Building your website
When you want a shop window online.
Whatever business you’re in, you’ll almost certainly benefit from an online presence. A website acts as a virtual shop window, where people can find out more about you and your products or services – even if you don’t plan to sell online. It can give your business extra credibility in an increasingly digital age.
- Get a domain name (mycompany.com).
- Use either a web design company or online builder to build your site.
- Make your site useful to your target market.
- Make your site and customers’ online payments secure.
Selling your goods and services or accepting donations online is often quicker and requires less resource.
Help your customers find you
Nearly 88%* of adults (45.9 million) in the UK have used the internet in the last 3 months. Within this group the figure rises to 99% for those aged between 18 -24. The internet is a platform to reach a larger and more diverse group than any physical location could ever reach.
Reach new customers or benefactors
A website can attract potential customers to your business, giving you another channel from which to sell your goods or services, or receive donations.
Target specific markets
Find your ideal customers or niche markets by designing a website that reflects the specific keywords or search terms they are looking for.
Expand your business
Going online is a simple, cost-effective way to promote your business to consumers all over the world. You won’t have to deal with the time and location restraints of traditional selling, and you can accept payments or donations online from people regardless of their geographic location.
Lower your costs
Having a website can reduce many costs traditionally associated with running a business. A website allows you to provide more information about your business using fewer resources. This information is then available to prospective customers at any time, from any device.
Help others recommend you
Make it easy for your customers or benefactors to recommend your company to friends and family. Give them a website link that they can promote via social media or email to others.
Your domain name
You can get a domain name (mycompany.com) from a domain registrar, such as Easyspace, Godaddy or UK2†. Alternatively, the company you use to build your website can acquire your chosen domain for you.
Two ways to build a website
- Use a web design company to build your website. It’s important you’re able to make changes and update the website yourself.
- Use an online website builder. Companies like Squarespace, 1&1, Weebly or Moonfruit† let you create a website with specially tailored templates.
Make your site useful
When writing for your website, make it easy to read and informative. Use pictures to engage and educate visitors about your company, highlighting what makes you unique. Finally, any website should have the following pages to make sure core information is easy to find:
- Webshop/donation page – displays your various products and services, or for not-for-profit companies and charities, lets consumers make a donation.
- About us – gives visitors the background to your business, including your mission statement, how long you’ve been operating and your history.
- Contact us – lets visitors know how to reach you by post, phone and email, and through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Include a shopping basket
If you’re building your own website, you can add a shopping basket with software like Big Cartel, Zen Cart or OpenCart†. They’ll let you show your products, manage your inventory and track orders.
Keep your online payments secure
It’s never been more imperative to keep your customers' details secure. You can help keep them safe with third-party payment software such as PayPal and Google Wallet† to manage payments via your website. It may be possible to integrate this software through your shopping basket provider.
If your company is involved in fundraising, there is specialist software available like thankQ, DonorPerfect or Blackbaud† designed for not-for-profit companies.
Prioritise your security
Security should be high on your list of priorities, and certainly will be for your customers. Perform routine checks on your computers to keep your website secure, and protect your customer data.
It’s also worth developing an IT security policy for staff, including:
- Regularly changing passwords, making sure they’re at least 8 characters in length with a mixture of letters (both upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols.
- Installing antivirus software, protecting you from viruses, malware and adware.
- Using spam filters to help block unwanted emails and reduce the chance of employees downloading harmful attachments.
†Please note that these are just examples of the types of domain registrars, third-party website building software and payment software available and Lloyds Banking Group does not endorse the services they provide.
*Office for National Statistics – Internet users in the UK: 2016