A Small Business Owner's Guide to Creating a Great Website
Creating a great website for your small business can seem like a daunting task. And it can be.
However, it doesn’t have to be!
I’ve written a step-by-step guide for how to make a website for your small business.
A big part of making your website successful is making it easy for your visitors to find the information they are looking for and easy for you manage and to keep updated. In the guide, I show you how to make sure that your website is a help to your visitors, not a hindrance. I also show you how to use your keywords (optimized for SEO) effectively, so that search engines such as Google can find your website easily.
Lastly, I'll cover how to add and update content to your website that helps your website with SEO and also is quick and efficient so you can focus on YOUR business and let your website do the work for you.
DOWNLOADABLE: 7 Easy Website Optimizations that can 5x Your Subscribers
Why Making a Website is Important for Your Small Business
By creating a website, you can reach new customers, retain current customers and lead them to upsells or additional services, and create more sales and more profits. A well created website can also improve the way your business is perceived by potential (and current) customers.
Here are 5 reasons of why a website is important for your small business:
- Gain Credibility. A website can help small businesses increase flexibility, control, branding and credibility.
- Get more Customers. Getting online enables you to reach more people locally or outside of your region while paying less for the exposure.
- Find more Customers. In today’s competitive online search environment, content is key. The more pages on your site, great content, the more chances new customers find you and your products/services.
- Grow Your Business. With a website, you can reach a greater number of potential customers and opportunities.
- Be Competitive and Gain Advantage Over Your Competition. Consumers want to be informed about their purchasing decisions— what they buy and from whom they buy. Without a website, you risk losing customers to businesses already taking advantage of the online marketplace.
How to Plan for a Great Website
The section will cover things from choosing your domain and web host to WordPress and themes, to integrating your site with a CRM or third party applications and tools.
- Choose a good domain name
- Find a great web host
- WordPress and choosing a theme
- How to integrate add-ons and other platforms
Here are a few steps you'll need to do to create and maintain a great small business website:
Step 1 – Get a Good Domain Name
The domain name is the primary point of reference for your website. If you already have a domain name, and it's working well for you, this section isn't really for you. But if you're just starting out or maybe looking to rebrand your website's URL and domain, finding that perfect domain name is a must.
The domain name sets your brand from the initial visit.
Your customers will either click on the link or type in our domain name, all which should be branded to your company.
For example, if you are a landscaping company you would want your domain to contain words like landscape, lawn, lawncare, etc. You wouldn't really want the branded domain to be jdtlwncr.com. When looking and reading the domain name it says nothing about your business name of JDT Lawn Care Services.
Also, don't feel like you need to always use a .com top-level domain (TLD). Sure, it's most common, but there are many new TLD's being used now that you can get your branded domain name with a .co, .us, .design, .pro, .plumbing, .pizza, etc. You can find crazy TLDs on Namecheap.com and also register your domain, or domains, for affordable costs.
Find a great domain name on NameCheap.com.
Step 2 - Get GREAT Hosting
Finding a great web host is the number one thing you need to really make your website successful. There are lots of low-cost hosting platforms for $3-7 per month, but you'll get what you pay for...cheap hosting and services with most likely slow page load speeds.
Hosting on a private server, or at least a top tier shared hosting provider, will give your website the services, features and speed to perform at it's best and the BEST for your customers and new visitors.
We like to host our client sites on Kinsta, which provides lightning fast, secure and private web hosting. Learn more by clicking on the banner below. We can also help set up your hosting and make sure your site is running and performing at top speeds. Just ask us.
Another good web host is Siteground with three tiers of hosting which should suit your business. They are a shared-hosting platform, meaning your site will be sharing a webserver with other businesses and this can cause some slow loading times, but if you're a small site and looking for a low-cost, affordable hosting package, the Siteground StartUp plan should suit you. It starts at $6.99/mo paid annually. See all Siteground plans here.
Step 3 - Build on WordPress with a Good Theme
WordPress is an awesome platform to build your website on. It is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to create pages, posts, add users, extensions and plugins and much more.
Almost a half a billion websites are on WordPress as of 2020. That is an insane number of sites and really proves that it's one of the best, easiest and most used web building platforms out there.
Both Siteground and Kinsta are set up for fast WordPress hosting, as well as many other hosting providers. Setting up WordPress is rather a simple task on both Siteground and Kinsta, almost too easy. Both have a one-click setup to get you started quickly.
Once you have the base of WordPress set up then it's time to find a good fit theme for your business. Now there are so many different themes out there, and finding and picking one can feel like a hard task. But we like two themes: Divi and Oxygen. Divi theme, built by Elegant Themes, is a well laid out, semi-custom theme and page builder that has a library of premade layouts, easy to learn sections, rows and modules to get your website built in no time.
But if you want a highly customized, rocket fast website we highly recommend Oxygen Builder for that task. The only real drawback to Oxygen is that you need to know a lot about design, layout, CSS and development. That's where our design team at Six10 Digital comes in, we can build you an amazing website, slim and fast loading to impress your clients and customers.
If you're not up for creating your own site and need a designer and developer, you're in luck. Our team at Six10 Digital can create websites that are highly customized, fast loading and search engine optimized for you and your business.
Step 4 - Integrating your website with add-ons and 3rd party tools
Depending on your business, your website may need to integrate with other applications or add-ons like a CRM (customer relationship management), billing or invoicing systems, online calendars, or specific programs for your business and industry.
Since we like building websites on WordPress, you should be in luck when, and if, you need to set up any integration. WordPress.org has over 50,000 plugins in their repository and library.
If you're a local service business you may want to integrate your online scheduling application with your website. Many of the top scheduling platforms will have available code to insert onto your webpages which will then show to your web visitors to interact with.
Or maybe you have a sales CRM set up and want to add lead forms to your site. Major CRM platforms like SharpSpring, ActiveCampaign and HubSpot all allow you to create an embeddable form which easily integrates into your site.
Also, with additional tracking codes from your CRM you can track and engage with customers and web visitors when they visit your site, such as, automatically sending a personalized email to a specific contact or increasing their lead score. Your options are pretty much endless.
Why You Should Hire a Web Designer
There is actually a lot of strategy, planning and know how that goes into designing and developing the perfect website. Can you go at things on your own, sure you can, but if you're going to need more than just a basic website you'll want to look to work with an experienced web designer and web developer.
Why? Well because they will have experience with things such as user experience design (UX), color schemes, best font type to use, how to correctly size images, and overall design layout for your home page and internal web pages.
Our experts at Six10 Digital are here to help with your website design projects, from full website builds to refreshing your website to bring it up to date.
Here are a few of our 2019-2020 website builds:
Ok, so we just said we're available to help with your website design, but maybe you have your own designer or a family member that "does website creation", whatever it is, just make sure you pick a designer that has the following:
- flexible to how the site needs designed
- good communications and follow up
- a portfolio of completed projects
- at least 4-6 years of experience in design
- ability to integrate your website with things like Google Analytics, SEO, etc.
Are you looking to update your current website? Talk to our team today.
How to Add More Content to Your Website
Your website is simply a means of getting your business out there. So before we can do anything about your website, we need to understand why people create websites in the first place. The reasons for creating websites for your small business is to get people to find and view your services and products.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” when it comes to your website and SEO.
Maybe you've tried adding new pages of content to your site, only to be hindered by lack of time, lack of ideas, lack of resources, or lack of knowledge.
But don’t fret – here are a few ways that you can quickly add more content to your website without having to crank out page after page.
- Have a Blog - and use it to your advantage
One of the quickest and pretty simple way of adding good content to your website is to utilize a blog. WordPress is a great platform for getting started with blogging and adding relevant content for your customers to read.
Blogging or content writing will probably seem like a scary step for newbies, but if you start off slowly you'll get the hang of things in no time. Here are a few tips to get you started: set a goal to blog -- one a month, or once a week if you have bandwidth; write about topics that you "think" your customers will want to read and that provide value to them (don't try to sell, sell, sell); use a few nice images to visually relate to your content. You can find free images at Pexels.com.
- Make a content calendar
By doing this, you'll be able to spend a small amount of time that can plan out content for the next few weeks or months. So take an hour to brainstorm on content ideas and add to a calendar or "topic list". TIP: I find that when I'm out driving around taking care of errands that my mind starts to think about things. Use this time to generate some cool content ideas and keep a notepad or use voice to text on your mobile device to save your ideas.
- Showcase Your Creativity - Present Information Differently
People get tired of reading large blocks of endless text. Showcase your content using:
- bullet points
- series of images
Maintaining Your Website Investment
Small business owners and managers should learn how to create, manage and maintain their small business website. One main reason is that self management can save you hundreds of dollars a year in maintenance plans.
Making sure your WordPress site is updated each month, making sure backups are being performed in the event of data loss or site corruption, and keeping the site running at top performance.
Check out our WP Maintenance Guide - Download Now
Here are a few things you should be doing weekly and monthly on your WordPress site:
- Security scans
- Performance scans
- Plugin updates
- WP updates
But what if you don't have someone at your company that can spend an hour or two each month making sure the site is secure and performing well, OR, maybe they are not very technical. That's where a monthly website maintenance contract can really help support the long term value of your site.
It's kind of like taking your car to the auto repair shop down the road when you can change your wiper blades, fluids, etc. But hey, having someone else doing those tasks is just sometimes easier and less hassle.
Conclusion - Creating a Great Website
A successful website makes it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for, whether that be information, products, or services. Your website also is a "first impression" of your business for first time visitors and you'll want to make sure the site is easily navigable, looks great and easy for visitors to browse and find the information they need.
Remember, web hosting is something you want to make sure you have a reliable host and that you're keeping your website updated, especially if you're using WordPress.
If you have any urgent issues with your website and need our experts to check it out and assist, just contact us and we'll be in touch ASAP.