How to Build a Better Site for Your Small Business
Running a business in the current digital era is no longer viable without a website. Even brick-and-mortar startups need some online presence to survive as modern customers search for everything, right from products, business location, to operating hours, from the internet. Therefore, building a simple website for your business can give you an edge in your niche. Besides, if you have products or services to offer, a website can help you reach new markets easily and cheaply.PT
Fortunately, web design software has evolved and can be used by anyone. You don’t need to master programming languages to build a functional website. Below are some guiding tips on how you can build a better site with ease.
1. Choose Your Site Building Platform
You should choose a user-friendly website-building platform that doesn’t require extensive coding knowledge to build your website. Below are some recommendations for your small business website;
- WordPress – WordPress.org is a good option as it comes with several features that allow users to build their sites with ease. However, you will have to find a third-party hosting provider.
- Hosted website builder – if you want an all-in-one website building platform, hosted builders, such as Wix or Squarespace, are good options. Unlike WordPress, you don’t need to find third-party hosting. However, you will have restricted design flexibility.
You should consider several factors before deciding on your preferred platform. For instance, while WordPress is an open-source platform that is free to use, hosted website builders have subscription fees, which vary depending on your chosen plan.
2. Choose a Domain Name
The domain name is an important feature of any website, as it is the URL you will share with your customers or prospects and on social platforms. Therefore, you should choose a descriptive and easily memorable domain name. Keep it short and avoid using abbreviations, numbers, or acronyms to prevent confusing your customers.
You should also choose a top-level domain, which is the suffix of your domain name. Choose between .net, .com, or .biz. There are non-traditional TLDs also, which were based on location, like .nyc or business type, such as .marketing, .law, or .agency. Once you have chosen an appropriate domain name, you should confirm its availability and buy it from a domain registrar. Popular domain registrars include GoDaddy, Wix, Domain.com, and Squarespace.
3. Find a Hosting Provider
Your website can’t be complete without being hosted. Basically, hosting is a server that stores all the data that customers find on your website. For a small business, hosting your website might be expensive, making it prudent to use external hosts. You can choose from two main options, the first being shared hosting, which is a less expensive option, or dedicated hosts, which costs more.
Shared hosting means you will have to share the server with other websites. On the other hand, dedicated hosting gives you access to a private server. As mentioned, hosted website builders provide hosting for their clients. Consider several factors, including costs and reliability, when choosing a host for your website.
4. Add Content Pages
With a good domain name and hosting, it is time to start adding content to your website. Consider the following standard pages for your small business website;
- Homepage – this is the first thing that visitors see when they open your website. Your homepage should have a brief description of your business and navigation buttons to other pages.
- Products and services page – used to describe products and services offered.
- About us page – use it to share your story and details of your team.
- Blog – an important page for your content marketing strategy.
- Contact page – include a contact form for customers who want to reach out.
5. Test and Publish Your Website
Before referring people to your website, you should test to ensure that it works in most browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Chrome. Click through every page on all browsers to ensure that links, images, and content formats are displayed correctly. While this might be tedious, it will save you from future complaints that customers can’t access some features.
Part of testing involves optimizing your site for search engines. This includes optimizing the website for speed, using the right keywords, using a responsive design that works on all devices, and appropriate use of internal and external links. Once you’ve ensured that everything is right, you can market your website to your customers through social media and other channels.
The Bottom Line
Having an online presence is important if you want to reach a new audience and survive the current digital era. Fortunately, building your business website isn’t as challenging as before, thanks to various technological tools. If outsourcing your web development for your small business isn’t an option, you can do it yourself with some basic coding skills. Veterans can leverage the GI Bill Benefits to finance their web development courses.
-Angela is a data science enthusiast who graduated from Penn State with a B.S in Computer Science. She currently works with coding schools and small businesses to help build better websites.