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How To Build A Small Business Site: 7 Steps To An Improved Online Presence

Are you looking to improve the online presence of your business? Well, it all starts with your website. In this guide, we will take a look at 7 steps to creating a small business site that will help grow your business.

Remember, if this all gets too hard, you can partner with a website design agency that specialises in creating websites for small businesses.

Redesigning an existing website?

Download our 75-point Ultimate Website Redesign Checklist 2020 by clicking here.

#1 Register Your Domain Name

The internet is a big place… with lots of small business sites.

If you have a business idea, it’s probably a good idea to register your intended domain name early. You may find that your preferred name is already taken so you may need to brainstorm and compromise for an alternate name for your site.

Either way, you will need to use a domain registrar to check the availability of your domain before registering the name.

When considering the domain name to use, you may be tempted to just go with your business name. This will be fine, however, some small businesses prefer to use a domain name that is related to the product they provide.

Don’t forget to make it private

A commonly overlooked aspect of registering a domain name is domain privacy. Some small businesses don’t know that if they register a domain without domain privacy, then your personal details can be found online. This can be especially concerning if you have used your home address to register your domain.

This point is often the reason that small business owners receive an alarming amount of unsolicited spam – a spammer has found their details online via a WhoIs search.

When registering your domain, make sure that you elect to make your domain private. This will ensure that your personal details are not unnecessarily shared online.

#2 Find a Hosting Provider for Your Small Business Site

The natural reaction of many small business owners is to elect for the hosting provider that is the most cost-effective.

This can be a mistake.

Going with a budget host for your small business site may affect the loading speed of your website. Considering that loading speed is an SEO ranking factor, you want to make sure that your hosting provider supports a fast-loading website. This could be through the use of content delivery networks (or CDNs for short).

Some hosting providers offer other benefits such as:

  • technical support
  • website backups
  • SFTP
  • CDNs
  • plus much more

If any of these terms are foreign to you, consider working with a web design business that can guide you through your options. They may be able to access preferential pricing as well. If you are struggling to find a web design business that specialises websites for small businesses, feel free to contact us.

#3 Work With A Professional Designer

It can be tempting to download a template for WordPress and try to create your small business site yourself. Unfortunately, templates rarely fit perfectly and will consume significantly more time than you probably realise. This begs the question…

Should you be tinkering with your site for hours? Or working on running your business?

Most business owners would agree that they should be focused on the revenue-generating activity within their business. They shouldn’t be trying to learn how to develop a site in WordPress.

Ok, so if you shouldn’t be building your small business site, who should?

That’s where a professional website design company that specialises in small business sites comes in handy.

A professional designer will work to understand your business before creating a small business site design that aligns with design principles, as well as taking into consideration user experience (UX). This is important since 94% of people stated that web design was the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.

#4 Develop Your Small Business Site

Now that you have a professional design, it’s time to bring it to life. Again, as a small business owner, you shouldn’t be doing this. Outsource the development to an experienced web development business so you can focus on the important things within your business.

A professional web developer will help you choose a content management system (CMS) for your site, such as WordPress. There are a few CMS options but you need to make sure that you get the right advice as they are not all treated equally. Some are harder to customise, while others have elements that cannot be ‘crawled’ by search engines, meaning that you may not be as prominent in the search results as you’d like.

Mobile Responsive

Your developer will need to make sure that your small business site is mobile responsive. There are a few good reasons for this:

  1. Google has said that they use mobile-first indexing for all websites after the 1st July 2019. This means that if you launch a new website that isn’t quite ready to be experienced fully on a mobile device, then you may have issues with indexing and ranking in Google’s search results.
  2. 70% of internet traffic is coming from mobile devices. This means that the majority of your visitors will be browsing your site on their mobile device. It would be a poor user experience if your site wasn’t mobile responsive.

Fast Loading

This was mentioned above with respect to hosting, however, the actual development phase of the website can influence the loading speed of your website.

Your developer should be able to remove or edit problematic code that is affecting page load speed as well as ensuring your website is delivering images in next-gen formats.

There are many factors that contribute to the load speed of a website so be sure to ask your website developer whether there is anything else that you need to do to increase page load speed.

#5 Launch For Success

Most small businesses launch their site, then site back and wait for the phone to ring.

Unfortunately, this rarely happens.

Even after your website is launched, you will need to iterate further once you have data around how visitors are browsing your site.

In fact, one of our core beliefs is that…

Your website is never done.

Shane Black, 2020

So how do you collect data? Well, if you don’t launch your website with the right code installed or correct services connected, you won’t be able to.

Before sending your website live, make sure that you have Google Analytics (or similar) installed so you can track how people are interacting with your site. This can inform changes that you make to your design or content.

But don’t stop at Google Analytics.

If you plan to market your business online, stop and think about the channels you may use.

Will you be using Facebook Ads?

Is Google Ads on the cards for your business?

Are you confident with video and planning on YouTube Ads?

Do you want to reach professionals on LinkedIn?

Is Twitter Ads your thing?

Will Instagram ads play a part in your marketing mix?

If any of the above are media channels that you are considering, then it is highly recommended that you install the preferred tracking code for each channel (e.g. the Facebook Ads pixel). This will allow you to collect data on who is visiting your site and use that data to build relevant audiences to show your ads to in the future.

#6 Growth: The Short Game

Now that your small business site is live, you’ll want to start attracting visitors to it. This will help you accumulate data on how people are interacting with your small business site so that you can improve it, as well as generate leads that will hopefully become clients.

After all, you’re probably creating your website to help you acquire more customers.

There are a few strategies that can be used to fuel growth over the short term. These include:

  • Facebook Ads: Facebook ads is probably the preferred advertising channel for small businesses. The ability to target an audience who is likely to engage with your business or who are in close proximity to your business is powerful. The major downside of Facebook ads is that the policies and guidelines are constantly changing. This can make it difficult for a small business to stay up to date. The Facebook Ad platform also allows you to advertise on Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network. You can also retarget people who visit your small business site using Facebook ads.
  • Google Ads: Google Ads is usually associated with search ads. These are the ads that appear at the top of the page when you search for something on Google. However, there is much more to Google than just search ads. It also includes the Google Display Network and Youtube video ads.
  • Twitter Ads: While not as popular as Facebook and Google Ads, Twitter also offers an ad platform.
  • LinkedIn Ads: LinkedIn is the best platform to reach professionals and while their ads platform is still developing, it may be suitable for you if your target audience includes professionals.

#7 Growth: The Long Game

Growing a business is a bit like golf… there is a long game and a short game and you need both to succeed. Imagine a golfer you can drive the ball 300m but 4-puts every single hole. Likewise, a golfer would not be considered world-class if he could sink a put from 15 metres but could only drive 50m.

In business, the short game is any strategy that can fuel growth in a week or a few months while the long game is something that typically takes months to start working, but delivers results for years to come. The two long game growth strategies for your small business site that you should be aware of are:

  • SEO: Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising the online presence of a business so that they feature high in search engines results, primarily Google. SEO can take months to start working but can deliver strong results over many years.
  • Content Marketing: Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content that is relevant and valuable with the objective of attracting a defined audience over time.

Improving your online presence is no easy task. With over 1.5 billion websites, there is a fair chance that you have some competition for your keywords on the internet. If you follow these 7 steps to create your small business site then you will find that have built a solid foundation to build upon.

Just remember… your website is never done. Please don’t be like most small business owners who create a website and then leave it unattended. Optimise your website over time and you will attract more traffic, generate more leads, and acquire more customers.

Redesigning an existing website?

Download our 75-point Ultimate Website Redesign Checklist 2020 by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “How To Build A Small Business Site: 7 Steps To An Improved Online Presence

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