Your company website tells the world who you are. Your website doesn’t need to be elaborate and should present to the world how you want to be seen. Visitors to your website will immediately pick up if you want to be formal, fun, artistic, professional, sloppy, big, or small. You likely don’t need an expensive website, and don’t worry if you don’t get everything perfect the first time. Simply creating a website lets you start getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Websites are easy and cheap to change. Plan on making changes as you learn more.
Website Goals - What do you want your website to do? Do you want to take orders, recruit employees, sell goods or services, build a mailing list, display your work, provide case studies, present testimonials, offer quizzes, or so much more? Your first website does not need to be your last website. But, it should at least perform at the minimum functional level that you, or your website manager determines is critical.
Who Determines Your Website Goals - In a small or medium sized business, the business owner usually determines the goals with assistance from others, such as a marketing managers, sales managers, outside agencies or designers.
Website Speed - Your website needs to load quickly. Most new websites load fast, and the biggest reason for slow loading speed is bad website design - not the servers being used. Any decent web developer will make sure you have reasonable levels of speed. Good developers will optimize for speed. And, if you build the website yourself, or use a slower website platform, plan on spending a bit of time learning how you can optimize speed yourself. There are many resources on the Internet that discuss how to optimize for speed.
Website Responsiveness - A website is considered responsive if it automatically adjusts to the size of the browser. Basically, what this means is that your website should look good on a computer, tablet, or phone. You should expect any designer or agency to build your website to be responsive. However, if you build the website yourself, make sure the website platform you use makes it simple to create responsive websites.
Hosting - You can see your website from anywhere that has Internet access. Your website is actually hosted on a single computer that sends out information to whoever wants to see your site. (For simplicity reasons we are simplifying a lot of technical speak.) There are a lot of hosting companies. They tend to breakdown as follows:
- Simple, cheap hosting - These types of companies just host your website. They provide all the basic services. If you need more speed or performance you basically pay for more. Typically they are fairly easy to manage but do require some effort on your part. This type of service is best for a small local company that wants to put up a simple site and doesn’t mind putting in the effort to create and manage their own website. Some good providers include:
- Managed Servers - These companies will manage your servers as well as your website development platform. You will typically get better average hosting quality, as well as a significant amount of complexity. Try:
- Managed Websites - These companies not only manage your servers and website development platform, but also can manage your website creation through maintenance. We recommend: