Whether you’re a mechanic, a freelance photographer, or own any other type of small business, you’ll need a great website if you want to be successful in this day and age. We have talked to experts from the best web design company in New York to put together this list of critical steps to creating an engaging small-business website.
Whether you’re looking to start from scratch or want to improve your current website, these five key steps will help you get started and allow your small business website to compete in the online marketplace.
Step #1 — Get a Good Domain Name
Also known as your URL or website address, your domain name will be the entry point to your website for most users. The quality of your domain name matters not only for the purposes of usability and user experience but also for search engine optimization (SEO).
We understand that trying tothink of a great domain name for your small business website can be more daunting than it sounds, so we’ve come up with a few tips to help you along:
- Make it easy to remember and spell — This is not the time to use big words or industry jargon. Also, as a rule of thumb, the shorter the domain name, the better.
- Use the right top-level domain — Go for a .com domain unless you have a really good reason not to.
- Keep your name broad — Having a less specific domain name (and company name) allows for scalability. For example, although Amazon.com started as an online book store, its non-specific domain name allowed it to expand to the most significant consumer goods ecommerce marketplace in the world.
- Ensure it’s not taken (or that it is reasonably priced) — Check to see if your desired domain name already exists and ensure it doesn’t include any previously registered trademarks. If the domain is taken (which it probably is if it is a good name), check whether its price fits your budget
Step #2 — Get High-Quality Web Hosting
A website hosting provider, most often referred to simply as a web host, is a company that offers the services and technologies necessary for a website to be available to access via the internet.
The way it works is pretty straightforward — your hosting provider will have a server address assigned to your domain name, so when users choose to visit your website’s address, they see the website you have stored on your hosting account.
Depending on the type of support and level of technology required, hosting services can vary wildly in price, costing anywhere from $3 to $100+ per month. As is the case with any subscription service, a yearly plan will likely get you a sizeable discount compared to a monthly one.
We recommend going for a well-established web hosting company for your small business website.
Step #3 — Make Sure Your Website Describes Your Business Clearly and Succinctly
You don’t want prospects getting confused as to what you do and who you are, so make sure to let them know straight off the bat. Your homepage hero image and any other prominently displayed banners on the website should clearly represent your services and products.
Also, be sure to include an introductory headline near the top of the homepage describing the purpose and idea behind your business.
Finally, don’t forget to add an “About Us” section in both your header and footer navigation menus, so people can get more in-depth information about who you are and what you do quickly.
Step #4 — Optimize Your Site for Search Engine Algorithms
If you’ve spent any time with online marketers and other small business owners, you’ve likely heard about the importance of SEO. It may sound a bit abstract, but at its core, search engine optimization is a set of practices that you apply to your site to make sure it is appropriately indexed, ranked, and shown to the right users.
Once a search engine “crawls” your website, it compares it against websites with similar content and gives it a ranking that determines how far users will have to scroll before your site shows up in their results after Googling a specific phrase.
In principle, the better the content and design of the website, the higher it will show up on SERPs (search engine result pages).
As most search engine users tend to click on one of the first three results that pop up after a search, you can see why SEO is an essential ongoing process that can contribute massively to your website traffic and bottom line.
Step #5 — Create and Publish Top-Notch Content
This step ties neatly into the previous one, as high-quality content is one of the primary factors when it comes to good SEO. But it isn’t all about quality either, as freshness plays a significant role as well.
Therefore, you must have a clear-cut content publishing plan, in which you will outline exactly when you will post blog posts on your website and social media platforms. If you want people to come back to your website frequently, you’ll need to keep the content fresh, updating it as often as possible.
That said, it’s not all about static pages and blogs — testimonials are another excellent form of content to publish on your website. Asking your customers how they felt about your products and services and then sharing their thoughts on your website is an excellent way to both fill your website with fresh content and boost your credibility.
Whether you use your own content or rely on testimonials, make sure to keep the tone consistent and on-brand.
As you may be able to tell from this article, there are many nuances to building a highly successful small business website. Simply putting together a single-pager in WordPress likely isn’t going to cut it if you want to be genuinely competitive.
However, if you follow the five steps laid out in this guild, your small business website will have a great chance of success.