Your website is the mirror of you and your company. It is the unique digital place where you can have complete control over how you want to be perceived and express to your audience what makes you unique or different in the market. Building a website platform is not enough to attract and engage with your candidates and clients. The steps below will explain how to build and design an effective website for your start-up recruitment agency.
# Step 1 – Choosing your platform #
Before you start worrying about color schemes and domain names, you’ve got to decide what platform you’re going to build your website with. But with many and many different platforms available on the market, it can be tricky to make a choice. At Recruitment in a Box, we specialise in building websites for our clients in WordPress. Their multitude of templates allows us to create a unique design for your business together with all the necessary functionalities required such as job posting, calls to action, contact form details, blog etc. On the top of this, WordPress enables the website to be instantly responsive, looking great on every mobile device, smartphone and tablet.
# Step 2 – Hosting your website & registering a domain name #
To get a new website online, you’re going to need three things:
- A domain name (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
- An email package so customers can interact with you
A domain name provides valuable branding for your website and makes it easier for people to remember how to get to it. By owning your own domain name, your website will look far more professional than having your site on someone else’s domain. Your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.co.uk/.com.
Before naming your company, (click here to see our previous article “Choose the Right Company Name for your Recruitment Business ), it is important to check that the domain name most suited to your chosen company name is available too!
Web hosting is like rent for your website – You can build a fully functional website on your personal computer, but if you want other people to be able to see it, you will need to use a web host. Having your own hosting will also make sure your website loads quickly and won’t go down for hours at a time (pretty important for everyone who visits your pages).
There are plenty of web hosting options available in the market. Before selecting one and putting your website on it, be sure to read all the terms and conditions. Some web hosting companies are not good enough for a professional website and can have a very bad affect on your website. Make sure that the web host:
- Gives enough server space where your pages will be stored. Depending on the size of your site and the resources it needs (video, audio, images, etc), the storage space needs to be sufficient to accommodate this.
- Is not allowed to run ads on your site
- Does not have bandwidth limits that could be too restrictive if you get a lot of traffic. In some cases, if you exceed your monthly limit, some web hosting companies may even turn your site off.
- Some free hosting providers tack on maintenance and renewal fees to their “free” accounts.
You also need to make sure that customers are able to contact you – so make sure you’re able to set up an email address based on your domain name. As it may be just you to start with you don’t have to pay to have lots of email addresses. It is far simpler to create a mailbox in your name and create alias addresses that direct to your mailbox e.g. info@, sales@ etc. This gives out the impression that you are a more substantial business to your target audience.
First though you should focus on getting your site up and running. Now you’ve got your head around these basic concepts, you can decide how you can start planning your site.
# Step 3 – Planning #
Once you have secured your domain name and have the hosting and email package that you need then it is time to plan the design and build of your website. A number of important decisions need to be taken in consideration:
- The Objective – Is it an informational site or a site where you want to put your latest jobs, news (etc). Each of these kinds of site has a slightly different focus that will influence its design.
- The Navigation – How users will move around your site? How will it affect its architecture and its overall usability? Plan out the menu with pages and under pages and develop a navigational structure from here.
- The Content – The quality of your site’s content will play an important role in its success. Before you start designing or building pages, you should have a clear strategy for the content that those pages will contain.
We recommend to draw up two lists. Your must-have list should feature things that without which your site would be unable to achieve its overall aim. So for example, if you want to advertise your jobs online you’ll need a special page with a job search menu to facilitate the navigation. If you’re stuck for ideas, spend some time looking at the websites of your competitors, it’s a great way of working out what your site needs to have. Your nice-to-have list should feature things that would improve your website, but wouldn’t be 100% vital for it to work. These are the things that you will only include if they fit in your budget. Speaking of which, you should also set a budget at this stage. Be realistic – both in terms of how much you can afford to spend and how much you expect to get for that money. Don’t base your decision on cost alone – have a look at previous work that the website designers have done to help you to make an informed decision.
Once you’ve got a basic idea of what you want your site to do, you can start thinking about how you want to go about building your site.
# Step 4 – Designing and Building #
A good website designer will work with you to decide on the best template for your company. If they only offer you the one choice then it is more a case of you making their life easier rather than them giving you a bespoke service. Once you have decided on the template you want to use, you need to work on both the content and the design of your website. This is where it usually starts to become more complex.
Content is king online. It needs to be easy to read and informative. Focus on the essential information and attract the attention of your visitors by telling a story, YOUR story! Group your services into categories and put them into the main navigation. It will give a better understanding of your business to your visitors. The content of your website should contain text with keywords, images, videos, etc. The must haves:
- Well written content
- Clearly explains what you do and how you do it
- Is interesting and informative for both clients and candidates
Design. This is easily the most complex part of the website creation. You need a website that appears to be eye catching and has clarity. A well designed website will encourage your visitors to stay on the site and more importantly engage with you! It is essential that you help your readers to find the information that they are looking for in a few seconds only. For that, it is important to include some recruitment functionalities (e.g. a job search menu, job alert service, upload a CV, register online …etc). The more interactive that your website is then the more clients will come back again and again.
# Step 5 – Search Engine Optimisation #
The whole point of having a website is to attract people to your business who then engage with you. You can have the most beautiful website in the world but if nobody apart from you and your web designer knows about it then you are not going to achieve your goals.
You need to make sure that the search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo – know that your site exists and that there is content of interest on there for them to rank your site appropriately. Firstly you need to register your site with them and then carry out an exercise in optimizing the search engine capabilities of your site. The methods in doing this over the years have changed dramatically so make sure you are aware of what you need to be doing in order to benefit from this.
Simply put your content needs to reflect the audience you are trying to attract and therefore needs to be phrased appropriately. In addition to this the search engines love new content so keep adding to your site on a regular basis with useful information, articles and jobs. It takes time for you to be recognized by the search engines so be patient and keep doing the right things and you will get the benefit of a good ranking.
You can boost your rankings on Google by utilizing some of their other products – YouTube and Google+. You can also use Google Adwords but as a caution – before rushing in to promote your business through Adwords – make sure that you are aware of what budget you need to generate the results that you want. This is a very competitive arena and you could end up either not getting any benefit for a significant outlay of your marketing budget!
# Step 6 – Going Live #
Before clicking the button to launch on to the world wide web make sure that everything on your site is working as it should. TEST TEST TEST until you are completely satisfied. Remember it is best that you find any faults or broken links on the site than any of your target customers do!
Congratulations now you are ready to launch! The final step before launching is to point your website to your domain name and hosting. You can do this with either the proprietary tools that come with your hosting service or with a standard File Transfer Protocol software.
# Step 7 – Measuring Traffic #
Now you have a beautiful and optimized website, you want to measure its traffic. Google Analytics remains the perfect tool to measure the traffic on your website. It can identify whether there is an increase in traffic to your website and specifically where to as well – e.g. homepage, job pages or blog etc. This free service will give you important information about your target audience: Where they come from, which pages have been visited the most and how long a time they have stayed (etc). Knowing all of these measurements will allow you to do any necessary changes to increase the visibility of your website and make sure you are constantly engaging with your audience.
Your website can be a fantastic way to attract your candidates and clients but it can also be a way to send them directly to your competitors! Building a website takes time, energy, patience and requires that you have some good fundamentals in terms of web design and development yourself. If you feel like you can’t do it by yourself, it is important to engage with a professional company, like Recruitment in a Box, who can take care of all of this for you. To find out how we can achieve this for your recruitment start-up then please contact us on 0203 4173101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.