A Beginner’s Guide To Building A Small Business Website
Have you wanted to create a website for your business for months now, but never got around to the process because it seems daunting and asking a professional for help would be too expensive?
Don’t worry; you’re certainly not alone. In this modern era where technology seems to have taken over in every industry possible, it’s surprising to learn how many people still don’t understand (or want to understand) how easy it is to create a website from scratch.
All you really need is basic knowledge of WordPress and the ability to research on the internet, and you’re good to go. No really, that’s all you need to create a basic website.
Of course, it won’t be as flashy or animated as it would if you got it done from a website solutions provider in Dubai, but it’ll still look professional enough to fulfill your needs.
Before we jump into the process, it’s important to explain why it’s so essential for small businesses and start-ups to establish an online presence as early as possible.
Benefits of having your own website
- You can advertise your products and services 24/7
- It’s the cheapest form of advertising available in the industry
- Gives you access to a wealth of new customers outside your locality
- Allows you to expand your market across borders and countries
- Sales can continue if/when you decide to change the location of your brick-and-mortar store
- Customers can leave reviews/testimonials, giving you a better idea of how they feel about your products/services
- Automated chat-bots can reply to basic consumer queries
- Your customers gain the unmatched convenience of being able to purchase your goods from the comfort of their homes
A 5-step guide to building a website
1. Choose a platform
The platform, also called the Content Management System (CMS), is where you’ll build your website and eventually make any changes that are required in its structure. Think of it as the foundation of a house, with the difference that this foundation can be altered whenever the need arises for something new.
Currently, the three most popular CMSs in the world are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. For the purpose of simplicity, we’ll be focusing solely on WordPress, which hosts almost 70% of all web pages worldwide and is as easy-to-use as Microsoft Word.
Go to WordPress.org and download their desktop app for your operating system.
2. Choose a host and hosting plan
With the platform sorted, you’ll need to pick a web-hosting service that fulfills your requirements while also providing cost-effective solutions.
A web host is basically the server where all the files and images will be stored. When someone types in a URL in the browser’s address bar and clicks ‘enter’, they’re redirected to the server where the website’s files are stored.
When choosing a hosting company, there are various factors you’ll need to keep in mind:
- High up-time guarantee
- Fast loading speeds
- Professional customer service
As with all things digital, there are tons of options available to choose from on the internet, but we recommend going with BlueHost. They’re extremely affordable, have great customer service, and most entrepreneurs trust them with their small business websites.
Next, it’s time to pick a hosting plan.
If you plan to expand rapidly in the near future, you should get in touch with a professional website designing and development company to discuss your options; otherwise, the ‘standard’ one will do just fine.
Avoid share hosting as much as you can and go for a company that offers dedicated support for WordPress.
3. Choose a name
With back-end details sorted, it’s time to choose a domain name. This is the URL your customers will use to access to your website, and it’s crucial that you give the decision due respect.
In most cases, your domain name will simply be the business’ original trade name followed by a .com or a .net. IF that is already taken by another brand, you might want to consider re-branding your business (especially if it’s still in its infancy). Nothing hurts an SME’s chances of success more than if their customers continuously confuse their brand with a competitor’s.
If you’re selecting a new name, consider the following factors:
- Keep it short
- Keep it easy to type
- Keep it original and unique
- Keep it memorable
Luckily for you, most web-hosting services will offer suggestions and little tweaks you make if the name you originally wanted isn’t available.
4. Install WordPress and Create A Basic Structure
Click on the ‘hosting’ tab on the Bluehost website, tap on WordPress, and install the application both on your desktop and on the webhost. There are plenty of videos available on YouTube if you’re struggling with the installation process.
When WordPress opens for the first time, a theme is already installed. You can choose to keep this layout or select a different from the themes tab on the left of the page.
The greatest benefit of using WordPress is that it has thousands of free-to-use themes which are infinitely customisable, ensuring that your new website looks unique to your brand.
Choose a theme you like and start customising the different elements until you find a combination that you like. WordPress also gives users the option to add various plugins directly from their massive pool of resources. You won’t need to search anywhere else.
5. Add content and update regularly
You’re almost there! Once the basic structure is created and you’ve customised it to your liking, all that’s left is to start adding content and filling up the pages.
The ‘Pages’ tab on the left will let you create as many internal pages as you like, and you can even start adding internal links to give the entire website a more professional feel.
Make sure you update content regularly, and always keep it in-line with modern SEO practices. This applies not only to the blog posts and written content you put up on the front pages, but also the website’s URL and image attributes.
Check out our complete guide on SEO in 2018 for more tips and tricks on getting your website to the first page of Google.
Congratulations entrepreneur, you now have your own small business website.
Remember to be patient during the first few months of your site’s operations. It takes time to build an audience, and nobody gets instant success overnight.
Keep optimising and refreshing the content, and eventually, you’ll start to notice the great benefits of having a website.
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