Step 5: Populate your business website with your own content
By now, you should have experimented with a few different templates and settled on your final choice. Nice!
Now it’s time to make this generic template your own by swapping out all the placeholder content for yours, and adding any extra pages or sections.
In terms of pages, all business websites will need:
- A strong homepage. Visitors should be able to work out what you do quickly, and navigate to other sections smoothly.
- An informative ‘About Us’ page. Tell people your story, and add pictures of your team.
- A clear ‘Contact’ page. Customers need to know where they can find you, and how best to reach you.
Many businesses will also need:
- A products/services page. Talk about what you do best, and add images if you have them.
- A blog. This can help demonstrate your expertise, keep your site feeling fresh, and help your site perform well with search engines – but only if you can commit to posting to it fairly regularly.
Now is also a good time to check out the competition. What pages do you like on their website? Is there anything you’ve missed on yours? Any pitfalls you’re keen to avoid? Your website should look individual, yes – but it’s good to know what your customers will be expecting to find.
Step 6: Add apps for extra functionality
Now that you’ve sorted out your pages and populated them with your own content, it’s time to add in some extra features.
This is normally done through adding ‘apps’ from the builder’s own app market, although some only offer inbuilt features.
But what exactly do we mean by extra functionality? Here are some examples of handy apps and features that we think can work well for business websites:
- Forms – this gives your customers an alternative way to contact you, and helps you organize your enquiries. You can also encourage people to sign up for email communication.
- Social media integration – whether it’s in the form of buttons linking to your social accounts, an embedded Instagram gallery, or a live Twitter feed, there’s an app for that.
- Cookie alerts – be transparent with your visitors about how you’re using their data, and give them the option to change this.
- Live chat – another useful (and increasingly popular) way to connect with your customers in real time.
- Google Maps – an interactive map to help your customers find you.
- Customer testimonials – show customer comments and testimonials on your site. Adding social proof to your website will boost trust and conversions.
But this is really just the tip of the iceberg! All the examples we’ve linked above are from Wix, simply because it has one of the biggest app markets (with over 160 apps). This selection works across many different business types, but there’s also a bunch of industry-specific apps for more niche functionality – check out Wix Stores, Wix Bookings, Wix Restaurants, Wix Hotels and Wix Video as examples.
Step 7: Optimize your site for search engines
Earlier in this article, we briefly touched upon making your website appealing for Google, when we spoke about the benefits of adding a blog. Now, we’re going to take a much more detailed look at which SEO (Search Engine Optimization) measures you should be taking for your site, and why.
You see, it’s all very well and good having a beautiful website, and adding that all-important contact page to encourage your customers to connect with you. You can even add an interactive Google Map app that will lead them to your door. But if your customers never see your website because it never makes it to page one of the search engine results, then all your hard work will be in vain.
When you type a search term like ‘best brunch in Chicago’ into Google’s search bar, a complex algorithm decides on the results you’re presented with, and their order. This algorithm takes a huge number of factors into account (the number is thought to be higher than 200), but there are some simple steps you can take to make sure Google recognizes your website as relevant and useful for search terms that apply to your business:
- Make sure your site loads quickly
Users don’t like slow websites – the majority will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to fully render – and therefore neither does Google. Make sure you ‘compress’ any images you upload – this is an easy way to reduce file size in just a few seconds, without visually compromising image quality. Our favourite tool for this is kraken.io.
Run your page through a free page load speed tool (we like PageSpeed Insights by Google) to identify any problem areas.
- Don’t forget about mobile
More Google searches are now carried out via mobile than via desktop, so it’s crucial that your site reformats well for smaller screens. A ‘mini’ version of your desktop site won’t cut the mustard; elements and text will be too small, and Google will penalize you for the poor user experience. All the website builders we’ve included on this list have fully mobile-responsive templates, so should reformat automatically – just be sure to test this out before you hit publish.
- Use keywords (sparingly)
If you want to be found based on key terms, it makes sense to know what terms people are searching for, and to include them in your own content. You can use a free keyword finder like Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify particularly popular searches.
Going back to our brunch example, you might find that ‘best breakfast in Chicago’ has a measly search volume of 10 users per month, but ‘best brunch in Chicago’ is way more popular, with hundreds of monthly searches.
Once you’ve found a few popular (and relevant) key terms, it’s time to make sure they’re included within your content. Proceed with caution here; add too many mentions of these terms and your content will appear clunky, and Google will penalize you for ‘keyword stuffing’. If it feels too unnatural, just keep creating good content, and trust Google to join the dots – its algorithm is getting smarter literally every day!
We could go on for a long, long time about best SEO practices, but it’s important to know that all of Google’s ranking factors hinge on quality and user experience – so if you prioritize that, you can’t go too far wrong.
Step 8: Publish!… Then monitor, adjust, and update
So you’ve followed our advice to the letter, and you now have a beautiful business website ready to send out into the world – kudos!
Give it one last preview – using the mobile, tablet, and desktop view, and on a variety of browsers – then hit publish. But before you tell the world and share it with your social media followers, get your friends and family on the case for some urgent user testing. You can check your site in preview mode all you want, but sometimes issues will only become apparent after you publish – and it’s better to get these ironed out as soon as possible.
Once you’re confident that everything’s working well, your friends and family are suitably impressed at your DIY website building skills, and your traffic is on its way from a slow trickle to a steady stream, it’s time to sit back, relax, and bask in your success…
…but not for too long! That’s because – we’re sorry to tell you – there’s simply no such thing as a ‘finished website’.
Not only do you need to keep on top of updates – uploading new blog posts, adding new projects or new services, updating your About Us page with new team members or achievements – but you need to monitor how people are using your site, and take steps to improve their experience.
There are three tools we’d recommend for this:
- Google Analytics
Good to know: We recommend you install Google Analytics as soon as possible, but Hotjar and Optimizely are both worth considering later down the line.
Firstly, be sure to link your site up with Google Analytics. This is a free tool, and the website builder you use will offer a guide to adding what’s known as a tracking ID to your site, so Google Analytics can start collecting data on how your site is being used.
You can use Google Analytics to find out:
- Who your audience is, i.e. their age, gender, and location
- Your most popular pages
- Which pages people spend a long time on, and which pages people ‘bounce’ straight off
You can use insights like these to make adjustments to your site, and to inform how you make content in the future.
This is a great tool for showing you how people are interacting with your site in a much more visual way. You can add Hotjar to specific pages to measure where people are clicking, and how far down they are scrolling.
We’d especially recommend using Hotjar to test your homepage. It’s a great way to identify points where the user is struggling. It might be that they’re expecting something to be clickable that isn’t, or are spending too long trying to navigate through an overly-complicated menu. You may find that your key content is buried too far down the page, and only a tiny percentage are scrolling far enough to interact with it.
Hotjar is free up to 2,000 page views per day, and then costs $29+ per month (with a free trial).
Once you’re getting a significant amount of traffic, think about signing up to Optimizely. This is a way to test the impact of changes to your site under ‘perfect test conditions’. You can use Optimizely to run what’s known as an ‘A/B test’, where half your audience is shown the original version of the page, and half are shown the updated one. You can then check which performs better against your chosen metric.
Top tip: When testing pages in this way, be sure to only make one clear change to the test page – otherwise, it’s hard to know which change has had an impact!