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Avoid making these mistakes with your new business website

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When you launch a business, money is tight and it's all about getting up and running. Sometimes this comes at the cost of your website, but it doesn't need to be this way - we show you some of the ways to avoid making your website feel like a weight around your new business' shoulders.

One of our main tasks as an agency is to help our clients appear for their key terms on major search engines – for example, if you sell butterscotch sweets, you want to appear when someone searches for “butterscotch sweets”. One of the key ways to succeed in appearing in search engine rankings is to have a good website that’s technically sound and up to date.

But we also know that when you start a business, money is often tight and you probably won’t have lots of money to spend on a website. We’ve been a start up business ourselves and know that every penny counts, but when it comes to your website, we think it’s important not to compromise – but what does that mean?

If I can clarify this a bit, I don’t mean you have to have an all-singing, all dancing website at launch, but there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself from getting bitten down the line. These include:

  • Always have access to your own website: Business owners are amazing at business but quite often, this will be the first time that they’ve been involved in building a website. So when someone comes along and says “I’ll do that for you!”, it’s often such a relief, that lots of questions go out of the window. However, some business owners forget to make sure they have access to their own website. So when we (or another agency) are brought on to help create new content, no one knows how to update the website and the little content that is there, is left to gather dust.
  • Try to think about the future and not just the now: Often, going live with a minimally viable website is the lead factor when it comes to launch. Most people just want to press “Go!” and get something up on the web…which is completely understandable. But, this can go against you if your web developer charges you for this “go-live” version but then you want to add something further down the line. We often see people being charged to add a simple news section to their website and they’ve already spent all their cash on the original site and can’t afford an extra few hundred quid to add new functionality. So it’s worth thinking about sections you may want in the future and even if there’s no content yet, you can add it as a ghost section in the background and just click to go live when you’re ready.
  • Please don’t get a static website: This is possibly one of the worst things you can do in our view. I cannot stress this enough that, now more than ever, you have to be able to update your website and do this easily. If you have a static website, making changes quickly will be near-on impossible, costly and hugely frustrating to all those involved. There are content management systems out there such as WordPress and SquareSpace which offer simple ways to launch flexible websites from the start.
  • Make sure you have access to analytics and search console: When you launch a new website, you need to tell Google that you’ve done this by submitting it to Google Search Console. Then Google will crawl your website and hopefully you will pop up in the search results for key terms, but not always. There may be something really simple which stops you appearing but how will you know unless you have access yourself? Likewise for Google Analytics (GA), which will tell you when people start arriving at your website, how long they stayed and what they did when they visited. It’s invaluable and a MUST if you want to know how your website is performing.

If you think about it, how will you know what sort of website you need until you go live? The search terms that you think will convert into sales may not be the most successful terms, so you need to be able to update your content accordingly.

Some of the above may sound technical when you start off, and with a million other things to think about – it’s often the thing that gets pushed to one side. But as someone who often gets asked “why isn’t my business ranking?” these are the common mistakes we see companies make when they launch.

If you have a website or content that needs updating, give us a shout and we’ll do a content review for you!

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