Building a Website for Your Small Business
No matter what kind of business you have, you’ll need to have an online presence. Social media is important, but it’s best to have a proper website so customers can look for your location, services, products, or hours. Creating a simple, well-designed website can give you the edge over your competition or even bring in new customers. Here are all the steps you need to take to build a website for your small business.
Plan Your Site
The first thing you need to do is decide the primary purpose of your website. Are you planning to have an online store where customers can pay online? This will require a much more complex site than one that just lists your services and operating hours. Think about all the functionality you need for your site, from commerce to booking calendars to photo galleries, before you start working on it.
Pick Your Domain Name
Your domain is the URL you’ll be sharing with your customers and promoting on social media. A long or cumbersome domain name might be hard for customers to remember to type in correctly. Try to choose something that is as close to your business name as possible to avoid any confusion.
Also, remember to keep SEO (search engine optimization) in mind when selecting your domain name. You can use keywords connected by your business so that you can rank better in google searches. For example, if your business does garage repairs in Texas, you might want to include the words “Houston garage door repairs” in your web address.
Start Building Your Website
Using a service like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress, you can start to create your website. These content management systems (CMS) are easy to use, even for beginners. You can create a home page, landing page, and additional pages for your business, including a page for customers to contact you or find your physical location. If you want something more complex or stylish, you can hire a web designer from a service like UpWork or Fiverr to help you make something truly unique.
Add an E-commerce Option
If you want to have the option for people to shop on your website, you’ll need to integrate a payment system. Your web host might offer shopping cart or e-commerce software, but you should research to ensure that it will have all the options you require. You will also have to decide what payment options you want to take (credit card, PayPal, Apple pay, etc.), and if there is a limit on how many items a customer can buy. These are all things that will need to be coded into the backend of your website.
Test Your Website
Before publishing your site, make sure to test it and ensure it works. Some CMS will allow you to preview your site on different devices so you can see how it looks on a mobile phone compared to a desktop browser. You should also test it on different browsers, like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. This way, you can ensure that your website will look and function properly regardless of what your customers are using to access the site. Once you’re happy with your site, you can press publish!
Market Your Site
Once your website is live, you can start promoting it. Use social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to share your website and connect with customers and clients. If you have a blog on your website where you update content regularly, share those posts on your social media.
You should also make sure you have optimized your site for search engines so that you are more likely to show in the searches. Make sure your keywords are built into the website and that you have filled out your meta descriptions and alt text to help your site rank.
Once your website is complete, it’s not a case of out of sight, out of mind. You need to frequently update your website with new products and offers or blog posts to keep customers coming back and make sure all your information stays up to date. This way, your website will be relevant and useful in your quest to grow your business.