This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to build an attractive, functional and profitable website for your small business. Whether you’re a new small business starting from scratch, or a small business wanting to improve your existing website, we’re here to help. This is a step-by-step guide of the best tips for building small business websites.
Why do I need a small business website?
No matter what your small business is – maybe you’re a dog walker, a pizzeria owner, or a mechanic – in this day and age, you need a website. Why do you need a website? Because it’s the best way to reach new potential customers and build a positive brand. Here are some tips for how to go about building the very best website for your small business.
You build a website free, but this requires some knowledge of web design and development. If you’re not ready to build your own site, consider having a web design firm help you, like SEO Design Chicago. One of the areas we specialize in is small business website design and development, and we’d love to help you.
Best tips for building business websites
Naming Your Website:
First of all, you need to pick your website address, or domain name, for your small business website. For example, if you’re a dog walker in Chicago, you will probably want to include the words “dog walker” and “Chicago” in your website address.
But don’t get too detailed – you’ll want to keep your web address short, catchy and easy to spell. Try to avoid numbers or hyphens. You want it to be simple and easy to remember for your clients, and easily searchable for potential clients who might find you on the internet.
Choose a Website Host:
Next, you need to decide where you want your website to live. There are lots of options, from GoDaddy to DreamHost to InMotion. Website hosts are available for a variety of prices – you’ll just need to choose the best option for you. There are several different server options, from a shared server, to a dedicated server, or a virtual private server.
Some companies offer phone or chat support, which is important if you’re an inexperienced website owner. You also might want to investigate what kind of server security each site offers, if you’re worried about the possibility of being hacked. If you do hire a website designer, they’ll help you choose which website host will be best for your needs.
Use the Right Extension:
It might sound obvious, but make sure to choose the relevant extension for your website. In most instances, you’ll want to use.com for your website, as opposed to .edu or .gov.
Design a Homepage:
Your homepage is the first place your visitors will see when they open your website, so a functional website needs to both look good and keep their attention. It should also offer a good user experience and include a clear and concise description of what your business is, who you are and what you do.
It’s also a good idea to include links to other pages, like an “About Us” page so clients can learn more about your business, and a “Contact” page or button so your clients and potential clients can get in touch with you easily and quickly. (More on these pages later.)
Pick a CMS:
Next, you need to pick a content management system (or CMS.) Not sure what that is? It’s a software application that is used to create and modify digital content. Some popular options are WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Squarespace and Joomla!
WordPress is free and the most popular option, but is less secure than some other options. Wix is a monthly subscription service and very user-friendly for beginners, as is Squarespace. Wix or Squarespace might be a good option for you if you are on a tight budget and unable to hire a website designer. Drupal is very similar to WordPress, but offers more security. Joomla! is also very popular, but doesn’t have as many capabilities as WordPress.
Add an Online Store:
If you’re selling online on your website, you’ll need to pick an e-commerce platform. Some of your options for an online store include Shopify and WooCommerce. (If you’re not already selling products on your small business website, you should consider it. It can be a great and easy way to add revenue to your business.) A website design company should be able to help you get set up an online store with the right platform.
Create a User Interface:
Make sure you choose a font that’s easy to read. Also, you’ll want to include graphics, but not so many that your website is slow to load. If a potential customer can’t load your site, you’ll lose their business. A website designer can help make sure your site loads quickly and efficiently.
Optimize Your Site for Search Engines:
SEO (or search engine optimization) is an important step to make sure that people who are searching for small businesses will find your website, and not one of your competitor’s websites. The better your website is, the higher your site will pop up on search engines like Google and Bing. No matter how beautiful or informational your website is, if potential customers can’t find it, it won’t matter.
How do you make sure your site is SEO-friendly? Include plenty of keywords relevant to your business, have a fast-loading speed, and make sure your site is mobile-friendly. (This part can be complicated – if you need help, reach out to us at SEO Design Chicago!)
Keep Your Site Updated:
Now that your site is created, you want to make sure you are regularly posting new content. You might want to ask clients for positive testimonials to include on your site. You can also create your own blog posts about topics in your industry.
Make sure to keep your tone professional and your voice consistent throughout your website. If you are regularly updating your site, visitors will return again and again to see your new content – which means more traffic to your site. Find a way to allow users to give you feedback for your site, and reply to them and thank them for their feedback. Engagement is key!
If you’re not an expert in content creation, consider hiring a top web design company to write posts for you and make customized graphics for your site.
Use Webmaster Tools:
Make sure all your hard work on your small business’s website is paying off by installing webmaster tools like Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools to analyze your site’s traffic and performance.
You can see how many monthly, weekly and daily visitors you have to your site; how many people are looking at each page of your site; the average amount of time they spend on your site; and your “bounce rate,” or how many people come to your site and leave after only visiting one page. Then, you are able to quickly see and fix any issues that may arise.
Maintain Your Website:
It’s always a good idea to implement a plan for maintaining your website. In addition to consistently updating and adding content, make sure you are regularly updating your software, running security scans, allowing website users to provide feedback and then fixing any issues, and making sure the website is backed up.
Check Out the Competition:
Make sure you are also regularly checking out your competing small businesses’ websites to see what they’re doing with their site, and how that can help or hurt your business.
Looking for a website design company in Chicago?
Are you confused by some of the steps above? Or a little overwhelmed? Not sure what some of these terms mean? If you’re located in Chicago (or even if you’re not), you have the option of using us at SEO Design Chicago to help you build your website.
Whether you choose WordPress, Squarespace, or another content management system (CMS), we can help you build the best website for your small business. Then, we can help you with your SEO, e-commerce platform, creating content for your site, and more. We can even help with your social media and creating original photography and videography for your site.
Small business web development
It can be difficult to add building, creating, and maintaining a website on top of the rest of the workload of managing a small business. It might help you to hire a web design agency to help you build your website. It’s worth the cost to have a company of experts handle your web page design for you, so you can focus on running your business.
Hopefully, this article has taught you a lot about building and operating small business websites. For any additional questions or information, please contact us at SEO Design Chicago! We’d love to help your small business thrive by helping you build an award-winning website.