You have a great idea, you do some research and you decide it’s time to get into the business world by launching a startup. You realize you need a website. You need to build the website by yourself, because hey, you’re a startup without too much funding resources. You have found a WordPress theme you love, and your website is ready for business. Well done. Now for Round 2.
Your site might be live, but you need a few extras to keep it healthy and to help it sell your products or services. You need to make sure your business runs clock-wise, from both technical and client-oriented aspects.
Building Long-Term Relationships
Your website is your shop window: Your first objective is to get people in through your front door and browsing your virtual store. But most visitors will leave without buying – They might think your products look interesting, but they don’t trust you enough to buy because you are just some random website they came across.
Email is your best medium for building trust because it takes time and repeated contacts:
- Ask for visitors’ email addresses
- Thank those who trust you with their emails with useful information, products or exclusive offers
- Keep on thanking your subscribers and sharing your expertise
- Use an occasional email GIF to make your emails interesting
- Give your readers regular freebies to feed their love for you
- Get personal, so subscribers feel they are getting to know the real you
- Go to #3
Combine email marketing with a real social media presence and you have a bulletproof combo for online success. Everything is social media nowadays and although email has been around for a few decades, you have to keep up with the trends and embrace the new.
You can never sell online; people choose to buy, but they don’t buy what you sell, but why you sell it.
You must persuade your prospects to buy, first time, then again and again from you. You do that by sharing everything you know, thereby establishing yourself as the go-to expert who knows so much that you can happily share everything with anyone who asks.
Making Your Website Fast
You need to know how your site is performing currently, only then can you measure any improvement. Test your site’s speed using tools such as Pingdom and follow any advice the speed test page gives you.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
You can make any website faster with a CDN.
No matter how costly a web hosting package you have, there will be limits on how much demand you can place on the server. If you use a CDN, your website is hosted on the CDN company’s servers instead of your host’s: Your site can cope with many more visitors before it hits any CPU demand limits.
Free themes are a good start, but that’s it. Support is usually minimal, themes might not be updated as often as they should be, and they are sometimes slow because they are poorly coded. Using a free theme for your business is the Internet equivalent of selling from a cardboard box in your front yard – Zero credibility and terribly inefficient.
Premium themes usually come with at least a seven-day money-back guarantee. Test your site speed with any new theme installed and activated, and if it affects your results adversely, ask for your money back and ditch the theme.
Every plugin you install slows your site. The only exceptions are caching plugins.
Deactivate all your plugins, check which are essential, and reactivate them one at a time, testing the site’s speed after installing each one. Be especially wary about social sharing and related content plugins because of the many calls they make to external sites and your host’s databases, all of which make pages load more slowly.
If you run pay-per-click ads, it will slow your site down because of the extra calls to the ad network’s computers.
Safeguarding Your Site from Hackers
There are hackers who get their kicks by destroying what you create.
Just as you lock your car when you leave it, you need to lock down your website. There are many security plugins for WordPress, and even the free ones do a reasonable job.
The best security plugins involve minimal extra effort once you have set them up. They make it easy to change default user and database names, which makes it harder for a hacker to get in.
Long Story Short
A bare-bones business website won’t do much for your bottom line because everyone will just walk out without making a purchase.
The second stage of website development is what makes your operation professional. You must make your site load faster and develop long-term relationships with site users because only then will anyone trust you with their credit card details.
The good news is that all these additions have a minimal cost and will generate a positive ROI.
To your success!