What to put on your business website
You've finished your business plan, secured your funding, finished making the first version of your product or service.
Now it's time for the website. Your digital business card. A vital part of your business.
But you have no idea where to start. There is so much information out there, some of it conflicting.
There a lot of options and avenues to explore. No worries though. We've gathered the best ones.
*Words with an asterix next to it will be explained in the glossary at the end
There are two main types of website builds.
This is where you hire a Web Developer* and/or Designer (or DIY if you've got the time and expertise) to build you a site specifically to your specifications.
This is done through coding in a variety of programming languages.
Adaptable - As it's built for you it will be easier to mould it in your company's image.
Unique - Template sites are good but what tends to happen is a lot of websites end up looking similar (as they use similar templates). Having a site built just for you means it's harder for others to copy and your website will be more memorable.
Limitless - When it's built for your business, and only your business, the limits generally are of the developer you choose and your imagination.
Better SEO - Skilled developers are able to build a website so that every part of it is optimised for SEO.
You may actually save money in the long run as you can avoid hiring SEO help later down the line. (Depending on your objectives)
Expensive - A custom website isn't much different to a tailored suit/dress. It's not cheap. The more customisations you have/want the more expensive it will be.
Time Intensive - It will also take longer to build than a template site. For example, some of us here at BuzzRamp have built sites using templates in a day.
Custom websites typically take a least a month to finish.
Template Sites/CMS Platforms
There are a lot of CMS platforms out there. The team here have used most of them. We've come to the conclusion that there are only really two worth using.
SquareSpace - The new (ish) kid on the block, and in our opinion the only credible challenger to Wordpress. They have stunning flexible templates and great plugins.
The UI* is great to look at and easy to use. It's not open source so it doesn't yet have the range of plugins or customisation that Wordpress does. But for a CMS that is a lot younger than Wordpress it's impressive.
It's improving all the time and has a great customer service team that are super helpful and quick to respond.
Wordpress - 28% of the world's websites are created on WordPress. That's around 50 -60% of the global CMS* market. It's the undisputed number 1 CMS.
There isn't a lot you can't do on Wordpress, the level of customisation possible even on templates is stunning. Since it's open source* there are new plugins* being added every day.
More affordable. If you haven't got thousands to invest in a custom website, then building a template based website isn't a bad plan B at all.
A lot of websites for businesses are built on templates.
If built correctly they can look wonderful and have a great range of functionality.
In the "start up phase" sometimes the wisest move may be to build a template based website to cut costs and invest in a custom build once you've generated some money.
In the case of SquareSpace, all you have pay is £10 a month to use the platform.
Time - As we mentioned before, it can take as little as a day or two to build a website entirely from templates.
Can hold you back- if you think of an idea in your head about how your website should look and/or function and you only use templates, sometimes it won't be possible.
There are often limits on what you can and can't do if you use templates. You may not be able to manipulate the images and text in a certain way.
Slave to the template - As you have more limited customisation options. You are essentially limited by what the template and overall CMS can do from a default standpoint.
As of 2017 both SquareSpace and WordPress templates are responsive*.
Not all templates are made equal. If your CMS isn't updating a particular template regularly then whoever uses that template will suffer with performance and functionality issues.
Security - Hackers find CMS's tempting because if they hack one site they can essentially hack many. Having a custom site can sometimes offer protection.
What do you need on your website?
This can depend on your business's:
- Brand guidelines
- Business Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
However, the core of what you need is the following:
Home Page - This is arguably the most important page, it's normally the first page people see. If this isn't compelling they'll leave your page. We'll go into more depth into what makes a good Home Page in a future post.
About Page - To explain what you do, values etc.
Contact Page - To allows visitors to get in touch with you.
Blog Page/Content Page: This page has your Blog Posts/Vlogs etc.
That's it. KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) applies to website design too.
CMS - Stands for Content Management System. This is a group of applications that allow a user to create, change and publish content online.
Coding - The action of creating digital applications e.g. websites or apps.
Plugins -A piece of software/code that allows a program/application to do something it couldn't do by itself. e.g. Adobe Flash. (RIP in advance)
Open Source - A program/s where the source code is freely available to the public and therefore can be modified and improved. For example, parts of Google's Android software is Open Source, whereas Apple's iOS isn't.
UI - Stands for User Interface. It's the design of how a user communicates with a program, this includes, menus, images and text.
Responsive/Responsive Website - This means that the website is designed to apart to the screen that it's being displayed on and pick the optimal image settings for each screen.
Coach Buzz says:
"Custom Websites are built within CMS's but use web programming code such as CSS or HTML5 instead of just using the existing templates. There are parts of the interface on all CMS's that are reserved just for developers to do this."
Thanks for reading.
Until next time.
The BuzzRamp Team