With the 2020 pandemic decreasing face-to-face interactions, small businesses have found it’s more important than ever to connect with customers via websites and social media.
Although small businesses increased online interactions by 51% in 2020, 36% of small businesses still don’t have a website and believe they are too small to have one.
One thing preventing startups from setting up their small business website is cost. Another factor is that some companies believe it requires coding knowledge or experience to build a professional website.
What if we told you that you could set up a small business website in as quick as ten minutes with little to no coding knowledge and for only a few dollars per month?
In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of building a small business website in seven steps:
1. Choose the Best Platform To Host Your Small Business Website
One of the biggest mistakes beginners can make when building their website is to choose the wrong platform to host their website.
Every small business website has different needs and requirements. For instance, eCommerce websites might receive more website traffic and require more storage or higher bandwidth than a simple informative website.
Cost is also a factor in choosing the right platform for your small business website. You may have high requirements but can only afford to spend so much. Your budget will then limit the kind of platform used to host your website.
Average Cost of Website Design for Small Business
The average cost to create a small business website is between $50 to $10,000 per month, depending on its platform.
There are three ways to build a small business website:
- Use a website builder
- Hire a website designer
- Build a website using WordPress
Use a Website Builder
Website builders empower you to construct a small business website without coding knowledge, often with drag-and-drop builders and website templates. Pricing starts anywhere from $6 to $300 per month.
A website builder is the best option for beginners without technical know-how or those who need to set up their website immediately.
Hire a Website Designer
Costs for hiring a web designer vary, but it’s usually the most expensive option to build a small business website.
Hiring a web designer can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, but this fee doesn’t include monthly website maintenance. That can set you back about $1,000 per month if handled by professional web developers.
Web designers are the best option for businesses that have big budgets and need complex websites. WordPress has started offering its own in-house web design option, Built by WordPress, which starts at $4,900.
WordPress is an excellent middle-ground option between hiring a website designer and using website builders. It’s user-friendly and gives you more control over your website. WordPress is technically free to use but requires web hosting to get your website online.
Costs for WordPress could quickly add up to anywhere between $300 to $1,000 per month.
For this guide, we’ll be focusing on building a website with WordPress.
2. Choose a Hosting Provider for Your Small Business Website
WordPress powers more than a third of all websites in the world, both large and small. The platform gives you access to thousands of free website apps, templates, and extensions, which empower you to create all kinds of websites without learning how to code.
As mentioned, WordPress is free to use but requires web hosting to get your website online.
Some criteria for choosing a WordPress hosting company include:
- Quick server uptime
You’ll also need to note the type of web hosting you require. There are a few different kinds of hosting, including:
- Shared hosting
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
- Dedicated hosting
Lastly, when signing up for a hosting provider, make sure you get an SSL certificate, especially if your website will handle sensitive information.
3. Choose a Domain Name for Your Small Business Website
A domain name is an address that users type on their web browsers to access your website. It’s important that you choose the right domain name, not only one that sounds professional but also one that’s easy for people to remember.
Some tips for choosing a domain name:
- Go for a .com domain. It sounds more professional and is 33% more memorable.
- Choose a domain name that includes your business name. Remember that the domain name should be:
- Easy to recall
- Easy to spell
- Not too long
- If your preferred domain name isn’t available, you can add a geographical location, which can give you an advantage in local search results.
- If you’ve tried both options and the domain you want still isn’t available, you may have to use other domain extensions.
Some web hosting providers require you to purchase a custom domain name separately, but you get a free domain when you sign up for a web hosting plan with Bluehost.
4. Customize Your Small Business Website With Themes and Plugins
One notable feature of WordPress is that it permits customization, courtesy of plugins and themes.
Themes are like templates that determine your website’s look and feel.
WordPress comes with a default theme that you can use. If you want to change the look of your website, the platform has several free and paid themes you can choose from.
An important consideration when choosing a theme is mobile-responsiveness. A mobile-friendly theme will ensure your website is functional across all devices.
WordPress plugins extend the functionality of your website. You can mix and match plugins to customize your website.
5. Create Content for Your Small Business Website
Now that you’ve set up the framework of your small business website, it’s time to add content to it.
Here are a few sections to include on your website:
- Homepage. Your homepage gives an overview of what products or services you offer and should be easy to navigate.
- About page. The About page is usually the second most-viewed part of your website, as this is where visitors go to see what your company is about. Some ideas for this section include sharing the background story behind your business, your team’s information, or frequently asked questions (FAQs).
- Contact page. Add a professional email address or a contact form where your customers can reach you. Don’t forget to include your social media links as well.
6. Apply SEO to Your Small Business Website
Now that you’ve got content on your website, apply search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to ensure users can find your website organically.
Search engine results turn out thousands of results, but only the top three get half of the total web traffic. The top result gets 28.5% of the total clicks, and the rest of the pages have to fight for the remaining traffic.
Here are some ways to optimize your WordPress small business website for search engines:
- Use the Yoast SEO plugin. Our Yoast SEO plugin guide is an excellent place to learn how to use this helpful WordPress plugin.
- Use keywords in blog posts, pages, and URLs. Basically, use keywords on your whole website — but use them naturally. Google can tell when websites perform keyword stuffing, which the search engine penalizes. Yoast provides a complete guide on using keywords.
- Include external and internal links. External links represent a “vote of confidence” from your website to another, while internal links demonstrate that you have related content on your website. Make sure these links are high-quality.
- Take note of website speed. Quick loading times are essential for every website, but especially for online stores that need customers to check out quickly. Most users expect websites to load in two seconds or less.
7. Launch Your Small Business Website
Congratulations! You’re now ready to launch your small business website. Remember, the work doesn’t stop once the launch is over.
Here are a few more things to do after you launch your small business website:
- Add links to your new website on your social media channels.
- Use your email marketing list and social channels to spread the word about your new website.
- Continue to update the content on your website to encourage more website visits and improve search engine rankings.
After the 2020 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for companies to start their small business websites and boost their online presence.
It’s never been easier or more affordable to start a small business website. Sign up for a Bluehost plan today, and we’ll walk you through it.