First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to selling online or eCommerce.
Websites are the virtual addresses of businesses today. It acts as a potential factor for the reputation and crediblity of the company.
It is the place where buyers or clients get the first impression of the brand and the product.
Also, a platform where they first interact with your product, learn about it and also can connect to you as well.
It becomes one of your topmost priority to create your small business website effectively in terms of design, functionality, content and other ways as well.
You can certainly get professionals to create your website or get it DIY, eitherway you need an essential pathway to do it the right way.
Here are steps how you should proceed with creating your small business.
Figure Out How Exactly You Want Your Website
Before you get into creating your small business website, it is crucial that you know what you want to do.
Any great website isn’t just about the fancy web design or its content, it is about communicating a vision with a clarity of purpose you want to serve.
For this, you need to materialize few questions for yourself
- Why are you creating this website?
- What will be the purpose of this website?
- How much are you willing to spend on or just manage?
- What is it that you want from the website in the long run?
- Have you decided on the overall branding of the website?
Take some time. Maybe, the best idea is to start writing about the major points defining what you want from the website.
Image Source: Oberlo
Developing your vision here will influence all the decisions you will take in the further steps.
Also, think about how your website is going to reflect the brand image? What overall vibe do you want to give your prospective customers or clients?
Another great tip here is to find the reference website that you really like and want something along the lines but yet unique.
Set your goals with the website as that will help you to go towards the right steps or action to take. Some of these goals can be :
- Selling your products online
- To make people learn about your services and brand
- To build an email list
- Getting appointments
- Directly reaching out to you
Make sure you are giving yourself more reasons than just creating an “online presence”.
Sketch Out The Kind Of Content You Want To Publish
Once you have decided what kind of website you want and figure out your goals, another prep you need to do is about the content.
You are going to publish some content on your website. Even if you are selling products online, there are some minimum content requirements.
So first you decide what and how much content you are going to publish on your website.
- Are you going to regularly publish blogs every week or day?
- Do you need only website content?
- Would you require consistent content on the product like descriptions etc updated on your website?
- What type of content do you want on your website?
Image Source: aThemes
Putting blogs out of the equation, here are some content ideas for your website that you can lead with.
- Homepage Content
- About Us Content
- Tagline & Brief Bio about who you are and what you do
- Product/Services information
- Reviews/ Testimonials from your previous customers
- Video demonstrating your product or service
- Detailed journey of your company
- What sets you apart from your competitors
- Ad copy
- Product/ Service related photographs
- Detailed info on your company’s address, business hours, etc.
Gather Your Brand Materials & Copy
Branding is a crucial aspect of the business, and your business website is the first impression or maybe the end platform where CTA will happen.
Your website must align with your business branding, and it needs to be reflected through the design, copy, and other elements as well.
When you create a website from scratch or using a specific theme or template, it does definitely not feel like yours.
Image Source: Fiverr
It requires a level of customizations in terms of color scheme, layout, logo, images, and content.
Make sure to gather all the required elements and branding/graphic materials needed to customize your small business website fully.
Here are various elements you need to or can gather :
- High-quality custom logo image in different sizes/resolution
- Transparent logo image
- Brand/Website icon
- Website banner ( if required)
- Detailed copy about your company
- Detailed copy about your products/services
- Graphical representation of your product/services
- Video demo of your product/services
- Video of you ( as owner/founder)
- Blog feature image (template)
Get A Domain Name & Hosting Plan
Getting the right domain name and hosting plan is a critical contributor to the success of a website.
It involves the following steps :
- Deciding the domain name for your website
- Buying the domain name
- Deciding the right hosting provider for your website
- Finding the best hosting plan for your website
Let’s dive into these steps one by one to get more clarity on how you proceed with a step more accurately.
Deciding the domain Name For Your Website
Selecting the right domain name can be the half-win for your website’s success. You need to treat the domain name like virtual real estate.
It is the online space where your brand develops its presence, conducts business, drives potential customers, connects, and communicates.
Choosing the domain name same as your business name
This is the best-case scenario if you get the exact domain name of your registered business.
It will help your potential customers to reach out to your website easily. It makes the branding more accurate.
It also helps you to keep your branding consistent across the platforms.
For example, if your business name is underdog productions, then you can just choose the domain name as “underdogproductions.com”.
If you see the name is taken, you can try going for adding some extra words around it or using the next best combination.
Do you have to buy the same domain name as your business name?
Well, not necessarily!
However, when it comes to having a small business website, the ideal scenario is indeed having the domain name the same as your business.
It is to maintain brand consistency and establish authenticity across platforms.
However, some businesses that focus primarily on content marketing or blogging and even personal brand, are more likely to choose other names for their website rather than a company.
What you can do is choose the keyword-based domain considering you are offering a lot of resources, information, and blogs on the subject.
Or you can choose a mix and match of your company/business name.
For example, if your company name is “Mango Holdings Inc.”, you can just make your website with the domain “mango.com” or mangocompany.com.
Choose a Content Management System or Website Builder
The content management system allows you to publish content and create a website such as WordPress, Wix, etc.
So overall, there are two most popular method to build you business website :
- Create your website Using Website Builder
- Create your website Using WordPress
WordPress is easy and learnable but still requires more knowledge to expand the design flexibility and functionality.
Whereas using a website builder, you can drag and drop facilities making it so easy for even non-technical people as well.
WordPress can be a great option, and actually the best option for tech beginners or bloggers and entrepreneurs who are more exercised with technology and the internet.
However, without the knowledge of coding, wordpress to a certain extent is still limited.
If you are a complete beginner in making a website or in general on the internet, going for website builders is a popular choice.
Especially business websites where you want them to be dynamic, vibrant, and impressive in all aspects.
The earlier process will be the same as
- You’ve already got a domain name
- You don’t need a hosting plan till here, at this step
- You also decided what layout or design you prefer
- You got covered all the graphic materials and copy for the website
Now, you have to first select a website builder, and there are too many of them available in the market.
Here are a few of the highly suggested and best-choice website builders for your businesses :
Image Source: ITProPortal
Wix is an overall winner for the best website builder available today for small and large businesses.
They already are the biggest player with their more than 110 million websites built using their builder, so the trust is right there.
Before telling the mountainous pile of features it has to offer, it is important for you to know what makes the Wix an ideal choice for small businesses.
The utter simplicity and easiness through which any fifth grade can make a website using their platform.
But you have the ability to make a sophisticated website and dynamic you want or just want it simple. It totally depends on you!
They are AI-packed systems with advanced features, specific templates, tool integrations, and whatnot.
Image Source: Ecommerce platform
Squarespace is another popular choice when it comes to creating business websites through a website builder.
It is the platform or tool that is cool about what they have to offer to small businesses to help them create amazing websites.
This is perfect for small businesses that want to make things simpler but yet quite effective, professional, and dynamic in different ways.
Definitely it is not as automotive, intuitive, and vibrant as Wix or Weebly. It takes time to get your website right.
It can also allow you to create an e-commerce page for your website where you sell your products directly to the customer.
The website editor is very easy to use with plenty of templates, tools, and features available at your disposal.
Image Source: Crazy Egg
WordPress as a content management system can be a bit exhausting due to the learning curve it requires.
However, wordpress.com, their hosting solution is a different animal altogether. It is extremely user-friendly and actually quite fun to use.
This is not self-hosting, so you won’t have to worry about the technicalities like setting up your domain and hosting together, and more.
This one offers you a plethora of features and fully customizable website builders very easy to use for beginners.
Not to mention, the wide range of wordpress themes you are getting on the platform makes your website look great.
However, WordPress.com doesn’t offer a drag and drop builder but you can use its live customizable that is equally easy to use.
Image Source: Weebly
Weebly is one of the best alternatives for the Wix if you are so into that. It is a highly flexible, easy-to-use, and powerful website builder.
However, there are some limitations you get with Weebly, unlike other options.
Like you can use only limited features where it doesn’t allow you to integrate the third-party application to the site as well.
If you want to start an online store, Weebly is going to charge you a 3% transaction fee for every payment made on the website.
Image Source: WPKube
Divi is that one drag-and-drop website/ page builder and theme that comes with more than 100 layout packs dedicated to different business categories and niches.
This is so great for small businesses that are looking to start right away with an extensive variety of designs and templates to choose from.
They offer more than 800 pre-built designs and custom templates and website elements to make your website dynamic and highly interactive.
Divi makes you quite excited about creating your small business website, especially if you are just starting out or new to this website creation thing.
It offers all kinds of advanced features such as bulk editing, replacing styles, color managers and so much more.
Remember, that Divi is dedicated to WordPress websites, so you have to create a wordpress website.
However, using this you won’t have to go with the usual technical work of customization or coding.
Divi is a better option than Wix in different ways, however, both have their own set of benefits and shortcomings.
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Web.com is another well-known website builder for small businesses.
They are popular due to their affordable plans and compete against the Wix and other pricier website builder options.
This particular website builder offers an easy-to-use drag and drop builder where you don’t need any technical skills or coding knowledge to create a website.
It offers tremendously attractive pre-made website templates where you can customize it to a greater extent with few clicks.
This can be a perfect choice if you are just starting with your business and looking for a budget-friendly, extremely easy but yet effective method to create a website.
Web.com also provides eCommerce features for creating impeccable online stores where you can accept payments.
Image Source: HTE
Duda may be a small player in the front of website builders like Wix or Divi but it is one of the promising ones in the market for sure.
It focussed on the individuals who are preferably designers or the agencies, specifically to people who make a lot of websites.
And that’s why they faciliated their platform to offer easy-to-make website building features.
These features include mobile site customization, detailed data analytic, user-interface personalization and much more.
They also have a multi-language support along with free e-commerce add-on allowing small business websites to sell upto 10 products online.
Duda is also on a bit expensive side as compared to other competitors but they do offer all extra length of features that helps you a lot.
Buying a Theme/Template For Your Website
Depending upon whether you have selected a website builder or WordPress as CMS, you will need a template or a theme for your website accordingly.
Picking A Template
If you have selected any website builder other than WordPress, then you need to pick up a template for your website.
Choosing the template is certainly the best part of creating the website as you would get the first glimpse of how your website looks.
Website builders like Wix allows you to fully-custmize your website visually and create website making from scratch.
They are way better in their visual website builder aspects as compared to the templates.
However, they do have various templates to pick up from categorized into different segments
Squarespace, on the other hand, isn’t keen on creating websites from scratch. They rather offer you award-winning templates that make it easy to customize. .
These website builders offer you tons of templates to pick up from.
For example, Wix offers more than 800 templates where Squarespace offers 110 templates and Weebly has over 50 templates.
Tips for choosing the right template from website builder :
- Pick a template that is nearest to what your brand represents.
- The template choice must be prioritized on the basis of the layout you prefer.
- Choose a template that requires minimum customization
- Don’t only get hooked by superficia details like bold images or fonts, look beyond how it can be an ideal template for your website.
- Focus on finding business-oriented websites only.
Building Your Website
So you have everything else figured out, like buying the domain, hosting plan, deciding your preferences on design and layout, preparing the content, etc.
Now all it comes to the final task, building your website. Many people just consider this their first step which is a huge mistake.
It is tempting to just go right in and start building your website, see how it pans out or matches your visualization.
But the thing is without proper planning, vision, and elements, you are more likely to be disappointed as a website takes much more than putting things together.
Now, since you have completed the earlier steps, here you have two ways to go with this.
- DIY Build Your Website
- Hire A Professional To Do It
Option 1: DIY Build Your Website
With all the prior steps completed by yourself, you are more likely to create your business website by yourself only.
It saves you a significant amount of money at the starting point of the business or maybe you are just not so sure about how to proceed with it.
Since you got your domain name, hosting provider, plan theme, or template along with all required content and graphics, you can start creating your website.
There are so many options available to create with pre-customized templates, flexible and customizable themes, and easy-to-learn interface website builders.
Option 2: Hire A Professional To Do It
If you are not sure about the DIY thing, well it is always better to hire a professional or freelancer for creating a website for you.
Well, in that case, all this information can still empower you to be more learned in this arena.
Also, you would know what to expect or what to ask for when you deal with a professional.
There are a lot of them you can find on LinkedIn’s Pro Finder or Upwork or other hiring platforms.
Make sure you check their previous work as a web designer or developer.
You will also find other professionals like graphic designers or copywriters who can further help you create an amazing website for your business.
It is important you have all the basic knowledge or the idea about how to create a website or what it is that goes in the making of one.
It will also help you brief them on your vision considering the kind of budget you have, the skill the professional has that you are hiring, and the amount of work it needs to be done.
A lot of small businesses are just right away unaware of the process of creating a website. It becomes easier to get fooled around or exploited for poor-quality services or mediocre work.
Adding Website Content To Your Website
By now, you have already :
- Selected your domain name
- Selected the hosting company and plan
- Configured your website
- Decided your design and layout preferences
- Selected the website builder
- Choosen the template/theme
And now it comes to add one of the most crucial aspects of a website, i.e website content.
Website content can be :
- General website information
- Company information
- Product catelog
- Product/Service information
- Shipping details
- Contact information
Content is essentitl to communicate to your audience about what your brand is, and what you sell.
In term of pages, a business website suppose to have :
- Homepage content : Content that provides a glimpse of who you are and what product/service you offer. Easy to navigate and impressive content.
- Informative “About us” page : Tell about your company, how it started, what it does, your brand story, pictures of you, and your team.
- Clear and to-the-point “Contact us” page : providing customer details about how they can contact you or find you online/offline.
- Product/ service pages: It can be one or branched set of pages on details about the product or services you offer with details.
- Blog: Blog is not ideally a website content, it is a content-marketing strategy you add to your website to help out customers, reach more people
One of the crucial steps is to integrate all different kinds of required application integration on your website.
Now you have pretty much your website ready with all customized designs and your own content.
Here these apps can help your website add more functionality and extra features to make it more dynamic and efficient as per the requirement.
Here are some sets of applications that you need to integrate with your website.
- Social Media Integrations : Integrating your social media platforms to your website in the form of Facebook page embedded, or Instagram gallery or even the live twitter feed, makes you look more authentic.
- Cookie Alert: It is about being transparent with your website visitors about how you are using their data and allowing them to make the changes.
- Social Media Shares : If you want to increase your engagement and articles or even pages to be shared on social media, do add the social media share buttons allowing users to directly share the page.
- Google Maps : You can integrate an interactive map allowing your potential customers to find you easily.
- Live Chat: Live chat is an essential integration for a business where visitors can query about the product or company to the representatives.
- Customer Testimonials/Reviews : Customer testimonials and reviews help your potential buyer establish trust in your business by adding social proof.
- Forms : All kinds of forms allow you to contact the audience and vice-versa through the information you gain through the form. It can help in your email marketing as well.