Most customers form an opinion about a business after their first interaction with it. And in today’s remote driven world, many times for a small business owner that first interaction is on your website. You’ve got less than three seconds to grab your potential client’s attention from the moment they hit your website. Yup, kind of like speed dating. 😐
In this digital age, homepages are becoming the face, or the business card, of your online based business. And yet, so many entrepreneurs struggle with this step of building their online business. It’s easy to get stuck in an endless loop of ‘what comes first’ when it comes to starting your business. So let’s talk about why a strategic and intentionally designed website should be at the top of your list of things to invest in when starting your online based business.
Why do online business owners need a website?
“But do I really need a website if I’m just starting out?”
I see this question asked time and time again with new or aspiring entrepreneurs who are unsure of how to get or build a quality website without breaking the bank. The answer is technically no…sure you could build an online based business without a website. But if you’re primarily selling your products or services online, doesn’t it make more sense to have a solid and attractive online presence? Even if you’re a brick and mortar, chances are, your potential customers are still searching for and making purchases online.
The single most important thing to understand when deciding whether or not to take the leap and invest in a good website early in your entrepreneurial journey is this: the way you represent your business online is indicative of the quality of your work, services, or products to potential clients. It’s not personal, and in many cases it’s not an accurate assessment of you or your business, it’s just a fact.
Now hold on…I’m not saying you need to jump in with both feet and spend thousands of dollars in a custom brand and web design right off the bat. That is what templates are for, my friend. And we have plenty of intentionally and strategically (and may we say beautifully 😏) designed templates over in the design shop! Templates are a great starting point for brand new online business entrepreneurs. You don’t have to start from scratch, all the heavy lifting is done for you with the bones of a well-thought out website built to convert viewers to clients.
So while some may say you can build your online business without a website, I agree with one caveat: you will not grow as fast or as well as your competitors. Don’t spend tons of $$$ or spend six months building it…but get one.
You’ll thank me later, I promise.
What Makes a Good Website?
There are many factors that make a good website, while a pretty design is great, it’s not enough to convert and grow your business. Your website should be easy to navigate, with a clear client roadmap. What’s that, you ask? Here at Wolf & Willow we understand that a beautiful website will serve you absolutely nothing without a well thought out strategy. That’s why as part of our signature brand + web design experience we have an entire phase focusing on the strategic roadmap that your visitors need to take to convert them to clients. We call it the Ideal Client Journey. Think about your goals, what you want the website to tell them, and what you want your potential clients to ultimately do from your website.
A lot of designers skip this step. It’s easy to get lost in the importance of the homepage and the finality of the contact page…but what happens in between? There’s so much goodness in how the client gets to the contact or book page! And it all stems from your brand and how you want to connect with your potential clients. For me and Wolf & Willow Design, I really wanted to focus on client connection and personal relationships. It’s the essence of W&W (you can read all about our name and how it came to be here) and it was really important to me that visitors who landed on my website felt heard, understood, and that they could relate and connect with me on a personal level. So getting visitors to my About page is important, because I want them to get a peek into my world and get to know me.
At the end of the day, a strategic, well thought out (and of course pretty 😉) website will effectively take your visitors all the way from the homepage to the book or buy button.
How to Create a Website for Your Business
First things first: which website building platform to use. This is where so-many-entrepreneurs get hung up. There are sooooooooo many to choose from these days. You’ve got your drag and drop builders like Squarespace and Wix, then there’s the almighty holy grail: WordPress. Ahhh, WordPress…the website platform entrepreneurs love to hate. More powerful than you’ll ever even need and yet, for non-techies and coders, impossible (or impossibly expensive) to build, update and maintain.
Allow me to introduce you to the website building platform that has the solution to all of your website woes: Showit.
Now, we’ve got a whole blog post about Showit that you can read up on here, so I won’t go into too much detail in this post. But seriously, if you’re looking for a true drag and drop, no-code, no-fuss, no drowning your sorrows in a bottle of tequila website builder, you NEED Showit. And it’s so affordable. You can check out their full pricing plans here, but their lowest tier starts at just $19/mo.
Secondly, if you don’t have one already, you’re going to need a domain name (yourcompany.com) and you’ll need a great web hosting company to register and host it. I highly recommend and only use Siteground. It’s an affordable one-stop shop to search for, purchase, and set up your new domain. Plus, business emails are included. But my hands down favorite thing about Siteground is their customer service. 24/7 phone, chat and email support is invaluable when you’re just starting out and have no clue what you’re doing. I’m pretty sure all of their customer service reps knew my name when I signed up for my first website and was trying to figure out DNS settings and email and #allthethings 🤣 Here’s a link where you can check them out.
Finally, and this is just our humble suggestion, find a template you love and install it on your Showit site. Did we mention we have some of those? JkJk. But seriously, you can find them here. Ok, in all seriousness though, this is your fastest and most cost effective way to get started with a quality website to put your online business’s best face (errp, page?) forward.
And while starting with a template is super easy and DIYable…maybe you’re just not into that sort of thing. We’ve got you covered there too. We can install and even customize a template for you to get you up and running in no time. Whether you already have a template you’re struggling to get launched, or you want to snag one from our design shop, we can help. Got questions? Just hop on over here and drop us a message!
To Wrap Things Up
A good, quality website is a valuable asset for any online business. It is the first place potential clients will want to go to learn more about your business. Choosing where to invest in your business when you’re just starting out is tough. There’s no money coming in and it’s scary to see money going out with no return. So choosing wisely is of the utmost importance. Having a good website helps you showcase your work, give your business a legit online presence, and grow your email list; which over time will grow your business. And that, is something to look forward to 🥂.