A website used to be a luxury for small businesses. But in this modern-day and age, it has rather become a necessity. A lot of small business owners think they must hire a web developer to design a website for their business. It’s not entirely true. Of course, having a web developer by your side would definitely help to craft a complex site. But it comes with its own price. An average web developer charges anywhere from $36-$55 per hour to work on your site. By the time your site is ready, the costs would reach anywhere from $2000 to $5000. Therefore, It is not practical for small business owners who are looking for a simple website just for an online presence and to give basic information to customers.
In this beginner-friendly article, I am going to give you a step-by-step guide on building a small business website from scratch.
1. Choosing your website building platform :
I assume a lot of us don’t have any coding skills. Therefore, you should choose a user-friendly platform that lets you build your website without any programming skills. There are basically two platforms that let you do exactly that.
– WordPress :
WordPress is one of the best CMS(Content Management Systems) that you can build your website around. Whopping 70% of all websites on the Internet are built with WordPress. Keep in mind, there are two versions of WordPress(.com and .org) but we are specifically going to talk about wordpress.org since it gives you unlimited features and full control over your website. In this platform, you need to manage your domain and hosting from different platforms. But don’t worry I will go through those steps later.
– Self Hosted Website Builders :
If you’d like an all-in-one drag and drop solution, you might want to consider well-renowned website builders like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify. These builders are self-hosted, which means you don’t need to host your website somewhere else. The pricing of these builders is a bit on the higher side.
Talking about the pricing, if you opt for Squarespace’s Business Package, it will cost you around $18 a month. On the other hand, WordPress is open-source free software. However, you are responsible for domain and hosting on WordPress which costs you around 7-8$ a month.
For this guide, I will primarily focus on WordPress.org because I believe it’s simply the best solution for small business websites.
2. Picking your Domain and Hosting provider :
A domain name is just the name of your website. It ideally should be your business name. If your business name is Aussie Plumbers, then your domain name should be aussieplumbers.com, ausplumbers.net, or something along those lines.
If you’re wondering how to register or buy your domain name, don’t worry just yet. I have got a deal for all small business owners, where you’ll receive your domain name absolutely free for the first year when you buy your hosting package.
Now let’s talk about hosting. Oh, and by the way, if you are going with the self-hosted platforms for your website, you can ignore this step. WordPress users, please keep reading.
The cheapest hosting package offered by Bluehost is currently only $2.95/mo if you register for a 36 month period and $4.95/mo if you go for 12 months. This package is more than enough for small businesses and you can always upgrade as your business grows.
Bluehost features a super user-friendly dashboard and one-click WordPress Installation. The best thing however is when you purchase your hosting with Bluehost, you get 1 domain, an SSL certificate, and CDN for absolutely free.
3. Selecting a theme :
Once you use Bluehost’s one-click WordPress Installer feature and install the WordPress on your website, you can access the WordPress dashboard by going to <yourdomainname>/login(Example: moneyworths.com/login). Enter the credentials you used during installation and there is a beautiful WordPress dashboard for you.
WordPress or any other website builder offers tons of free and paid themes for your website. You don’t need to buy any paid theme though, since WordPress offers thousands of high-quality free themes for every business niche.
In WordPress, you can access free themes from the dashboard by navigating to Appearance / Themes.
Browse the WordPress theme library and once you find a theme that you think suits your business, click on Install. You will be able to customize the theme once you activate your theme from the dashboard.
4. Adding your content :
Before you add your content, make sure to have a rough structure in your mind. Most small businesses require a few key pages.
As the name suggests, this is the home directory of your website. It is the first page that people see when they come to your website so make sure to have clear navigation links and give a short overview of your services.
Products, Services, or Portfolio Page :
This is where you showcase your skills, services, or products for your clients. If your website is service-based, it is generally a good practice to add your past work and portfolios to this page.
About Page :
On this page, you will share the story of your business or share information about your team.
Contact Page :
On this page, you’d want to add a contact form. This will encourage your customers to get in touch if they have any queries. Also, make sure the physical location of your business and contact numbers are clearly visible to the prospective customer.
This is one of the most important pages to have in order to gain organic traction. Read my Blogging 101 guide to learn more about blogs and blogging in general.
To create a new page in WordPress, simply head over to Pages and click Add New.
5. Optimizing for search engines :
Once you have built your website and it is live online, you still have to make sure people can find your website. Search Engine Optimization is one of the best strategies that can help you with that.
SEO is a set of rules and practices that refines your website from all the other websites on the internet. This will in turn help you rank higher on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for the relevant queries. These are some of the few key practices that you should keep in your mind while optimizing your website for search engines.
- Use relevant keywords in your posts and pages,
- Make sure you choose a better hosting platform
- Make your website mobile responsive
- Include internal and outbound links throughout your website
- Use the post name in the permalinks.
The good news is, if you choose WordPress as your website platform, you can install SEO plugins. One of the best SEO plugins in the plugin library is Yoast SEO and it is free. This plugin will scan your content and suggest improvements and new ideas to improve your SEO.
If you need any professional help to do SEO for your small business website, please contact us. We can connect you with some of the SEO experts who are really affordable.
6. Publishing your website :
Many website builders will give you an option to keep your website private while you design and make changes to it; then publish it once it is ready for visitors. With WordPress, your website is live to the public as soon as you install the WordPress software on your website.
Regardless, before you publish your website for visitors or start promoting your website, there are a few last-minute checks that you’d want to make.
- Remove any filler content from your theme or template.
- Check your website from a mobile device and make sure it looks good and is readable.
- Make sure you have favicon uploaded.
- Make sure your contact form works well.
In order to start driving traffic to your new website, you can consider reaching out to existing customers to let them know you’re now online. You can also promote it on social media or via email.
If you need any professional help in digital marketing and driving traffic to your website, please let us know here.
A web-based presence is crucial assuming you need to reach a more extensive crowd. Contacting web design agencies may not be acceptable for you if you’re tight on budget or a small business. Fortunately, with fledgling amicable platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix, you can construct a site instantly and set aside some cash all the while.
To recap, here’s how to make a small business website in 6 steps:
- Choosing your website building platform.
- Picking your domain and hosting provider.
- Selecting a theme.
- Adding your content.
- Optimizing for search engines.
- Publishing your website.