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How to build a business website in 3 easy steps

You’ve toyed with the idea in the past, and now you’ve finally decided that it’s time to build a business website for your small business. You’re not alone. According to a 2017 survey by Clutch, 71 percent of small businesses– defined in the study as companies with between one and ten employees and less than $1 million in revenue– have a website, 55 percent of which have had it for at least the past year. Another 17 percent have plans to launch a website in 2017, while four percent say that they’re likely to launch one in 2018.

With a shift towards everything being online and the retail apocalypse heavily looming, having an online presence for your small business is important for many reasons. According to Forbes:

Now that you’ve decided to build a business website, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider before you begin. Below, I’ll go through three of the most important things to consider before creating a website for your small business, including:

1. Choosing a domain

You probably already have the perfect URL picked out for your company: yourcompanyname.com. It’s the obvious choice. The problem is that the domain you want might not be the domain that you get– it could already be taken. To check the availability of a domain, you can use GoDaddy, the go-to place for checking whether a domain is available, as well as the leading domain registrar in the online space. This is where you’ll be able to purchase your domain and get suggestions for names if the one that you want is already taken.

Prices range widely, but if your domain name is quite unique, you likely won’t have to pay too much for it (unless someone else is squatting in the hopes of cashing out, in which case things could get tricky). If someone does own a domain that you want to get your hands on, you can use GoDaddy to look that up too, and contact the person to see if they’re willing to sell.

According to Moz, some of the best practices for choosing a domain name include:

2. Designing your website

Web design is important. According to a study by Adobe, 38 percent of people will stop engaging with your website if the content or layout is unattractive, while 39 percent will stop if the images take too long to load. Having a mobile responsive design is a big deal too– not only is it a key factor for ranking in Google (I’ll touch more on that later), but it also affects user experience. Roughly 60 percent of users are unlikely to go back to a mobile site that gave them a poor experience, while 40 percent went as far as saying they’d go to competitor sites instead. Considering that a website is probably the first contact that customers have with your business, it’s important to set a good impression.

Whether you want to build a business website from scratch, or prefer a template that you can easily build from, there are plenty of options when it comes to design.

Pre-designed templates

The word “template” might conjure up the image of a static, lifeless website. Web design templates, or themes as they’re sometimes called, however, have become dynamic and highly customizable, making your website not only look visually appealing, but also professional. Some of the most popular options for building a website include:

A couple of things to note about the above options:

Notably, all of these tools are also set-up with eCommerce options so that you can sell products on your website, if that’s what the purpose of your website is.

According to Chad Rubin, CEO of order and inventory management software solution Skubana, getting your eCommerce store set-up right from the beginning is important for the user experience so that customers come back to your site.

“Getting the proper tools in place for any start-up e-commerce business before they launch is very important. You need to make sure that every single customer has a good experience but also you need to make sure you’re collecting the right data to get them to come back and purchase again in the future. So whether it’s tracking your inventory, collecting emails, offering discounts, or even something as simple as handling payments at checkout, making sure you have the right tools in place to make the best user experience before you launch is key.”

Designing from scratch

If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to design your own website from scratch (or get someone else to do it for you), you can use a content management system (CMS) for the design. Keep in mind that if you do design your website from scratch, you’ll also need to set yourself up with a hosting service that will host your website for you. This article does a great job of breaking down what hosting is and what type is best for your needs.

3. Optimizing for search

If you don’t already have an online presence, chances are that you have no idea what the heck SEO (search engine optimization) means. No surprises here– it’s exactly what it sounds like: making your website appealing to search engines so that when people go online to search for something related to your business, it’s your company’s website that comes up.

SEO used to be as easy as stuffing your website with keywords and links, but Google, the undisputed puppet master of SEO, makes you tick a lot more boxes these days in order for your website to pop up in its search results. Things like whether or not your site is optimized for mobile, how quickly your page loads, and the number of links that you have coming into and going out from your website all count for brownie points.

According to William Harris, SEO Consultant at growth marketing agency Elumynt, he reminds small businesses not to get obsessed with SEO too soon.

“When you’re a small business setting up your first website, the only thing you need to know about SEO is that Google’s goal is to give the best search results to the end user. If you can align your goals with theirs, by making sure that everything you do is with the goal of making the experience better for your ideal customers, you’ll have a better chance of staying out of trouble with any algorithm changes in the future.

 

“Sure, there are definitely ways that you can speak the right language to Google by making sure you use the right keywords in the right places, but you can also spend way too much time here if you’re just getting started. Focus on growing your business by being genuine – then optimize your website when you have the budget to bring on experts.”

As Google shifts towards user experience, the most important thing is to have a website that reflects what your company does while also giving your customers a good experience.

When you do start getting into SEO optimization, you can use some of the following tools to help:

Build a business website that gets noticed

While it may seem like a daunting task, building a business website has become a lot easier thanks to the availability of platforms and tools that give even the least design and technologically-savvy business owners the chance to create a pretty and professional website.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to build an online presence for your business:

Categories: Insights
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Suzie Blaszkiewicz :Suzie is a writer and researcher at GetApp focusing on the social side of business– CRM, marketing, collaboration, and of course, social media. Aside from musing about B2B software, she has experience writing about consumer apps for iPhone and Android, as well as research experience from the London School of Economics. Suzie loves travelling, eating, and trying to steal dogs from the park at lunchtime.