Whether you have a physical store, online shop, or are even just running a booth at the farmers market, your brand can benefit from having a business website. A professional and modern looking website can convey that your business is well-established, legitimate, and is an authority within your industry. Here’s how you can start your own small business website.
Create Your Website
The process of registering and building a website is not nearly as complicated as you might think. There are basically two paths you can take to create one:
Do It Yourself
Before you can create your website, you’ll first want to pick a good domain name and check to see that it’s available. This can be easily done using any number of registries such as:
Domain registration is very cheap and will cost you less than $20 per year. If the name is taken with the “.com” extension but you really want that name, then you could consider registering it under a different extension such as a “.org” instead.
Along with the domain registration, you’ll also want to pick a hosting platform. Most of the services mentioned above will give you a free domain name if you decide to use their hosting service too.
As a business, you may want to go with a hosting package that offers greater levels of bandwidth and is not shared with other websites. This will not only be more secure but will also allow for faster load times and fewer site loading errors; all of which will improve the overall customer experience.
Once registered, you can install a ready-made website package like WordPress. WordPress is essentially a highly flexible website template that lets you quickly build and organize your site any way you want. The look and feel of your website can be customized using a theme and a variety of plugins. Both of these can either be downloaded for free, or you can buy premium ones for a small fee.
Work With A Business Website Builder
If you’re not feeling very confident in your technical skills, there are plenty of website builders that will partner with you to help create your website. Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly all offer extensive collections of beautiful website templates that look just as professional and attractive as anything you’d find on the Internet right now.
Business websites like these can often be purchased in packages which include the domain name and hosting. In addition to looking amazing, they offer lots of useful ready-to-go apps that can make the user experience that much better. Plus if you run into any technical issues, you can always rely on their support to help you fix any issues.
Write Website Content
When people visit your business’s website, what should it say? What will it offer them? How will it persuade them to buy your product or use your service?
All of these questions should be the main focus of your website content. This would be the combination of text, images, and even other media (like videos) that will appear on your webpages. Content can either be written by yourself or outsourced to a freelance writer through services like Upwork or Freelancer.
The main points you’ll want to keep in mind as you create content are:
Your homepage is the first page a visitor will see when they go to your site. Again, think about what you want it to convey and how it could entice them to explore your website or brand even further. Remember that in addition to text to include lots of colorful photos, bulleted lists, comparisons, and testimonials from actual customers.
Your content should not always be just sales driven. Lots of different businesses have found success by taking a helpful approach to building brand awareness and trust through the creation of content-rich web pages offering practical (and free) advice.
For your content to be discovered by Google, it should answer questions that people would type into the search engine. Therefore, to be strategic, research these keywords and phrases ahead of time and use them as the basis of articles. Google Keyword Planner is a free resource for finding thousands of current keywords.
According to industry research, the majority of websites are now viewed on mobile devices (58% of visits) with desktop and tablet views falling behind. For that reason, you’ll want to ensure that your website automatically formats for any screen size and looks great both ways. Most popular website themes will already do this.
Add Shopping Carts To Your Business Website
If you plan to sell products or services directly through your website, then you may want to add a shopping cart to your site. Depending on the web hosting or business website you’ve selected, there will usually be some kind of plugin or app that you can install to have this functionality.
To accept payments, you will need to set up an account with a third-party payment processors such as PayPal, Square, or Payline. If you’ve already got items for sale on a site like Shopify or Etsy, you may even wish to redirect your customers to their shopping platforms at the time of checkout.
Market Your Brand
After you publish your business website, you’ll want to shift your focus to promoting it and attracting new customers. Proven ways to do this are as follows:
Build a following and promote your brand on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Think about the image of your business and post photos, text, and links that convey this.
Collect emails from all your website visitors using a lead capture tool. Regularly send your list offers and updates about your business.
Getting in front of the audience of well-established websites can be a great way to attract new customers. Offer to write free guest posts for these sites and make sure its high-quality content that will reflect positively on your brand.
Pay to get to the top of search engines or social media platforms. Services like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads will let you advertise through PPC (pay per click) ad spots based on selected keywords that are relevant to your business.
Monitor Your Progress
Don’t forget that while you’re promoting your website to also regularly be checking its metrics. Pay attention to things like:
- The number of visitors
- How long they stay on the site
- Bounce rate / the number of pages they visit
- Visitor demographics (age, sex, location, etc.)
- Page load times
- Which specific pages or keywords they used to find your site through
All of this information can help determine if your website needs additional work or could benefit from any further improvement. You can find out this information for free using Google Analytics.