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:

  1. Gain Credibility. A website can help small businesses increase flexibility, control, branding and credibility.
  2. Get more Customers. Getting online enables you to reach more people locally or outside of your region while paying less for the exposure.
  3. 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.
  4. Grow Your Business. With a website, you can reach a greater number of potential customers and opportunities.
  5. 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.

  1. Choose a good domain name
  2. Find a great web host
  3. WordPress and choosing a theme
  4. 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.

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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.

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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:

  1. flexible to how the site needs designed
  2. good communications and follow up
  3. a portfolio of completed projects
  4. at least 4-6 years of experience in design
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Showcase Your Creativity - Present Information Differently

    People get tired of reading large blocks of endless text. Showcase your content using:

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:

  1. Backups
  2. Security scans
  3. Performance scans
  4. Plugin updates
  5. 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.

Ways To Be More Efficient With Your Business Marketing

What is the most valuable resource for your business? Some would say that it is your marketing; your ability to identify your customers and satisfy their needs. While performing marketing activities can boost your business’s bottom line, it can also be wasteful and time-consuming without a proper content marketing strategy for optimum lead generation.

Time, however, is arguably the most valuable resource for their success. As a limited resource, you need to make the most of every business day and your marketing efforts to meet your business goals.

Here are 4 ways to be more efficient with your business marketing.

Maintain your email marketing list

Your email marketing list is a core part of any online marketing strategy. This is your list of leads and customers, anything from hundreds to many thousands of people who have given you permission to contact them directly about your product or service.

Growing this list is important, of course. That’s not the only thing you should focus on, however, if you want to maximize efficiency. Every year, a percentage of people unsubscribe from mailing lists for one reason or another. Looking after your subscribers will significantly reduce the numbers leaving yours.

Provide your followers and subscribers with the answers they need. Add value with specials, exclusive content, and time-sensitive deals. Your content also needs to be good enough that your subscribers would miss it if it didn’t arrive.

Ways To Be More Efficient With Your Business Marketing 1Usefulness is not the only factor, though. Your headlines, subject lines, delivery times, and more, all affect your subscribers and, therefore, the effectiveness of your email list marketing communications.

With a marketing automation platform, one system can organize and monitor your email campaigns, leads, conversions, open rates, and more. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform split testing throughout your email campaigns. In this way, you’ll be able to continually optimize your emails and get the most out of every communication.

Efficiency increases further when your marketing automation system takes over emailing your leads and customers. It will have the ability to monitor your marketing to such an extent that it can send personalized emails not only to segments of your subscribers but also to individual subscribers based on past behaviors. Your leads can receive automatic emails at the best time to make a buying decision.

Have an editorial calendar for your online content

If you don’t already have an editorial calendar, creating one is a top way to improve your business marketing efficiency. If you already have an editorial calendar, give it an overhaul.

Your calendar should contain the details of the content that you plan to create, such as topic, headline, target audience, and keywords. It should also remind you when content needs to be complete and on what venues it will be posted.

Make sure that your calendar includes content for social media as well as for your blog and email campaigns. If you have more than one person performing content writing and social media marketing, assign their tasks in the calendar so that everyone can stay on track.

Creating content involves research, writing, optimizing for SEO, promoting the content, and then tracking its effectiveness. That’s a lot of moving parts. Optimizing your editorial calendar is another area where marketing automation will streamline your processes.

You’ll be able to see what’s happening when and you’ll also be signaled when an item is due. At a glance, you’ll have the opportunity to see which of your efforts is performing, which might work better in other formats or on other platforms, and which might be retired entirely. [If you need assistance with setting up an editorial calendar please contact us.

Use Video

Video is a personable, cost-effective, and increasingly popular way to communicate with potential customers. You don’t need a huge production budget to make a behind the scenes clip of your small business. You can very quickly create content that is shareable and that gives customers a good idea of your company’s mission and its ethos.

Video is a personable and wide-reaching medium that allows you to communicate powerful messages quickly and effectively.

An animated video is also fun and shareable. Done well, it can significantly improve your brand awareness and contribute to a sense of trust and authority.

Invest in Social Media Advertising

Using Facebook as an example, businesses now reach only a fraction of their subscribers with each unpaid social post. The bottom line, as well as being important to Facebook, is that paid social advertising works. It gets your brand in front of your target audience!

If you want to boost particular posts, paying for ads is a great idea, as long as you follow a little advice.

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Target your audience carefully – Facebook Ads has powerful tools for focusing your message to a specific audience according to gender, age, geography, interests, and more. Know your audience and build out personas to help you target the right people. (Here’s an example image for an imaginary new product for dog owners in the Philadelphia area.)

Go slowly – Invest slowly at first. See what works and make simple tweaks to assess changes in the effectiveness of your ads. Perform plenty of split testing to refine your ad creatives.

Consider the time and date – the same advert is likely to have different results depending on when you run it. Think about whether your customers are sleeping, at work, or commuting, or at home. Where are they in the world?

Focus on your goals – a business that wants to boost brand awareness may post a different kind of ad to a company that wants to grow its mailing list, which in turn may post a different add if the aim is to inform existing customers of a discounted product.

Using paid advertising can save you time seeking comments and shares by attracting vast numbers of the right visitors in a short space of time.

There are so many strands to a content marketing strategy that any small business selling a product or service online could do with a marketing department.

With an automated marketing solution, businesses like these can have the power of a marketing department without the overheads and with a predictable, monthly fee.


At Six10 Digital, we are an ActiveCampaign Partner Agency, providers of a world-class marketing automation platform that allows you to plan your strategy, track its implementation, monitor its performance with detailed analytics dashboards, and then modify your content marketing strategy to get the most out of your time and money.

Whether you are trying to find time to nurture your email list as it deserves, looking for gaps in your editorial calendar, attempting to track shares of your company video or testing the performance of Facebook ads, it helps to have all of your marketing efforts accessible, trackable and analyzed in one location.

If marketing puts your customers at the core of your business, improving your marketing means better understanding your audience and serving them more effectively. Marketing automation can improve every area of your business.

6 Reasons Why Your SMB Should Be Using a Marketing Automation Platform

You need a strong content marketing strategy, consistency and persistence to get ahead or stay ahead, of your competition. With advanced analytics dashboards, a marketing automation platform can make your life easier and your business more profitable.

There are so many opportunities for marketing that prioritizing them can be tricky. Even when you have prioritized your goals, maintaining a schedule, and continuing with the plan can be challenging.

It is possible, as a business owner, to do your own marketing, but with email campaigns to build, social media to monitor, web content to write, and customers to nurture, that may not leave much time for running the business.

With improved lead generation through advancing your content marketing strategy and access to powerful analytics, marketing automation will give you improvements in everything from customer engagement to your bottom line.

When you have used a marketing automation platform for a few weeks, you will see time-saving advantages quickly. Also, you’ll be in full control, with a clear overview of your marketing processes and access to ways of interacting with customers that might not have been possible for you before.

Here are 6 ways that marketing automation will supercharge your small business.

Reduce staff costs

Many small businesses have a single person who performs marketing activities. This person may be the owner of the business. Even if not, he or she will often have duties other than marketing to perform.

Anyone responsible for marketing your business will be able to focus their efforts not on lead generation, but on identifying and nurturing the best leads. Marketing automation will take a lot of the guesswork out of your marketing. You’ll be able to learn the parts of your strategy that work so that you can double down on those and discard the rest.

Improve the efficiency of marketing and sales

The clearly defined processes associated with marketing automation will give you a good view of what’s happening when and where with your marketing effort.

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Your marketing automation platform will enable you to track leads more easily and effectively than ever before. 610 Digital is partnered with ActiveCampaign, which looks very much like an app, with all the information you need to see where the leads are coming from, what your visitors and customers like, and what’s happening to them once they enter your funnels.

Use marketing automation resources to identify bottlenecks. You may be wondering why you appear to be generating new leads but your sales are not showing a corresponding increase. With a marketing automation system like ActiveCampaign, you’ll learn why. You will be able to see when leads that are captured are not being nurtured and moved along the funnel. You’ll be able to respond accordingly or have the software respond on your behalf, perhaps with the perfect message delivered at the perfect time, to the right individual.

Sales and marketing go hand in hand. Marketing automation will give you a dozen pairs of virtual hands, all working in harmony to achieve your business goals. Use high-quality analytics dashboards to push your sales efforts with the right leads, in the right places, at the optimum times.

Targeted, customized emails to convert leads into customers

Marketing automation includes email automation. This might not sound like anything new, but we’re not talking about mass emailing to your subscriber list.

Platforms such as ActiveCampaign can make timely, one-on-one communication with leads and existing customers. With all the data being gathered by the system, your automated marketing setup will be able to email a lead or customer individually based on his or her previous behaviors and criteria that you specify.

Consider the time it takes to monitor the activity of individuals and email them one at a time at their convenience. Use marketing automation and consider that time saved.

Constant split testing

Split testing, or A/B testing, is an effective way of seeing which of two ways of doing things performs best. Marketing automation makes split testing possible throughout your email marketing. It’s easy to analyze responses based on various factors, including the subject line, from field, content, and delivery time.

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Honing these areas can be an easy and effective way to make your marketing dollars go further without having to make major changes.

Analytics

It’s hard to know which elements of your marketing are working and which are not performing effectively. The more tools you have at your disposal for working this out, the better. If you can identify what’s working best, you can concentrate your efforts where it counts. 

With marketing automation, marketing analytics allows you to see end-to-end ROI. This information will enable you to eliminate waste and drive more leads into the funnel, both of which are likely to do great things for your bottom line.

Instead of performing repetitive marketing tasks, focus your efforts, and the efforts of your marketing team if you have one, on nurturing leads, producing sales-ready leads, and growing the business. Leaving the drudge to an automated platform frees you and your team to be creative.

Marketing automation platforms integrate well, and there is support

The right marketing automation platform will be easy to use. Automating your marketing shouldn’t require employing technicians to run the software 24/7. That would defeat the purpose.

Marketing automation is streamlined, as powerful as you like, and accessible. Once we get your system up and running, however, support will be available around the clock, every day of the week. The benefits of using marketing automation are huge, and you can be reassured that we will provide you with comprehensive, flexible support, should you require it.

Our friendly team at 610 Digital is also available for analytics consulting to help you get the most out of your new platform.