Your online presence, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference in whether your business is top of mind for potential customers. You’ve heard it before, but if clients can’t find your website, or if it’s noticeably outdated, you might have already lost the game.
As we discovered recently, a WordPress site outfitted with a theme can be a cost-effective, long-term solution for a small business and you don’t necessarily have to know how to code to make it happen. With the following steps, you can highlight your products and services online with a professional looking WordPress site of your own:
1. Determine if a new site is the right move
If you already have a site, take a look to see which parts of the layout are working and what needs improvement. Some questions to consider include:
- When customers interact with my site, do they intuitively know where to find specific information?
- Does my site make proper use of menu items to clearly present categories of content?
- Are the pages of my site organized under the correct menu categories?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you might not need a new site. However, if your website is visibly outdated, you might consider the swap to a WordPress theme to enhance your credibility.
2. Draft content & menus
If moving forward with a WordPress theme, determine the pages and content your website needs to feature. You’ll need to draft a site menu that includes broad menu categories (e.g. ‘Services’), and the pages that will be featured as drop down menu items under these categories (e.g. ‘Installations’, ‘Staging’, etc.).
3. Choose a WordPress theme
There are plenty of professional themes available from sites such as Themeforest.net to choose from. Themes range in price; however, depending on your needs, you can get a basic template for free. When searching for a theme consider overall look and feel, but also choose a template that suits the menu specifications you established when drafting your content.
Other considerations when selecting a theme include: your industry, competitor’s websites, colour schemes, template restrictions (i.e. if you need drop down menus, choose a theme supports this feature), forums for template support, and theme ratings.
4. Populate the template
After installing WordPress and setting up a theme, you can use the WordPress Dashboard to add content to the template. You can find WordPress documentation outlining how to create your site’s pages here: http://wordpress.org/support/.
If your business uses social media, make sure your feeds are prominently featured on your site. Additionally, if you want to demonstrate expertise in your industry, consider using a blog to post original content. This material can be shared by those you connect with and help establish you as a knowledgeable business owner.
5. Launch your site
Once your template is complete and error-free, contact a website hosting service such as Planet CPU to have your site launched. These friendly folks specialize in website design and can help you throughout the process. After launching your site, collect feedback in terms of how your customers find the layout and navigation and adjust accordingly.
Overall, your website should make it crystal clear who you are, what you offer, and how to contact you. A good site, combined with a social media strategy, can make a significant difference and direct new business your way.