What You Need to Know About Building a Great Small Business Website
Small business owners wear a lot of hats—some would say too many! After you’ve finished your accounting, ordering, and customer service tasks, you’d probably like to call it a day, but there is still one very vital component to work on: marketing. While marketing can be a full-time job all by itself, a great website can do much heavy lifting on your behalf.
A website is an online salesperson for your business that is working 24/7. Custom website designs can be expensive, but you don’t have to have a custom website built from scratch. Many small businesses start with drag-and-drop templates included from providers like WordPress or WIX to create their first website. The question is, how do you know where to start, and what kind of content needs to be included?
1. Start with a Good Domain Name
It can be difficult to find a great domain name (URL) because so many URLs have already been taken. You might have to get a little creative, but it’s important to avoid slang or made-up words. The easier your URL is to spell and remember, the more likely people will be to visit. Choose a URL relevant to your brand. Try to keep it as short as possible while still adhering to your brand’s name, values, or mission. It’s also a good idea to avoid numbers and hyphens as both of these are hard to remember and can be confusing when you’re saying them out loud. While in short supply, “.com” domains should always be a first choice, as that is the one people most often assume when typing a URL.
2. Choose a Hosting Option
Hosting refers to the technology that enables your site to be seen on the internet. You pay a hosting company for its services and direct your domain name to that hosting company, so customers can view your website online. As a small business owner, you are likely to consider three alternatives: shared servers, dedicated servers, or virtual dedicated servers.
Shared servers are the most affordable choice; you can buy shared hosting services for as little as $2 a month. These servers share computing resources with all the other websites on those servers, which can impact the performance of your site.
Dedicated servers are more expensive, but they are designed to optimize speed and site performance. In the early stages, a dedicated server might be overkill. You can always upgrade later once you start gaining traffic.
A Virtual Dedicated Server strikes a performance balance between the low cost of a shared server and the performance of a dedicated server. On a VDS, your website is on a shared server, but it’s guaranteed a portion of a server’s resources to your website.
3. Create Memorable Content
When it comes time to put content on the page, you might want to consider outsourcing to freelance writers and graphic designers to ensure your messaging is on-brand and memorable for your visitors. Try to keep in mind what your prospects are searching for and write content that address these needs.
Use fonts that are easy to read and spaced for legibility. This is doubly important for mobile which is the primary way people access the web. You can test your website with the Google Mobile Friendly Test (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly) or similar.
Optimize your content for search (SEO) to ensure the search engines know what you do and why they should send searchers to your site. For a little more information on blog posts, keywords, and content usage see https://expresstext.net/blog/small-business-marketing-ideas/.
Create static content; a Home page to describe what you do and the markets you address; an About page to describe who you are and why someone should buy from you. Pages for your Products and/or Services, and a Contact page to make it easy to find your business’ name, address, and phone number.
In addition to your static pages, create ongoing content, such as blog posts and social media blasts to discuss thing related to your products, services, and industry
Don’t feel overwhelmed with your website endeavor. Getting started is often the hardest part. Once your website is active, set aside a regular weekly or monthly time to create blog posts and social media blasts. These tips, combined with some other small business marketing ideas, can help you begin to realize greater success, and before you know it, you’ll be comfortable in your digital space!