In today’s digital age, having a website is essential for small businesses to reach a wider audience and stay competitive. A well-designed small business website can help generate leads, establish credibility, and increase brand visibility.
As a small business owner, you might have a limited budget for website development, but don’t worry! This blog will guide you through the basic steps of building a small business website, offering ideas, examples, and important considerations to create a powerful online presence.
Define Your Website Goals
Before you begin the development process, it’s crucial to identify the primary objectives of your small business website. Here are some common goals for small business websites:
- Showcase products and services
- Generate leads or sales
- Provide contact information and location details
- Share news and updates
- Establish your brand’s online presence
Clear goals will help guide your design and content decisions, ensuring that your website effectively serves its intended purpose.
Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is the web address where your website can be found (e.g., www.yourbusinessname.com). Select a name that is short, easy to remember, and representative of your brand. Ideally, it should include your business name or a related keyword. Many domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Google Domains, can help you check for domain name availability and register it for your business.
Select a Web Hosting Provider
A web hosting provider is a company that stores your website files on its servers and makes them accessible to users. When choosing a hosting provider, consider factors such as:
- Server reliability and uptime
- Customer support
- Storage capacity and bandwidth
- Scalability options
According to Forbes, these are the best web hosting providers:
- IONOS: Best for startups
- HostGator: Best perks
- Bluehost: Best for new websites
- DreamHost: Best for WordPress beginners
- InMotion Hosting: Best for reliability
- MochaHost: Best for lifetime SSL certificates
- GoDaddy: Best for easy site setup
- Hostwinds: Best for content-heavy sites
- InterServer: Best for website security
- TMDHosting: Best for fast-growing businesses
If you’re looking for a values-driven service provider, the B Corp-certified web agency Unity offers managed WordPress hosting built to be as energy-efficient as possible. They invest in a 300% eco-friendly hosting platform that ensures your website reduces its carbon footprint!
Choose a Content Management System (CMS) or Website Builder
A CMS or website builder is a platform that allows you to create and manage your small business website’s content without requiring advanced coding skills. Some popular options include:
A widely-used, open-source CMS with a vast array of plugins and themes suitable for various business types. WordPress is our favorite website builder because it’s straightforward to use. Even someone without much experience can make edits with tools like Elementor. It can also be integrated with various plug-ins and instruments to enhance the website’s functionality to a higher level. Some examples of these helpful plugins include Yoast, an excellent SEO tool, and WP Rocket, which is fantastic for optimizing your site’s page speed.
A user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builder offering various templates and customization options. They have stunning templates you can use for inspiration, and the platform is also very user-friendly. The native SEO capabilities are good, but WordPress is better because you can integrate Yoast.
A robust, trustworthy e-commerce platform for businesses that want to sell products online. Shopify is easy to use, with beautiful, user-friendly templates. It is an all-in-one service that unites all your efforts, from marketing to sales data to secure payments and transactions. It’s a strong choice for an e-commerce site and integrates with Yoast for a more robust SEO game!
Evaluate each option’s features, pricing, and ease of use to determine which best suits your needs.
Design and User Experience (UX)
The design and UX of your website are crucial in determining its effectiveness. The site needs to be easy to understand and navigate, with a fast speed, precise actions, and easy points of contact. Ultimately, the customer’s experience on your site will determine if they stay on your website and decide to convert. Here are some design tips to keep in mind:
- Use a clean and straightforward layout that’s easy to navigate.
- Ensure your website is mobile-responsive, adapting seamlessly to various screen sizes.
- Choose visually appealing, high-quality images that reflect your brand identity.
- Use consistent typography and a color scheme that aligns with your branding.
- Prioritize website speed and performance to minimize loading times.
Create Compelling Content
High-quality content is essential for engaging visitors and driving conversions. Good content will keep readers engaged on your site and help you gain more visibility in search engines when adequately optimized, potentially bringing even more traffic, users, and readers to your site. Content is a great way to answer your audience’s questions, entertain with relatable stories, share valuable insights, or solve a problem. Consider the following tips:
- Write clear and concise content communicating your value proposition.
- Incorporate relevant keywords to improve search engine visibility.
- Use headings, bullet points, and white space to make content easily digestible.
- Create a compelling call-to-action (CTA) that encourages users to take the desired action (e.g., contact you, make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter).
Essential Pages to Include
While the specific pages you’ll need depend on your business type and goals, here are some primary pages to consider for your small business website:
The first page users see when visiting your website should clearly communicate your brand’s value proposition. Here are some elements every home page should have:
- Easy navigation: Give viewers a clear path to take on the site
- An attention-grabbing headline: Showcase your unique selling proposition and keep it simple
- Subheadline: Offer a brief description of what you do/offer
- CTAs: Include 2 or 3 CTAs above the fold to direct people through the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Also, add CTAs below the fold for when visitors scroll down
- Social proof: Show people they can trust you because others do
- Benefits: Show why your offer matters
- Photos and video: Give your audience visuals that inspire action
- Content offer: Offer something interesting to bring in more leads
- Features: Give a clearer understanding of what’s provided with your product/service
- Resources: Link to a resource center where they can learn more
- Success indicators: Awards, certifications, and recognition also help with the first impression
- Footer: Add relevant links and contact details
- Social media handles: Let people know where they can find you through other channels
A page that shares your business’s story, mission, and values, helping to build trust and credibility with your website visitors. It’s an excellent opportunity to show your brand’s personality, introduce the team, tell your story, and connect with the audience through your values and unique mission. This page is not about sales. It’s about connecting with visitors through the human aspects of the brand and the stories of those who work in the company.
It’s essential to find a balance when writing text. Avoid writing excessively long messages, but also make sure your message isn’t too brief, or it may come across as uncaring. Additionally, aim for writing in a clear and engaging manner that is easy for others to comprehend.
A detailed overview of your products or services, highlighting their features, benefits, and pricing. A product page has multiple unique purposes, including the following:
- Sharing detailed product information: Share essential details about the product, such as its features, benefits, dimensions, and specifications.
- Building trust: Be prepared to answer any questions your audience has. Product detail pages should anticipate any questions or concerns that customers may have. These details will help minimize doubts. Pro tip: Create an FAQ section where they can find all the information they need.
- Encouraging conversions: Increase the likelihood of making a sale by educating the customer, building trust, emphasizing the features and benefits of the product, and providing clear actions for your audience.
A page with your contact information, including phone number, email address, and physical location. You may also include a contact form for visitors to contact you quickly. Great contact pages:
- Are easy to find and make the contact process easy
- Explains why they should contact you
- Describes how you can solve the visitor’s problem
- Includes an email and phone number to give a variety of contact options
- Offers a simple contact form
- Includes a CTA with other possible actions to take
- It has a user-friendly layout and process
- Redirects to a thank you page and are followed by a confirmation email with more information on when they can expect to get a reply
- Promotes helpful content
A page that showcases customer reviews and success stories, further establishing your credibility and trustworthiness. Follow these tips to make it an engaging testimonial page:
- Be authentic: Your readers will likely know when an opinion is genuine or not
- Keep it short and direct: Keep your testimonials two or three paragraphs in length at most
- Be specific: Use testimonials that talk about the benefits of the product/service or how it solved a problem for customers
- Personalize: Telling a specific story and adding before and after images or other imagery that demonstrates the value of the service or product can generate more empathy
- Make it conversational: Readers might be put off by technical jargon or complicated wording. Make it easy to understand!
A regularly updated section that shares industry news, tips, and insights, helping to establish your business as an authority in your field and improve search engine rankings. To connect with your audience, provide them with valuable content that satisfies their needs, entertains them, and educates them on the topics that matter most. As 70% of customers rely on expert and insider advice, leveraging your knowledge and expertise is vital. You can prepare your content in advance by conducting keyword research, understanding your audience’s needs, and creating an editorial calendar that covers all the topics related to your audience’s pain points and your brand’s personality and values.
Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO involves optimizing your small business website to improve its visibility in search engine results, driving more organic traffic. SEO involves optimizing your website to improve its visibility in search engine results, driving more organic traffic. Some fundamental SEO practices to consider include the following:
- Conduct keyword research to identify relevant terms and phrases your target audience is searching for.
- Incorporate keywords into your website’s content, title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and URLs.
- Create high-quality, engaging content that provides value to your audience.
- Develop content that responds to each search intent your audience can have. That way, you’ll address their needs through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has fast loading times.
- Build quality backlinks from reputable websites in your niche.
Monitor and Analyze Website Performance
Once your website is live, it’s essential to regularly monitor its performance and make data-driven decisions to improve its effectiveness. Google Analytics is a popular, free tool that can help you track visitor behavior, conversions, and other vital metrics. Use this data to identify areas for improvement, such as optimizing your content, enhancing your website’s UX, or implementing more targeted marketing strategies. Ensure you are using GA4 instead of the previous version since Google Universal will stop processing soon.
Heatmap tools like HotJar help you further analyze your user’s behavior with the site. You’ll be able to see where people interact on the site, how long they stay on each section and other visual behavior insights you can collect to improve your site’s performance and adjust the experience on the site based on valuable data collected by the platform.
Regularly Update and Maintain Your Website
Finally, to ensure your website remains practical and relevant, periodically review and update its content, design, and functionality. This process includes adding new blog posts, updating product or service information, and addressing any technical issues that arise. Regular maintenance will help you maintain a professional online presence and provide a consistently positive user experience.
Building a small business website can be rewarding, significantly boosting your online presence and driving growth. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to developing a successful small business website that serves as a powerful marketing tool for your brand. You have the means to get started right at the palm of your hands; you only need to take that first step into a successful online journey!
Looking for assistance in building your business’s website? Schedule a consultation with our expert team today, and let’s get started on your project.