A healthy online presence should be at the forefront of your business marketing plan. With the majority of potential customers turning to the web for information pertaining to local businesses. Therefore, it’s imperative to have a professional website in place. Your company website will often be a prospective customer’s first impression of your business. If your website is poorly constructed, or worse, nonexistent, a potential customer will likely dismiss the idea of spending money with you. It’s important that your company website adequately reflects what your business has to offer. Think of your online presence as a window to your business. Your website is a great way to showcase your products and services to current and potential customers.
There was a time when business owners had no choice but to hire a developer to create a website for them. Often, the job of the developer did not end with the website. Then, it was nearly impossible for website owners to make even minor changes on their own unless they had web development experience themselves. Today, there are many platforms available that make it possible for virtually anyone to create a website from top to bottom without any knowledge of code or website development. WordPress is by far the most popular website building platform available. It offers the optimal balance of functionality and ease of use, making it the perfect option for nearly any business.
Why WordPress? – Its So Easy!
WordPress is a website creation tool and a powerful content management system (CMS). Anyone can download WordPress and a number of themes, plugins, and other add-ons for free. Because WordPress is template-based, there is a low barrier of entry for anyone looking to start a website. Simply download WordPress and install a theme in just a few clicks. From there, you can easily customize your new website to match your company branding.
WordPress’ open-source development gives you access to a wealth of third-party plugins to further customize the functionality of your website. Many of these plugins are free, however, some are fee-based. Similarly, you can choose to take advantage of one of WordPress’ free templates or choose from one of the seemingly endless options from third-party developers. Even if you choose to go with a paid theme, your overall cost will still be a small fraction of what it would be if you decided to have a custom website developed from the ground up. WordPress allows anyone to have a professional looking website no matter what their budget is.
As stated above, you can launch your WordPress website with only a few clicks. However, depending on your business needs, you may want to consider making a few additional investments to customize your website. First, all businesses should look to obtaining a custom domain name for their site. A custom domain, such as “yourbusinessname.com”, will help your business appear more professional and will help improve your position in search results. Taking steps to improve your search rankings is incredibly important (more on this later).
Choosing a Hosting Plan
A business website, especially one that will be used to monetize anything online, will also need to be hosted privately, outside of WordPress’ free servers. There are a number of hosting companies to choose from such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator. Lastly, secure browsing is a hot-button topic right now, and something that needs to be taken into consideration when building your website. A professional website should be equipped with an SSL Certificate, a small data file that acts like a padlock for your website, protecting the data of your visitors.
One of the best things about WordPress is that it is designed to accommodate any niche, thanks to available add-ons from third-party developers. No matter what your niche, chances are there is a plugin or widget that can help improve the functionality of your website. There are plugins for everything from job boards, to appointment requests, and even e-commerce storefronts. Like WordPress itself, these plugins can often be installed with just a few clicks.
When in the initial planning stages of your website, consider the elements you’ll need for your website starter package. Decide which theme and plugins you want to utilize and create a checklist of everything that needs to be installed and customized. After installing the framework, it’s time to start adding content to your website. This is your opportunity to tell your brand’s story and set yourself apart from your competitors. Well-crafted website copy can help you win over potential customers and have a positive effect on your bottom line.
It’s important to carefully consider the way content is laid out on your website. A good website should be easy for a visitor to navigate and find whatever information they need quickly and easily. At a minimum, every website should have a well-developed homepage, about page, list of services, and contact section. When designing the navigation of your website, imagine how you would like your customer’s journey through your content to play out.
Your homepage should draw them in to learn more about your products and services, so be sure to link to your offerings on the front page of your website. From there, your services pages should include a call to action to encourage site visitors to take the next step towards making a purchase. An effective call to action can include “request a free quote” or “contact us to learn more”. You may also consider offering a special discount specifically to visitors of your website.
Know When to Get Extra Help
Once you’ve completed all the above, you’re ready to launch your new website. Thanks to the ease and flexibility of WordPress, you have a custom-designed website that you were able to put together yourself. Of course, just because you can create a WordPress based website without any assistance, doesn’t mean you have to. Many business owners don’t have the time to dedicate to building their own website.
Hiring a skilled WordPress consultant is a great option for those who don’t want to go the DIY route. However, even if you decide to let a consultant do your initial site design, you will still enjoy the ability to easily makes changes to your website down the road, thanks to WordPress’ user-friendly interface.
SEO Basics For WordPress
You’ve likely heard that SEO is important, but what is it exactly? SEO, or search engine optimization, is the act of optimizing content you put on the web in such a way that it improves your chances of appearing in search results. Search engines, such as Google, have specific algorithms in place to ensure that users see websites that are most relevant to their inquiries on the top of their search results.
There are many factors that can improve your SEO. Most importantly, the content on your website should paint a clear picture about what your business has to offer. Additionally, if you are a local business, it’s important to add your address, and other contact information within your website, so that search engines know what geographic location you serve.
Make SEO Work for You
One of the great things about WordPress is that it has built-in SEO benefits. WordPress will automatically present your website in such a way that search engines can properly read through the content on your website. However, it is up to you to make sure that said content is up to par with Google’s quality standards. Some WordPress SEO strategies include utilizing keywords and creating backlinks from trusted websites. Keywords are terms that someone may use when searching for a business like yours. For example, someone searching for a local electrician in Riverside may use terms like electrician in Riverside, best Riverside electrician, or circuit board replacement Riverside.
You can hire a dedicated SEO professional to help you determine the best keywords to use on your website, however, there are also free tools you can utilize as well. Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that helps you make sure your content is readable and uses keywords properly. You should also install Google Analytics on your website. This free tool from Google will allow you to embed a tracking code in your site that will give you a wealth of information about visitors to your website. Google Analytics will help you learn about your visitors’ geographic location, age, gender and the sources that are generating the most traffic to your website.
Driving Traffic To Your Site
What good is a website without visitors? Good SEO is the first step towards driving traffic to your site, but it is only the beginning. There are hundreds of sources that you can use to drive traffic to your website, many of which are free. Creating social media accounts for your business can be an excellent source of traffic to your website if done correctly. There are also thousands of online directories, many which are niche specific, that you can list your business on for free. Other linkback opportunities can include local business associations and review websites. With a little research and time, you can quickly build-up hundreds of quality backlinks to drive traffic to your website.