TABLE OF CONTENTS
Read our quick and easy guide to learn how to create a small business website. We’ll walk you through important design considerations, helpful tools, and how to get your site live.
How to Build a Website: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You Started
Your website is the most effective sales and marketing tool in your arsenal. In just five easy steps (almost), you can create a beautiful personal or professional website that engages visitors and inspires them to work with you. Here’s how to start.
1. Choose a domain name
A domain is the unique name of your website.
You can choose any name, but it’s best to have one that matches the name of your business or profession. Not only does this keep your brand image consistent, but it can also have a significant impact on how you appear in search engine results. A good domain name can help you rank higher, which can increase the number of people who click through to your site.
As you consider domain names, consider these helpful tips:
- Include keywords relevant to your business to increase your search engine visibility.
- Make sure it’s easy to spell.
- If you’re having trouble thinking, use a domain name generator as a starting point.
- Keep your domain short to make it easier for visitors to remember.
- Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, hyphens and numbers.
- Try to use traditional top-level domains, or TLDs, such as .com or .net or whatever best relates to you or your business.
- Make sure no one else is already using it. Although you can buy a domain from someone else, it can be expensive. You might be better off choosing a different name or using a different top-level domain, like .net, instead.
2. Register your domain and choose your design and hosting providers
Once you have chosen a domain name, you will need to register it with a domain registrar. You can do this using a website like Domain.com or Network Solutions. Keep in mind that these providers simply register ownership of the domain for you, which can cost between INR 500 and INR 1,000 per year, depending on your TLD.
You will still need to find another provider to host the URL where you will create your website and possibly use another program to design it. To make things easier, you can choose to register your domain with a provider that offers registration, hosting, and design capabilities.
If you don’t have much or no coding experience, you might want an all-in-one option like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.
If you choose to use separate companies to handle your web hosting and design, look for a hosting service that offers benefits such as technical support, a free domain name, or a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
You should give great importance to the SSL certificate as it is a global standard security technology that enables a secure connection and protects your and your visitors’ sensitive data and information. Simply put, this security measure adds the S in HTTPS to the beginning of a website’s URL. Search engines and visitors look upon it favorably.
These features are more common with all-in-one providers, but there are no guarantees, so make sure the one you choose offers them before purchasing a plan.
Popular web hosts with and without built-in design integrations are Bluehost, DreamHost, GoDaddy, and InMotion.
If your host doesn’t provide any integration features, some third-party design programs you might consider are Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud apps. You can create designs on these platforms and embed them on your website pages.
3. Add useful pages and engaging content
You have many options for organizing your content about your business and its services.
That said, strive to include these important pages on your website:
- A striking homepage. The central hub of your business website should captivate people and tell them exactly what you do and who you serve. Incorporate eye-catching graphics, readable fonts, concise and clear descriptions, and appealing calls to action.
- An enlightening “About Us” page. Share your company’s origin story. Highlight your achievements, your mission and your values. You can also feature any team member to foster closer connections with customers.
- Booking or shop page. Generate more revenue and integrate with a third-party online scheduling platform or e-commerce platform, such as HoneyBook or WooCommerce.
- An accessible contact page. Include social media accounts, emails, phone numbers, addresses, and a contact form to make it easier for people to reach you. If it suits your business, add your opening hours as well.
- Memorable content. Sharing compelling content makes you an expert in your industry and helps build a community loyal to your business. This can include blogs, videos, podcast episodes, case studies and more. As a bonus, this content can help you improve your ranking in search results and increase the number of site visitors.
- A robust FAQ page. Providing answers to common questions not only helps build trust with your brand, but it can also reduce the number of support calls and tickets you receive.
- Testimonials and press coverage. Boost your credibility by sharing your successes. Create a page that shares positive reviews of your services and include any mentions of your business in notable media.
4. Optimize your website for search engines
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of fine-tuning your business website so that your pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), including Google. It’s what helps people find you.
When creating your website, keep these basic SEO practices in mind to increase your visibility and drive more traffic:
- Use relevant phrases, called keywords, in your posts and pages. Don’t use keywords just for fun, though. Make sure your choices are intentional. Excessive use can negatively impact your rankings.
- Regularly publish valuable content for your customers or readers.
- Perform routine content audits or cleanups to see what you can consolidate or refresh.
- Keep your website loading speed as low as possible by optimizing images or enabling browser caching. These tweaks can help your web page rank higher in search engine results. You can measure your page speed at GTmetrix. (Learn more about the importance of webpage loading speed.)
- Make sure your design and content work well on computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Don’t underestimate your website’s performance on mobile devices. Up to half of web traffic now comes from smartphones.
It’s great to have a beautifully designed business website, but search engines want to see more than that to establish your authority when they index it in their search results.
When optimizing your site for search, be sure to keep your visitors in mind. You’ll want to choose simple navigation systems and create pages that allow for fast load times. To accommodate a range of user abilities, follow India census guidelines for making your site as accessible as possible.
5. Review your site before clicking “Publish”
Before you launch your website into the real world, you’ll need to test it to make sure it’s working properly.
Make sure, among other things:
- Read your content to make sure everything is accurate and error-free.
- Check for broken links.
- Remove any filler content from your website theme or template.
- Test your website on browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.
- Connect your website to Google Analytics to monitor its performance.
Once you’re ready, click publish. To help drive traffic to your new website, share it with your friends, market it to customers, and include it on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media profiles.
Keep your site up to date
You’re not done with your site the minute you hit publish. To stay at the top of search rankings and improve your visitors’ experience, you will need to consistently maintain your website. Consider adding the following items to your webmaster to-do list:
- Use webmaster and analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to monitor how people are using your site. Some website engagement metrics to track include bounce rates, click-through rates, and average session length.
- Update your website regularly with blog posts, products, and promotional offers.
- Perform monthly reviews to ensure that all aspects of your website, including internal and external links, pages, and plugins, are working as expected.
- Update your “About Us” page with new team members or accomplishments.
Over time, you may want to foster relationships with other business sites to establish your credibility and improve your SEO. When other prominent websites link to your website, search engines consider your site more credible and worthy of ranking higher in the results.