Build Your Company Website

Build Your Company Website

Here’s how to create a website that works.

By Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

For startup businesses, a great website can help level the playing field with larger competitors. Think of your website as an electronic sales brochure. Figure out what your clients and customers want to know and break the content down into easily navigated Web pages.

These pointers will help you launch your site like a pro:

Stick with a dotcom when registering your domain. If the is taken, look for some additive or derivative that works. (i.e., or A dotnet URL can lose prospects who assume your address ends in dotcom.

Remember that your domain is portable. Your website and your Web host work together like your cell number and your cell phone company. You can switch providers at any time and take your site to any web-hosting company you choose.

Windowshop other sites first. Just as you would rip pages out of a home décor magazine when decorating or building a house, you can incorporate elements from sites you love into your dream site.

Keep it short and simple. You want as much content as possible to reside above the fold, in newspaper terms, so your readers don’t have to scroll down on every page. Try to limit word count to under 200 words per page.

Put a face on your site. Humanize your company by posting photos and bios of key staff. Consumers like to buy from people they know, and a photo with personal info helps cyberspace feel much more intimate.

Ask for feedback. Ask pleased customers for a short comment to post on your site. Client testimonials or customer reviews can be very powerful.

Look for a solo Web developer. If you’re tight on working capital, look for a Web developer who’s a solo practitioner working out of her home instead of a big Web development company. Without the overhead of a larger company, she should be cheaper.

You get what you pay for. The free online build-your-own-website services provide limited capability. But if you just want a basic site without any customization, and you’re OK with the design caliber, it’s a fine way to get started.

Use dynamic title tags. In the title bar of your browser, each page has its own title. Using the same title on every page reduces their chances of being found by search engines. Give each page a different and relevant title.

Join the blogosphere. Blogs are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for gaining visibility. You can start your own blog on your site or connect with other bloggers. Send your products to industry blogs and request reviews.

Use e-mail blasts. Collect e-mail addresses of any willing customers and prospects and occasionally stimulate additional traffic to your site with a mass e-mail. Consider including a discount offer or bit of news about your company. Or develop an e-zine or newsletter relevant to your field.

Link up. Think of other sites that would benefit from a link to your site and vice versa – and work together!

Online Resources:

To check URL availability:

For Web hosting:

To establish a basic e-commerce site:

To incorporate a map into your website:

To learn about blogs and access free tools to start your own:

To search for royalty-free and rights-managed photography and illustration:

For cheap membership-generated stock photography:

For mass e-mail campaign help:

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, author of How to Run Your Business Like a Girl: Successful Strategies from Entrepreneurial Women Who Made It Happen, is CEO of Tribe, Inc.

Share this Article