The task of building a website can seem monumental. You’re not a programmer; can you tackle this on your own? How can you ensure what you create is an excellent representation of your brand? Will your website drive leads and sales? Or will it languish in anonymity?
By following some simple steps, you can create a website that will give your potential clients the right first impression, drive sales, prompt new leads, and work as front-line customer service for your brand.
Before you Start Building
Set your Goals
Will your website be a source of information for your customers? Will it generate new sales leads? Will you sell products directly through your website? Or some combination of all of this? Knowing what you want and need your website to do will help you strategically plan and design the framework.
Determine the Visual Elements
What colour scheme will reflect your brand? Will you have a website that uses cute cartoons to demonstrate how a product works and generate interest? Or will you use imagery of dogs and cats? Both can be appropriate, but the look and feel are vastly different between drawn images and photographs. What better reflects your brand and approach?
Get a Great Logo
Before you go live with your website, get a great logo. A logo is part of the cohesive look of your site. Your logo can be part of your static header, where it’s the navigation back to your homepage. Your logo is absolutely part of your first impression. Much like your domain name, keep it simple and relevant. A logo is worth the investment of a great designer.
Now you’re ready to begin building!
Choosing your domain name
Your domain name acts as your own little piece of internet real estate. Your clients will type in your domain name to find your website. Take some time to try out a few domains before you commit. Write them down/type them out and ensure they don’t accidentally spell something else!
Find something easy to remember that accurately reflects your business. Steer clear of jokes or puns, not everyone will get these, and they will end up detracting from your image. Stick to something short. You might be tempted to choose a long domain name that describes your business, but it will just end up being irritating for people to search for and type in.
Once you’ve decided on the right domain, you can purchase it from a Webhosting company like Squarespace, a domain registry like GoDaddy, or from Google directly. You can often add personalized email addresses at this step. This is a worthwhile add-on to have a professional and cohesive look. Having a sharp new website with a @gmail.com email contact is discordant.
Choose your Software
Many platforms will empower you to build a professional website without any coding knowledge. Different platforms will appeal to different people, so poke around some of the big names, like WordPress or Squarespace, and see if one suits you.
These platforms all have templates to let you begin building pages. You can add blocks for text and images, create links throughout your site, make easy to navigate menus, and have a consistent header and footer.
These platforms also offer excellent customer support. If you run into a problem, either use their direct chat or just google your query. Chances are you’re not the first person to have that question!
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to play around. As you build more pages, you will become more comfortable with the software and be better able to edit and adjust to achieve your goal look and feel.
You can keep your entire site private until you’re ready to launch. You can also make part of your site live and keep pages hidden until they’re complete.
Once your core site is built, you can begin to populate it with relevant content. You will want detailed information about your products, the benefits to pets, how to use them, sourcing, quality assurance, etc.
An FAQ section can be very valuable to get a lot of information out to potential customers. Talk to your customer support team. What are the questions they are getting most frequently? What are owners asking about on your social media platforms? Ensure your FAQs answer all of these.
Have an “About” section. Pet owners want to know the team behind products. Introductions help build trust as they make decisions about what to use for their beloved pets. A short history of the company can be very compelling. What drove you to start your company? What need did you set out to meet?
Make it easy for your customers to contact you. List your email address and phone number, link to your social media sites. You want to engage with your customers, not just have a one-way flow of information.
Share reviews from happy owners! People love to hear about other pets who are doing well on your products.
Add a Blog
A blog can be a great tool to tell a longer story, share product successes and innovations, and bring valuable and engaging information to your customers. Using guest bloggers can increase the profile of your site, driving new traffic and increasing your audience. Blogs are an essential tool within your digital presence.
What can your website do for you?
A well-designed website will attract visitors, help people understand your brand, drive sales, and drive new business leads. In a world that revolves around social media, a website remains vital. Check out our earlier blog about the importance of a website.
The StreetDog team can help you build your website, review your content, edit your writing, and create a cohesive look across your entire digital presence.