An Expert Guide to Building a Small Business Website
Having a great business website is essential for achieving entrepreneurial success. Since the rising number of consumers that go online is part of an irreversible trend, building a strong online presence is a prerequisite for enhancing your credibility in today’s marketplace. Without it, you may fall behind the competition.
To make sure you don't miss out, we’ve put together a 10-step guide on how to make a business website. With our expert insight, you’ll be able to get the most out of your site and become a tour de force within your industry.
How to make a business website
Pick your business website template
Choose a web host and domain name
Optimize for SEO
Focus on the user experience
Add all relevant pages
Fill your site with rich content
Set up a strong CRM
Promote your site
Track web performance
01. Pick your business website template
Ready-made website templates contain everything you need to get started, like sample content and built-in features in line with your business. That said, every template is designed for a specific purpose or topic - from fashion and the culinary arts to health and wellness.
As you set out to choose a template for your site, do a thorough search of the different categories that match what you’re looking for or best describe your business. You should consider the look and feel for what you want your website to express. Whether you’ve decided to start a business as a designer, winemaker or yoga instructor, you’ll be able to find among these free and fully customizable business website templates the right one that fits your needs, as well as those of your potential customers. For example, if you run a high-end fashion boutique, then you’ll want to use an elegant template, while someone selling streetwear apparel will need a more urban look.
Keep in mind that a professional template is the foundation from which you can begin to create a strong and competitive online presence. It not only facilitates the process of building a small business website, but will also strengthen your image.
02. Choose a web host and domain name
In order for your small business website to be viewed by others, you must first choose a web hosting provider. Take a look at our curated selection of the best website hosting platforms for small businesses out there to find which one best suits your needs.
Topping the list, Wix offers free website hosting that’s protected and reliable, with 24/7 security monitoring and integrated SSL certificates to keep your customers safe. It also boosts an impressive 99.9% uptime, meaning your site will always be up and running on secure and stable networks.
Next, you’ll need to get a domain name, also known as your website address, and connect it to your hosting provider so that visitors can find you online. Choosing the right domain name will also add professional credibility to your business site and provide visibility for your brand.
It’s important that when coming up with a domain name, you’ll consider one that can really help you make a great first impression. Here are some of the best practices for picking the perfect name:
Make it easy to pronounce and spell so that your domain name can be shareable and understandable when said aloud, as well as in writing.
Keep it brief to help people remember your domain name, making it user-friendly. Bear in mind that typing a lengthy name into the address bar is more susceptible to typos than one that’s short.
Be unique to stand out against the crowd. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to keep your domain name in line with your brand, paving the way for a cohesive online presence. Your domain name can be either aligned to your business name, or something similar to it.
Avoid numbers and hyphens in your domain name as they are often too confusing (is it 5 or five?) or difficult to remember. Hyphens, in particular, are easy to misplace when typing.
03. Optimize for SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing websites to ensure they rank well on search engines through organic searches. Improving your site’s ranking within relevant search results will allow you to reach a larger audience, thus increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your small business website.
Though there is a lot to learn about how to get your business found on Google, you can begin by implementing some of these essential SEO strategies to your site:
Find relevant keywords. You’ll need to do keyword research in order to better understand what your potential customers are searching for - the exact phrases or words they are using to find specific products, services and solutions. Implementing these keywords naturally on your website, from the page heading and content to the image alt text, will help improve your rank in relevant search results.
Speed up your website. Loading speed is a ranking factor, meaning it has a direct impact on your site’s position on search engine results. Your web pages should fully load or display in both desktop and mobile browsers in a matter of seconds. Some ways to improve your website speed optimization include optimizing image sizes, for example using JPEG files over PNG, and avoiding overloading your web pages with too much content.
Add a meta description, the short summary of your website that appears below your URL in search results or social shares. Having a strong meta description copy that’s optimized using keywords can enhance the click-through rate of your website, boosting your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
04. Focus on the user experience
The effectiveness of your small business website design will influence your customers’ perception of you and your brand. Moreover, creating a good user experience is also critical to making your customers content with your business and can positively affect your website’s traffic, conversion and bounce rates.
In this case, you’ll want to pay attention to the following:
Navigation menu. Website navigation can make or break a user’s experience. In order to provide good website navigation and ensure satisfaction among visitors, you’ll need to choose the right navigation menu for your audience and site. For example, there’s the classic menu that’s placed at the top of every web page (the site’s header). Or the hamburger menu, a widely recognizable yet simple three line icon, that’s more commonly used on mobile websites.
Calls-to-action. A CTA button is an interactive element with the goal to get people to take a certain action, such as “Contact,” “Buy,” “Subscribe” or “Submit.” An effective CTA depends on the color, size, shape and even placement on your site, all of which can help entice a user to click and move towards the next stage of making a purchase or filling a contact form.
Social media links. The section of your site where you display social media icons or links has an effect on user experience. Knowing how you want users to interact with links to your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts is important to understanding where to present them. You can add these icons in your copy for the purpose of sharing content, place them prominently in headers and footers as reminders to visitors, or integrate live social media feeds to encourage further interaction with your business. Additionally, you can implement a social bar to your site, linking visitors directly to any of your social media pages.
Make it mobile-friendly. Did you know that mobiles account for approximately half of web traffic worldwide? You’ll definitely want to take into consideration how your website is viewed on mobile devices since billions of people use theirs daily to do just about everything, from shopping to booking appointments and taking courses. With Wix mobile Editor, you can automatically make your business website mobile-friendly.
05. Add all relevant pages
Having a multi-page website is an absolute must for any business. It allows you to cover a broad range of content, products or services and nearly every nut and bolt of your venture.
The following are some essential types of pages to consider for your small business website.
Homepage. Often compared to being the storefront of your business, an attractive homepage will hook your potential customers. With this in mind, it needs to be inviting and easy to navigate. You can ensure this by using eye-catching images or videos, as well as readable fonts. You should also place strategic calls-to-action to guide visitors to take further steps on your site.
About Us. Prospective clients want to know who you are and what distinguishes you from competitors. Having an “About Us” page is the most effective way to communicate these vital pieces of information, as well as aspects of your business’s story, goals, values and mission statement.
Contact Us. A contact page is the best way for potential customers to get in touch with you. This page should include all your contact information, such as location, business phone number, social media links, business email address and a short form. Take the example of IdeaTrek’s well-crafted Contact Page. This investment agency’s page includes all relevant contact information and an easy to fill short form to streamline the connection process.
Online store. With online sales on the rise, it has become essential for many businesses to sell their products using the internet. Setting up an online store comes with several benefits as it can help you manage and scale your small business with the help of advanced web tools. These include everything from managing order fulfillment and creating a customized checkout experience for customers to accepting secure online payment. Once you’ve launched an eCommerce site, you’ll be able to streamline all your operations from a single and potent dashboard - on desktop and mobile.
Bookings page. If you’re a service provider, you know that extending convenience and efficiency to potential clients is a crucial part of your business. Adding an online scheduling software to your site will allow you to accept bookings and payments seamlessly. Having an all-in-one booking solution lets you manage your calendars for clients and staff, offer membership plans, subscriptions and open trial sessions. It also allows you to host sessions via Zoom, enabling you to reach larger audiences and build your clientele.
06. Fill your site with rich content
Having quality fresh content on your small business website not only encourages visitors to return to you, but also signals to search engines that your site includes up-to-date information.
As you start thinking about incorporating or writing website content that drives traffic and engages your target market, consider these forms of content on your website:
Blog. Many businesses create a blog to provide insights into their field of expertise and share content with their clients. Blog posts are written in the form of articles - dedicated to specific subject matter - and often serve as a platform for active online discussions. You’ll want to prioritize and choose blog post topics that resonate with your audience, are relevant to your business and can positively impact your position as an established voice in your industry. The main reason why more businesses are blogging nowadays is so that they can effectively keep their clients up-to-date and create compelling content that draws in a larger audience. The latter is also an important marketing tactic. For example, if you make and sell wine, then writing a blog post about “How to Store Wine at Home” is a way to capture new audiences who will not only gain value from it, but also get to know your brand in the process.
Testimonials. They are formal statements that comment on how good someone or something is. Testimonials usually come from customers, peers or anyone who has benefited from your offerings or work you did for them. Incorporating testimonials to your website helps boost your business’s credibility and build trust among clients since they will be able to assess from others’ experiences how your product or service resolves problems or meets their needs. With different types of testimonials out there, customer quotes are the most used form of any kind and the easiest to obtain. You can contact a customer directly and ask for their testimonial. Testimonials can also be placed in just about any section of your website, from the home page, product or service page to creating its own page.
07. Set up a strong CRM
You’ll need a solid customer relationship management (CRM) to improve customer interaction, build long-term relationships and capture more leads along the way. Once connected to your small business website, a CRM provides you with marketing and sales force automation, as well as customer contact and project management. Ascend by Wix offers you a complete powerful free CRM that can be easily integrated with your small business website. The platform includes a wide range of advanced features, such as forms to collect key contact details - emails, leads and testimonials - and live chat.
09. Promote your site
After building a small business website, you’ll quickly notice that you’ve also created a hub of all your digital marketing efforts. You can now use your site to increase your business’s exposure to prospective clients by applying a couple of these low-investment and effective marketing strategies:
Email marketing. This targeted form of communication is a must for generating conversions and developing relationships with customers. Additional benefits include building engagement with your brand, driving traffic to your site and promoting your business. A robust email marketing service will allow you to create and send all types of email campaigns and customize them for your target audience.
Social media marketing. Today, many businesses are leveraging the power of social media and reaching out to mass audiences from across the world through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter - to name a few. With social media marketing, you can regularly promote and share content around your business in the form of live streaming, stories or posting in specific groups.
10. Track web performance
In order to understand your site’s performance, it’s always a good idea to turn to web analytics tools and dive deeper into your strengths and weaknesses. Wix Analytics provides in-depth insight into their site’s traffic trends and visitor behavior. The latter includes information such as where they are coming from, how they got to you and which pages they stay on for longer periods of time. Once you have a better understanding of your visitors - first time or returning - you can make data-driven decisions on what your site needs to improve overall performance.
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
Small Business Expert & Writer