So, you’re finally ready to start your new business—congratulations! As a small business that loves to help get other small businesses up and running, we’ve encountered a lot of things that surprise new business owners when it comes to getting started in the digital sphere. Running a business has a lot of moving parts, and even if you’re partnering with a person or business (like hasOptimization), you’re going to be expected to make a lot of decisions.
But never fear! We are here to demystify some of the things that go into building a new business website so that you are ready to hit the ground running.
There WILL Be Financial Investments
Now, let’s be clear: there’s a wide range of budgets for new businesses, ranging from barely-a-shoestring to flush-with-crowdfunding-funds. But no matter what, there will be fees attached to your website. Some, like basic domain registration, will probably be relatively low (and annual). Others, like hosting, can vary wildly based on the needs of your site. If you have specialty needs for your site, such as an industry-specific service, you may need to invest in paid solutions to make your life and your clients’ lives easier.
Reconsider Using Canva (Or AI) For Your Logo
Canva has really changed the game for non-specialists to be able to make decent-looking graphics without too much trouble. However, for things like your logo, we strongly recommend not going with Canva. Invest in a graphic designer to create a logo for your business—you won’t be sorry.
And you definitely shouldn’t be using AI to make your logo. Not only is anything produced via data-generated images (also known as AI) not copyrightable, it’s probably not a best-foot-forward approach either.
You Will Need To Make Lots Of Decisions
A lot of them aren’t going to seem like they matter at the time; in many cases, you may not really know what the best option for you is. The great news is that with things like hosting and even in many cases domains, many of your early decisions don’t have to be permanent.
Oh and an additional tip: buy up similar domains to your business name; if they aren’t already taken they’ll be affordable, it’s easy to redirect them to your website, and it can help protect your business!
Building A Good Site Takes Time…
And if you’re in a hurry, you’re going to have to pay rush fees. Whether you are planning to hire a web design company like hasOptimization, trading work with a friend, or even DIYing, if you wait until the last minute it is going to be stressful and unenjoyable. Allot several months for the process, to allow for thoughtful design decisions, review, and asking your developer lots of questions!
…But Pre-Planning Can Help
If you wait until you’ve made all the major design decisions on your site to sit down and start writing content, you’re going to end up extending the time it takes to build your website. Many, if not most, site designers, expect to receive all content before they start building your site (the reason for this is that the time spent expands wildly if you do it piecemeal), which means they’re going to be plugging away on other projects while your site sits, waiting for you to have a moment to write the about page content that you brainstormed in a note on your phone a year ago.
If you want or need to write your own content, consider getting it all together before you start the site design at all. Yes, you’ll probably want to make edits, but the magic of a website is that you can make changes after it’s published.
If you have the budget for it, hire someone to write your site content for you! It will make a more expensive site, but it also may make the process much faster and less stressful.
Site Builders Have Downsides
If you’ve been thinking that this post makes us sound like we think it’s best to hire a web developer to design and build your site… you’re right. WordPress is the gold standard for websites these days, but alternatives like Squarespace and Wix spawned a lot of WordPress site builders that were intended to make WordPress more user friendly for the average person. The problem is, these builders can bring a lot more problems than they solve. Invest in a developer to build a site free of site builders, and take a little time to familiarize yourself with the aspects of site editing that you will need to know.
Starting a business is overwhelming and scary, but having a high quality website is going to pay off!