You know that having an online presence is essential to bringing in new customers and clients. A website is a vital way to connect with people searching for your products and services online while explaining your value and how you stand out from competitors.
Is setting up a website difficult? It doesn’t have to be! You can get a basic online presence started quickly and easily. From there, you can work on building up your content and ranking for specific keywords.
How do you set up a small business website? Here’s what you need to know.
Choose Your Domain Name
When someone visits your website directly, they’ll do it by typing in your website domain name in their browser. For instance, https://www.napaonline.com/ is the domain name for NAPA Auto Parts.
You want a domain name that is the same as your business name if possible. However, sometimes your business name is already in use by another person or company. In that case, you can add words to make it clear that the domain belongs to your business.
For example, if your company name is John’s Plumbing, you’ll find that https://johnsplumbing.com/ is already taken. You might need to add your city name, the phrase “online”, or another related word to find an open domain name. “JohnsofToronto.com” is available as of this writing, for instance.
The goal is to keep your domain name:
Easy to remember and spell
Short if possible
Closely related to your business name
You can buy a domain name from a variety of places. GoDaddy is one source, as is NameCheap and Domain.com. When you choose your hosting — we’ll get to that in a moment — your hosting provider may also allow you to buy your domain name.
You pay a yearly fee to keep your domain. It’s usually quite inexpensive, less than $15 a year.
Decide on a Web Hosting Provider
Your web hosting provider is a server where your online data — like your website, images, and content — is stored and available for public access 24/7.
If you think of your website as the online version of your business building, the web hosting would be the lot your building is built on. You pay an annual fee for hosting as well, but the difference is that you can easily start small and upgrade your hosting as your website becomes more popular.
Imagine if you could start with a small parking lot and add spaces with the touch of a button as your business grows!
Most major website hosting companies are reputable and easy to work with. When you choose a website building platform — more about that in a bit — they may include hosting with their website package.
Common hosting options include:
Squarespace (also offers domains and website building)
Wix (also offers domains and website building)
GoDaddy (also offers domain names and website building)
Siteground and Bluehost are great choices if you plan to use WordPress, a popular website building platform.
Choose Your Website Building Tools
Ok, you’ve got the domain name and hosting. Now it’s time to build your website. Remember that your website is the online version of your shop or office, so you want it to have the same feel as your business does in real life.
That means you’ll build it using the same branding, colour scheme, and other properties you use in your marketing.
Building a website used to be a complex process that you needed a specialist for. Today, you can build a simple website using a variety of drag-and-drop templates that can be customized to match your business needs.
Many businesses that are just getting started with their online presence prefer to use an all-in-one package that includes their domain name, hosting, and website builder. If you want more customization or are a bit more tech-savvy, you might use WordPress, which allows you to create a truly unique website for your business.
Here are some common website builders:
If you plan to sell products or services directly from your website, Squarespace and Shopify are the best choices.
Create Your Website
Now that you have your domain name, hosting, and website builder chosen, it’s time to create the website itself!
One of the best practices for your website is to talk directly to your customers about their needs. Focus on how your products or services make a difference in the lives of your customers and clients.
There are several webpages that all companies need. The first is your homepage. This is the page your visitors will often see first. It should share what you do and why you stand out from your competition.
You’ll want product or service pages that describe the details of your offers. For instance, if you are an HVAC company, you might have a page for AC repair, another for furnace repair, another for duct cleaning, and so on.
You should have an “About Us” page where you talk about your company and employees. While this is a great place to tout your experience, awards, and accomplishments, remember to keep the focus on how this all benefits the customer.
Finally, you’ll want a Blog. You might decide to call this something different, like a “Knowledge Centre”. This is the place you’ll post informative content about your industry, products, and services. Your blog posts help customers understand why they need your help and builds trust in your expertise.
Ready to Build Your Website?
Your website is as important to your business as your physical building is. Fortunately, all it takes is a few easy steps and you’ll have a domain name, hosting, and website builder ready to go.
From there, it’s just a matter of using the platform you chose to build the pages of your website.
If that feels overwhelming, you’re not alone. We can help you work through these steps and get a functioning website ready to go quickly. If you have any questions on building a website, click here to connect with an industry expert for FREE today!