How to Build Your Business Website in 5 Simple Steps
It is an established fact that all businesses nowadays have to have an online presence, even just in the form of a basic responsive website and social media accounts. It doesn’t matter if you have a physical store; customers will try to find you online, and if you can’t be found, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential buyers.
Having your own business website helps you capture additional clients and can also generate revenue for you in the form of advertisements. You can reach clients as far as the next continent, and it’s also easier for your current customers to refer you to others.
As a new business, you might say that you can’t afford to have a website made. That may be true in the past; hiring a web designer to build your website from scratch will cost you several thousand dollars.
However, building a website nowadays no longer needs to be expensive and complicated. Various companies will give you functional domains at highly affordable prices, and a lot of website builders have very affordable plans (starting from free!).
You can easily build a website in five steps:
- Choose the right website builder
- Buy a domain name
- Choose the right design for your website
- Create excellent content and edit your website
- Publish the website and go live
A business website helps you generate clients in all aspects of the customer acquisition cycle. This happens when a potential customer does the following things.
- Searches online to look for solutions to their problems and then they discover your website
- Searches for information online on certain businesses and then they click on your site
- Gets your information from your website and then contacts you via email or phone
There are endless ways in which you can benefit from having your own business website. Here is a step-by-step guide to building a professional website so that your business can start attracting more customers today.
1. Choose the Right Website Builder
If you talk to different people about your desire to create a website, you will get different opinions depending on the individual you consult. Some of them will suggest hiring a website developers. Other people will say to just get WordPress. Some will tell you about website builders like Wix, Bookmark, or Weebly, among others.
Deciding on the site builder you want to use for your website is critical. If you make the right choice, then the journey to building your site will be a walk in the park.
Remember, though, that there are a number of site builders available in the market. The most important thing to consider is that a complex builder with too many features is never a good choice. When it comes to building your website yourself, the simpler it is, the better.
Things to consider when choosing a website builder
Given that there are a number of website builders out there, how do you choose them? What factors should you consider? Here are some.
What do you need in a website?The right website builder matches your technical skills as well as your skills in design. It also has the features that you require in a site. To make the right choice, ask yourself the following questions.
- What is the purpose of the website?
- Will you be selling products/services online?
- Will you have a blog?
- Is there software related to your business that you want to link to your site such as booking?
- How important is aesthetics to your website?
The answers to the above questions will make it easy for you to pick the best website builder. However, you should note that website builders appeal to personal tastes and preferences. Your choice depends on your needs.
For instance, if you want to have an online store, you can choose a builder that has an e-commerce feature. If you have a blog, you can choose a builder that supports blogs as well.
What’s your budget?Your budget will determine the method that you will use when creating your site. If you choose a web developer, you should have thousands of dollars to spare. If you choose WordPress and hire someone to tweak a theme, you will only spend a few hundreds of dollars.
If you don’t have the budget, though, you can choose website builders. These usually have free options where you can create your site free and then just choose to upgrade later on. After the trial period, or when you choose to upgrade, you should only pay a small fee. The Bookmark website builder, for example, charges $4 to $25 per month.
Compare website buildersComparing builders is a must. Sign up for free accounts, for example in Wix, Weebly, and Bookmark.
Try them out and see which one works best for you. Look at how easy it is to build a website for each platform, what features they have (e.g., drag and drop), what third party applications they can support (important for those selling items online), and how responsive their customer support is.
Look also at the number and aesthetics of their designs, how much their paid plans are, and of course, how beautiful and professional-looking their products are after you’re done playing around with each platform.
Using website builders is the most practical option nowadays for small business owners. You spend a minimal amount and get a professional looking website that will help your brand and help attract potential customers.
2. Buy a Domain Name
A domain name refers to the URL or address of your website (e.g., www.example.com). Choose a professional domain that reflects your business because it will give you authority to potential customers.
A good domain name comes at a price, although a minimal one. You then just pay for an annual fee to keep it yours. Initially, for the first year, domains cost around $2 from Namecheap or GoDaddy. Renewals range from $10 to $15 a year.
How to come up with a creative domain name
While most businesses simply use their business names when creating domain names (e.g., www.CathayPacific.com), it is important for you to be a bit creative. The question is how you become creative when creating a domain name without sounding trashy.
One way to do that is to add a relevant word to your business name. For example, you can create domain names such as GetAppName.com or BuyProductName.com, where you have added “Get” and “Buy” in front of your business name.
You can also opt to use other extensions aside from .com. You can replace it with .net, .io, .ninja, and .co among others. Note, however, that since people are used to .com, domain names with .com are remembered more than those with other domain extensions.
Where to buy a domain name
There are several domain name registrars including GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Name.com. Another option is buying it directly from the website builder of your choice.
Most website builders have domain names, and some, like Wix and Bookmark, even offer free domain names if you upgrade to their yearly plans. This would even save you more money so consider it as well.
3. Deciding on the Right Design for your Website
In this step, you will decide on your website design. That means you need a bit of creativity for it to turn out well.
If you want ready-made designs, website builders usually have them already. Weebly, Wix, and Bookmark, for example, offer you hundreds of templates. Bookmark’s templates even depend on your niche, so a business selling food online will have a different look than one offering medical services.
You can scroll through these templates until you get the one that matches your business needs. You can focus on setting up the design and creating your content once you choose a template.
Using a template benefits you greatly because you will have an idea of how your website works from the start. The only thing you need to do is replace the existing content and the graphics with your own content and graphics. Most website builders offer a drag and drop option that makes the entire building process easy.
Despite sounding easy, this method has a disadvantage. You might choose a template that other people have used. Unless you do a lot of editing, your site will not look unique at all.
If you want a site that looks unique, Bookmark is also ahead of the game. It uses artificial intelligence to design your website depending on the information you provide. If the starting point is okay, then you can continue editing. You can also ask the software to create another design until you get what you want.
This method has an advantage. You will get a unique website that looks like no other site online. However, its disadvantage is that you will not be sure of the results it will offer you until you try it.
If you want a website that has a video background and similar features, look for a builder that supports such features. There are builders that have video templates that appear in the background. All you have to do is to find out which one has these templates.
4. Create Website Content and Start Editing Your Website
Once you are okay with the design, it is time to for you to load your site with content. Some websites are text heavy; others don’t require as much, e.g., photography and portfolio websites.
Whatever your website is all about, at this point, you will have to provide all the input.
Logo CreationYou can create a logo online for free and use it on your website. You can also opt to hire a designer in sites like Fiverr.com or 99designs.com that connect you with professional designers.
Some builders also have an option where you can automate the logo creation process providing you with several options depending on your business needs.
ImagesYou will need images for your website. Luckily, millions of free images exist on sites such as pixabay.com and pexels.com. If you do not find a picture that matches your needs, you can use online photo editors to customize it. Most people consider this part as the hardest one when it comes to website building in 2017.
Fortunately, some website builders already include free images and videos in their designs. Bookmark, for example, sources these free photos and videos directly from Pixabay and Pexels, so you don’t have to spend time anymore getting photos for your website.
As for content creation, hire an expert writer who will fill your site with unique content. All you have to do is to ensure that you have given the writer with enough instructions.
There are a number of platforms where you can hire writers, for example, Upwork, Freelancer, and iWriter. You might be tempted to pay only $1 for 100 words, but remember, you get what you pay for! Look at their sample writings, pay for a sample article, and pay the going rate. Don’t make budget your priority, otherwise, you’ll end up with nonsensical articles that won’t do your business any good.
5. Publish Your Website and Go Live!
Once you are done with the design work, and you have images and content, it is time to publish your website. You can share a link on your social media platforms and via email if you have subscribers already.
However, before you do that, make sure that you have tested and confirmed that the website is functioning properly and that it has no bugs. Hire a professional editor as well to go over all the written text and make sure there are no embarrassing typos or grammatical errors. Once you are sure the site is ready to go live, ask for some feedback from your friends and family members on the design and content of the website.
With a business website, having a call to action button is very important, as it prompts users to do whatever action you want them to take after visiting your website. So make sure you have it in strategic locations as well.
To generate more views for your site, consider paying for Facebook and Google advertisements. Ensure you implement search engine optimization to increase your ranking on Google. Other ways to increase traffic include using builder-based apps, most of which are paid for but they give you value for your money.
Given all the benefits you will get from having your own business website, doing these five steps doesn’t seem so hard at all. Even if you do struggle at first, especially when it comes to deciding on the design or in hiring writers for your website, just remember that it will all be worth it in the end.
Once you have a beautiful and professional looking responsive website with content you can be proud of, you can rest assured that reaching millions of potential customers is now well within your reach.