How to build a killer website for your small business
Are you an ambitious entrepreneur looking to take your small business to the next level and reach new heights? Then you probably know that having a strong online presence plays a big part in reaching your goals. No matter what type of business you run, a great website is absolutely vital if you want to stay relevant and fight the competition. Even if you own a successful brick-and-mortar store and you don’t conduct e-commerce transactions, you still have to build a presence in the online world.
Now you might be wondering how someone who has a limited understanding of what building a website entails and no technical skills could ever achieve that. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert web developer or hire an army of IT specialists to build a great website that will help your company grow. Nowadays, it’s as simple as choosing the right software and tools, and following some basic web design principles. These simple steps will help you create an engaging website for your small business from scratch or improve your current business website.
Come up with a catchy domain name
Before you get to the actual creation part, you have to find yourself a good domain name. This will be your website’s address, so you have to make it easy for people to find you. Using your company’s name or words that describe your business is usually the best idea. Don’t complicate things unnecessarily, with hard to spell words or complex combinations of words, numbers and other characters, as this will make it difficult for users to remember it. Choose a name that is short, simple and catchy. Also, try to use the .com extension instead of .net, .co etc.
Choose a suitable hosting service
Hosting services make it possible for users to view your website on the internet, so your domain name will be connected to the hosting service that stores your website. Choosing the right hosting provider is extremely important as it can have a direct impact on your website’s performance, not to mention it has to fit your budget.
Prices vary widely across hosting companies, since they use different technologies and provide different support levels. Shared server hosting plans are the cheapest, but they also have major drawbacks such as limited resources and low security. Dedicated servers provide excellent performance, but they’re also expensive. Virtual private servers are usually seen as the middle ground, combining the affordability of a shared server with the reliability of a dedicated server.
Choose a content management system
Just as the name implies, a content management system or CMS is a software that allows you to create and manage the content on your website. There are different CMS options to suit all needs and budgets, but WordPress is probably the most popular of them all. Companies choose it because it’s simple to use, flexible and offers a wide variety of useful plugins for all types of websites. And if you need support in this area, there are plenty of expert WordPress web development companies that can provide themes, plugins and anything else you might need to improve the functionality of your website.
Find a good e-commerce platform
If you do sell your products or services online, you’ll need a platform that will facilitate this activity. E-commerce platforms provide the right technology to make transactions between you and your customers as simple and safe as possible. Using the right e-commerce platform will make it infinitely easier for you to promote and sell your products on the internet and boost your income. Shopify and WooCommerce are amongst the most popular e-commerce platforms out there, each of them providing different features and benefits. It’s up to you to decide which platform works best for your business needs.
Test your website
Before going live and sharing your website with the rest of the world, you have to make sure it’s fully functional and there aren’t any bugs that could affect its performance. That’s why testing your website is a crucial step of the process. However, if you’re no tech whiz, running countless tests can be a very time consuming and complicated task, so using a professional web automation platform can be a better option for you.
With the right testing tools, you can check the functionality, usability, security, compatibility and performance of your website and ensure that users will enjoy a trouble-free and pleasant online experience each time they access your pages.
Learn about SEO
For a lot of business owners, SEO is still an afterthought, which is surprising since a solid SEO strategy can work wonders for the success of your website. To put things simply, SEO encompasses a variety of activities and practices that can improve the ranking of your website on search engine results page (SERP), and draw more visitors to it. But good SEO is not only about increasing traffic to your website, it’s about attracting the right users, the ones that will take action and do what you want them to do, and that will result in higher profit as well. So, it’s a good idea to brush up on your SEO skills and start implementing the SEO strategies you see fit for your business.
Use webmaster tools
You’ll also want to know how your website is doing once it’s out into the online world. That means you’ll have to use some webmaster tools that will help you analyze traffic and website performance. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console are easy to install and they’ll provide you with the necessary data regarding aspects such as the number of visitors to your site (daily, weekly or monthly), the time users spend on your pages, broken links, keywords people use to get to your website, page download time etc. You can then use the information you collect to correct errors and make the necessary changes to your website in order to improve its performance.