TechnologyWebsiteStep by step guide to creating a business website

Step by step guide to creating a business website

Here’s our guide to creating your business website – every step covered. If you don’t have a website for your business then you’re very likely missing out on the benefits of gaining a competitive edge, reaching a larger audience, and increasing sales. A well-designed, user-friendly website is not just a digital business card, it’s an important part of your marketing to help you engage with customers, gather insights, and drive growth.

A website provides a way of driving business growth: it can help establish credibility, build your brand, reach a wider audience, and make it easier to manage customer interaction and service.

Your business website is an great way of delivering your brand message. You can convey your business’s personality, values, and unique selling points. Through design, content, and user experience, you can differentiate your business from competitors and build a brand identity that resonates with your audience.

Lastly, unlike a physical shop, which is limited by geography, a website is accessible from anywhere in the world so gives you an opportunity for global reach allowing your business to attract customers far beyond your local area, opening up new markets and opportunities for growth.

Start with the main aim of your website

The first step in creating a business website is defining its primary purpose. This could be providing general information about your company, or it could serve as an e-commerce platform for selling products or services online. If it’s for sales, are you selling products, provide information to support ordering via a reseller, or generating leads for your sales team? Your website’s purpose will influence its design, structure, and content.

Key point: The primary function of your website should be evident on the homepage. Visitors should quickly understand what your company offers without having to dig around.

Choosing your domain name

Your domain name is important as it identifies your brand. It’s the name that you will share with your clients and promote on social media so it should be descriptive, memorable, and easy to type into a web browser. (For example, our domain name is GoSmallBusiness.co.uk – which we think works well, gives its intent and the suffix means it’s focussed on a UK audience)

Advice: Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers if possible to prevent confusion.

Choose a web hosting company

Your website is a collection of pages which link together and have supporting files for images, logos and so on. These need to be stored on a computer (the web server) that’s publicly accessible and links these pages to your domain name – so if a visitor types in your domain name on their web browser it will connect to your server and display the pages of your website. This is normally all managed for you by a web hosting company that will rent you a host server that they manage on your behalf.

Some of the biggest web hosting companies serving small business owners include Siteground.co.uk, Bluehost.com, and GoDaddy.co.uk

Creating your website

A good website is more than a static homepage. You need to create multiple pages dedicated to different aspects of your business, such as a detailed catalogue of your products or services, or a blog section for company updates.

Tip: Each page should support the site’s primary goal, have a clear purpose, and include a call to action (CTA).

Planning Your Website’s Structure

Plan your website’s structure carefully. Think about the pages you’ll need and how they’ll be organised. A clear, logical structure will enhance user experience and help with SEO.

Designing Your Website

When designing your website, keep your target audience in mind. Your website should be visually appealing, align with your brand, and be easy to navigate.

Developing Your Website

Whether you use a site that helps make it easy to create your website such as Squarespace or Wix (normally called a website builder) or if you decide to build it up using a well-known platform like WordPress, developing your website involves creating the actual pages that users will interact with.

Taking payments online and selling products

If you wish to offer the option for customers to buy products and pay online, you’ll need to integrate electronic payment systems with your site. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software and a third-party payment processor that will process credit card or PayPal payments for you.

There are a number of different ways to setup an e-commerce site and to link to a payment processor. Some platforms such as Shopify make it easy to design and build a working e-commerce shop that accepts credit card payments. You can also add this functionality to a WordPress site or to a site created with a site builder such as Wix or Squarespace.

Taking payments online means setting up an account with a payment processor – two of the biggest are Stripe and Worldpay – both link easily to e-commerce sites and then payout customer payment to your bank account.

Creating Content for Your Website

Content is king. Develop high-quality, relevant content that will engage your audience and provide value. This could include text, images, videos, or downloadable resources.

Testing and Launching Your Website

Before launching, test your website thoroughly. Check for any errors, broken links, and ensure it’s optimised for mobile devices. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to launch your website to the world.

Promoting Your Website

After launching, promote your website through social media, email marketing, and other digital marketing strategies to attract visitors and start generating business.

Essential features

A business website needs more than just a sleek design and compelling content. There are certain essential features it must have to ensure effectiveness and facilitate growth.

Mobile Responsiveness

With an increasing number of users accessing the internet via mobile devices, your website must be mobile-responsive. This means it should look and function well on devices of all sizes, from desktops to smartphones.

Fast Loading Time

A slow website can be a major turn-off for visitors. Ensure that your website loads quickly to improve user experience and reduce bounce rates.

Clear Navigation

Clear navigation is crucial for a business website. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for easily, without confusion or frustration.

Contact Information

Make it easy for customers to contact you. Display your contact information prominently and consider adding a contact form for convenience.

Security Features

Security is non-negotiable. Implement SSL encryption and other security measures to protect your website and users’ data.

SEO-Friendly Design

Your website should be designed with SEO in mind to ensure it ranks well in search engine results and attracts organic traffic.

Testing and publishing your website

Before launching your site, ensure it works on all major browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Also, make sure your website displays correctly on mobile devices.

Marketing your website

Social media platforms are excellent tools for increasing your audience reach and alerting customers to what’s happening with your company. Whenever you update your website, post about it on your social media accounts.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO practices can help direct users to your page and improve your rankings in search engines. Building relevant keywords into your content from the beginning and having a strong focus on SEO can help you generate traffic early on.

The Basics of SEO

SEO involves optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords. This includes on-page optimization, like using the right keywords in your content, and off-page optimization, like building backlinks from other reputable websites.

How SEO Drives Traffic

By ranking higher in search engine results, your website becomes more visible to people searching for the products or services you offer. This increased visibility can drive more traffic to your website.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Keyword research is essential for effective SEO. Understand what potential customers are searching for and use those keywords strategically in your website’s content.

Tips for optimizing your website

Optimizing your website is an ongoing process that can significantly contribute to business growth. Here are some tips to get the most out of your website.

Regularly Update Content

Keep your website fresh with regular content updates. This not only provides value to visitors but also helps with SEO.

Monitor Website Performance

Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor your website’s performance. Track visitor behaviour, conversion rates, and other metrics to understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Encourage User Engagement

Encourage users to engage with your website through comments, reviews, and social media sharing. Engagement can lead to higher visibility and more business.

Optimize for Conversion

Optimize your website for conversion by including clear calls to action, simplifying the checkout process, and highlighting customer testimonials.

Utilize A/B Testing

Use A/B testing to experiment with different elements of your website. This can help you determine the most effective designs, layouts, and content for your audience.

Maintaining your website

Staying relevant is important, so update your website regularly with blog posts on current industry events, new products and offers, and company news.

Maintaining and updating your business website is crucial to ensure it continues to serve its purpose and support your business growth.

Regular Maintenance

Schedule regular maintenance to keep your website running smoothly. This includes updating software, plugins, and checking for any issues that could affect performance.

Content Updates

Keep your content up-to-date to ensure it remains relevant and valuable to your audience. This could involve updating product information, publishing blog posts, or refreshing page content.

Staying Current with Trends

Stay current with web design and technology trends to ensure your website doesn’t become outdated. A modern, up-to-date website reflects well on your business.

Using a professional

While it’s possible to create a website on your own, professional services can make the process smoother and more effective.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional

Hiring a professional can save you time and ensure your website is of high quality. Professionals bring expertise in design, development, and SEO that can be invaluable.

Choosing the Right Service Provider

When selecting a service provider, look for experience, a portfolio of work, and positive client testimonials. Make sure they understand your vision and can deliver a website that meets your needs.

The Role of Web Developers and Designers

Web developers and designers play crucial roles in creating a business website. Developers handle the technical aspects, while designers focus on the aesthetics and user experience.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a business website can vary greatly, ranging from a few hundred dollars for a simple design to tens of thousands of pounds for an extensive custom website. This wide range is due to the type of business involved and the amount of work the business owner is willing to do themselves.

Summary

Creating a business website can take anywhere from a few days to several months. The exact timeframe depends on various factors, including the complexity of the site and the individual business’s needs.

Creating a business website is a relatively low-cost investment that can help establish credibility and reach a wider customer base than traditional marketing techniques. With careful planning and execution, a business website can be a valuable asset to any company.

Written by

Anna Thornhill
Anna Thornhillhttps://gosmallbusiness.co.uk
Anna Thornhill is one of our expert writers. Anna is our specialist editor covering business growth and marketing and makes it her mission to provide small business owners with practical guides that help you step-by-step to grow your business. Anna’s an experienced sales and marketing professional who moved to writing and editorial and helps startups and small business owners with practical advice in growing their business with the latest sales and marketing techniques plus guides to choosing and using sales and marketing technology.

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