This is the fourth step in our blog’s series of steps in helping you start a successful home business. You have determined your niche and your products and naturally the next step should be putting up a platform that will further convince your customers you are for real. Unlike what you may think, it does not cost much for you to have your own business website, this is especially if you opt for a small business website design. The secret is keeping it real simple. Remember, in the online world, you have just a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention. Should you fail in this aspect, you will ultimately lose them to the competition. You really don’t want this to happen.
Based on the above, there are certain things you have to keep in mind when it comes to building a website for your online business. This is very important if you are selling information products or wish to take your writing services to the next bigger level. If you are an affiliate marketer, you don’t necessarily need a website – placing your affiliate links in well-written and informative articles is enough to continually generate passive income for you. Now let us get down to the basics of getting an easy-to-use website.
Do It Yourself
You really don’t have to build the website yourself but should you choose to, here is a step by step guide on how to go about it:
Step 1: On Google, search and choose a free website building service or platform. The most popular is WordPress (note that here we are discussing free website setup, but WordPress also offer pay services you may consider to scale up your business. In that case the procedure is a bit different, you can check it here if interested).
Step 2: Create an account with WordPress. Since it is a free service, there will be no requirement for your billing information. Fill in the required information including your username, password, name and email address.
Step 3: Confirm your email address and get ready to start building. Log into your WordPress dashboard with your username and password. Everything on the dashboard is clearly labelled so that you can easily find your way around. This is what the dashboard looks like:
Step 4: Choose a theme or template for your website. You start this procedure by clicking on the “Customize Your Site” button:
There are over a thousand professional looking free themes for you to choose from. You can narrow down the search by entering certain keywords into the filters and getting something that suits your business.
Step 5: Install the chosen theme. One good catch here is that even after installation and complete building of your site, you can always change the theme with no impact on your site’s content.
Step 6: Add content. You have to go back to the dashboard and under “Next Steps”, click on “Add an About Page” to add the first content to your website.
Step 7: Add more pages. These pages will be linked to the site’s navigation bar. Simply create the content for the page, click on “update” to save changes made. Next you click on “Appearance”, “Menu”, locate the page you just created and highlight the checkbox next to it and clicking on “Add to Menu” to have it linked.
Step 8: Set up a static home page. This is very important as you don’t want content changing with each new visit. All you need to do is go to “Settings” and click on “Reading”. Choose “front page” to represent the home page of your website. Don’t forget that before carrying out this step, you must have already created the home page.
One good thing with WordPress is that within a short time, you are able to get the hang of it all and handling your website like a pro. You can also create blog posts that will further bring traffic to your website. For more details on how to setup your WordPress website, you can go to the following link.
Hire a Freelance Web Designer To Do It
If you choose to work with a professional website designer instead, you can search on any of the virtual workers’ websites which are marketplaces for contractors and clients (you can find them on the freelance site http://www.Elance.com at reasonable fees). When you finally find one, these are the things that should be put into perspective as you design the website for your online business.
Get a professional: This is especially if you wish to own a website with great professional look and touch. Just as stated earlier, it does not have to leave a hole in your pocket before you can contract a professional website designer to give you a business website that actually runs great. There are lots of affordable but experienced designers online. Let them help you further maximize your chances of bringing in good income through your online business.
Go for something stylish yet functional: Depending mostly on what products or services you are offering, you can choose to have a website design that is classical, hipster or even funky. The most important thing is that they should be a reflection of the face behind the site – in a good way, that is.
Go for a design that matches your products and services: This is usually reflected on the site’s background. For example, if you offer writing services or information products on how to be among the best in your writing niche, having a keyboard, typewriter, cup containing various pens or a hand writing on a plain sheet will be more appropriate than having fruits or toys displayed on the background. Now you get the drift, right?
Maintain identical header: Still on step three of creating a reliable passive income stream, it is important that the top of all the pages in your website are identical. When you don’t maintain the same header on every page your potential clients visit, you might just confuse them and make them to leave without opting for your service or making a purchase of your product.
Maintain a consistent style: This includes using almost the same type of font and size in your site’s pages. Even though you have to change fonts, don’t go for more than two different font types and sizes. Colour scheme is also another important factor to be considered in maintaining a consistent style for your home business Choose a maximum of three colours, ensuring they complement each other. Show the site’s visitors that the person behind the site is well-organized.
Maximize the site’s readability: This is where breaking your site’s content into smaller chunks prove helpful. You can utilize subheadings to create these breaks and at the same time, maintaining appropriate and consistent spacing all through the site’s pages. The importance of given topics or headings can be indicated through the use of bold and larger font size. Also, the fonts should not be too small so that the site’s visitors will not have difficulty reading the content of the site.
Make your site universally accessible: In designing the website for your online business, make sure the designer makes use of standard HTML and at the same time, avoid the incorporation of plug-ins, features and tags that would make the site incompatible with one or more versions of any browser. The images used on the site should also be scaled to smaller sizes for better speed of loading and visual appeal.
Design for mobile experience: It is an undeniable fact that most browsing in this age are done through mobile devices than the traditional desktop and laptops. This means that you will be short-changing your passive income stream if your website is not optimized for mobile browsing. This is the only way you can be sure of having more potential clients visit your website. To be doubly sure, test the website to make sure it is mobile friendly, links are working properly and images are not taking ‘forever’ to load. You can even ask for feedback from your site’s visitors to determine ease of use and clarity.
Make provision for online portfolio: Whether you are offering copywriting services, sales of information product, graphic designs or programming, there should be provision for your online portfolio where your potential clients will be able to easily access and evaluate your work. Make sure to attach your best samples. This will help maximize your chances of earning better income through your home business.
Less is more: You don’t have to write a thousand words in order to pass your message across. Avoid being wordy on pages that need just a few lines of writing to pass the message.
Appropriate backgrounds: In this regard, if the background of the website is designed with dark colours, the text should be in lighter colours. If however, the background is light, then the text should be dark. To choose your own background image, you can find free stock photos to use to create your images with at the following locations: https://unsplash.com/– http://www.istockphoto.com/ – http://www.morguefile.com/ – http://bootstrapbay.com/blog/free-stock-photos/ – and even more by searching Google for “free stock photos”, free public domain photos or anything related… And for a background image size, please see this article here: http://www.webmalama.com/the-best-full-screen-background-image-sizes-for-web-design/
These are the major basics you should consider as you build a website for your online business. In all, the takeaway is as follows:
- Maintain good user interface
- Major elements of the website like graphics, titles, logos and sidebars should be positioned in the same place on all pages
- Go for not more than two plain fonts, sticking to not more than two sizes
- Only utilize images, videos and audios when necessary
- Don’t miss the opt-in offer. This is a unique way of collecting your site visitors’ email addresses
- In all, the website should be customer-friendly
For you to make the most of using your website to increase your passive income stream opportunities, let your focus be on the elements that are very important. Don’t let your website turn your potential customers away. With that being said, you can now proceed to the next step here and see how to set up a merchant account for your business.