Dear founder, I must say you are doing well, so well (thumbs up!).
Anyone, who has ever felt the pains, sleepless nights, hard-up days, frustrations, tight schedules, and procrastinations of creating and running a startup from scratch (as you have) would understand the struggle and need for keeping the startup visible for growth.
Nonetheless, these struggles would increase (and never go away though) if you’re still neglecting a valuable asset of your startup; A responsive website, not when that negligence is costing you a share of the 98.39 million Nigerian internet users who are searching for solutions online.
In your defense, you have a thriving Facebook page (what?!), but you should know this:
In 2018, reports showed that more users spent tens of millions of hours less on Facebook daily.
It’s 2020, now. Are you thinking the same thing? Where do you think that audience took the search?
A website is your sure bet to having guaranteed visibility and a controlled business narrative, whether it’s a single-page website or has an integrated eCommerce store.
If you are looking to build a responsive website for your startup and stay in charge of your narrative, then this is for you. So, we would begin with the essentials.
Choosing A Domain Name And Hosting For Your Website
“So, if your domain name is your shipping address, then your website would be your apartment, and your web hosting would be the building housing it.” – Tweet this
Do you have a fabulous name idea for your website? Then, moving quickly to acquire a domain with that name would be my advice to you. Typically, domain names would look like this; startups.com.ng, website.org.ng, etc.
I always prescribe getting a domain name first when in pursuit of a website. Here’s why. Thousands of domain names are registered daily, and some entrepreneurs create a business from acquiring target names and reselling them at throat-slitting costs (I lost my preferred domain name to one of such entrepreneurs).
From a report in 2017, there were over 4,300 domain name registrations in just a month in Nigeria alone. Also, there were domain name renewals about half of that same number the same month.
Also, you might want to consider picking a .com extension or maybe one suggestive of your space (but I’d still stick with the .com though). Check out this complete guide on domain name registration.
Next, with your acquired preferred domain name, you can go ahead with choosing the most reliable hosting plan for your website. You should know, there are numerous web hosting platforms to choose from, depending on your budget and required services.
Now that you have those boxes checked, let’s get our hands dirtier.
Building Your Website: What Works For You?
Ideally, I’d agree that financial and perhaps human resources might not be things you have so much at this point. So, you would have to consider a few factors before choosing how you’d want your website built.
- Cost of building and maintenance,
- Your digital skills,
- Available technical talents on your team, and
- Required functionality of your website.
I guess your mind’s doing some churning at this point, but you can always talk to an expert from Start Innovation Hub.
Building your website with code
Still on the matter, depending on your digital skill (more like your coding skill) level, your budget, and maybe if you are looking to create a web software, building your website with coding is an option.
So, this way would be a great choice if your product is a web app or you are looking to confer functionalities that you can only achieve with coding.
Based on statistics from W3tech, websites built with codes make up about 40.8 percent of existing websites.
Alright, don’t get all anxious now, there’s a way around this if you are not all tech-savvy or still trying to find your footing in the digital world.
Building a website without code
Yes, you can build your website in 2020 without a single code. In fact, you can actually design your website from top to bottom using drag-and-drop tools.
Building websites without coding is made possible with the existence of CMS’s (Content Management Systems) that allow you to set up, customize, and manage your site, with the minimum use of codes, if any.
Choosing The Best Website Building platform (CMS)
There are several website building platforms available today, the most popular being WordPress. WordPress claims to power over 35 percent of all existing websites, and this number keeps growing.
Other website building platforms according to their popularity based on our earlier mentioned statistics are;
- Wix etc.
However, I would suggest WordPress because it, aside from letting you build your website, lets you integrate online sales, digital marketing, and analytic tools, to monitor performance, manage leads, and convert more.
Also, overall it requires less maintenance, and that you can handle, or you can hire a WordPress Designer if you need a professional.
Building And Customizing Your Website With WordPress
Before we get started on this one, let’s understand that the WordPress referred to here is the self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org).
Also, I’ve taken the time to put together all you need to know before launching your WordPress website in an article. We’ve carried out the first step of our process, which is acquiring a domain name and a hosting plan, so on we go to the next.
Installing WordPress wouldn’t be much of a biggie once you have a hosting plan and a domain name. To install WordPress, access the admin or management panel on your host profile, and choose the WordPress option.
This process would differ slightly depending on your web host.
Customizing your Website
This step of the process is would determine the overall appearance and feel of your website. While you’d have a basic website with demo content after installing WordPress, you’d want a clean website that’s consistent with your brand.
So, to do that, you’d need to choose and install a theme on your WordPress.
There are numerous WordPress themes to select from, and while most of them offer free versions, you’d need to subscribe to a paid premium version to access all premium features of the theme.
Also, a lot of the functionality you’d want to give your website would be possible using tools called plugins. Remember, there are must-have plugins for every website, that are necessary for security and backup, collection of data, analytics, and so on.
Integrating an eCommerce store on your website
Installing an eCommerce feature on your site means you are ready to start converting prospects and leads into repeat sales.
Yet, of course, there’s more to setting up an eCommerce store than just making sales. You can have control of your marketing with landing pages, push notifications, email marketing, and an efficient sales funnel.
Find out how to seamlessly install an eCommerce plugin and set up your store from here.
8 Pages To Include On Your Website
Yay! Congrats on successfully selecting the right theme and plugins for your website. Now, here are eight important pages you don’t want to miss on your website.
Coming Soon Page
So, I had to start with a bonus, the Coming Soon page, because it’s really easy to neglect, with its importance underrated.
You can exploit your under-construction page to gather early subscribers, drive traffic and engagement, and also stay in your target market’s view until the website is launched (that’s priceless).
Now, we can move to the said relevant pages.
1. Home Page
The one-stop place for prospects to get a good feel of your startup’s value proposition is the Home page, which makes it the most important page of your website.
On your Home page, your audience should be able to resonate with the way you’ve identified, tabled their challenges, and presented your startup as a solution (different from your competition) with clear call-to-actions.
You can have on it cards showing partnership, testimonials, and products.
2. About Page
Knowing the people responsible for a service/product increases trust on the side of your audience because they want to know the people who are behind the solution they are getting. You can call this, giving it a human face.
So, you would want to include summaries of your mission, vision, and values here.
However, you want to keep the About page professional and consistent with the values of the startup. You can hire a content writer for this to help you tell your business story in the most resonating way.
3. Services/Product Page
The Services/Products page is where you present your products/prices, their features, and their pricing.
I’d advise that when doing this, you have an overview of the product/service you are offering at the top of the page before the more detailed information, and don’t forget to include the right call-to-action.
Consider getting a content writer(s) with copywriting experience for this if you don’t already have one on your team.
4. Contact Us
Don’t forget that prospects are the reason for your website, and may want to verify certain aspects of your services/products before they get them.
So, setting up a Contact Us page makes it easy for your audience to get in touch with you when they have questions your website doesn’t answer. Consider including your business hours, email address, social media profile and page links, and your phone number to make this process seamless (it’s good practice).
Never underestimate the revenue-generating capacity of a blog on your website.
People in your audience are asking questions around the problem that you have solutions to, find these questions, and provide reliable answers to them in your blog.
This practice brings your prospects organically form search engines and social shares to your website, where the conversion happens.
So, develop an agile content strategy with an intact content calendar for your blog and get to work.
6. Testimonial Page
The Testimonial page of your website is the tell-less-show-more part of your website. You can display here stories of your happy customers. This page also helps build the authority, credibility, and trust around your startup.
7. Portfolio Page
The need for a Portfolio page would depend on the nature of your services. For instance, if you are a tech startup that builds Fintech software for your clients, a Portfolio page would come in handy, for bolstering your credibility.
8. Legal page
On the other hand, the terms and conditions document keeps your audience aware of the terms and conditions that they must abide by when interacting or engaging with your website and products/services.
Now, I believe you have all the resources you need to build your startup website (you can find more resources here).
However, you can get professional help building your website (if you find this a little overwhelming).
Until next time, stay safe.