How to Build a Great Website

How to Build a Great Website

By Rieva Lesonsky, Expert Advisor

Everyone tells you how easy it is to design and build a website, but the truth is, building a quality website takes preparation and know-how. I asked Ben Fisher of imSMB for tips on how to build a great website from the start.

1. Examine your closest competition. When talking to a Web designer, you need to give them direction. After all, you know your industry. Start your Web design quest by analyzing the competition. Reach out to an online information source. Who is seeing the best results? How are they converting? Once you discover who your main competitors are, tell your designer that you want something close to these websites. Give the designers at least three sites as examples. What elements do good sites have in common? Is there a big red button to “sign up now?” Are they using a form to capture leads? Note these features and let your designer know that these are elements you want in your design.

2. Choose the right platform. So, WordPressJoomlaB2Evolution…where to start? Choosing the proper platform for your site is of the utmost importance. You want to make sure your website’s page names are search friendly and easy to read. WordPress has some great options for what is called a permalink structure. You also want to be able to add content and make changes to your site in an easy and efficient way without having to bug a webmaster. Out of all the CMS systems, WordPress is the simplest and most efficient for small businesses. You can launch your website, choose a theme (or have a webmaster customize a theme for your needs), easily put in place new features (like Twitter orFacebook) with one click, and update your website effortlessly.

3. Integrate analytics. Whatever CMS you choose, you will need to measure your website’s success. One free tool any website owner can use is Google Analytics. The service is free, easy to set up, and has nice reports that can show you how people are getting to your site and what they are doing. For those of you who spend money on advertising, it can also help you track the effectiveness of and sales from ads.

4. Launch! Then tweak. One common mistake when building a website is wishing for it to be perfect at launch, and then nit-picking the design elements or wording. This ends up delaying the launch of a site for weeks, if not months. Pick a few people you trust—possibly consultants to your industry or your favorite customers—to give you feedback, but limit it to a few people. Ultimately, the decision of what looks and feels right is up to you. Rather than seek perfection, get the site up and running, and then make changes based on user behavior that you (or your webmaster) observe from tools. One easy-to-use tool called ClickTale allows you to actually watch a video of what users are doing on your website—every mouse click, form fill, etc.

Rieva Lesonsky is an Expert Advisor. She is also CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit SmallBizDaily.comto sign up for her free TrendCast reports

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