10 Fundamental Steps for Creating Your Company Website

10 Fundamental Steps for Creating Your Company Website

When you visit a company’s website, what makes you immediately click the back button and return to the search results? Slow page load times? Disorganized or boring content? Poor navigation? Or maybe something else entirely? Regardless, it’s clear that in today’s technology-driven world, your website says a lot about your business. And let’s face it, if you’re neglecting your website, you’re missing out on one of your most powerful tools to connect you with potential customers.

Your website doesn't just give people an idea of what your company does. It also helps them get the essential information they need during their buying process to help them make the right decision. It helps them decide what value your company offers over your competitors. It helps them understand your industry expertise and build trust with your brand. Ultimately, it helps them remember your brand over others when it comes time to make a final purchasing decision. You're making a meaningful, memorable impression on the right people. That's why it's so important for it to align with your brand, your goals, and your desired audience.

Before you get started with launching a new website—or redesigning your current one—here are some steps to follow.

  1. Define your goals

    Whether you're focused on driving more traffic to your website, making your site more accessible, increasing your conversion rate, or something else, it's important to establish your goals before starting your website development. Take some time to figure out what you want your website to achieve for your business before diving into the design.

    Things to Consider

    How much traffic do you expect from your new website? What other metrics, such as pages viewed, traffic sources, or bounce rate, are important to you? How will you measure these key performance indicators (KPIs)?

  2. Define your brand

    Your brand is more than a logo and company colors. It defines how people view your company. Everything on your site—from the tone and personality of your content to fonts, images, and, yes, your logo and colors—combines to create a cohesive story of your business. Establishing a solid brand strategy helps ensure you represent your company the way you want not only on your website, but also on social media and through your other marketing efforts. Staying true to your brand offers a better experience for your customers and shows them that you're honest and consistent with your brand's promise.

    Things to Consider

    Other than your product, what is unique about your company? If you're redesigning, how will your branding change? What brand standards need to be followed?

  3. Define your competition

    Figuring out who you're competing against is critical for search engine optimization (SEO) and other important aspects of your website. When you know how your competitors are marketing their products or services, it makes it easier to find ways to make your business stand out from the crowd. When exploring your competitors' websites, you may notice missing information that you can include on your site or elements you can improve upon to help you stand out and make a lasting impression. Also, are you competing on price or benefits and solutions? If you're a low-cost provider, then your pricing should be at the forefront of your site. If you provide a unique solution that offers benefits to prospects (drawing attention away from competing on price alone), it's important these benefits are in clear view.

    Things to Consider

    Who are your top three to five competitors? How do they position themselves? What are the top keywords your competitors rank for on search engines?

  4. Audit your assets

    Building a new website doesn't mean you need to ignore everything you have and start from scratch. If you're designing your website for the first time, consider using content you've already developed for brochures, presentations, videos, social media, etc. for your webpages. If you're redesigning, consider the content that might already be performing well on your existing website. These assets likely already align with your brand and business goals, so it's the perfect opportunity to reuse your content in new ways to save time and effort while also providing valuable, high-quality information to visitors.

    Things to Consider

    What existing content/materials do you have that could be repurposed on your new website? What is the most viewed page and content downloaded on your current website? Which of your current pages ranks well in search results? (Not sure? Install Google Analytics to find out, or consider working with an agency partner who can do this for you!)

  5. List any new assets

    Analytics and retargeting are another reason to leverage social media. The number of insights available to businesses through social media is staggering. These numbers will help you better understand who your clients are, where to find them, and what they need, which leads to more precise ad targeting. This usually comes with an added benefit: better reach with smaller ad spend that would be possible with traditional media.

    Things to Consider

    What new pages or content will you need to create? If you're redesigning, are there any features or topics that you didn't get a chance to include on your old site that you'd like to use now?

  6. Nail down the technical details

    This step includes identifying any software you may want to use to help manage your site. If you decide to use a content management system, like HubSpot or SharpSpring, plan for how your site will integrate with the system so you can get the most from it. This is also where you'll decide how you'll incorporate your content on your site, like sections for your blog, news, portfolio, or company information.

    Things to Consider

    Do you plan to use a content management system (CMS) for your website? What features will you have on your new website, such as a blog, calendar, photo gallery, maps, eCommerce, etc.? What domains will you use?

  7. Plan your design

    We've all seen a poorly designed website at some point. Most of the time, you take one look and jump back to the search results page. A great website doesn't just depend on high-quality content. An eye-catching design is likely the first thing people will notice when they get to your site, so it's critical to get a visitor's attention right away. You can use images, videos, and interesting colors and design elements to help draw them in and encourage them to explore your content. Planning your design will help you get an idea of how much content you need, as well as where you'll use other assets such as videos, infographics, downloadable content, and forms.

    Things to Consider

    Find websites that you really like and take note of the elements that draw you to them. Also note elements you don't like from other websites.

  8. Develop your content

    Now that you know what content you need and how much of it, you can start actually developing it. Check out this guide for more information about how to optimize your website content for higher rankings in search results. If you're repurposing your older content, make sure to include something new that adds value to it. For example, if you're using information from an old blog post to create an infographic, the infographic might offer the same valuable information in a way that's easier to digest or more interesting. This way, you're maximizing the value to the customer while minimizing the time, effort, and money it takes to develop new content.

    Things to Consider

    Who will handle the copywriting for your new site? Editing and proofreading? Will you need new photography, video production, or anything else to achieve your final website goals?

  9. Plan the structure and navigation

    Nobody likes feeling lost on a website. As your site grows, it can become difficult to find what you're looking for without a clean, user-friendly structure and efficient navigation. If users can't find their way around, they probably won't bother trying to navigate your site. Whether you want a simple navigation menu or a detailed mega menu on your site, make sure it helps your visitors find the information they want quickly and easily. Test different website structures to determine what will make for the best experience.

    Things to Consider

    List the menu items you'll have on your new website. Will it be easy for visitors to find the information they need? How many clicks will it take to get to that information?

  10. Focus on usability

    Optimizing your site's user experience is an ongoing task. When designing your website, you want to make sure the structure makes sense and is easy to navigate among different areas of your site. Consider how visitors will be able to find or search for information. Think about how people with disabilities can access your content. Ensure that site elements are responsive and all links work. You'll want to continue monitoring your site for any errors or hiccups that might be inconvenient for visitors.

    Things to Consider

    Have you received questions or complaints from visitors about how to use your current website? Is your website accessible for people with disabilities?

If you've considered each of these, you're likely on the right track to developing a successful website. If you'd like support with building your website, consider partnering with an agency like Cain & Company. We offer end-to-end website design and development solutions, from brand development to content creation and SEO to hosting and more. To see samples of a few websites and landing pages we've created, click here. Or contact us today to get started!

Robin Chandler

Robin Chandler

Marketing Coordinator & Copywriter
Cain & Company logo

685 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107

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