Every business, regardless of its industry or size, needs some form of online presence in today’s work environment. Most customers consider an entity with a solid online presence more credible, transparent, and approachable. They are far more likely to interact with you if they can find information about your business online.
The best way to increase your business’s online presence is by building a website. When customers learn about your business, whether through social media, ads, or referrals, their first inclination is to visit your website. They then contact you or visit your physical store after gathering enough information about your business from the website.
Creating a Website for Your Business
With that said, how do you build a website for your business? You don’t need any web design experience, nor do you need to hire a web developer. Today’s technology has made it easier to build a website without learning how to code.
In this post, you will learn how to build a business website. We will discuss the different business websites you can create and highlight the necessary tools and options. Lastly, we will go through the website creation process.
What to Evaluate Before Building Your Business Website
Before creating your website, there are a few things you need to plan and evaluate. Planning helps you determine what kind of website you need and how best to build it. It wouldn’t be advisable to dive straight into creating a website without evaluating issues such as why you need the site, budget, and target audience.
Below are a few things to assess before building a website:
1. Main Purpose of Your Website
Why do you want to build a website? Do you want to generate more leads or sell your products and services through the site? Your purpose is what determines the kind of site you should create. A website for educational information is different from a directory or an e-commerce website. Knowing your reasons for the website will make it easier to build one that accomplishes it.
2. Target Audience
Knowing your target audience can be helpful when making decisions about the website’s design. For example, if your business targets kids, you’ll want your website to have fonts and color schemes appealing to kids. The images and language you use on the website should also be relatable to your target audience.
3. Website Budget
Building a website requires you to spend some money. You’ll need to buy a domain name and pay for web hosting at the very least. Website builders and content management systems (CMS), such as Shopify, require monthly payments. It’s best to set a budget to determine which website-building tool you can afford. Working with a budget also ensures you don’t overspend.
4. Competitor Analysis
Before creating your business website, take some time to look at industry sites to gain ideas and ensure you aren’t missing anything for your website, whether it’s information, categories, or functionality.
5. Content Preparation
A website is just a tool or platform. Once you build it, you’ll need to add information about your business or industry. It’s better to prepare your content before creating your site. If you do so after, you may have to add certain elements to accommodate a specific type of content you want to add. Preparing your content will enable you to identify all features you need on your website such that you won’t have to add them after designing the site.
6. Business Details
Have your business details ready for use. This includes your logo, contact details, location, mission, vision, and goals.
Types of Business Websites
Different types of websites serve different purposes. Go for the one that complements what your business does and accomplishes your goal for the website. Below are eight types to pick from:
1. Lead Generation Website
A lead generation website is suitable for a business seeking to turn website visitors into prospects. This type does more than inform generic web users about your business. It persuades them to perform a targeted action using call-to-actions such as getting a free trial or registering for a weekly newsletter. Lead generation websites aim to collect customer information, which a business can use to initiate contact and close a sale.
A blog website provides educational or entertaining information to visitors, usually in a conversational style. This web type mainly contains posts ranked in reverse chronological order, with newer ones appearing first. Go for a blog website if your goal is to write posts about a specific subject, topic, or industry. Most blog websites contain comment sections where readers can give their views on a post.
3. Event Website
Event websites provide essential information about upcoming events such as fundraisers, conferences, and concerts. These websites highlight the venue, time, and program of an event. They also outline travel and accommodation details where necessary. Use this website to get readers to register and pay for events hosted by your business.
4. Booking Website
A booking website is ideal for service-based businesses, for example, salons, consulting services, and medical appointments. This site allows customers to book appointments without calling or visiting your office. Choose this website to tell customers your business hours, among other things.
5. E-Commerce or Online Store
An e-commerce website is appropriate for businesses that sell physical products but want customers to buy through online channels. This website usually contains a list of your business’s inventory and a buy or add-to-cart button that allows customers to place their orders. To build this website, you’ll need to add an online store to your site and set up elements such as online payments, shipping, order fulfillment, and so on. You’ll also need to list your merchandise online and communicate your business hours, order fulfillment, and delivery details.
6. Media Website
Media websites are for businesses seeking to share articles, videos, news segments, and more. Use this website to write articles, newsletters, and magazines. Most media websites make money through Google Ads or by getting members to subscribe to the site. Forbes is a classic example of a media website.
Directories are websites where businesses can publish listings. Visitors visit these websites to find entities that offer a specific product or service. Examples of directory websites include Yelp and TripAdvisor. The features of this website type include:
- Business listings.
- Membership section.
- Writing reviews.
- Starring or marking a listing as a favorite.
8. Online Forum or Social Network
Online forums and social networks are websites where visitors can come together to share ideas and communicate. Visitors can ask each other questions and hold one-on-one or group conversations. Quora is an example of an online forum website.
Options to Build a Website
There are essentially three ways to build your business website. The one you select depends on your budget, level of expertise, and time. It also depends on the scope of the website. Let’s start with the first option.
Option 1: Use a website builder
A website builder is a platform that contains the necessary tools to design a website. This platform does not require any coding knowledge. It utilizes drag-and-drop software that allows you to drag and drop elements you need for your website. A website builder also contains tutorials to guide you through the designing process. Therefore, this platform is ideal for beginners.
You can quickly set up your site using a website builder, but you may have to pay a one-off or monthly subscription. The cost can be expensive depending on your type of website. The more advanced the website, the higher the price. Another downside to website builders is they limit your creativity to only the features and elements available on the platform. It’s also difficult to switch from one platform to another once you build your website and are looking to upgrade it. You may have to create a new one.
Option 2: Use WordPress
WordPress is an open-source platform that you can use to design your website or blog. Many websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. You can use WordPress to create any website type. Thanks to the many plugins available on WordPress, this option does not limit your creativity. WordPress plugins help extend the functionality of your site.
WordPress is free if you want to design a blog, but you may have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for advanced websites such as online stores. You also need to pay for your domain name, hosting, and some WordPress plugins.
In terms of expertise, WordPress requires basic coding knowledge, so it is not ideal for beginners. You may also have to watch a couple of tutorials to learn your way around the features and elements of WordPress.
Option 3: Hire a website designer or developer
If you don’t have the time or interest to build the website, consider hiring a web designer or developer. This tech expert will create your website as you focus on other aspects of your business. This option does not limit you in terms of creativity since you can tell the developer to build the site however you want. You can also change or update your website at any time if you’ve hired a full-time developer.
This option is the most expensive since you have to pay someone else to design your website. You’ll still pay for your domain name and hosting per the developer’s guidelines. If the developer needs to code the site from scratch, the building process will take more time than the other options. If you’ve partially hired a web designer to build your website, you may have to seek his services again when maintaining or upgrading the site.
Steps to Build a Website
We’ll now look at the steps to follow when building your business website.
1. Get a domain name
Think of a domain name as the name or address of a website. It is the text users type on a browser to visit your website. An example of a domain name is google.com for Google. Several suffixes are available for a domain name depending on the website’s purpose. In your case, you will select the .com extension since you want a business website. Here are a few tips for choosing a domain name:
- Keep it short
- Ensure it is easy to spell
- Use the right domain suffix (.com)
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- Search your domain name on USPTO.gov to see if it is available
- Use a domain name related to your business
2. Purchase website hosting
Web hosting refers to buying or renting space for your website on the internet. You can purchase hosting from a provider. Depending on the provider and technology needed, the cost may range from $2 to $100 per month. You can pay for hosting annually or monthly. You will want to look at reviews for Web Hosts to choose a reliable and adorable one, See the resource further down the page section for more.
3. Build and customize the website interface
Once you purchase your domain name and hosting, your next task will be to build the website. If you use a website builder, you’ll be dragging and dropping the elements to the interface.
In the case of WordPress, you need to select a template and customize it with your content.
The essential pages to have on your site include:
- About Us
- Contact Us
You can add more pages, such as blog or product or service pages, depending on your type of website. You also need to choose colors, fonts, and style templates. Ensure these elements are consistent throughout your website.
4. Add content to the website
As mentioned above, a website is only a platform. Once you customize the website interface, add the relevant information to all the pages. This includes details about your business on the About Us page, product listings on the Products page, and introductory information on your Home page. It’s better to prepare this content before building the site.
5. Test your website
Don’t launch your website without testing it. You want to ensure all elements, buttons, and links work as they should. Test your site to ensure smooth navigation and every aspect is functional. Also, check whether your site is mobile-friendly.
6. Launch your website
Your last step will be to launch the site. Once you launch, your site will be open to the public.
As you can see, building a business website isn’t as difficult as one may think. All you need is the desire and the budget to make your website come true. Your expertise level is what will determine the design option to select. Once you launch, remember to optimize your site for search engines by embracing good SEO practices.
In this section of the post, you will find a few resources that will come in handy to help you build and plan a website for your business.
Examples of Designs For Small Business Websites
To get an idea for your business site I recommend you take some time to browse designs for small business websites. Browsing through some of the top designs will give you a starting point and an idea of the type of site that appeals to you.
See, Small Business Website Design Examples to spark your creativity.
Web Hosts For Business Sites.
Choosing the right web post is an essential part of creating a site that is quick and functional. There are many companies out there providing website hosting services. Depending on the type of website builder you use will determine the best host. For example, if you’re going to use WordPress, there are companies like SiteGround that specialize in WordPress hosting.
See the search results for the Top Business Web Host.
Content Management System Reviews
Deciding on what content management system you’re going to use can be challenging. For example, do you want to use WIX, which includes hosting and is a drop-and-drag system, or would you rather go with WordPress which is more complex to use but offers a lot more flexibility?
I would suggest you do some research to find out what works best for you. You can find many reviews of content management systems via the link below. The more familiar you are with content management systems, the better your results will be.
See the latest search results for the Top Content Management Systems.
Once you’ve decided on which content management system to select, you can view tutorials to get you started. I have included links to search results for three popular ones below.
What To Look For When Hiring A Web Designer
You may be thinking you’d rather hire a professional to create your website for you and that’s not a bad idea if you’re busy, don’t have a lot of computer skills, or if you have no desire to build your own website.
If your plan is to outsource the work, I suggest you look at tips for hiring a website designer before you seek one out to build your website. See, the search results for, What To Look For When Hiring A Web Designer for tips and insights to ensure you hire the right designer.