Today, having a website is almost a mandatory part of running a business regardless of whether it is a billion-dollar company or a mom-and-pop shop. They offer businesses a variety of benefits that can help drive sales.
Many are asking how they can make a business website, and today, I am here to answer that very question.
What Is A Business Website?
A business website is a vague term that refers to any website that represents a business or its interests. For example, your restaurant may have a website that allows customers to reserve tables or more likely, order food online.
The purpose and function of a business website change depending on each business and its needs. Thus, it’s just a website that represents your business.
How to Make A Website For Your Small Business
Step 1: Figure Out What Your Site Is About
I just said that business websites can be radically different from one another, so the first actual step is to figure out what your website is about.
The best place to start is to identify what kind of business you have (restaurant, landscaping, tutoring, etc) and visit other websites for those industries. See what kind of things the competition is doing, especially in your local area.
Figure out how you can improve upon their formula and create a unique website that can really wow a visitor. After all, presentation is half the battle.
Don’t believe me?
Did you know that a visitor will make their first impression of your website with the first 3 seconds? If it’s not positive, you’ve just lost that customer.
Things happen fast on the internet, and your website needs to be built with that in mind. Before moving on to the next step, identify the features you think you will need, and how you will separate yourself from the competition.
Creating a logo doesn’t hurt either. This might be the most important part of starting a website.
Step 2: Pick A Web Host & Domain Name
Next, you need to rent a server to host your website. This is known as “web hosting.” Every website needs a web host unless they own its own server network.
And for a small business, I’m willing to bet you do not own the equipment necessary to host your site. The good news is that since web hosting is necessary for all websites, it’s a competitive industry.
There are a ton of affordable options available.
The bad news is that web hosts are not created equally. A web host will directly affect the performance of your website, and that’s a huge deal. Let’s face it, if a website takes a few seconds to load, you are probably going to click on the “Back” button.
Or, just close the tab.
That’s why here at GreenGeeks, we strive to deliver the best possible experience to all customers. And according to reviews and customers, we are doing a great job as we have been recognized as one of the top web hosting companies in 2021.
We deliver extremely fast speeds at an affordable price, and most importantly, we do it without impacting the environment!
We are a green web host that carefully calculates all of the energy we use to host your website and purchase three times that amount in clean energy. Thus the websites we host are actually carbon negative.
At this stage, you will also need to pick a domain name. Since this is a business website, that should just be something similar to “the nameofyourbusiness.com.”
If it’s taken, you might need to get creative, but keep it short and easy to remember and you should be good.
Step 3: Choose A Platform to Build With (WordPress)
Next, you need to choose a platform to build with, and that can be a challenging decision because there are a ton of options. For that reason, I’m gonna save you a lot of time and tell you to pick WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) on the market with a market share of over 40%. Or in other words, 40% of websites are built using WordPress. Yeah, that’s pretty staggering in such a crowded environment.
So, how did it get so popular?
One word: accessibility. Regardless of whether you are a veteran web developer or a complete beginner building for the first time, WordPress has everything you are going to need and allows you to build it in the easiest way possible.
The platform does not require any coding. Instead, everything is handled through a series of options and settings. It’s so easy that anyone can use, which is why it is so successful.
And because it is so popular, web hosting services are typically built specifically for WordPress and cost less.
And did I mention that WordPress itself is free? That’s right, the only real cost for WordPress is web hosting, which is usually cheaper than a cup of coffee for a month.
Regardless of your skill level, WordPress is there for you and it has a huge amount of helpful resources to take advantage of.
If you need help installing it, we have you covered.
Step 4: Installing Themes and Plugins
After installing WordPress, there are two things you need to start considering. What theme will you use and what plugins you will install?
A theme is a collection of style sheets and templates that forms the appearance of your website. Essentially everything from the colors you use to the page layouts comes from the theme you choose.
As you can imagine, they are an essential part of your website. And WordPress has thousands to choose from, which raises the question:
How do I pick a theme?
A good theme must include responsive design, be SEO friendly, and deliver a great performance. The good news is that most themes do this by default. After this, it’s just a matter of finding the design that fits your business.
Now, plugins are much more specific. These are small software packages that add a specific feature to your website. For instance, you will need a security plugin to keep your website safe.
All you’ll have to do is install one and change a few settings. On the WordPress platform, there is a plugin for just about everything.
Well, in most cases, themes and plugins are free. In fact, there are thousands of free options available. However, there are also paid versions.
The main difference is usually the number of features you get and how much support you have access to.
Some of the more important business-related plugins for your WordPress website include:
- Security plugins
- Contact forms
- eCommerce (if you plan to sell products from your website)
- SEO tools
- Social media engagement
- Caching and speed optimization functions
You simply need to decide if the premium version is worth the cost.
Step 5: Create Business Pages
With WordPress installed, you’re ready to start creating a business page, or multiple pages depending on your needs.
For example, a landscaping business may only need to be a single page that lists contact info and prices. Whereas, a restaurant will need a home page, a page for ordering, a menu, a reservation page, catering options, and more.
Thus, it’s hard for me to give you detailed instructions on how to build them. Instead, let me provide you with a list of items that most business websites will need.
- Business Branding: Make sure that everything on your website is branded with your logo or uses your color schemes. This is a huge marketing opportunity that larger corporations spend millions or even billions on each year.
- Hours of Operation: Customers need to know when your store is open (if applicable), or at the very least, they need to know when customer service is available, along with the contact information.
- Terms of Service: If you are selling any digital content, you need to construct a terms of service agreement that users must agree to. There is a reason every website uses them. They are legally binding, after all.
- Payment Gateways: If you plan to accept payments online, you need to set up a way to accept them and issue refunds. This can be anything like just accepting a credit card to using services like PayPal or Stripe. WooCommerce can help set this up.
- Contact Forms: If you expect customers to contact you, you need to create contact forms for them to do so. These are the small forms you fill out that ask questions and collect information so the business can get back in touch with you.
There’s a lot more that goes into business pages, but since we didn’t define what kind of website it is, there’s not much I can add without specifics.
Step 6: Marketing on Social Media
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but you need to market your business website. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is on social media.
Here, you can create content to interact with your visitors and build a bond. Getting your business in front of more people just means you have more chances to make a sale. It’s the basics, and there’s a lot of platforms to choose from.
But let’s talk about the 800-pound elephant in the room, Facebook. It has a massive following, and having a presence there is essential to any marketing plan. You can even take advantage of the free trial they offer with their ads program.
Build up a social media presence to help spread the word and be sure to include a link to your website and an address to your store.
While social media is important, it is not the only component of a successful marketing campaign. For example, if you have a physical location, you can add the website to your business card, menus, or any other physical paper you hand out.
You can also use forums like Reddit or Q&A sites like Quora to promote your business, but you need to make sure it is not obvious. These communities are great at sniffing out people who just want to advertise their websites.
Another effective and free marketing option is to sign up for Google My Business.
When you Google a business, you usually see all of the important information like an address, hours of operation, rating, and more. This is an actual service you need to sign up for and it is free.
It’s also a great way to boost local SEO, more on that in the next section.
Step 7: Perfect Your SEO Strategies
Besides social media, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a term you need to become familiar with.
This is how search engines rank your website during a simple search. And when I say search engines, I mostly mean Google. Because nothing comes close to it in terms of influence and importance.
So, how do you optimize for SEO?
Well, we have numerous blogs discussing specific methods to boost SEO or Local SEO, and yes, there is a difference. Since you are using WordPress, the best advice I can give you is to install Yoast SEO.
This plugin will help you maximize your SEO potential in WordPress. It offers you tips as you are writing content, generates a sitemap you can submit to Google, and so much more. It’s the one-stop shop for your SEO needs.
Expect to spend several hours researching the best SEO practices and waiting months to see if they are having a positive impact. In most cases, perfecting SEO strategies doesn’t happen overnight.
One way you can speed this up is by creating a blog for your website.
Blogging allows you to create SEO-friendly content that can help boost your website’s rankings. It also makes you look like an expert on the subject, which can help how customers perceive your brand. It’s a win-win situation.
Step 8: Maintain Your Website
At this point, all that’s left is to actually maintain your website.
To most people, maintenance just means updating their website with the latest version, but it goes far beyond just that. You need to stay on top of all communications between your business and the customers.
If you have blog content, you need to go through and moderate your comment section. If you use contact forms, you need to make sure to respond to customer inquires. You’ll also need to fix any errors on your website.
Any downtime your website experiences could cripple your SEO and could scare away customers for life.
For this reason, you also want to ensure you have an up-to-date backup. A backup is a copy of your website that you can use to restore your website. This ensures if something goes wrong you can restore your website before it happened.
However, it is only useful if it is up to date. No one is going to use a backup from a year ago.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Small Business Website?
One thing I haven’t mentioned is how much it will cost to build a website. And that’s because it depends on what you do and need.
For example, if you plan on building a website yourself, the costs are very minimal.
In all honesty, if you are using WordPress, the only real price will be the web hosting services, which will end up being several hundred dollars as most are multi-year agreements.
After that, the only costs come from any premium tools you may need or transaction fees that depend on the payment gateway you use. That is unless you decide to outsource your content and hire a writer.
However, if you plan to hire a web developer to build it for you, well, it can get expensive. Generally speaking, a simple business website will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 on average. It can be much cheaper or more expensive, it just really depends on the site.
That said, you can make a lot more money back over the life of the website, as it’s an investment.
The Business Website is Your Online Base of Operations
For many businesses, your website is the command center of your entire organization. It stores vital information for not just your business, but for your customers as well. It needs to be properly maintained, and in return, you can really increase your profit margin.
While it may sound like a lot of work, creating your own website is very rewarding. In fact, many small business owners really enjoy designing a website that defines their brand and identity.
The good news is that there are a lot of helpful resources available to you and most of them are free.
Has business improved since creating a website? Did you find creating a website for your business enjoyable?