Starting a Business Website: More than SEO

When I mention to business owners that I create websites, they invariably ask, “Oh, do you do SEO”? SEO stands for search engine optimization or your business ranking on the results page of a Google search. I always say, “Yes”, but I’m thinking, “What about the purpose of the website, the audience, the domain name, security and hosting, social media, hosting, ease of navigation, the design elements like color and complexity. There is so much more to web design than just SEO. I think that the current attractiveness of the SEO concept for business leaders, though, is that it is so easily assessable. One quick search and you can see if your website is number one, two, or lower. It’s like getting a quick grade for your company. It’s much harder to assess good design.

Here are some of the steps to consider when first forming a business and website:

LLC

Creating a limited liability company separates your own assets from that of your company, an important consideration if you are ever sued. File for an LLC in Michigan by following the steps at: How to file an LLC in Michigan

Domain Name

Your domain name will be the URL or website address on the Internet. It should be your company name or if that is taken, you can add your location or some other variant. You will need to register your domain at a domain company like GoDaddy or Namecheap. It will cost about $5 to $15 per year. Search for possible domain names.

Hosting

You will need someone to host your website on their servers, keep security up-to-date, and make it available to viewers. WordPress webpage templates are the easiest and cheapest way to go if you have a small to medium business because they are quick to set up and are usually responsive, in that they will automatically reformat for computer screens, tablets, and phones. Hosts that have WordPress include GoDaddy, Bluehost, Inmotion, and HostGator. This can cost about $100 annually, more or less depending on the extras you need.

Design

Think about the purpose of your website. Is it to get clients to call you, or to gather a group that reads your blog, or to sell items? All design elements and content should relate to that purpose. Next gather your images and create a header that reflects the business. Pick a color scheme (one or two colors) that relate to its purpose. Create the pages with the audience and purpose in mind and make the main menu very clear and simple for your viewers to find what they need. Avoid confusing redundancy and too much complexity. Test and retest the pages for functionality and get critiques from friends and clients. Put in social media links and look at SEO. Look at an analytics program (from Google or a WordPress plugin) to see if you are getting the results you want.

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