It is no longer feasible to run a business without a web presence. No matter what type of business you own, a great website is essential for its success. If you are running a small venture, hiring a web designer can be expensive for your setup. But, the good news is that you can now create your business website free of cost or at the most affordable rates.
However, you need to remember that a “one size fits all” solution will not work while creating a website for your small-scale setup. Different business websites will have different goals. Moreover, they will require various tools to help you achieve your objectives as well.
Once you have decided on the goals for your small-scale venture, you can start building your website. We have covered seven essential steps to starting a small business website in this article. These steps will help you launch the online presence of your setup effectively.
Pick a Website Building Platform
The ideal website-building platform does not require any coding knowledge. You can opt for WordPress, which is the most popular free Content Management System. Although it was initially launched for blogging purposes, it later developed into web design software.
WordPress is an open-source project that is entirely free to use and will give you complete control over your website. However, you will have to find the web hosting provider yourself. Some other popular website building platforms that are entirely free are Webflow, Wix, and IM Creator.
Choose Your Domain Name
The domain name is one of the most essential features of any website. It is the URL that you share with the people and use for the advertisement purpose. Therefore, you must be incredibly thoughtful in deciding the domain name of your website. It should not only be descriptive but easy to type in as well.
Ensure that you do not use numbers, abbreviations, and acronyms in the domain name you come up with. Apart from this, one might need to decide on a TLD or top-level domain. TLD is the suffix at the end of your domain. Some common examples of this TLD are .com, .biz, and .net.
Furthermore, you should also check the availability of the domain name that you have picked and make sure that it does not infringe anyone else’s domain.
Choose a Web Host
Your business website needs a web host as well. If you have picked an all-in-one website builder, then you can skip this step. A web host is a server where your data is stored. The public can access your data at all times through a web host. Hosting your website is something that you cannot afford at this stage. For this reason, you will need to select an external host for your website.
There are two different routes available for web hosting. You can choose between shared web hosting or dedicated hosting. While the shared web host is a cheaper option, you will have to share your server with other sites. On the contrary, dedicated web hosting allows you to get your private server which is a bit more costly.
Build Your Pages
A good website is not one that only has a static homepage. That’s why you should create multiple pages for your website. The pages must cover the different aspects of your business. For example, there should be a blog section and a catalog of the services and products you offer.
You also need to create a business logo if you don’t already have one. A logo should be used on the website, social media profile, and business cards. It will help the potential customers quickly identify your company on the internet.
Optimize Your Website for a Search Engine
Once you have successfully published the content on your website, you will need to make sure that people can find it online. That is where search engine optimization can help you. It is the practice of ranking your content higher on search engine result pages. There are many SEO plugins that you can use with the website building platform that you have selected. The most popular SEO plugin is the YOAST SEO. It scans the content that you want to publish on the internet and also suggests some improvement tips.
A few critical practices that you need to keep in mind for optimizing your website for a search engine are as follows.
- Use keywords in your pages
- Optimize your website for speed
- Create a responsive design for your website
- Add internal and external links to your website
- Use the names of the posts in their permalinks
Set Up a Payment System
There are a lot of companies out there that offer their customers the option to pay online. If you also want to provide the online payment option to your clients, then integrate an electronic payment system into the website. That can easily be done with the help of third-party payment processors or any e-commerce software.
Many web hosts out there offer integration with e-commerce programs and an in-house shopping cart as well. So, do some research to pick a solution that best fits your needs.
Test and Publish Your Website
You should ensure that your website works on all the major browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Also, test each page and its features to ensure that the images are showing up, the format looks good, and the links are working correctly. Although this may take some time, it will save you future complaints about the website not working properly.
Furthermore, you should also check whether your website is working correctly on mobile phone devices and tablets. It is an important step that must not be overlooked. Once you are satisfied that the website design is working correctly, you can announce that it is live on the internet.
The online presence is significant for your small-scale setup if you want to reach a wider audience. That is why you need to have a website for your business. The website will not only help reach your profit goals but will also create brand awareness and drive traffic into your store.
Although outsourcing is not feasible at this stage, you can luckily create a website of your own with the steps mentioned above. Moreover, you must not only build the best website but should also have a plan for what to do after its launch day to make it even more successful.