If you are a business owner, keeping up with the newest trends is a must. And the biggest trend you should be doing now is to have your website and make your presence felt online. There are many benefits of having a website for your small business. Nowadays, people turn to the internet for everything from makeup, clothes, food, cleaning materials, and even pest termination services. Consumers also check the web for opening hours, location, and reviews. Furthermore, a website helps you reach and find new customers quickly and easily. So we can’t stress enough why you need a website for your business.
Now, if you’re not a techie and you don’t have a clue on where to start creating a website for your business, don’t worry. There are many web design software available today. Thus, it’s easier and faster to build a website today more than ever. You don’t even have to know about coding and other technical stuff. To help guide you, here’s our step-by-step guide to creating a functional and professional website.
1. Purchase a domain name
A domain name is a site’s unique address. Here you can use your business name or any text phrase that’s relevant to what you’re offering just as long as it’s not taken. This is the first factor that consumers will have with your website. So make it short, memorable and easy to type.
If you’re wondering how much this would set you back, there are two costs you should think about. There’s the cost of buying the domain name which usually amounts around $10 to $12. Then you’ll pay around a similar amount every year to keep that domain name registered.
Already have a domain name in mind? You can check its availability through WHOis.net’s domain search tool.
2. Get a business email address
For a more professional look, you have to use a personalized business email address. For example, our email address is email@example.com which makes us more established and credible compared to having something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can get a business email address in many ways. For one, many hosting companies include business email features in their packages for free. Or, you can use G Suite which is already fully integrated with other website builders.
3. Choose a website builder
Choosing a website builder is one of the most important steps you have to take. But before we proceed, you have to understand that when it comes to choosing a website builder, there’s no single solution. This is because different businesses have different needs. For example, a small local flower shop requires something completely different compared to an agency offering SEO services.
Here are some of the most popular website builders available today:
|Wix||Has over 500 templates and more than 260 apps for adding functionality to your site||Free plan available or $13 per month|
|Squarespace||Offers 60 templates for key industries and good built-in features||No free plan but you can take a 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at $12 per month|
|Weebly||Has over 50 themes to choose from and features the biggest app store among all the website builders.||Free plan available or $5 per month|
Now, you might hear about WordPress a lot and wonder why it isn’t on our list. Well, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) where you have the sole responsibility to find a hosting provider for your website. On the other hand, website builders offer a complete package. Thus, they will automatically host your website.
Unlike website builders, WordPress offers you full customization. This is why most businesses prefer using it. With the right web designer and web host, you can create a WordPress website for your creative business and make the most impact on your customers. If you were to continue with WordPress, here are the additional steps you need to take:
- Choose a web designer
- Choose a web host
4. Create your website content
Typically, business websites have the following essential pages:
- Products / Services
- About Us
- Contact Us
We recommend that you keep this format as customers are already used to seeing it. This makes it easier for them to navigate and understand your website. Now, when creating content for each page, make sure that your message is clear, simple, straightforward and has a single call to action.
Also, as you are creating your pages, ensure that they are mobile-optimized. Meaning, your pages can adjust to any device screen type. The reason for this is that more than half of the population are now using their devices to browse the internet. So, making it mobile-friendly will help ensure your website’s success.
5. Optimize for search engines
Since we’ve already talked about optimizing your site for mobile, it’s time to look at the bigger picture and optimize your website for search engines. See, it’s not enough to have a stunning website or have relevant content, especially if your potential customers can’t see or find you. Thus, the need to apply effective SEO strategies to your site.
SEO helps your site to rank higher in search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. It helps search engines know what your website is about and what you are offering. The main goal of using SEO is to be considered as useful and relevant for search terms associated with your website. You want to be included in the search engine results pages (SERP) and hopefully, land on the first page. To help you with this, here are some simple steps to help you optimize your website for search engines:
- Ensure quick loading time
- Use keywords… but don’t overdo it
- Create awesome content
- Build links to your page
Once you’ve finished with all these, now you can publish your site. Congratulations! You now have a functional website that can help grow your business. Just a quick reminder before sharing your website to your social media accounts, make sure to give your site one last preview. Use a tablet, desktop, smartphone, and several browsers to check if everything is working properly. Also, try to ask your friends or family to try the site and see their user experience. It’s better to get everything fixed and ironed out before your customers can see it.
Then, unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. There’s no such thing as a finished website and you have to keep uploading blog posts, add new products, and updating your site. You also have to monitor your progress, see if you’re meeting your goals, how people are using your site, and take the necessary steps to improve your user’s experience.