In the current era, websites have been a major key to the success of your business. But small business would not opt to pay a huge sum of money to design a website.
However, even brick-and-mortar stores that do not conduct e-commerce must have an online presence these days.
Customers often check the websites of a business or company to research the product or service, location, and operating hours. Whatever business you run, having your own website has become essential.
You surely don’t have to make a dent in your pocket to start a new site for your company. Even a simple, well-designed website can give you an advantage in your field.
Meanwhile, your site will help you open up to a new group of customers and help you expand easily and at a cheap cost.
Over the years, website design software has gradually developed to be simple to use for anyone. The interesting fact is you don’t need to know how to code to create an appealing and functional website.
No matter which program you choose to use, you need to follow a few simple rules and tips to give your website a professional appearance. This will not only make your business easy to find but also present your company in the best light.
There are a few tips and tricks that you can use to design a website for your small business.
Purpose for the Website
A business website is the space to give your potential customer a general information about your company or a direct platform for e-commerce.
It does not matter if you have a simple site or a complex e-commerce site. The important thing is it should tell a little about your company and what does your company does.
You must give your customer the specific user experience and their journey to navigate through your site. Since you’re a retailer or service provider, you may want to offer customers the option to pay online. For which you will have to opt the external payment service.
It is critical for your website to let people know who you are and what you do right away. Due to which they are not perplexed when visiting your small business website. Make certain that your primary homepage banner and subsequent banners are portrayals of your services.
One of the most important aspects of your website is its domain name. It’s the URL you’ll share with current and prospective clients, as well as promote on social media.
So, the name you choose for your site must be descriptive and simple to remember and type in. To avoid customer confusion, try to keep it short and avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers.
In addition, for better result, you should make the selection from your top-level domain, or TLD. This is the ending of your domain name, such as.com, .net, or.biz. Nontraditional TLD names, on the other hand, have grown in popularity in recent years.
Once you decide on your domain name, you can just check the availability and buy it from domain register such as Domain.com, Wix, GoDaddy, Square Space, and more.
Decide On The Webhost
One of the important part in the website is choosing a host. It is a server that stores all of its data for public access at all times.
Because hosting your own website is likely too expensive for your small business, you’ll need to choose an external host. Meanwhile, you can also make your choice based on your budget plan.
For the less expensive option, you can go for web hosting, entails sharing a server with other websites. Dedicated hosting is significantly more expensive. However, it provides you with your own private server.
Furthermore, it eliminates the need to compete with other sites that could slow down your speed. Web hosting is included in some web builder platforms’ monthly packages, such as Squarespace and Wix.
You can also opt a “virtual private server” (VPS) which is the plan which offers the best of both worlds. As the cost ranges from $20 to $50 per month which makes it an affordable hosting service that you receive.
While choosing the hosting company, make sure they offer phone/chat service so that you can quickly get help in the case you face any problems. Though many of them provide e-mail provide, it can be time-taking and frustrating at times.
You will need to be able to connect to your server using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). The server’s contents on your site should be backed up on a daily basis.
Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software is the place for you to create and manage digital content. A good CMS is essential for you to maintain your site. In addition, it requires little technical knowledge to use.
You should select a CMS that is tailored to your specific requirements i.e. different systems are used for various reasons, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and cost.
There are a few systems that you can use to start the site for your small business.
One of the most popular CMS, WordPress is a vast, active support community and many useful plugins to extend the functionality of your site. It is also free and relatively easy to set up.
Most website developers are familiar with it, so finding an individual or agency to work on your site should not be difficult. You can easily create website for your small business through WordPress due to its flexibility and extensibility. However, one of the drawback of this CMS is its security.
Hackers find it is easy to target because of its weakness. Your WordPress site must be regularly maintained and secured in order to avoid being hacked. Furthermore, because it is difficult to secure every third-party plugin, keeping your WordPress site secure must be a continuous commitment through various best practices.
Squarespace is a monthly or annual subscription service that makes website and blog creation as simple as “drag and drop.”
All-in-one package includes website design, development, software maintenance, metrics, domain name with annual purchase, SSL security, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth & storage hosting.
It is ideal for creatives because it includes high-quality design templates. If you are on a tight budget and require a simple and beautiful website but cannot afford a website designer, this is an excellent service for you.
Squarespace has a much lower learning curve than WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. However, it doesn’t have nearly as many extensibility options. Little did you knew, if you have a few or no technical knowledge and want a quick and easy way to create a website, Squarespace is an excellent choice.
Another CMS similar to Squarespace is Wix but a little more user-friendly. Though there is no annual subscription, they do offer monthly subscription with a few simple features.
It also has a drag-and-drop feature which you can freely drag and drop anywhere in the page. This is the perfect option if you are willing to publish a site quickly.
In addition, Wix has more templates than Squarespace which you can choose from to customize your website the way you want.
However, once you choose the template you must stick with it or else completely rebuilt the site in order to choose the next template.
Drupal is another well-known CMS. It has many of the same advantages as WordPress, such as flexibility, simplicity, and a large support community. Notably, it is a more secure CMS than WordPress (less vulnerable to malicious activity).
However, it lacks as many plugin or theme options, making it less extensible. The White House website (Whitehouse.gov) was run with Drupal for many years before switching to WordPress, which it still uses today.
Joomla is another popular CMS. It has better SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities out of the box than WordPress. However, with the help of a few plugins, WordPress outperforms Joomla capabilities.
Interesting And Engaging Website User Interface
The next thing you have to do is customize the chosen template to make your site look the way you want for your business. This includes page editing, adding additional pages as per your need, and deleting unnecessary pages.
In addition, you can also configure the site-wide header and footer.
This is the page that the majority of site visitors see as soon as they land on the site. They should get simple navigation options to help site visitors find the content they’re looking for. In addition, a general call to action that speaks to your target audience.
Home pages frequently shows the high-level statistics which includes the number of customers served or the number of years in business. Moreover, it also shows awards and memberships.
Many businesses display the business logo and the main navigation menu in the header. In addition, it also includes contact method such as phone number or the link to the contact page.
Some of the businesses also place the search bar into the site’s header which makes easy for people to find out the information quickly.
Footers frequently include an email sign-up form, brand information, contact information, and links to social media marketing profiles. Likewise, it also contains other information like business operation hours.
You should build an About Page in your site to create connections through your brand mission and vision, tagline, values, and so on.
Some of the businesses also include the information and photos of the team members and top leadership of the company. You can also publish the links to the company’s major milestones, awards, interviews, or more.
You should dedicate a contact page with additional contact option aka contact form for the visitors. The page also includes a live chat feature on your website which makes easier for visitors to get more information about your business.
There are numerous live chat plugins available for download and installation on many CMC’s.
Create a landing page for your blog if you intend to use content marketing to drive traffic to your website. This way you can reach to the targeted audience who have been looking up to the similar or the same service you have been providing.
You can design the page with sections for featured post, specific ones, and recent posts. This makes your page look managed and tailor your customer profile and personas.
SEO For Your Small Business Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one the essential key to make your small business website search engine-friendly. This will help your website easily found in the online searches.
Though this term may sound technical, you can follow some tactics to help your site rank higher on Google. And the best part is it is easy to perform too.
You can use free keyword research tools to find the specific unique and top keywords. This helps optimize each of your page in the website.
With the most searched phrases and words, you can be able to target the specific audience group which can be beneficial to grow your business. You will have to use the keyword in the page title, subheadings, and in between the content itself.
Make sure to include it in the page slug which is the part of the URL that comes after the domain name. In addition, the keyword must be included in the Meta description so that the google shows the word in bold form whenever someone looks up on the Internet.
You should have a basic knowledge on local SEO if you are targeting local customers for your small business.
Launch Your Business Website
Now, you are ready to publish your website. But there are a few things you need to consider before making your site live. Make sure to review it.
Also, test the site and look if it is mobile responsive as well as desktop responsive. As many people nowadays surf the internet through their phone, your site must be mobile responsive.
In addition, you must check if any of the links are broken as it can portray a bad image for your business site. Apart from all of that, you must make sure your site is fast. Because more than 40% visitors leave the slow site.
This can bring a negative impact on your search ranking. Try to reduce the size of image by compressing them. Or else you can also try to reduce the resolution.
After you go through all of that, your website is now ready to go live.