Having a business website is an essential whether you are going to run an online business model or offline model. Your business website is important because this is the most convenient and accessible option for your customers to be in direct contact with you. Businesses spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on building business websites for better user experience and of course to increase sales but here in this article, we are not going to discuss building those high-end websites.
Our focus is to create a simple business website (optimized for users, Search Engines, and Social Media) overnight using minimum possible financial and human resources.
This article is useful for you in both the cases, i.e., if you are setting up a website yourself or getting it done by some professional, the points mentioned here, can be used as a checklist.
Let’s go through the step by step procedure.
1- Domain Name Registration & Web Hosting: The first step in setting up your business website and you must do it yourself because you must have the master control of your website with you.
Consider only highly trusted small business & startup web hosting services where you can buy domains and hosting depending upon your requirements and budget. You may also consider buying expired domains in some cases.
If you wish to build the site yourself, prefer web hosting that comes with cPanel (as support before buying).
2- Installing WordPress: You need to have a proper content management system for your website, so every time when you need to update any content on the site, you should be able to do it right then without the help of any techie.
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WordPress is the best option and you can install it with one click if you have cPanel hosting. In case if you have bought some other panel that doesn’t have one click WordPress installation, still you have the option to install yourself reading the guide that comes with WordPress zip file that you download from wordpress.org. And yes, make sure to secure your WordPress site.
3- WordPress Settings & Plugins for SEO: WordPress is one of the best content management system not because it’s easy to setup and use, but also that most of it is SEO optimized already. You just need to play with settings or a few plugins;
- Make sure the privacy settings allow search engines to crawl and index.
- Set your permalinks to %postname%
- Have Google XML sitemap plugin installed.
- Have a Breadcrumbs plugin to allow better navigation.
- Have “Robots Meta” plugin to disallow search engines access to unnecessary pages.
- Have All in One SEO Plugin installed, but do check that it doesn’t overlap the settings of other plugins and your theme settings.
- You don’t need to have any high-end SEO plugins, as mostly they conflict with the WordPress code and may create a search engine penalty. (Use such plugins only if you have an all time available tech support for your website).
4- Plugins for Social Media Optimization: ‘Socialize’ alone will do it all, i.e. will allow users to share the content of your pages to a list of social media websites, however, if you need a bit more stuff like Facebook comments, Auto Updates and stuff, ‘Social Updates’ is one good plugin.
5- Contact Form: It’s a must have; XYZ contact form plugin is a great way to go. Other than contact form, it will be great if you place your phone number with calling hours. Also, check WPForms.
6- Shopping Cart & Payment Processing: If your business model is selling and receiving payments online. WordPress has that capability too. Depending upon your needs the plugins can be searched, but I will highly recommend to keep it to an expert WordPress developer.
I will also recommend going for a shopping cart software rather than WordPress if you have a big inventory, but WordPress will do fine for selling services online or an inventory with a limited type of products.
In order to receive credit card payments, you may also need merchant account solutions, so do check the available options and select the one that meets your requirements at most.
7- The Website Design: Hundreds and thousands of free themes are available to use if you do not want to spend, but if you are looking for a better design with more features, following resources can be helpful.
8- Website Content: Off course you know the best about your business but not necessarily you can write an impressive content yourself. Outsourcing it will be better idea. All you need is to define the pages for which you need content, i.e. Home, About Us, Services/Products etc.
9- Visitors Tracking: There are lot of services for this purpose, however, Google Analytics is best. Must get the Analytics tracking enabled on your website.
10- Website Health Tracking; Submitting your website to Google Webmaster tools will help you keep a periodic track of your website’s health and in case of any issue you will see it in the webmaster central. Must enable it too.
If you are familiar with using WordPress as a publishing platform you can do all the above yourself, however to make sure that everything works perfect and in minimum possible time, getting the help of relevant experts is wise idea. Outsourcing the above tasks is neither too difficult not that costly. Outsourcing your projects to reputed freelancers in India and Pakistan is the best option for fastest turnaround and best price.