Small businesses make up 99.9% of US businesses according to Small Business Trends. Due to this large percentage, small business owners need to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways to do so is by creating a small business website that represents their brand and puts their business on the map.
A website is a gateway to your services. It shows customers who you are, how to schedule an appointment, and what they can expect from your services.
So how to create a small business website?
It can be difficult but the right website design and building strategies are going to make a difference to your business’s success. Let’s take a look at 11 steps to building a successful small business website.
11 Steps to building a Small Business Website
1. Choose a good domain name
A good domain name should be memorable and make a good impression for usability purposes and search engine optimization(SEO).
Here are some tips to come up with a good domain name:
Keep it short
Use a proper domain such as .com as opposed to .net, .co, etc. unless necessary.
Avoid using numbers and hyphens
Try to make the address broad to facilitate future growth
Make it memorable
Research the domain name to see if it already exists or if it contains any registered trademarks.
Create an SEO-friendly URL that is focused on keywords you may want to rank for or that people search for.
2. Use a Secure Scalable Website Hosting Provider
A website host or a website hosting provider is a company that provides the technology and services for a website to be viewed on the internet.
Your domain name is connected to your hosting provider so users who visit your website address can see your website on your hosting account.
Try to go for a dedicated server plan instead of a shared one.
A shared server is cheaper but the performance of your site can suffer.
A dedicated server is pricier but your website performs better.
A virtual private server hosting plan offers the best of both worlds.
You can also choose to partner with a company like Scorpion to host and develop your website for you.
3. Display your Business Description Clearly
You need to make sure your customers know exactly who you are and what you offer when they visit your website. To get your ideal customer to choose you it's important to have an effective small business website design.
Make sure that your home page banner and banners scattered across your website visually represent your services.
Try to place an introductory blurb near the top of the page that clearly describes your business and the services you offer.
Have your contact information easily visible.
Showcase why they should choose you over someone else.
Finally, ensure that the footer and main navigation menus have links to an accessible "About Us” page.
This gives visitors to your website an option to learn more about your business.
4. Be Smart with your Website’s UX Design
When it comes to website design for small businesses, user experience should be at the top of the list.
You don't want to confuse visitors who visit your website. To make your website user-friendly you will need to follow the correct UX design strategies.
Using fonts that are easy to read and graphics that look good. However, optimize your graphics so they load quickly or else, it may negatively impact your SEO.
Creating an intuitive navigation system within your website. Try to think about the journey that most of your potential customers go on.
Call-to-actions (CTAs) such as buttons that say “Buy Now”, etc.
5. Brand Yourself
When designing your small business website, think about how you can reflect your brand in its design. Doing so allows customers to get familiar with your brand from the moment they visit your website. This creates consistency which can result in trust and loyalty.
Research your customers and create a buyer persona to have an idea of the brand voice that will speak to them.
Visit competitors’ websites to see what is expected in terms of website design and branding in your industry.
Do keep in mind that your branding needs to be consistent throughout your website.
You can’t make sudden changes in colors or fonts unless you have a foolproof rebranding strategy in place.
6. Implement a Good Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a software application or program used to create and manage digital content.
A good CMS will help you to maintain your site even if you don't have much technical knowledge.
Choose a CMS that is designed for your specific needs as different systems are used for different reasons like user-friendliness, extendibility and budget.
7. Choose a good e-commerce platform
If you're planning to sell goods or services through your website and allow users to financially transact business with you online, you will need to choose a good e-commerce platform.
An e-commerce platform will help you to be able to take payments over your website or app. You will want to make sure it is secure and gets you easy access to your funds once they are transferred from your customers.
Having the process be easy is one of the quickest ways to get paid faster by your customers.
8. Optimize your website for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes it easier for customers to find your website when they perform a search on Google.
The stronger your SEO, the higher your website’s content will rank in search results.
It can help you to show up on the first page of Google which can result in large amounts of free traffic to your website.
SEO mainly include:
Keyword research and implementation
Optimal website code
Fast loading speed
Have an SSL certificate
Optimizing your website for mobile use
Have positive reviews
Using internal links
Using social media
9. Create and Publish Quality Content Regularly
One way to improve your SEO, as well as your branding, is by creating and publishing high-quality content regularly. For SEO, this can help search engines prioritize content that's fresh and extensive.
For branding, it gives your customers the information they want and needs. This leads to repeat visitors due to customer loyalty and new visitors because of improved SEO. To ensure that you're always on track, create a content calendar. This can help to make sure that you’re constantly publishing blog posts and other types of content on your site.
The content you create should be about things that your customers are interested in and want to read about. You will know the type of content you need to post from the customer research you performed when branding. Optimize the content using relevant keywords for SEO purposes.
One foolproof way of getting great content onto your website is by asking customers for testimonials.
Not only will this give you fresh content but also show other customers that your business is worth buying products or services from.
10. Install Webmaster Tools
These tools can help you track the following:
Daily, weekly and monthly visitors to your website
Number of views on each page of your website
Bounce rate - This is the percentage of users who come to your site and leave after only viewing one page. Google algorithms usually rank websites with a low bounce rate higher based on the theory that visitors spend more time on your site and are finding it valuable.
Average time spent on your website by visitors
Crawl errors on your site. These are errors that search engines find on your website by crawling its content.
Broken links on your website
Keywords that lead visitors to your website
Backlinks to your website
Web page download time
Other information that helps to enhance SEO
11. Create a Website Management Plan
For your website to be successful, you will need to make sure that it is properly managed.
Tips for a good website management plan include:
Check your Webmaster tools data at least once a month and have vital errors sent to your email in real-time.
Use traffic data to learn more about your audience to better cater to them.
Use performance data to optimize and fix any warnings or errors.
Check to see that all software is up to date.
Ensure your website is clean from malware by running security scans regularly.
Use split testing to see if different variations of your website help performance.
Publish relevant content regularly and optimize for SEO
Find effective ways to market your small business online
Continue to check out your competition from time to time.
Ensure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day
The steps to creating a small business website are slightly complicated and you may get overwhelmed. However, you need to remember the importance of your website to your business. Your website promotes your brand and attracts customers.
Implementing the right website design and building strategies can make your small business website a success.
If you’re thinking of setting up a website for a small business, contact the experts at Scorpion.
You can also see a more in-depth guide on building your website here.