Around 90% of startups fail within the first year due to high competition and various socio-economic factors, such as trade legislation. One way you can increase your business’s chances of success is by building an excellent website. In fact, 70% of small business websites lack vital features like a call-to-action (CTA), meaning that building a site correctly is sure to set your startup apart.
This guide aims to help you learn the key to successful web development for startups. So, if you want to take your business’s online presence to the next level and reduce the likelihood of failing within the first year, keep reading.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Purpose and essential features of a website
- Top web development platforms
- Five steps to web development
(table of contents)
Why Your Business Needs a Website?
There are numerous ways having a website increases your business’s chance of success. The following is a snapshot of three advantages a website provides.
Reach More Customers
Without a website, you limit the ways potential customers can discover your business. You may be listed in several local online directories, but they are vastly populated by competitors, making you difficult to discover. The point is, you need a website to reach as many customers as possible online.
Generating traffic to your website gives you the opportunity to capture and convert leads, gather customer data, and better position your marketing efforts. This improves the likelihood of making sales to an interested customer base and, thus, increases your business’s income.
Digital Business Card
A website acts as a digital business card, meaning you can direct potential customers there to learn more about your services. Unlike a traditional business card, a website provides potential customers with a means of contacting you. So, if a consumer likes the sound of your services, they can conveniently get in touch, helping you to swiftly close another sale.
Provide Online Services
Instead of using your website to simply present your product to potential customers, you can diversify your income by offering online services. This gives you an opportunity to generate additional income while giving your customers the convenience of using your services from home. For example, a restaurant may offer a takeout ordering service directly on its website.
Providing online services might be your business model anyway, in which case it’s vital that you pay close attention to the advice in this article. That way, you can ensure the online services you provide are convenient, effective, and functional.
Essential Features of a Small Business Website
When building a website for your startup, there are some essential features that you must consider. These include the following.
Service pages are pages that explain your services in greater detail than what’s presented on your homepage. They should serve to inform potential and existing customers, giving them confidence in the quality and processes behind your business. Your service pages should also direct visitors to contact methods, allowing them to conveniently get in touch.
It’s not just service pages that should have easily accessible contact methods; they should be widely integrated across your website. This includes the use of contact forms on each page, embedded video conference scheduling, email options, and telephone information. Doing so enables customers to inquire about your services hassle-free, making engagement more likely.
If your business sells physical products, you should consider building an online store. As discussed earlier, this is an excellent opportunity to diversify your income, not to mention provide convenience to customers. Instead of having to journey to your store, they can purchase your products from the comfort of their home.
Top Web Development Platforms
Developing a successful website for your small business starts with choosing a solid foundation. Choose the wrong web development platform, and you could find yourself missing essential features or working with technology beyond your knowledge. Here are three web development platforms to consider.
WordPress is the most widely used web hosting and development platform. In fact, over 43% of websites are powered by WordPress. This is thanks to its extensive library of plugins, useability, and scalability.
WordPress’ Elementor makes building websites simple while retaining the complex functionality to develop bespoke features. Of the three platforms discussed, WordPress is the most comprehensive. Unsurprisingly then, WordPress does require some technical knowledge in order to set up your website.
There are over 110 million websites powered by Wix. Though this doesn’t come close to the number of sites based on WordPress, it does show Wix’s popularity. The platform’s prominence is largely thanks to its ease of use, intuitive user interface design, and numerous template options.
Despite the platform’s apparent simplicity, it may surprise you to learn that CBS, Hilton, and Lyft use Wix’s services to some degree. Wix is an excellent option for users with little technical knowledge looking for a sleek website.
Squarespace powers just under three million live websites, making it the least popular choice on this list. However, its usage rate has steadily increased in recent years. What’s more, it has an excellent suite of intuitive tools, making it a worthwhile consideration.
The primary use of Squarespace is in eCommerce. It has many features and templates poised for convenient eCommerce website development. As a result, Squarespace is an obvious choice for businesses looking to bring their products and services online.
5 Steps to Web Development for Startups
Now that you understand the essential features and purpose of a small business website and have selected a development platform if you’re building it yourself, it’s time to take a look at the five core steps involved.
1. Determine Goals
First, you need to determine your goals. Why are you building your website, and what purpose does it serve? The answer to these questions will impact the later stages of development. For instance, are you simply creating a digital business card, or do you have plans for a large-scale eCommerce platform?
When determining your goals, you should also consider your target audience and customer base. What are their expectations of your business, and how will they use your website?
2. Design and Brand Match
The next step is to mockup your website’s design, matching your brand and clearly denoting intended functionality. Your design should consider user interface and overall user experience, creating a mockup that appeals to web users. It must be both practical and visually appealing.
This stage is the perfect opportunity to conceptualize your website’s features ready for development. Your features should appeal to your target audience and provide relevant functionality. For example, if you don’t plan to sell products online, you don’t need to design a shop page.
3. Develop Your Website
After you’ve designed your website, the development process begins. This is generally the most time-consuming part of building a website, so choosing the right development platform is crucial. If you use a platform that you’re not comfortable with, it’s likely the process will take much longer.
Alternatively, you should consider hiring a web development agency. This will ensure your website is built in an agreed-upon timeframe with correctly implemented functionality. Before employing an agency, however, it’s crucial that you check their past experience to make sure they’re a good fit for your project.
4. Connect Domain and SSL
Once your website is developed, you’ll need to connect a domain name, SSL certificate, and secure hosting. If you opt to hire a web development agency, they can help with this. Otherwise, there are many websites that provide these services at an affordable rate, such as Name Cheap, Domain.com, and SiteGround.
Before moving on, let’s clarify the purpose of the above listed–essential–services:
- Domain: A domain is the web address customers can enter into their browsers to find your website. For instance, ‘ideamaker.agency’ is our website’s domain.
- SSL Certificate: Without getting into the technical, an SSL certificate protects your website from vulnerabilities and attacks. Many web browsers, like Safari, prevent users from accessing websites without SSL certificates.
- Hosting: Web hosting services provide a server for your website to be stored on, allowing web users to retrieve and see it when connecting to your domain.
You cannot finish your web development without access to these services.
5. Deploy to Web
Finally, it’s time to deliver your website to web users. If you’re using a web development platform like the ones listed above, this usually simply involves clicking the ‘publish’ button. However, if you’re working with a web development agency, this means having them deploy your site to your hosting servers.
Once deployed, you’ll need to monitor your website and identify any bugs that arise. You can then swiftly resolve any issues, maintaining a smooth user experience. Remember, no matter how well a website is built, bugs will inevitably appear.
Small Business Website Development Cost
Website development cost varies depending on required features, number of pages, and development time. For example, one-page portfolio websites with little functionality will cost significantly less than large-scale projects. One way to reduce development costs is to build the minimum viable product (MVP).
Building the MVP
Building the MVP means creating a product with essential features only in order to get it to market quicker. The reduction in features results in lower development costs and time. However, more functionality can be added later once the website proves profitable.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Small Business Website Development
At Idea Maker, we have extensive experience in building websites for small and emerging businesses and startups. Check out our portfolio to explore the numerous projects we’ve developed while working closely with our clients. Otherwise, if you’re ready to start development, schedule a free consultation with us today.