Your small business needs a website. Here’s how to build one.
- It’s crucial to create a small company website to educate your customers, articulate your value proposition, increase brand awareness, and promote sales.
- Selecting a domain name and reliable web hosting is the first step in creating a company website. Then, optimize your website to raise its position in search results and increase visitors.
- Ensure that your website is current and mobile-friendly. Make sure your site is loading quickly enough to boost your search engine rankings.
- Small company owners who want to create a website or enhance an existing website should read this article.
Without an online presence, running a business—even a physical and mortar one—is no longer practical. Internet users look for anything from products to locations and business hours. If you have things to offer, your website may extend your business simply and affordably by opening up new markets. Even a basic, well-designed website can give you an edge in your industry.
Software for creating websites has developed to be user-friendly for everyone. You may create an appealing and useful website without knowing how to code. Regardless of the platform you use, you just need to adhere to a few fundamental guidelines and regulations to give your website a polished appearance, make it simple to locate, and present your business in the best possible way.
1. Establish the main objective of your website.
Typically, a business website acts as a place to present general information about your organization or as a direct platform for online sales. The most crucial thing you must do is state your company’s mission clearly on the homepage, regardless of whether you build a straightforward website that provides some information about your business or a more intricate e-commerce site. Erin Pheil of website design firm Follow bright advised not to have clients dig around to see whether you can provide what they need.
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The CEO of website design and digital marketing firm Blue Fountain Media, Gabriel Shaoolian, said, “Think about your particular user experience and the path the customer will take as they visit your site.” Visitors should be able to easily accomplish the objective of your website, no matter what its primary emphasis is, and the purpose itself should be reinforced as users browse around your site.
There won’t be as much labor involved in setting up your website if you don’t want to take payments (such as Apple Pay) through it. You must utilize an external service to take payments if you are a store or service provider and want to provide consumers the option to pay online. We’ll cover this topic more thoroughly in a later section of the article.
2. Choose a domain name.
One of the most crucial aspects of any website is its domain name. You’ll share it with both existing and new customers and advertise it on social media. You should thus make it descriptive, simple to remember, and easy to type. To prevent consumer misunderstanding, keep it brief and, if at all possible, stay away from acronyms, abbreviations, and numbers.
Your top-level domain, or TLD, must also be chosen. This is the prefix, such as.com, .net, or.biz, that is added to the end of your domain name. But in recent years, non-conventional TLD names have increased. These TLDs may be determined by geography, such as.nyc, or by the nature of the company, such as. marketing, agency, or. Law. These may be descriptive, but the most popular option is still.com. For additional details, see our article on picking a non-conventional TLD.
You must check the availability of your chosen domain name and buy it from a domain registrar after making your choice. Some well-known domain registrars are as follows:
Make sure you are not violating anybody else’s protected name while you choose your new domain name by checking copyrights. Using a domain purchase service from a firm like GoDaddy, which will contact the owners of your chosen domain name, is another option if your intended URL is already taken by another company. Per domain, this service runs about $70.
3. Pick a website host.
Every website needs a host—a server where all of its data is kept and is always accessible to the public. For your small business, hosting your own website would likely be an unaffordable investment, therefore you’ll need to choose an outside host.
There are two options for you to select from, depending on your budget. You will share a server with other websites if you choose a shared web host, which is the least expensive choice. Dedicated hosting is substantially more expensive, but it gives you access to your own private server and spares you from having to compete with other websites that can slow you down. Web hosting is included in certain web builder systems’ monthly plans, such Squarespace and Wix.
Web hosting choices include the following:
Cloud hosting is a specialty of 1&1 Ionis: which also provides other cloud-based services including servers and site backup. Plans and features vary, but monthly prices normally start at $15.
A2 Hosting: A2 Hosting gives customers the choice between shared and dedicated hosting. A Lite hosting package, which is enough for certain small enterprises, is available to new clients for as little as $3.91 per month for the first year.
Dream Host: Dream Host offers three hosting packages—Dream Press, Dream Press Plus, and Dream Press Pro—designed specifically for managed WordPress websites. Generally, prices begin at $16.95 per month.
The hosting of a website is by no means free for the hosting provider: so if you’re looking for free website hosting solutions, keep that in mind. To make up for the free hosting, they could use additional strategies like inserting banner advertising on your website.
According to Jim Cowie, a former chief scientist of cloud-based internet performance provider Dyn, when selecting a host, take into account how well that host can respond to inquiries concerning the locations and dependability of its servers.
“Can you show me how near you are to the key markets my clients will be in?” is a fair question. said Cowie. Any reputable host ought to have the resources to demonstrate to you how well they function.
You could need to switch to a new web host as your company expands, or you might even need to cooperate with many service providers to manage the operations and traffic on your website. In order to ascertain your hosting requirements, Cowie advocated keeping a careful check on the functionality of your website and the user experience your visitors enjoy. Choosing a Web Hosting Service is covered in the associated article.
4. Construct your pages.
A great website has more to offer than a dull homepage. You should make several pages for various parts of your business, such as a thorough list of your goods and services or a blog area for business updates. When it comes to your website as a whole, make sure each page supports the site’s main objective, has a distinct function, and contains a call to action (such as “learn more,” “sign up,” “contact us,” or “buy this”).
One of the most crucial aspects of a website is the contact page, which serves as your customers’ primary point of contact. Include as much information as you can there, including your business’s phone number, email address, and physical address, if one exists. In order for customers to associate your company with actual people, it’s also a good idea to add information about the founding team or personnel on an “about” page.
Hire a graphic designer or make your own logo if your company doesn’t already have one to use on your website, business cards, and social media accounts. Your customers will be able to immediately and readily recognize your business online thanks to this.
Creating effective, content-rich pages for your website may be facilitated by following a few simple guidelines, according to Justin Zalewski, head of product design at innovation consultant Studio Science:
Be specific about what your company does. Put the essence of what your company performs into a single, succinct sentence and start with that. Within seconds of arriving on your webpage, visitors should know what you do. A few well-written pages have a greater impact than many pages with errors.
Publish clever calls to action. When they correspond with the content on the website, CTA buttons frequently work at their best. A “purchase now” button, for instance, makes sense on a product page, while a “about us” page could benefit more from a “contact us to learn more” button. Similar to this, a page that lists customer evaluations may contain a button that directs readers to the plans and prices offered.
Automate the enhancement of speed. Create as many automatic performance enhancements as you can. The proper plugins can cache specific pages on your website if you use a content management system (CMS), saving users from having to download your material more than once. Zalewski suggested WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache for WordPress users since they compress data and speed up website browsing. If you’re not extremely computer aware, some of the more complex parts of caching and compressing data can require a web development partner.
Don’t use stock images. The simplest way to lower the quality of a fantastic website is to use tacky stock images. It’s ideal to utilize a snapshot of your actual team or workplace when browsing for images to put on your page.
Pheil said that investing in high-quality photographs of the goods or services you provide can enhance sales.
5. Configure your payment method (if applicable).
While not all company websites will need to follow this step, those who wish to give clients the option of making payments online must include electronic payment systems with their websites. The simplest method to achieve this is by using one of the top credit card processing solutions or e-commerce software.
An internal shopping cart or interface with e-commerce software is something that many web servers provide. Make sure you do your homework to find a solution that is simple to use and adaptable enough to fit your demands both today and in the future.
6. Examine and release your website.
Make sure your website functions properly on all popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, before declaring it live on the internet. Verify that pictures appear, links are functional, and the format appears seamless by clicking through each page and feature on each browser. Although it may take some time, your current efforts will prevent future complaints from customers who are unable to use specific functions.
Additionally, check to see that your website functions correctly on tablets and smartphones. This stage shouldn’t be skipped since mobile-first indexing, which Google and other search engines have adopted, gives the performance of your website’s mobile version priority when it comes to search engine results.
An analytics program should also be incorporated from the outset as a key component. You can work out any kinks and plan a suitable arrangement by setting this up before the website goes live, Shaolin added. After the website is live, you may track page performance and use your analytics to ascertain why a certain page is successful or unsuccessful.
To learn more about how your audience is interacting with your site, Shaolin advised looking at which of your marketing efforts are generating the most conversions and examining any analytics such as city, browser, etc. “If you… add this [after] the site launches, you’ll miss out on crucial data and have no ability to know whether aspects of your site are successful or unsuccessful right from the start.”
7. Use social media to promote your website.
The greatest approach to broaden your audience and inform clients about your company’s happenings is through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Post about any website updates you make on your social media channels, but keep a healthy balance with sincere, nonpromotional involvement.
On your website, provide connections to your social media accounts as well. The footer or the auxiliary bar are the most frequent locations for doing this (the extra menu in the top right that often holds login or contact links). Our marketer’s guide has further information on using social media for business.
8. Make a search engine optimization investment (SEO).
Along with implementing an effective SEO strategy throughout your site, submitting your website to popular search engines will aid in directing potential customers to your page. According to Shaolin, creating title tags, meta descriptions, and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) specific to your business and elements of your industry might improve your position in search engine results for the goods and services you’re attempting to advertise.
“You may start generating traffic right away by incorporating relevant keywords into your content from the very beginning of your website, and having a strong focus on SEO from website launch,” he said.
These crucial on-site SEO strategies will help you increase your ability to climb the ranks as you create your company website. (You may also use off-site SEO strategies.)
Select appropriate terms. Choose search terms that are pertinent to your industry and that potential clients are using to find you online. To locate a service that can assist you in locating, analyzing, and tracking these keywords, visit our guide to SEO small company tools.
Put forth new stuff. Regular blog posting, website additions, and content updates all inform search engines that your website is pertinent to the targeted keywords. In order to establish yourself and your company as thought leaders in the field, pick themes that are engaging for your industry and pertinent to your organization.
Link both internal and external resources. Internal links are those that point to other pages on your website, and external links are those that point to other well-known, reliable websites. Strategically place these links on your website. Verify that the links make sense, suit the context, and benefit the reader before using them; failing to do so might result in a penalty.
enhance the photos. Reduce the size of your photographs to prevent loading delays on your website. Apply the same strategy when using video, making sure that all clips load fast and don’t affect how quickly your website loads in general. You may also use metadata, such tags and captions, to describe the photographs to search engines and include your keywords in them.
Boost the speed of your website. A few seconds is the optimal amount of time for pages to load. To determine whether your website is operating at its peak performance, you may utilize free site speed analyzers like Google’s Page Speed Insights.
9. Upkeep of your website.
Maintaining relevance is crucial, so to keep users coming back to the site, update your website often with blog articles on recent developments in your sector, fresh goods and services, and business news.
Additionally, you should make sure your software and any add-ons are updated at least once a month. Even though the security of your website host is high-quality, according to Pheil, if your software is out-of-date, it is vulnerable to hacking. If you don’t have the time to administer the website yourself, assign the job to a dependable team member or a freelance website manager.
A low-cost investment, creating a website for your company may help you create trust and reach more customers than you could through conventional marketing strategies. You won’t ever have to worry about “not existing” to your present and potential customers as long as you maintain your website updated with new, relevant information and respond to technical issues promptly.
FAQs on business websites
What is the price of a company website?
The typical price of a small company website runs from $4,000 to $10,000, according to Mark Brinker’s study. The variance in compensation is due to the variety of businesses engaged and the level of labor the business owner is prepared to put in. It might cost several hundred dollars more to hire a photographer than it does to take your own images. The same may be said about expert copywriting for online content and other types of material.
How much time does it take to build a company website?
Website construction can take anything from a few hours to several months, but if you’re looking for an average, we can turn to Dream Host, a top supplier of web hosting for small enterprises, who says the process usually takes two to four months.
What information ought to be on your website?
Every company should include relevant information including who they are, what they do, and how to reach them. Along with a simple option for visitors to make purchases online, your website should also include the goods or services you provide for sale. Businesses can wish to incorporate mission statements, evaluations, client feedback, and a frequently updated blog that offers insightful information about the business and sector.