Having the right website is not only about putting something up. It is also about using the right tools to make an effective website, properly brand a website, and optimize it to help attract people and convert them to customers. But unfortunately, building a small business website is easier said than done. Businesses face a lot of challenges, especially when building a website.
Here are some challenges businesses can face when building a website:
When you can find hundreds of companies hosting your website online, it becomes difficult to understand the technicalities involved with building a website. Terms like FTP is unknown to you and your business. You are not aware of what it is used for. What are name servers, and how to configure websites with them?
Creating Good Looking Websites
Design is a major challenge that small businesses face when it comes to building a website. When you decide to use a CMS such as WordPress or decide to hire a professional website designer, you can easily see yourself spending $5,000 only for basic web design. That is quite expensive for businesses.
Getting Ranked in Search Engines
Getting ranked well on several search engines is an integral part of building a website. If you create a proper, SEO-optimized website with the right tools, you have a better chance of being ranked higher than someone who ignores the importance of SEO. For your website to rank well in the search engines, it has to be light and fast. The code has to be clean and move-able. Also, every element of on-page SEO should be in place.
When you calculate the cost of building a website for your business, you will notice that you are spending hundreds and thousands of dollars only to ensure that your website is running properly.
Updating Your Website
Now that your website is up and running, you will need to timely update your website. Having the best website has no such value if you cannot update your website.
Testing a Website
Every person involved in making the website has a role to play.
For the Editor and Writers
Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation
Recheck for any typos, grammar errors, and spellings. Not only in article texts and headlines but throughout the web page, including navigation, calls-to-action, buttons, forms, etc.
Fill out the forms and go through the following questions:
· Can the flow be improved?
· Do you get stuck?
· Are the instructions easy and accurate?
· Does the completed form get sent to the right people or person?
Make sure that all the images are optimized for the web. Make sure that the images are not too large and overwhelming. The images should be appropriately labeled with titles and alt-text.
When giving a critical eye to the pages within the site, ask yourself:
· Why would I visit the page?
· Is the content ready for the visitor?
· Does the page address the audience?
For the Web Designer
Speed of the Site
Make sure to check the size of your pages and their load time. You can make use of Google's own site speed test to do this. Site speed is a ranking factor. Therefore, follow any recommendations that Google suggests.
Is your website mobile-friendly?
Check to make sure that your website's pages render well in common browsers. Browser share is a moving target, and it helps prioritize efforts.
Sometimes, fonts get dropped into a page inadvertently, making a word or a letter look funny. Check to see that the formatting is consistent and look out for odd blips in the copy.
Test the navigation to the breaking point. Ensure that every journey through your website leads where it is meant to without any broken links or wrong pages.
Make sure that your onsite search works and delivers the correct results.
For the Web Developer
Most of the time, sites are built at a URL that is not the final destination of the website. When a website goes live, the URLs are transferred from a staging area to production. All the URLs change at this time, and they need to be tested accordingly.
Sign up to "Google Search Console"
Google Search Console is a tool that all webmasters use. This is where Google will communicate with you if anything goes wrong on your website. Through the Search Console, you can easily monitor your site's performance, identify any issues, submit content for crawling, remove any content that you do not like, view the search queries of visitors, and monitor all backlinks.
This technique combines and compresses the website code into smaller chunks so that you can increase your site's speed.
When a 404 error occurs, make sure that you have a customized page that will help your visitor find something else that may help them, even if it wasn't what they were looking for.
Favicons are small iconic images that show up in the address bar and tabs of your browser. This is a small branding opportunity that lends credibility to your site.
For the SEO Team:
There are times when the content is repurposed or moved to a new location on the site. If you have an existing site and are changing the URL structure with your new site, you need to make sure that you mapped the old URLs to the new ones.
This may seem very outdated, but this easy-to-fix mistake tends to happen every day. Make sure that every page has its own title tag and make sure that each one of them is unique and distinguishable.
Make sure that your website has an accurate site map in XML and HTML format. This way, you can upload your sitemap to Search Console. However, most CMS, like WordPress, will have a sitemap for you automatically.
Make sure that Google Analytics or any other analytics package you are using is set up and ready to go to measure and analyze the traffic towards your site.
Social Media Integration
Do the social media icons on your website lead to the correct pages? Do you have the right buttons and social plugins installed that will do exactly what the user wants to do?
Are the search engines showing your pages accurately in the search results? Did you write the correct Meta Descriptions? Are they being used? Make sure to thoroughly investigate your visibility in Search Console.
Ensure that if you are running any PPC campaigns, they should be set up and ready to go with the site launch. To avoid any lapse in the service, if you have a Google PPC rep, you can set and pause all your campaigns to the new URLs before the launch. Instead of the ads getting disapproved, your rep can approve them manually.
Scaling Your Website
Scaling means the ability to support any traffic. Unfortunately, most business owners do not really think about this until their website crashes due to heavy traffic. That is why it is important to plan for scaling and anticipate your peak load beforehand. Once you are aware of where the load is, you can put measures in place to avoid any downtime and frustrated visitors on the road.
When Should You Scale?
Scaling is essential when you want to keep the function of the application or the website the same as the load increases. If your website loads in less than 2 seconds right now with 500,000 visitors a month, then you will want your website to load within 2 seconds even when you cross 1 million visitors a month.
Scaling is important because you never know when you will face a spike in traffic. Having a plan in place will prevent disasters like crashing websites.
Other Website Options
There are many options when it comes to building a website. However, what is the solution that can provide the most value for your website and your business goals? A website can be as simple as an informational brochure or a basic blogging site, or it could be as complicated as an operating system for a business.
The website's complexity depends on the purpose, goals for performance, and the function and feature requirements. If these three elements have been mapped out from the beginning, it becomes easier to choose the optimal solution for building a website.
In the past, for you to build a website, you need to have extensive knowledge of how to code, build, and design a successful website. Now, almost anyone can have their own online presence with the many different options available for website development. Here are some of the options present in the market:
· Using a DIY website builder
· Using a template or a pre-made theme for an open-source content management system (CMS).
· Hiring a web design and development company to build a custom website on an open-source CMS.
· Hiring a web design and development company to build a custom website along with a framework.
The optimal solution for building a website totally depends on the complexity of the website's requirements and the needs of the business. Here are a few points to consider when choosing your way of building a website, including abilities, benefits, limitations, and costs.
Defining the Value of the Website
The first step for building a website should include defining the expectations of the project or the business. That way, in the end, you will get the most value out of a project that can meet the goals of the website as well as the business.
Purpose of the Website
The first thing to consider is the purpose of building the website. Understanding the purpose of a website will help define the website elements and the functions that the website needs. A website should represent the company, the brand, and the customers that interact with it.
Requirements of the Website
The purpose of the website influences the elements and the functions needed to build the desired website. There are countless components to consider when building a website. Moreover, it is what will help understand the requirements for the different features and functions of the website. Depending on the website's purpose and the goals, some requirements can be more complex or may need customization.
Users of the Website
Users of the website can include the target audience of the company. Moreover, it can also include the internal staff who will be operating behind the scenes. How will the administrators of the website access the site? Some administrators require a sophisticated system that will provide access to only the distinctive users. What will the users have to do? Will they be able to interact with the site? Will they be able to log in, create profiles, or will they be simply looking for content? Once you have understood the requirements and how complex the website is, you can easily determine what solution is best for you and your business. To get the most out of a website project, you should look for a solution that is able to build a website with your purposes and requirements.
 Easy Web Content (2020). 5 Challenges Small Businesses Face when Building a Website. Retrieved from http://www.easywebcontent.com/blog/5-challenges-small-businesses-face-when-building-a-website/  Search Engine Watch (2020). How to Test a Website Before You Launch: a 28 Checkpoint List. Retrieved from https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2016/09/13/how-to-test-a-website-before-you-launch-a-28-point-checklist/  Clutch (2020). What Are Your Options for Building a Website? Retrieved from https://clutch.co/web-designers/resources/options-for-building-a-website