How To Build A Business Website

If you’re looking to build your own website, you’ve come to the right place. The following is a detailed list of steps to take when building a website. You can use this list as a guide to help you through the process, and to make it less complicated. At the end of the day, anyone can make a website; it just takes a little bit of patience, creativity, and hard work.

Purpose

The first thing any business is going to want to do before they start building their website is to determine its purpose. Will it be information-based, or action-based? Will it be a blog to convey your opinion, or will its main focus be on selling a product? It’s important to clarify this, and to have a strong sense of purpose behind your site. 

A good way to establish a purpose is to think about what your audience may be looking for, or what they need. You must ask yourself what you can do that will actually be helpful for your clients. Your purpose will always be closely linked to your audience. If you know that your audience is after a specific product of yours, then your website might be an online store that places an emphasis on this product. Nailing down a purpose may help you to create your website and to grow your business with more clarity and focus. You can find some more tips on how to grow your online business with web.com site builder.

Domain

In order to create a website, you need to have a domain name. This is the URL that you’ll share with current and potential clients to promote your business through social media and mailing lists. You’ll want your domain name to accurately represent your business and its niche, while making it easy for your clients to understand. You don’t want it to be too long or too short, or to make use of abbreviations that are confusing.

Once you’ve decided on what your domain name is going to be, along with the top-level domain (TDL) that it’s using—.com, .org, .net, and so on, you’ll be one step closer to a well-rounded website. In 2020, 40% of all domain names were registered with .com. Most people are very familiar with this option, and therefore many website owners tend to opt for it. (1)

You must remember to check your domain’s availability, purchase it through a domain registrar, and check for copyrights. Be sure to think of some back-up options, just in case your first choice is taken; you could alternatively buy the domain from the company using the URL, if they are no longer in need of it. There are also domain buying services that can do this for you.

Web host

Now that you have your domain name, it’s time to look for a web host, but keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be with the same provider. All websites need a host; this is essentially a service where all of your data is stored for users to access. You can host your own website, but this is quite a big undertaking and can be costly. Using an external website host is highly recommended, most especially if your business is small-to-medium sized.

You’ll likely have to take into consideration your budget when choosing a web host, because there are two different paths that you can take. A dedicated host is quite costly, but you get your own private server; the less expensive option is a shared web host, but this option entails sharing a server with other sites. Some more well-known sites may offer web hosting in their monthly packages, such as Wix or Squarespace.

Build pages

A great website is not too simple and not too complex. It shouldn’t have a single bland homepage, or a thousand irrelevant tabs. 94% of first impressions are often design-related, so you should consider giving your homepage special attention. You’ll want to create multiple pages, dedicated to the various aspects of your business. You may have a blog section for your company ideas, or a catalog of products and services. Make sure that these pages align with the site’s purpose. Don’t forget that you can add call-to-action buttons, such as “learn more” or “sign up”, to lead users to different pages to interact with all aspects of your site.

Your ‘contact’ page is where your clients will go if they have any problems or queries, so you should try to include as much information as possible, to make it easier for them to reach you. An ‘about’ page is also a great way to add a more personal touch to your website, to show your customers the real people/story behind the brand.

Should I outsource?

Building your website is a big responsibility, and it takes a certain level of patience and creativity. If this doesn’t sound like you, or you’re having trouble creating the design and content for your website, then you may want to consider outsourcing. You could hire a graphic designer, a website copywriter, or content creator to help you with this process. There are also user experience (UX) experts out there to help you in making your website as user friendly as possible. 

You must keep your business’s budget in mind when outsourcing, because it can become costly; it will be worth it in the end, though, if the outcome is a professionally designed and written website that people love to use. In 2017, 73% of businesses said that they invested in expert design to help their brand to stand out from the competition. It’s a rapidly-growing industry as the world delves deeper into the digital age, and there are many freelancers offering services that fall under the design and UX umbrellas. (2)

Payments/store

When you are creating your pages, you’ll need to consider whether or not you need an online store or a payment system. This won’t apply to all businesses, but if you do have a product or service on your website that you want to sell, you’ll need to integrate an electronic payment system. The best way to do this is often thought to be with a third-party payment processer or e-commerce software. 

Many web hosts offer in-house options for the shopping cart, and have e-commerce programs connected to this. All you need is to do a little bit of research into the best option for you and your business.

Test and Publish

The only thing left after you’ve built all the pages and ensured a functional payment system – assuming you need one, is to test that your site is working and to make sure that it’s accessible and easy to navigate; then, finally, it’s ready to be published. Make sure that you check it across different browsers such as Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge; click through every page and use all the buttons on each browser, to ensure that the text loads, the images show up, and there are no broken links or design flaws. Many people—39% according to a recent study—say that they’d leave a page if it was running too slowly or an image wasn’t loading. That’s a great deal of clients lost, which could’ve been avoided in making sure the site works optimally. This may take a bit of time, but it will be worth it in the end; the more thorough your testing, the more problems you can solve before your visitors stumble upon them and leave a bad review. (3)

You also want to check that your website displays correctly on mobile devices. This is where UX factors in, to make sure that your site is accessible, reachable, and user-friendly across the board. As many people use their phones to browse the web these days, this step is crucial. Remember that Google and other well-known search engines have moved to mobile-first indexing, which—in terms of search engine rankings—means that mobile-friendly sites are prioritized.

Market your website

Now, it’s time to get the word out about your website. Sharing your site on other online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram is a great way to increase your audience, and to further connect with existing customers; it’s arguably the most effective way to reach your clients. Many businesses start out on social media before creating a website; if this is the case, then pushing your website through these profiles is a great way to connect your already-established audience to your services and/or products. Consistency is key, as a 2017 LucidPress report noted that having a consistent design across the board, wherever your brand appears, will most likely increase your recognition and revenue. Use the same logo and the same colors to remain consistent across all platforms, to increase brand recognition and thereby strengthen your following. (4)

Once you’ve gone through all of the above, all that’s left is to maintain your site. Make sure to update it when necessary, and to check in occasionally to ensure that everything is running smoothly, or to troubleshoot any issues. As your business grows, your website will too; if your company undergoes rebranding, don’t forget to change your website in accordance with the new style. Your site should be an accurate representation of your business, what it does, and what it stands for; done well, it can be an excellent tool for both you and your customers.

Chung Nguyen