How to Create a Small Business Website – The Ultimate Guide
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your web design needs, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about creating a small business website, from setting up your domain to building your online presence one step at a time.
What Is A Website?
A website is an online location that contains a collection of content, typically related to a business or brand, such as an online store, blog, or media platform. Websites can exist in several different formats, such as a basic website containing only text, or an eCommerce website that contains both text and products for sale.
Not all websites are created equal, however. There are several technical and creative aspects that can be adjusted to improve the performance of your website, from the layout and design of the individual pages to the content itself and the functionality of the website as a whole. With the right plan and the right team, you can get a great starting point for your small business.
Why Should You Create A Small Business Website?
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of American businesses and jobs have transformed overnight into lean, mean, virtual organizations.
Whether you’re providing direct services to people through a physical storefront or you’re serving customers virtually through online platforms and remote workstations, your business model has changed. Traditional ways of doing business will not cut it in today’s world – especially not when it comes to attracting and engaging customers.
The vast majority of businesses can conduct their day-to-day operations without having to close their doors. Still, even those that can operate remotely have adjusted their processes to create more efficiency and to limit the exposure of their employees to the dangers associated with the pandemic.
With customers often located across international borders, the need for an improved digital presence grows exponentially. Throwing up a simple website that offers a handful of products is no longer going to cut it in today’s world. You need to take the time to plan, research, and test different versions of your website to see what resonates with your audience and builds trust – and revenue – in your brand.
How To Create A Small Business Website – The Basics
If you’re looking to create a small business website that can generate revenue, then you need to approach web design with a clear plan in mind. This is not a task that can be handled overnight, especially if you’re new to this – so it’s important to take the time to plan. Consider the following points and make sure that you cover them all:
- Extension (e.g.,.com)
- First letters of the words in the domain (e.g., abc123.com)
- Secondary meaning (e.g., XYZ company is a producer of X devices)
- Tertiary meaning (e.g., XYZ is a subsidiary of ABC)
- IP address (i.e., the numeric address of your website)
- Category examples
- Additional information
- Bold text
- What are you trying to say?
The purpose of these items is to drive traffic to your website. You can use free online services such as Google Keyword Planner (you’ll need to create a Google account for this) to find keywords that are relevant to your business and competitive analysis to identify areas of weakness and strength.
The Evolution Of The Web Design Process
Even before the pandemic, the evolution of the web design process was rapidly changing. For years, creating a website was considered a matter of copying and pasting content from one document to another. Then, in 2019, the rise of tools like Squarespace and Wix made it easy for anyone to build a website in minutes with the click of a button.
With the emergence of these simple website builders, the process of creating a website lost a lot of its complexity. Designers were able to build fully functioning websites with the click of a button, taking the drudge work out of the process. Additionally, the templates offered by the website builders were simplified and made it easy for anyone to build a professional-looking website.
While these tools make the process of creating a website easier, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find the right template for your needs. With a massive range of options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where the planner and the research come in. With a little bit of planning and research, you can ensure that you choose a template that is suitable for your needs. Once you’ve found it, using these tools to build your website will be as quick and easy as possible. You won’t have to deviate from the basic design template once created.
Where Do I Start?
The first step is to pick your domain name. This is the bit of text that will be used to identify your website when someone clicks on the address bar and types in www.yourdomainname.com. Make sure that the domain name is available and that you don’t already have a site or blog on the web using the same name.
Once you’ve chosen your domain name, you can move on to the next step – researching and choosing the right web hosting company. This step is critical – you don’t want to choose a web host that doesn’t support your chosen domain name or extensions (e.g.,.com,.ca) and you want to be sure that you’re getting a solid performance from your web host. Consider these points when choosing a web hosting company:
- Domain name management
- 24/7 customer support
- Quick install
- Free domain privacy
- Free SSL
- Free caching
As a beginner, it’s recommended that you choose a beginner-friendly web host that offers all of these options plus more. Once you’ve found a suitable web host, make sure to purchase the most basic package available. This will reduce your costs later on if you decide to upgrade your plan. Plus, it’s always good to have more control over your costs rather than being subject to a billing cycle that you don’t understand.
Why Do I Need To Choose A Hosting Company?
If you don’t choose a hosting company, then you’re putting all the responsibility for maintaining and improving your website on yourself. When you choose a hosting company to maintain your website, they will take care of the technical aspects of hosting your website (i.e., keeping the server up and running, providing support via email, and upgrading your account as needed).
After you’ve launched your website, you’ll need to make sure that it’s always available and that you don’t experience any downtimes or hiccups that cause lost sales. To do this, you’ll need to monitor its performance regularly and make any necessary adjustments. You can’t do this effectively if you don’t have the web host’s software or your own tech support to rely on (i.e., if you don’t have the time to monitor its performance yourself).
Choosing a web host is very similar to choosing a domain name in the previous step. You will want to find a domain name that is suitable for your needs and that has the appearance of a well-established website. Once you’ve found it, you can then move on to the next step – choosing a theme for your website.
What Is A Theme?
A theme is a customizable design that appears on all the pages of your website. Themed websites make it easy for you to keep your existing design guidelines and color choices while also having a completely different design on each page.
If you’ve ever shopped at an eCommerce store, then you’ve encountered themes. Most stores will have a selection of themes that they use, and it’s usually quite easy to find the one that suits your needs. Themes can also be a great way to add a bit of polish to your website’s appearance. For example, if you sell athletic wear and you want to add a sporty feel to your site, then you can choose a theme that has a spray paint effect on it.