When starting a new business, one of your top priorities will be building a website but the chances are you’re going to be on a tight budget.
While you will probably want to hire a website designer or developer for a professional looking website, it may initially be unaffordable, when considering your other start up costs. So could you build your own website to an acceptable standard?
Follow this process to create your small business website:
To Start, Choose Your Website Platform
There are a variety of website platforms to choose from. Each platform serves a different need.
Here are three of the most popular:
1. Squarespace. Squarespace is a website platform known for its user-friendly interface and modern website design templates. Squarespace websites are built through block-style building (you drag and drop blocks into columns and rows). That might limit you if you want to do any out-of-the-box design.
2. Wix. Wix is a platform made for small business owners who want an easy solution. While the website-building process is simple, Wix lacks the functionality and customization you can find on platforms like Squarespace and WordPress.
● Choose Wix if you want to get a basic website up quickly.
● Custom design and animations are limited.
3. Self Hosted WordPress. WordPress is more flexible than Squarespace or Wix. You download the WordPress software and install it on your web server. It may require a bit more technical knowledge… but ultimately WordPress allows more flexibility.
Before you choose your website platform, think about your website goals in the short and long term. Do you want an easy-to-update website? Squarespace and Wix might be the best options. Will you want a more customized design down the line? Then WordPress might be the best solution for your business.
Creating Your Website
Once you choose a platform, take these steps to create your website:
1. Decide which pages you want to have on your website. Start by listing the pages you’ll want on your website. You can have a single landing page, or a standard 5-page website.
● Home. This page should give visitors a clear idea of what you do and how you can help them.
● About. Show your business’ story. Talk about how your company pursues its mission through photos and words.
● Services or Products. This page will feature ways that customers can buy from your business.
● Blog. A blog can be a place for your business to post news updates, informative articles, or other content for visitors to browse.
● Contact. This page informs customers about how to get in touch with you. If you have a physical location, this page should include your address and a map showing your location.
2. Choose a template or theme. The theme or template you use will guide the way your website looks.
3. Keep branding consistent. Over time, you want your branding to be recognisable. Choose your website colours and easy-to-read typography before building the website.
4. Write website copy. What words do you want on the website? The words on your website will be a core part of visitors’ experience with your brand. Here are some top tips to keep in mind when writing your website copy:
● Benefits first. At the top of each page, include a headline with the benefits your customers get when they purchase from your business. Place these benefits at the top of the page (ensure they are visible before the reader starts scrolling).
● Position your business as an authority. Think of your customers as heroes and your business as the guide who knows the solution to their problems. Write quality content with that relationship in mind.
● End every page with a call-to-action (CTA). What do you want visitors to do when they reach the bottom of your page? End each page with a clear, final CTA encouraging them to take the next step.
● Write skimmable website copy. Break text into smaller paragraphs, use columns and bullet points.
5. Choose high-quality photos. Use high-quality photos to represent your business! You can choose from company photos or stock photos. To keep with visual consistency, try choosing photos that look like they were edited in the same or similar way.
6. Learn SEO. Have a basic understanding of SEO, such as using keywords and connecting to social media accounts, to gain maximum exposure to attract traffic.
7. Optimise your website for all devices. When you are finished putting together your website, test it on a tablet and mobile device.
Having a website for potential customers to learn about your business is essential in today’s modern world! Get your company’s story online so that potential customers can search for, learn about, and connect with your business.
Hopefully, your company will become successful and in time may outgrow your DIY website. It may then be worth considering employing a web design company, to take you to the next stage in your development.
With professional options, you’d be looking at either paying upfront to create your perfect website, or alternatively, if you want to avoid a possibly hefty initial outlay, you could choose to work with a web design company that provides pay monthly packages, such as here.