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The value of your website: Startup Chat recap

By Erin Hutchison
Content Marketing and Social Media Specialist

What value can a website bring to your business? Here’s a recap from our Startup Canada chat.

A business website can serve many purposes – an online marketplace to sell your products, a blog to connect with your audience, a resource to answer your customer’s questions, a touchpoint for people to find contact information, and the list goes on.

Canadian businesses are creating websites at a pace never seen before – what do businesses need to know to build a successful website?

Here’s a brief summary of our discussion on the value of a website in collaboration with Startup Canada (view the full recap here). 

Questions you should ask yourself before you start building your website:

  • Who is your target audience? Don’t make your website for you, make it for your target audience. Find out what words they use for your product/service to help write content that will get your site to rank well in search engines.
  • What is the main thing you want your customers to do? Do you want them to learn something, buy something, or sign up for something? Make these actions easy to find.
  • Should I build it myself, or should I hire? It’s never been easier to build a website yourself but sometimes you need to hire an expert! Here’s a guide to help you decide.

Does every business need a website?

  • Yes, even if you’re not selling. A website is a way for customers to find your contact info, new customers to learn about your company and gain your trust.
  • Relying solely on social media is risky. Not everyone is on every platform. If you only have one platform, getting hacked/locked out will be detrimental to your business.
  • There may be exceptions. For example, a small business that has enough clients and no need to expand.

Mistakes to avoid when building a website:

  • Not making your USP clear. You only have a few seconds to capture attention and communicate what problem you can solve.
  • Saying too much. Less is more!
  • Burying contact information. Make sure your contact form/email address/phone number is accessible and accurate.
  • Not being mobile-friendly. You might be building your website on a desktop, but you’d be surprised how many visitors are accessing your site on their phone. Make sure your website looks good and works on all devices!
  • Having too many steps to buy. Make it easy for people to give you their money.
  • Ignoring SEO. Your work isn’t done when you’ve built your website. You have to get people to visit it!
  • Slow load times. Things like massive photos can make your site seem amateur.
  • No SSL certificate. Read our guide on what an SSL certificate is and how to get one.
  • A confusing domain name. Here’s a guide for choosing a domain name for your Canadian business.

Even if your website doesn’t have ecommerce, a website can bring your business value by connecting with potential customers, sharing your story and building credibility. A website is the digital hub for your business and a must-have for businesses to be successful !

About the author
Erin Hutchison

Erin brings to CIRA a background of marketing experience in higher education and the not-for-profit sector. In 2015, she participated in ISOC’s Youth@IGF Programme and traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico to attend the IGF. She has a Bachelor of International Business from Carleton University.