In an age where online marketing is driving sales and boosting b2b prospects across digital platforms, learning how to build a small business website has become a primary requirement for businesses aiming to experience growth, improved conversion and increased sales.
Regardless of your goals, as a business owner in search of widespread visibility and new customers, getting your business website in place is one of the fastest ways to key into ground breaking opportunities and get set to leverage a global digital market with over 5 billion users.
Although most small businesses are yet to take advantage of online growth opportunities to double up their outcomes, a number of businesses are doing just this while reaping in manifold measures.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps you can take to build your small business website, grow it and leverage your website to drive strategic growth for your business.
Define Your Goals
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The first step to build a small business website is to define your website goals. Before getting to figure out the technicalities, outline the goal, purpose and aim of your website.
This is not very difficult to do. It’s simply about identifying the things you really want to achieve with your website so you can build a website that will get you to achieve those things specifically.
So, if you’re a small retail business targeting a local population in a certain geographic location, you want to build a website that will get you to showcase your products or allow your customers to place orders and pay online. This is your goal. And you have to define it clearly and then build your website to meet up with that.
If on the other hand you’re a web agency in need of a website to showcase your portfolio, your needs will be different compared to an ecommerce store, a realtor website or NGO.
When you define and outline your goals accordingly, it gets you all prepped up to figure out the features that will be needed for your website, the functionalities to look out for as well as the resources that will be needed to get it up and running.
Create a Brand
Branding is an important aspect of web development that is very crucial towards the effective delivery of a functional website. And you can’t effectively build a small business website without creating a brand for the business.
So, before heading out to build a website for your small business, you want to create a brand for the business if you do not have one in place.
Usually, your brand should be able to identify your preferred business name, business colors, logo and images etc., depending on the kind of business you’re planning to build.
Here’s a complete guide on how to create a brand here. While creating your brand, be sure that it reflects the nature of your business while appealing to the needs and expectations of your target audience.
Select a Domain Name & Hosting
Now that you have created a brand for your business, it’s time to choose a domain name and hosting account to be used in building your website.
A domain name is the URL or web address of the website. It is the one of the most important features you’ll have to put in place before you build a small business website.
While shopping a brand name, be sure to choose a name that’s same as or relevant to your business name. Pay attention to keep it short, simple and memorable. Also, use only a domain name extension that is suitable and in line with your business goals.
Web hosting is the process of renting or buying space to host a website on the web. To get your website available and accessible to your users all the time, you need to choose and use only a reliable web hosting company that is capable of providing reliable up time, customer support and opportunity for business scalability.
Also, while choosing a hosting plan for your business website, go for a plan that will support your business goal or the purpose of your business.
What this means is that if you’re a business in need of virtual or dedicated hosting, do not opt for shared hosting because it’s cheap. Use only a hosting plan that will work for your business.
Design Your Website
You’ve successfully identified the purpose of your website, created a brand, now it’s time to build your website from scratch and to get started here, you’ll need a content management system.
Since your goal is to build a small business website with lots of functionalities that will get you off the ground, you’ll need a content management system.
And the best content management system to use in developing a website for small business enterprises is WordPress.
Not only is it very popular, it is the most widely used content management system, powering more than 40 percent of all websites globally.
To build your website successfully with WordPress, you’ll need the following;
A Responsive Theme:
A large majority of potential visitors to your website will be doing so using their mobile devices. For this reason, you need a website that is mobile responsive. And one of the first steps to get started with this is to choose a mobile friendly theme that can deliver a seamless user experience for your users.
Customize your Design:
At this stage, you want to add your logo, choose a color scheme that is in line with your brand, and customize the fonts to align with your brand identity and then go ahead to make adjustments to all specific sections of the website as needed.
Add Essential Website Plugins
Website plugins are applications that changes or extends the functionality of your website. There are a number of plugins you can choose from the WordPress directory and use them based on your needs.
Depending on your goals, building a successful small business website will demand you use some very specific plugins but generally, there are some very important plugins you must use on your website, regardless of the purpose or nature of the website.
This includes Security Plugins, SEO Plugins, Social Media Plugins, Backup Plugins, Caching Plugins and a host of others.
While choosing to use any plugin, you want to use plugins that are up to date and compatible with your current version of WordPress as well as plugins with some decent positive reviews.
Do not use bloated or abandoned plugins as these might leads to website vulnerabilities or cause outright performance issues on your website.
Create Website Pages
A small business website is not complete without web pages. You need web pages that outline your website details permanently.
This is where you create each and every one of these pages, starting with home page, About, Services or Products, Contact, FAQ etc.
A home page is the first page a user sees on your website. It contains text, images and colors that tell any casual user what your website is all about. To build a small business website that stands out, pay attention to create a page that stands out.
Use powerful imagery, text and colors to create a compelling home page that will grab the attention of your users.
About page outlines details about the business including its mission, vision, purpose and objectives. This is where you get your users to know about your business and find ways to convince them to stay or buy from you.
Products and or Services Page:
As a business, you’re either dealing with product, services or both. Where you’re dealing with products, you need a product page that lists out your products.
On the other hand, as a business dealing in services, you’ll need a business page that outlines your services but you’ll be needing both service and products pages, where you’re dealing with both.
The contact page provides an avenue where your clients can contact you directly from your website. On this page, you want to include details like your email address, phone number, business address, social media or a quick form where visitors can quickly reach out to you.
Outside these, there are a number of other pages you can also add to all of these, depending on your website goals.
Implement Website SEO
You can’t build a small business website successfully without putting in place at least the basic search engine optimization practices to get it off the ground. To get started with search optimization for your website, here are the key areas you have to keep in mind:
Based on the goals you outlined in step one above, choose relevant industry keywords used by target audience in your industry, incorporate these keywords into the content for your website as well as relevant meta tags.
Optimize Meta Tags:
To get the best in terms of visibility and search clicks, you need to craft Meta tag and title tags that are relevant both to the search engine bots and natural human users. To get the best, you have to do this for all pages on your website, including both blog posts and static pages.
Get on Search Console & Analytics:
For indexing and effective crawling and web analytics, submit your website to search engine tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics etc.
Also, keep in mind to ensure there’s an existing XML sitemaps on your website. Some SEO plugins will get this functionality activated out of the box.
Finish & Test Your Website
After creating and setting up your small business website, you want to ensure that everything is working just fine and exactly how you’d want it.
To get very sure about this, you want to finish up and run some tests on the website.
Run some checks on the website to ensure all functionalities are working exactly as planned. If you’re building an ecommerce store for example, check that the cart and payment sections are performing as expected.
Mobile Responsiveness Check:
Test your site on different devices to be sure that it is responsive for each of the devices, exactly as expected.
Review each of the pages and content on your website to confirm that there are no typos, grammatical errors or non-brand worthy content.
This is very important as after your website goes live, you’ll hardly have the time to run these checks.
Launch Your Website
The launching stage marks the last part of your journey to building a small business website.
As soon as you’re done with all the checks in the previous stage and it’s certain that every section of your new website is delivering on expected outcomes, you can then go ahead and launch the website.
After launching your website, do keep in mind that at intervals you’ll have to keep it updated, get a back copy and take all necessary action to promote and keep it accessible at all times.
Building a small business website is very essential for your business. Although it is not a walk in the park, it is very doable and following the steps here, you can give yourself a head start.
As an entrepreneur passionate about taking their business to the next level of success, creating your own website gives you a rare opportunity to launch into the digital world and do much more with your business.
The best time to jump on this opportunity was yesterday. But the next best time is now. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed about getting started all alone, hire our experts to build your website or join our web design courses to learn how to do it yourself here.
Whatever you decide, the ball is in your hands right now. And not only do you have the resources to build a small business website; you just got the real gems to build your next business growth system.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your realest challenges when it comes to building a small business website? Drop your comments below.