep a domain as short and simple as your brand allows.
Turner recommends WordPress as the website builder of choice for all businesses because it’s free, open-source, popular, and easy to use.
Most hosting providers offer a 1-click WordPress install, making the set-up of a WordPress site particularly easy.
Using WordPress also allows you to use a variety of powerful plugins that are well-supported and will help you take your website to the next level.
One of the best WordPress plugins is WooCommerce, which allows you to turn your website into an e-commerce store.
Turner also recommends that websites implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to manage their website’s traffic and filter out potential attacks.
She added that this additional layer of protection works well in combination with security scans, which can detect threats that WordPress updates don’t deal with.
Hetzner has partnered with a powerful WAF, Cloudbric, to ensure increased security for their clients’ websites.
Optimise your design
Once your hosting is finalised, you have to look at your website’s design.
Dane Miller, a marketing expert from 1-grid, said there are three basic design elements that are crucial to the success of your business website.
- First impressions lasts, so make sure your customers immediately understand what your business is about. Leave no room for assumptions.
- Provide clear call to actions. Guide your visitors to take action, whether it is to complete a contact form, register online, or to buy one of your products.
- Make sure the site is optimised for mobile. Smartphone e-commerce browsing now outweighs desktop users, so it is critical that the mobile experience mirrors that of the desktop.
He also highlighted the importance of using high-quality images at all times, as well as keeping the look and feel of your website clean and simple.
Create high-quality content
Miller said it is also important to offer your website’s visitors high-quality content.
“Relevant and well-written content, with insightful keywords, will help you gain the necessary traction ranking on search engines,” said Miller.
“It also plays the biggest part in building up direct and organic search volumes from your online audience,” he said.
Miller said that it is crucial that new businesses add new content, which can easily be achieved by writing regular blog posts.