Expert Advice

Moving Your Business Online? Here’s Where to Start

May 1, 2023
2 min read

Building your own website offers many functions to your business. It can tell your story, provide information about your products and services, and serve as a tool to sell online. And when thinking about the ways to adapt or pivot your business in the face of the pandemic, bringing your business online should be top of mind.

“We live in a world where the first thing people do when they want to find something is search the web,” says Sarang Patel, senior product manager at Hello Alice. “During this unexpected time, with more people staying inside and spending time online, a website is a great way to make a first impression.”

This first impression is key when introducing your business to new audiences. But how can founders create their own website?

Website platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, and Shopify make it accessible for anyone to build a website without coding knowledge or software skills (as Hello Alice software engineer Karrie Cheng previously pointed out). And these do-it-yourself tools enable you to build the right website for your business — each with plenty on online support, whether from FAQs or via customer support phone lines.

“Common web platforms support integrations, or extensions, to other useful tools like chatbots to interact with visitors, payment processing, and forms to collect information. These integrations make the site more useful without having to build it from scratch,” says Patel.

Many website platforms also offer free trials, allowing you to test their tool before making the leap. And if you need more time trying the platform out, some may even allow you to extend it. “Consider reaching out to them directly to get an extension on your trial. You might be surprised what kind of help they provide if you tell them you need more time to learn the tool and want to make sure it’s a right fit for you and your business,” explains Patel.

While website platforms make it easy to build a website, thinking about the possibilities of what your website could look like can be a stressor.

But Patel, who uses data and feedback to enhance the user experience and value of Hello Alice for business owners, says that brainstorming can be helpful in the website-building process.

“Before building a website, it would be good to write out what pages you want on your website, what content and media will be on those pages and how you would like to lay it all out. Look at websites of similar businesses for inspiration. Once you’ve outlined the pages on your site, you can work on building the more important pages first,” Patel says.

Creating a website can be a daunting task. Time and energy may be heavily spent on setting up a website domain. Errors may be encountered when adding webpages to your site. But that shouldn’t stop you from building one.

“Founders probably already know this from running a business that doing something new or different can be scary, but it’s a learning experience,” says Patel. “My advice to founders with no product development experience is to do things in small chunks and don’t be afraid to mess up.”

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