Although social media can provide a lot of the tools necessary to get your small business off the ground, having a website dedicated to your business is critical if you want to grow your business. For most small businesses, starting a website is the next step in their business journey, and the step that truly helps to grow and refine their business into the next phase. 

Don’t get us wrong: it’s great that your business is on social media, and everyone has to start somewhere – but a website will add legitimacy to your brand and really show new customers you mean business.

Before you set your business up with a website, there are a few essential steps you need to take. 

1. Determine how a website will change your business. 

Having a website linked to your business is going to have a significant impact on the way your business functions. On social media, connection and engagement is a constant endeavour however it’s easy to miss messages or to control the amount of orders accepted, whereas a website takes a different approach to business organisation. For example, with a website you might find a significant increase in the number of orders you get. Additionally, you might also find that it can take a lot more money to create, maintain, and run a website. It’s best to make sure that you can definitely withstand the changes that a website will bring to your business before you make plans on anything else. 

Once you’ve determined the effect a website will have on your existing business, you need to make sure that the website is consistent with your brand. 

 

 

2. Find a good domain name. 

There are thousands of businesses online and a lot of them are named in either similar ways or ways that can be similar with some adjustments. Finding a good domain name is key to making sure that your website gets off the ground and that it’s inextricably linked with your existing business. If you have a unique or strange business name, this is perfect: it’s very unlikely that the domain name will be taken. 

Look to create a name that is easy to remember for your customers. For example, if your business name is something along the lines of Candles By Beewits, your best domain name will follow suit as candlesbybeewits.com.mt. Adding numbers or strange characters into a domain name that aren’t a part of your business identity will confuse your clients, so try and keep your domain name  short, easy to remember, and simple to spell. 

Additionally, make sure you use the right extension, such as .com. This will help keep it memorable and avoid accidental redirections to other sites. 

 

Source: The Next Tech

 

3. Research your web host providers.

There are countless places to host a website, but not all of the companies that provide web hosting services are going to give you the same benefits. Hosting services are also available at a number of different price points, so no matter your budget, you’re probably going to find something that fits well with what you’ve imagined for your website. 

Web host providers fall into two categories: a shared web hosting service, which means your business will share a server with other websites, or dedicated hosting which means that you will have your own private server. There is also free web hosting, however that is a misnomer: to opt for one of the services that offer free web hosting means that your website will probably have ads to deal with. 

 

 

4. Create a catchy homepage.

Your homepage will be the first page your customers see when they type in your address, so it’s important to make it easy to read, great to look at, and self-explanatory. There are website builders that will allow you to drag and drop different parts of your website to self-design it, however you can also outsource this aspect of website creation to freelancers or a company to make sure your homepage is excellent for your purposes. 

 

 

5. Figure out what other pages you need. 

Websites will have more than one page for your customers to look at: at the very least, you’ll have an ‘about’ section, a section about the products you sell, and a contact us page, though this can vary depending on what you want to convey with your website. Similar to the homepage, these should be easy to understand, with a clear call to action, and good design practice. 

 

 

6. Use a content management system. 

A good CMS can help simplify the way you maintain your site, and you can pick and choose the one that will best suit your needs, such as user-friendliness. Content management systems such as WordPress can help you, or your web design agency, manage all the content you put out, and with an extensive backlog of plugins you can use, it’s not difficult to customise your experience on WordPress. 

 

 

6. Set aside time for ongoing developments. 

A website takes up time, and you need to make sure that you have the time budget set aside to fulfil the website maintenance and updates that will keep your site happy. If you’re struggling, consider outsourcing your website management in addition to your outsourced design to make it easier on yourself to maintain your website. 

Starting a website for a small business can be a big endeavour, however, it can give a big boost to your business and really help you grow. If you have more questions on how to build a website for a small business, drop us a line: we’re happy to help answer your questions.