My Online Biz Insiders Podcast partner Carla Wilson & I just posted our latest episode (#60!), in which we discuss what a website really needs to have in order to work well for a business… especially a new business. During the podcast, I mentioned several things that may be a bit surprising coming from one whose livelihood comes from building websites! Many people who start a new website project—or revamp their old one—typically overestimate what’s needed in order to have an effective web presence.
So, I’ve come up with a few quick rules-of-thumb to help new business owners prioritize their website “must-have” lists:
- A simple one-page site with your contact information is about 85% of what you need (as long as your technical “back end” is solid). After that, it’s just gravy.
- Proper technical and email infrastructure is absolutely critical. “Infrastructure” includes business-class domain email (no Hotmail or AOL!), good quality web hosting, analytics and automated backups.
- Use WordPress. Unless your business is in the design industry, you won’t benefit by spending big time & money on artistic uniqueness that requires custom design & coding. WordPress is not only search optimized, but also does not require a webmaster for routine updates.
- Consider your long-term budget and personal preferences. If you don’t want to be bothered with technical maintenance, consider WordPress.com (the version that is hosted by WordPress). Self-hosted WordPress requires periodic updates to keep it secure (as many as 5 or 6 times per year). If this sounds like a hassle to you – honor that instinct and do WordPress.com instead.
- Have a simple lead-collection system. This can be as basic as a free Feedburner blog email list.
- Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with all the fabulous things you think you should be doing… if you think you should be doing videos, great! Just don’t put your whole project off because you don’t have a video done yet. Many people do just fine online without a video. Just add it when it’s ready.
- Pick your web marketing tools based on what you have available to you now. If you have a contact list of 200 – start with a wonderful (free) service like MailChimp*. You can always go to a more sophisticated tool later.
Best advice: start simple and build on it over time. With WordPress websites, you can add and modify easily as your business grows and your needs change.
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