As a small business owner, you are probably aware of the importance of having a small business website. A website can make you credible, professional and most of all, your services and products can be found by online searches.
If you are at the first or early stages of the process you can find yourself spending lots of time online asking questions. Hours of research to find out how to DIY your website or choosing one of the many online website builders that are heavily advertised on the television.
To get your foot on the ladder and get your website created I have listed 6 easy steps to help you create your small business website design.
Table of Contents
1. Buy a relevant domain name
Finding your domain name is an easy process, think of what you want your domain name to be. Search for it via one of the many domain name providers such as 123-reg, where you can buy (at the time of writing) a domain name for just £1 for the first year.
You can chose from many types of domain TLD’s (top level domains) such as .co.uk .com, .org. Most of the TLD’s are self-explanatory, such a .co.uk for UK .org for organisation etc.
Choose a name relevant to your business such as your business name and is easy for customers to remember. If your business name is already registered, try a variation of your name or add a dash inbetween words. If you serve customers in a local area add your local area name to your domain, such as beefybuchersyorkshire.co.uk.
2. Determine your website’s purpose
Don’t just think you should add a bit of text and a few pictures to create a website. Think of its purpose. What do you want to achieve?
Are you selling products directly, expanding your customer reach or selling services? This will determine what type of site you will need such as brochure website showcasing your services. A blog-based site offering tips or an e-commerce website where you can sell your products and take payments online.
Think of all the features you will need for your website. You just need a brochure site selling your services and will need a page for your customers contact you and a mailing list to collect email details. If you are selling products you will need a payment system to take payments. Think of all the things you want and need to make your website work for you. List them in priority order from what you must have to what you would like to have.
Your budget may determine what you can have and have not. Remember a website can grow and expand as you grow, so some things can be added at a later date as your cash flow grows.
3. Prepare your website’s content
Write your content first before looking at the design of your website. Content is king for many reasons, it can sell a service or product, help with SEO (Search engine optimisation) and give the user a better experience.
Focus on your clients, not search engines Tell them about the benefits and features of your services and products and how it will help them.
What pages will you need?
Your home page is your shop front with an overview of who you are, what you do and where and who you do it for. Don’t forget to add an about us page telling your company story, along with services/products pages and a contact page.
A must is adding a blog. I tell all my clients to add a blog. Why? Because this is the one bit of content marketing you can do, that will drive traffic to your website. And it’s free. More information on blogging can found here.
You can hire specialist copywriters who will write your content for you, again this depends on your budget.
When you have created your content you can then think of the structure of your website and how it will all fit together.
4. Building your website
This is where the real costs get involved. The creation of your small business website. You have a few choices, build it yourself, spending hours of headaches learning code, SEO and all that other tech stuff. You could use an online website builder such as WIX or square space if you are on a low budget, but you will find yourself fitting your content to one of the pre-determined templates.
The other choice is WordPress, used widely by many website designers as a CMS (content management system) it has many paid and free templates to help you along the way. You will experience a learning curve, but there are many free and paid plugins to help you create the site you need.
You may have a friend who is a ‘bit handy’ but I tried that route once when wanting some new light switches fitted. I now have to switch on the bedroom light before visiting the lavatory.
If you have a bigger budget, you may be able to afford a freelancer or small agency to help you get your website up and running. You will benefit from their experience and save a lot of headaches along the way.
5. Find a good web hosting company
Your small business website design will need to be hosted. This is where your website lives, basically a big computer that the internet can access and show the world your creation.
You can find many hosting companies by searching google, with varying prices, speeds and features. I do believe that you get what you pay for. Some of the very cheap services provide slow services (it very important your website downloads fast) and some charging extra for providing email.
I would want the following services included for a small business website:
- Fast server
- *SSL certificate
- Control panel
My recommendation is Hostxnow as small Birmingham based provider who does provide all of the above.
*If you are wondering what SSL is, it is when you get that little padlock appear in the browser bar. It means your website is secure and any data transferred such as contact forms and payments will be encrypted and safe. Google also loves SSL and it is also ranking factor.
6. Launch and upkeep your website
When you have made your small business website design live the work does not stop. It needs to be optimised to ensure people can find it. You will need to regularly update your content and add google analytics. This is so you can track how many visitors you are finding your website and what pages they are looking at. You will also be able to track any errors so you can make improvements to your site.
Don’t forget to:
- Add links to any social media platforms you are using
- Add blogs on a weekly basis and share on your social media
- Keep your content relevant and up to date
- Create a site map and add it to google console.
Tip: If you are a WordPress or Drupal user you can add a plug in called Yoast or alternatively Rank Math to your website. This is a great tool to help you optimise your pages. It uses a traffic light system to help you add the relevant information to your pages. If you are using a different planform or built the site yourself, search google for SEO tools for the platform of your choice.