What do you when you want to find out more about a product, service, company, really, anything? You visit uncle Google and hope to find a web page that will tell you more. In the digital age, a strong online presence is essential for small businesses. People will be looking for us and what we sell in exactly the same way so want to have responsive website that looks good on any device, and is easily searched on all major search engines.
Can a Beginner do this?
Can a beginner do this? The answer is yes. It takes some work, and it won’t ever be the same quality as a website produced be a marketing studio, but it just may be the exact thing your company needs right now.
Before we begin we want to determine what the purpose of this website will be. Do we want to attract new customers, use e commerce to sell products in an online store, or simple tell the world about our company or organization? Knowing the purpose of the website will help us determine our next steps and even limit the suppliers we will use for hosting and search engine optimization.
We understand that creating a website can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner. But fear not! In this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of building a small business website from scratch. Using simple language and easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll have a professional website up and running in no time. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!
Choosing the Right Tool to Build Your Website
When it comes to building a website, think of it as assembling a LEGO structure. Some tools make it easy to snap together the pieces, while others require more advanced skills. Website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are user-friendly options that provide pre-built blocks to create your site. These platforms typically offer drag-and-drop functionality, making website creation a breeze even for those with no coding experience.
However, for those seeking a more powerful and flexible solution, WordPress is an excellent option. As one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) worldwide, WordPress powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. Its’ website editor is easy to use, and there are add-ins like Elementor or WPBakery that make a professional looking website a lot easier to achieve. WordPress’ open-source nature allows for extensive customization and scalability, catering to the needs of a wide range of businesses, from small startups to large enterprises.
One of the significant benefits of WordPress is its extensive library of plugins, which can enhance your website’s functionality without requiring coding knowledge. With thousands of plugins available, you can easily add features such as contact forms, photo galleries, and e-commerce capabilities to your site. Additionally, WordPress boasts a vast community of developers and users, making it easy to find resources, tutorials, and support when you need it.
On the other hand, content management systems (CMS), like Joomla, or Drupal offer more flexibility but might feel like using a more advanced toolbox. These systems provide a wide range of plugins and customization options, allowing you to create a truly unique website tailored to your specific needs.
When deciding on a tool, consider factors like ease of use, your budget, and the potential growth of your business. Remember, you can always switch to a different tool down the road if needed. It’s essential to choose a platform that will grow with you and accommodate your future needs.
Picking a Template for Your Website
A website template is like a pre-designed room that you can decorate to match your taste. Most website builders and CMS platforms offer a variety of templates to choose from, so find one that suits your business style. Consider factors like color schemes, layout, and overall aesthetics when making your choice.
Once you’ve selected a template, customize it with your logo, colors, and fonts to make it uniquely yours. Take your time to explore the customization options available in your chosen platform, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember, the goal is to create a website that reflects your brand’s identity and appeals to your target audience.
Creating Your Website Content
Now it’s time to fill your website with engaging content. Depending on the purpose of the website discussed earlier you will be writing different types of content. Remember to imagine the needs of your visitors. What would new users to your business website want to find? Help them find it quickly to keep them engaged. If you are using a content management system like WordPress or Joomla this becomes easier. Most business websites and web designers opt for a simple structure when a page is meant to be for information only. Typical pages would be the landing page which is the first page that users will experience. After that a combination of “About Us”, ” Services”, and “Contact” can be used.
Menus Should be Simple
You can choose the best website builder and even hire a web designer but if your site is complex and hard to navigate users will not stay. As a rule of thumb make menus simple. Feature only topics and sections or pages you want seen. The simpler the message the easier it will be absorbed. When you organize your content using headings and lists, you make it easy for visitors to digest the information. A well-structured website not only looks more professional but also ensures that visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for.
Write clear, concise text that speaks to your target audience. Be sure to address their needs and concerns, showcasing your products or services as solutions to their problems. Use images and videos to enhance your message and make it more visually appealing. High-quality visuals can help convey your brand’s personality and make your content more engaging. When uploading graphics opt for images in a format that is light and easy to load like webp.
Organize your content using headings and lists, making it easy for visitors to digest the information. A well-structured website not only looks more professional but also ensures that visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for.
Optimizing Your Website for YouTube Integration
We don’t talk about it much but Youtube is the second most popular search destination on the web so incorporating YouTube into your website can be a game-changer. Video content can help capture your audience’s attention and boost your online presence. To optimize your website for YouTube integration, follow these steps:
A. Embed relevant YouTube videos on your site: Find or create high-quality, relevant videos that align with your brand and support your content. Embed these videos directly onto your web pages using the provided embed code or a plugin, depending on your website builder or CMS.
B. Optimize video titles and descriptions: Craft compelling, keyword-rich titles and descriptions for your YouTube videos to improve their discoverability. This not only helps your videos rank higher in YouTube searches but can also boost your website’s SEO.
C. Use eye-catching video thumbnails: Design attractive, custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos to encourage visitors to click and watch. A well-designed thumbnail can significantly increase user engagement and drive more traffic to your site.
D. Encourage social sharing: Make it easy for visitors to share your YouTube videos on social media platforms by adding share buttons to your website. This can help amplify your reach, attract new viewers, and drive more traffic to your website.
E. Monitor video performance: Keep track of your YouTube video analytics to understand how your content is performing. Use this data to make informed decisions about future content and optimize your website for the best possible user experience.
Making Your Website Easy to Use
Imagine your website’s menu as a restaurant menu, guiding visitors to what they’re looking for. Design a simple and intuitive menu that’s easy to navigate. Group related pages together under appropriate headings and avoid using jargon or overly technical terms.
Additionally, ensure your website works well on phones and tablets, as more and more people use mobile devices to access the internet. A responsive design ensures your website looks great and functions smoothly on devices of all sizes. If you’re unsure how your site is performing you can use the free tools that Google provides like Google Search Console to test the speed and efficiency of your site.
Lastly, make it easy for visitors to contact you, whether through a contact form, live chat, or by providing your email address and phone number. You can put this on the main page or have contact page exclusively for this purpose. This not only enhances user experience but also helps you build trust with potential customers. Note: only use a widget to chat if it there is someone to reply. The wordpress plugin directory has some great plugins that you can install to chat with a site’s visitors. Many website builders install plugins to do just that but there is no one on the other end to reply. Nothing can irritate and send a potential client away quicker than that.
Getting Your Website Online
To make your website accessible to the world, you’ll need a domain name (your website’s address) and a web hosting service. Web hosting companies are where you will storing your new wordpress site. Choose a domain name that represents your business, is easy to remember, and ideally includes keywords related to your industry. This will make it easier for potential customers to find you online.
Selecting a reliable web hosting provider is crucial for your website’s performance and security. There are various types of hosting, such as shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is generally more budget-friendly and suitable for smaller websites with low traffic. Many hosts like, Syslogic provide web hosting services with dedicated wordpress site management. Many website builders use dedicated wordpress hosting like this for easy of management and security.
VPS hosting provides more resources and control, making it an excellent choice for growing businesses with moderate traffic. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, offers top performance and control, but it can be more expensive, making it suitable for websites with high traffic and resource-intensive applications. These are typically more advanced hosting services. Look for a web hosting company that will let you start with a shared hosting plan and upgrade to VPS hosting when required later.
When choosing a hosting provider, consider factors like storage space, bandwidth, and customer support. Look for a host that offers an easy-to-use control panel, one-click installations for popular platforms like WordPress, and a solid uptime guarantee. Be sure to compare the features and pricing of various hosting providers to ensure you get the best value for your money. I nice trick is to send a support request and see how long it take for support to respond. The speed at which they reply is an indicator of how long you will wait when you need their assistance.
With your domain name and web host in place, it’s time to launch your website and celebrate your achievement! Announce the launch on social media, and invite friends, family, and colleagues to check it out
Helping People Find Your Website
Once your website is live, you’ll want to attract visitors. Start by implementing simple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, such as using relevant keywords in your content, page titles, and meta descriptions. Creating high-quality, informative content that appeals to your target audience will also help improve your search engine rankings. SEO is really a huge topic that can’t be covered here, but a little research on search engines will give you more insight.
Share your website on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to increase visibility. Engage with your followers, respond to their comments, and encourage them to share your content with their networks. Building a strong social media presence can help drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.
Encourage friends, family, and satisfied customers to share your website, creating valuable backlinks that can improve your search engine rankings. Backlinks are links on other websites or services that point to your website. The more people think you’re important the more Google will think so too. Networking with other businesses in your industry can also lead to valuable partnerships and link-building opportunities. Once you’re sure that you have site worth visiting you can drop a few dollars into a Google ads account to get even more visibility. I would not suggest doing this before you’ve completed all these other steps. Google can churn through your account very quickly so letting Google ads loose on your site before it is ready is a waste of time.
Keeping Your Website Up-to-Date
A successful website requires regular maintenance and updates. Keep your content fresh, adding new information or updating existing content as needed. Regularly review and revise your website to ensure it remains accurate, relevant, and engaging.
Monitor your website’s performance, ensuring it remains fast and secure. Slow-loading pages can frustrate visitors and harm your search engine rankings. Implement security measures like SSL certificates and regular backups to protect your website from cyber threats.
Use website analytics to learn from visitor behavior and make improvements where necessary. Tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and help you optimize your content and marketing strategies.
Creating a small business website may seem daunting, but with the right tools and guidance, you can successfully build your online presence. Follow this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, and you’ll be on your way to establishing a user-friendly and engaging website that showcases your business to the world. Embrace the challenge, take it one step at a time, and remember that every great website started as a blank canvas. Happy website building!