Your small business website is your online business card. You can use it to share information about your business, explain your products and services, and sell to your customers. But, if you’re new to finding the best website builder and creating your first website, this can all seem a little daunting.
Fear nothing. We’ve broken down every step you need to take to get your website up and running fast. Whether you’re building a regular website for a small business or an e-commerce store, we’ve got you covered.
1. Choose the right building framework for your small business website
You have several options for building your website, and our recommendation is to keep things as simple as possible. This means starting with a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify or similar.
This will make it easier to manage your business website and you can get started quickly with the tutorials and examples they provide. The website builder you choose depends on your business needs:
Wix offers deep customization and powerful tools. It offers multiple ways to create and edit your website, with plenty of templates and designs, but it takes a bit more study to learn how to use it effectively.
Shopify is perfect if you are building an e-commerce store. It provides huge features and third-party add-ons to make your online store work. If you’re not selling online, other builders are probably better.
square space designs beautiful corporate websites. It is also optimized for mobile devices. Squarespace has a learning curve, although it’s easier to use than Wix.
WordPress gives you tons of customization options, and there are plugins to do it all! But the sheer number of things you can do with WordPress makes it quite an intimidating tool.
2. Register a domain name
Decide on a name for your business and see if it’s available as a domain name for your website.
3. Consider how your users will interact with your site and create the right pages and navigation structure
Your small business website should be fast, simple, intuitive and easy to use.
- Think about how you want your customers to interact with and browse your website.
- Understand the key information you will need to provide, such as your business information, product and service features and benefits, contact information, pricing, etc.
- Start planning your navigation structure (you can do this on paper to start) because you want customers to get to your site as easily as possible, find what they need, and respond to a “call to action” : get in touch with you, buy a product or any other desired activity
- Think about everything from your customer’s point of view: ask “is it easy?” » ; “Is it obvious?”; “Would I know where to click from here?”
- If possible, avoid too many clicks. If it takes more than two clicks for users to move from one section of the website to another, make changes to optimize navigation.
4. Try a few website builders, choose one and read the tutorials
Check out the best website builder and read the reviews we shared above. Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and try them out.
Every website builder we mentioned comes with a free trial, so fire it up and start creating menu and navigation content.
5. Start experimenting and building your small business website
Playing around with these website builders is by far the easiest way to find out if they will work for you. You’ll get an idea of their design, how the editor works, what templates you have access to, and more.
Here are some areas you’ll want to experiment with:
- Menu and navigation configuration
- Creation of new pages for commercial information
- Setting up contact forms, so people can get in touch
- Build product and service pages to explain your business offerings
- Try different templates and how they affect the look of your site
- Access your website through different devices, so you can see the experience of a mobile user versus a desktop user
- Inserting images and videos for a more interactive experience
- Test e-commerce features like shopping carts
6. Create content yourself or have someone else do it
Your small business website needs content. You can either create this content yourself or hire someone else to do it. In many cases, hiring a specialized freelancer is a good idea, they can use their skills and experience to create effective and reliable content.
- Copywriters write compelling, persuasive copy that entices customers to buy; use them to create your static website pages (home, about, contact, etc.) and your product and service descriptions
- Content writers provide informative and educational content that helps build relationships with your customers; use them for areas like blog posts, support guides, and lead magnets to attract customers
- Designers and visual artists create templates, images, and other visual aids to help your website stand out; use them to help create your brand, logo, color palette, artwork, and similar areas
- You can find other freelancers for specific needs, like videographers for video guides, photographers for product images, SEO specialists for appearing in search, and similar fields.
7. Test Your Small Business Website
You’ll want to do some basic testing on your website before releasing it to the world.
- Once you’ve created your business website, take a fresh look at it because they might see things that “just don’t look right”: maybe the links aren’t easy to click , or maybe there are pictures where there could be videos
- Read your website aloud and note anything that doesn’t sound natural
- See if anything seems off-putting or unprofessional; this can mean wrong sized images, missing alt tags on images, writing style errors, etc.
- Make sure all your links are working
- Test your website on different devices and browsers, then test it again
- Get ready for launch!
8. Get started!
It’s time. You’ve chosen a website builder, read the tutorials, planned your pages, experimented, hired freelancers, assembled the content, and tested your website.
Now it’s time to get started!
Follow your website builder’s instructions for publishing a business website and you’ll be up and running. Once it’s online, run a few more tests to make sure everything is working as expected.
9. Track how your business website is performing and make improvements
When your business website is live and attracting traffic, track where it’s coming from, how many people visit regularly, and what they do when they land on the site. You can use this data to make improvements.
You can modify as needed to optimize your site. Maybe changing the tone of the writing will increase conversations with customers. Maybe testing different calls to action will lead to increased conversions. Either way, measure how things are going, make changes, measure again, and incorporate those improvements.
You will see your small business grow and prosper!
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