Setting up your new business website and determining your business name isn’t for the faint of heart. You must remember that once you’ve built up your business, changing your name would be ill-advised. Therefore, it is essential to think of a name that resonates with your brand, is catchy and unique, and is something you can live with for the long term.
Your name and website also sets the tone for how customers and prospects perceive your company. Needless to say, you want your name and site to be memorable. This is even more critical for a small business—you will be competing with millions of other businesses of all sizes. This useful guide will help you choose the right domain name and properly set up your first business website.
Write down your goals
Determine the goals of your website and the specific message you want to share with your audience. What colors do you feel are most appropriate? Would you like a simple or more eye-popping layout? Would you like it to be image- or text-heavy? Are there shapes you prefer? What about fonts?
These are all questions which need to be answered before setting up your website. Of course, you want to test a variation of styles and formats before making your final decision.
Create a site map
This is necessary to help you organize the content that needs to be on your site. In addition, it helps to eliminate duplicate pages or content. You might start with these:
- Home page
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Learn More
- Products and Services
It’s better to start with the pages you need, and add more in the future if necessary. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers and prospects with too much information.
Try a DIY Website builder
The good news about starting your small business website is you don’t have to understand PHP, CSS, HTML or any other coding language. There are many DIY website builders who can build your site either for an affordable price, or even for free. Do some research to find which web builder fits your budget and needs.
Since this will be a business website, you want something that looks professional and unique. It should not look like a hundred other websites. In this case, you might have to pay a bit more for a premium site theme, but it is probably worth it to immediately start off with a professional appearance. Plus, your site can be up and running in a matter of hours.
DIY website builders are a lot of fun because they offer a wide variety of ready-made layouts and templates, which you can customize. You can also preview your results and changes, just to make sure you really like it. Moreover, you will be able to modify your site whenever you like.
Select the perfect domain for your company
One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your website, and business, is choosing the right domain. You want something that customers will remember and that makes sense for your business. Of course, it doesn’t have to describe the exact services your business provides.
To illustrate, the name Twitter didn’t mean anything until the company behind it chose the name for their social media platform. The same is true of sites such as Goldbely or even Yahoo! Their names have gained worldwide recognition even though they don’t describe the actual services the sites provide. On the other hand, names such as LinkedIn, Facebook and even Gmail do resonate with their particular services.
Also, make sure you don’t forget to do your research. New domain names are being registered much more quickly than ever before, so checking the domain names you want beforehand is imperative. The last thing you want is to pick a name that is already registered.
Some good news about domain names
In 2016, over fifty new top-level domain (TLD) names became active with extensions such as .music, .sport, .hotel and .app. These TLDs can help you to create more industry focus. They are also gaining a lot more traction. As a result, you have a bit more creativity when it comes to naming your domain. How can you take advantage of the new TLDs? Here are three ways:
1. Keep it sharp and simple. People don’t want to spend time spelling or remembering a long domain. The more specific TLDs can save from a lot of frustration and confusion. The shorter, and more defined the name, the better.
2. Protect the identity of your brand. You might consider buying a .com version, and perhaps also the .net and .org version. Rather than buying several versions of a .com, you should use TLDs to more uniquely distinguish your services and target your customers. For example, if you run a music production company, you might start with recordproduction.music. If you expand to another country, you might obtain recordproduction.france. If you wanted to run a targeted marketing campaign in Florida, you might buy recordproduction.florida.
3. Get brand-specific. This is one avenue where you don’t have to worry about direct competition. If your company name is Struffer, and you wanted to run a social media campaign, you might buy social.struffer. You can be certain there won’t be any other companies with that specific domain.
Maintain your site
Be sure to update your site on a consistent basis, as your website represents your company. Use software such as Google Analytics to see how it is performing. You might also hire someone to manage and maintain your site for you, performing tasks such as posting new content, managing analytics and more.
Creating and managing your small business domain and website does not have to be complex or difficult. It can be done in a few hours or weeks. It really depends how long it takes you to pick a few great names and the right layout for you.
And, never forget, it is all about the customer experience.
Katrina Manning is a published author and content marketing specialist with BuildNicheLinks. Over the past eight years, she has written thousands of articles in the business, tech, and lifestyle genres. In her free time, Katrina enjoys volunteering, experimenting with new recipes, traveling, playing with her cat and looking at Instagram pics.