How To Create A Website For A Small Business: A Beginner’s Guide
How To Create A Website For A Small Business: These days, building a good online presence has become almost a necessity, regardless of the size of your business. A professional-looking website with a simple user interface can help you promote your products and/or services to your target audience, attract online traffic, drive sales, and improve your brand recognition.
When it comes to building a website, you have two options: creating it on your own and hiring a web developer. While the second option is completely hassle-free, it comes at a high cost as well. The cost aspect is perhaps the biggest factor that keeps small business owners from hiring a web developer.
With that in mind, we’ve created this guide on “how to create a website for a small business.” Here, we’re going to discuss the step-by-step process of building a website for your small business. Although the process may seem a bit complicated at first, you should find it easier if you follow the steps thoroughly.
Let’s build a website for your small business.
How to Build a Website for a Small Business: The Step-By-Step Process
The following steps are the fundamental ones of how to make a website for a small business. This means you can always perform additional tasks to add more features to your website or make it more secure.
Step 1: Determine the Key Objective of Your Website
A business website can belong to any category, depending on the nature of the business. However, you must ensure that your site communicates exactly what your business does. Or else, the primary objective of your site – attracting the right online traffic – will remain unfulfilled. Always remember that if your target audience cannot find your website easily, it’ll go to one of your competitors, obstructing the growth of your business.
Step 2: Select a Website Builder
The second step of how to create a website for a small business by yourself is to choose the right website builder. Remember to select one that doesn’t require any coding knowledge. You can choose from WordPress or good website builders.
When it comes to WordPress, you have two choices: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While WordPress.org requires hosting to be arranged separately, it offers more control over a site and the best features. So, it’s advisable to build your site using WordPress.org.
Reputable website builders provide all-in-one solutions and generally come with a drag-and-drop feature. It makes the process of how to build a website for a small business faster and easier. You may choose from popular website builders like Wix or Squarespace. Just remember that while you won’t need to search for a separate hosting service, you might not have complete flexibility with your site’s design.
Step 3: Select the Right Domain Name
This is one of the most vital steps of the process of how to create a website for a small business. Your domain name is the address of your website, i.e., its URL. When choosing the domain name, you should consider its usability and SEO benefits.
Here’re some tips to do this.
- Choosing a name that represents your business
- Making it easy to spell
- Avoiding very esoteric words or slang
- Keeping the length as short as you can so that people can easily remember it and type it appropriately
- Avoiding hyphens and numbers as they make an URL less elegant and difficult to remember
- Choosing the appropriate domain extension according to the nature of your business
- Creating an SEO-friendly URL that includes your primary keyword
You can try an online domain name generator like DomainWheel to get some inspiration. You don’t necessarily need to purchase the domain name right away. You’ll be able to complete the domain name registration process when signing up for the hosting service for your website.
Step 4: Select a Hosting Service Provider and Hosting Type
Choosing the right hosting service provider and type of hosting is another vital step in the process of how to create a website for a small business. Without signing up with a hosting provider, you won’t be able to make your site available on the Internet.
Hosting service providers offer different types of hosting solutions that you can choose from, depending on your requirements and budget.
Here’re brief overviews of the options commonly available on the market.
- Shared hosting
Ideal for small business owners, shared hosting solutions are the most cost-effective options available. Here, your website will share the resources of a server with lots of other sites, which may harm the performance of your site. Also, if one of the sites on the server experiences a cyberattack, your site may also become affected.
However, if these things aren’t that much important to you, you can buy cPanel web hosting. As cPanel is one of the most popular and user-friendly control panels, managing your site will be easy for you.
- VPS hosting
Slightly costlier than shared hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting is another heavily preferred option for small business owners. With a VPS hosting solution, your site will get to use virtually partitioned resources of a server.
As a result, it won’t be impacted by the activities of other websites on the same server, whether they consume high amounts of server resources or get hacked. This essentially boosts the performance and security quotient of your website. You’ll also get much better control over your site and scalability with a VPS hosting package. Although different types of VPS hosting solutions are offered by web hosts, you may go with a cheap SSD VPS package to experience all the benefits at an affordable cost.
- Dedicated server hosting
This is typically the most expensive web hosting option, and hence, many small business owners choose it when there’s an absolute requirement for it. By choosing a cheap dedicated server hosting package, you’ll ensure that your site gets to use all the resources available on that server.
You’ll get complete control over your site together with maximum flexibility and customizability. This means you can do anything to improve the performance, security, or any other aspect of your site, as long as the server resources can handle it.
If your business happens to be a web host, which means you run a hosting company, remember to choose a cheap cPanel reseller hosting solution. You’ll be able to provide your customers with an excellent control panel to manage their websites at affordable rates.
Here’re some important things you should consider when selecting a hosting service provider.
- Technical support
Web hosting is a complex, technical field where technical support plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth functioning of your site. Therefore, you need to make sure that your web host offers different options to contact the technical support team.
It must offer live chat and/or phone support along with other options like email support and support tickets. The presence of live chat and/or phone support allows you to resolve issues immediately, while support tickets and email support may take a significantly longer time.
- Presence of an easy-to-use control panel
You’ve probably noticed that we’ve been mentioning cPanel whenever we discussed something related to the control panel. If you don’t want to hire a server administrator or use terminal commands to see the server contents and make modifications, choose a web host that offers cPanel or something similar.
- Server security
Security measures implemented on the servers of your chosen web host play crucial roles in protecting your site from online attacks. Web hosting service providers commonly take several security measures to protect their servers.
These usually include letting you access the server via SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), offering free SSL certificates that can be quickly installed by their customers, and taking regular backups of their servers. If your web host has a security protocol in place, try to see that to understand their security measures.
Step 5: Select a Website Design
If you have WordPress as your site builder, by default, it comes with a basic template that can be used as your site’s design. If you want to go with a different template, thousands of paid and free WordPress themes are available from many different developers. You can easily access them by doing a quick online search.
Other website builders also have a good collection of different themes. You only need to choose and install your preferred one. Regardless of the theme developer, be sure to choose a professional-looking, simple design with all the right elements.
Usually, business websites come with a navigation menu placed on top. The homepage normally comprises a welcome message, a CTA button, and other pieces of content.
Step 6: Add Site Pages
A good business website should contain different pages apart from the homepage. These pages show different aspects of the business, like your story, products or services, blog section, contact information, etc. You need to ensure each page is focused on its primary objective and includes a strong CTA (for example, “buy this,” “sign up,” “learn more,” etc.).
Here’re the types of content each of the site pages should contain.
Generally, your homepage is the first thing your visitors will see upon visiting your site. This should provide a brief yet clear description of what your business does. Add short descriptions of your products and/or services together with clear navigations, using which visitors can get detailed information about them.
- About us page
This page typically includes your story, information about your team, along with your vision and mission behind building the business.
- Products and/or services pages
These pages should contain detailed information about your offerings. Be sure to add strong CTAs to each of them.
- Contact page
Here, you should include all your business contact details to help visitors reach out to you if they have any queries.
- Blog page
Maintaining a blog section has become almost a must for all types of businesses. Add informative posts to this page to improve your brand awareness and establish your business as an authority in its niche/industry.
Step 7: Install a Good Content Management System
A CMS (content management system) stands for a software application or program that you can use to create and manage your website content. Choose a CMS that’s user-friendly, affordable, and doesn’t require much technical expertise to use.
Here’re three popular content management systems that you can choose from.
The world’s most sought-after CMS, WordPress has all the features required to manage all your content-related activities and a robust support community. You can also find lots of plugins for this free CMS to extend your site’s functionality.
The downside of WordPress is that it’s frequently targeted by hackers, thanks to its massive popularity. So, if you choose WordPress, you must implement advanced security measures to protect your site.
This is also a popular CMS and comes with many useful features like WordPress. Although it’s safer than WordPress, it has significantly fewer theme options and plugins than WordPress. This sometimes limits the extensibility of the sites.
The notable thing about Joomla is that it appears with better security, SEO, and multilingual capacities than WordPress. However, if you want to go with WordPress, there are plugins available that can help you achieve a better performance than Joomla.
Step 8: Select an E-Commerce Platform (If Applicable)
If you want to sell products and/or services from your site, you need to integrate an e-commerce platform with it. If you don’t do it currently, you should think about it as it can potentially boost your revenue.
Here’re some popular e-commerce platforms to help you make an informed decision.
You can use this cloud-based e-commerce platform to build and customize your online store and manage all necessary things from a centralized location. Just remember that since it’s a standalone platform, your online store will technically be separate from your main website.
Shopify comes with a plethora of features like unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, discount codes, fraud analysis, detailed reports, and a lot more. Moreover, you won’t need any technical knowledge to set up a Shopify store as everything is already there on the backend.
As for the disadvantage, you won’t have as much flexibility or control over the store as you’d with other platforms like WooCommerce.
- Shopify Plus
Developed using the Shopify platform, Shopify Plus brings you international e-commerce options, more staff accounts, better customizability, and a more advanced level of support. Remember that all these features come at a higher cost than Shopify.
WooCommerce is a WordPress extension and belongs to the most sought-after e-commerce platforms in the world. While there are lots of WooCommerce plugins available, being a WordPress extension makes it even more flexible. The platform itself comes with a high degree of scalability and lots of features sufficient for most small business owners to increase the revenue of their online stores.
If you explore WooCommerce, you’ll find lots of pre-built premium and free themes available for it. It’s always advisable to go with a premium theme offered by a popular developer as it’ll provide better support and security.
Step 9: Implement SEO Best Practices
If you want to use your website as the main source of your customers, you must implement SEO (search engine optimization) best practices to it. They can help your site achieve better rankings in the search result pages, which leads to an increase in your organic traffic.
Once you have a steady source of good amounts of organic traffic, you can use CRO (conversion rate optimization) techniques to convert your visitors into loyal customers.
You can follow these common SEO best practices.
- Optimizing the headlines, meta tags, and meta descriptions
- Implementing an SEO-friendly site architecture
- Establishing simple navigation using internal links
- Thorough keyword research and inclusion of relevant keywords into your website content
- Improving your site’s loading speed
- Using proper coding for the site
- Improving its security quotient using measures like installing a good SSL certificate
- Ensuring your site’s mobile-friendliness
- Acquiring high-quality backlinks from topically relevant, authoritative websites
- Adding your business’s social media profiles to your site
It’s important to note that SEO is a continuous process and takes time to demonstrate results. But once the benefits start to generate, they continue for years. You only need to monitor your site’s SEO performance regularly and tweak the tactics if required.
You should also note that SEO is a vast, complex field and keeping pace with the ever-evolving SEO parameters requires significant expertise, time, and effort (and sometimes money also!). However, if you cannot hire an SEO expert to improve your site’s SEO performance, you should try to consult one to stay on the right track.
Step 10: Publish the Website on the Internet
We’ve reached the last step of the process of how to create a website for a small business. If you used WordPress, it has already made your site available to the public. If you used other site builders, your site might remain private unless you publish it.
Whether it’s already published or not, remember to do the following last-minute things.
- Preview the site on different devices to ensure it’s properly viewable on each of them
- Read your site content thoroughly to ensure its accuracy
- Eliminate any unnecessary pieces of content from your site
Once your site is published, you can start promoting it on social media platforms and through other digital marketing techniques.
Develop a Site Maintenance Plan
While the process of how to create a website for a small business encompasses the steps we discussed above, your job doesn’t end with publishing your website. Regular maintenance is a must to help your site deliver its best performance always.
Here’re some maintenance tips that you may want to follow.
- Review the reports generated by webmaster tools regularly to spot errors as soon as you can
- Analyze your organic traffic data to get valuable insights about your target audience, which helps you serve them better
- Review performance data to fix errors and warnings and optimize your site
- Always keep all software and applications up-to-date
- Run security scans regularly to ensure your site is safe and clean of viruses
- Take regular backups to make sure you can retrieve the data if something goes wrong
- If your site has multiple variations, perform A/B testing to identify which one of them delivers better performance
Final Thoughts: How To Create A Website For A Small Business
As you can see, the process of how to create a website for a small business isn’t as difficult as many business owners think. Just be sure to follow the steps we mentioned in this guide, and you should be able to build and publish a website for your small business within a couple of hours.