Most customers will expect to be able to find your business on the internet. Whether you are selling your products online, or simply want to provide some information about your business and your contact details, having a website is almost essential.
It's a good idea to think about what you hope to achieve with your website before you start creating one. Researching your competitors' websites can help you get a clear idea of what may work best for you.
To create a website, you need to follow 4 basic steps.
1. Register your domain name
Your domain name should reflect your products or services so that your customers can easily find your business through a search engine. Your customers may also expect your domain name to be similar to your business name.
Your domain name will also be used for your email address. While you can use a free email address such as hotmail, sending emails from a business address looks more professional.
To register your domain name, you will need to find an accredited registrar and pay a fee. Accredited registrars are organisations who are authorised by auDA, the Australian domain name administrator, to provide services to people who want to register a new domain name, renew their existing domain name, or make changes to their domain name record.
Read more about registering your domain name.
Remember to note when your domain name will need renewing so it doesn't expire. Letting your domain name expire could leave your business vulnerable to cybercriminals. Read more about the risks of abandoned domain names from the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
2. Find a web hosting company
You will need to find a web hosting company to get your domain name on the internet. Most of the major internet service providers offer web hosting services. They can also provide you with multiple email addresses.
Monthly fees for web hosting vary depending on how large your website is and how many visits you get.
3. Prepare your content
Think about what you want your customers to be able to do via your website. This will help you work out what sections or pages you want to include. Consider what information or transactions your customers will want and make sure the site is structured to make it easy for them to find and do the things they need.
Just as you might hire a professional to design your site, you might also want to consider hiring a professional to write and structure your content.
A website that is well designed and easy for customers to use will help your business stand out. Having relevant and appropriate content and images will help customers understand your products and services and will make them feel comfortable with buying from your business.
4. Build your website
You can build your own website or have a professional web developer build it for you. Websites need to be kept up to date, so make sure you plan for ongoing maintenance.
You can use a website publishing package to build your own website. These are similar to word processors, but also have inbuilt features to convert your text and images to web content and send it to your website.
Having someone else build a website for you is a good idea if you're new to online business. A professional web developer can build your site quickly and provide guidance on successful web design. Hiring a professional can be particularly useful if you are looking at having an online shop or offering other services through your website.
You will need to design your website so it can be easily used on smartphones and other mobile devices. Optimising your website for mobile use means that the growing number of people using phones and tablets to access the internet can use your site while they are out and about.
Useful tips for creating a website
- Think about what your customers want to know, not just what you want to tell them.
- Use professionals to help you. An unprofessional website can potentially put customers off.
- Update your website regularly, especially if you include information about your prices.
- Make sure your contact details are correct and easy for your customers to find.
- Promote your website in your marketing material and include it on your business cards.
- Find out how you can make your website easy for search engines, such as Google, to find. This is called search engine optimisation (SEO). A web developer can help you with SEO for your website.