The 6 Steps to Building a Strong Website for Your Small Business
So, you’ve set up your business, started trading, and now you need to build a strong website. Your budget is tight, and you haven’t got a clue where to start.
Do not despair! Here are the six steps you need to build a strong website for your small business.
1. Collect Examples of Websites
Unless you are a genius inventor of some unheard-of device servicing every industry in the world, your business has an established market.
Give your fingers a good stretch and your knuckles a crack, then get on your keyboard for a research session. Let search engines know what service, product or market you are looking for and start collecting links to great-looking, user-friendly websites that would fit your business.
You will get an idea of the style you want and what should and should not be included on your site.
Save the links into a file with some notes on what you like and don’t like. Add to this whenever you see a site that catches your eye.
Keep this for later, preferably in a place where you can easily find it again.
2. Get a Domain Name for Your Website
You’re all fired up by your research. Things are getting serious: you must choose a domain name!
Go to a domain search site, such as the IONOS Domain Checker and type in your desired name. If the most popular versions’ co.uk’ or ‘com’ is not available, you can choose many other options. Decide on the version that suits your business and budget best.
Buy it, before somebody else snaps it up!
3. Decide How to Build Your Website
You have two options, and both cost about the same amount but the denomination is different. Option number one costs you a lot of time and less money. Option number two costs more money but significantly less of your time.
Option 1 – Online Website Builders with Hosting
If you feel you’re a bit ‘techy’, have heaps of time and aren’t that fussy in terms of style, this is the perfect option for you.
The choice is great, and you may wonder which one you should use. To help you with your choice, UK Website Host Review have conducted some research into the best website builders currently available on the UK market. You can read the results here: UK Webhost Review.
Option 2 – Hire a Web Designer & Developer with Hosting
This option may cost you more money than the first, but you are saving big on time here if you find a developer who’s right for you.
A freelancer is the best option for SMEs on a budget. Digital agencies offer you a one-stop package, including digital marketing and conversion analysis services. But, once your developer has built your site, this is something you can easily do yourself. Free online tools such as Website Grader are readily available to help you with this.
So, what should you be looking for in a web designer & developer?
Make sure that you understand each other and agree on weekly catch-ups so that you know how your website is coming along. You must expect technical hitches. I have yet to see a website development that hasn’t run into some problem along the way. So, regular updates must be one of the developer’s top priorities. Things do go wrong and can delay the schedule. If you know what’s going on, you can prepare accordingly.
Attitude to Customer Service
Ask the developer how he feels about customer service. Take his or her answer as an indication of the level of service you will get.
Professionalism and Skills
The days of the tongue-tied, longhaired web slouch are over. Freelance web designers & developers are professional and skilled business owners. Take note of qualifications and testimonials before you hire.
So, is it time or money you are willing to spend? You need to be time-rich and tech-savvy for the first option whereas the second option allows you to hand it all over for a few hundred £s.
4. Build Your Website
It’s time to dig out the file with the website examples! I hope you remember where it is.
Whether you have chosen option 1 or 2, your list is now your or your web developer’s guide to building your site.
You decide on the look and layout of the site, the number and headers of pages, the user experience/structure and any other elements that should be included.
If you have outsourced the site building, your web designer will create Photoshop designs of the site first. Once you have approved them, he or she will start the coding process.
5. Add the Content to Your Website
Once the coding is complete, you must decide on the site’s content. What images should be on the pages and who is sourcing them? Who is writing the text (copy) for the webpages? Do you want to include podcasts or videos?
Take some time to look through your file of website examples and make your decision based on the things you like paired with your ideas.
Unless you are familiar with writing website content and its SEO and copywriting elements, you should consider hiring a professional copy & content writer for this. This investment will pay off big time. What is the point in having a visually strong site if your visitors can’t engage with it and leave after a few seconds?
6. Go Live!
Tada! The big moment is here: your website is ready for business!
Make sure you’ve got a reliable hosting package and that you keep your website secure from hackers and always up-to-date.
Your website builder package or web developer will be able to help you with this at a small monthly fee.
There you go. Six easy steps to get your business online!
If you need any help with building your website and/or writing your content, get in touch. We’ll gladly help.