1. Get a domain name that is good
Your domain name (also known as your website address) is often your entry point to your site. It is crucial that your domain name makes a positive impression, both for usability and search engine optimization (SEO).
These are some suggestions to help you choose the perfect domain name.
- It should be easy to spell. Avoid using slang, made-up, or esoteric terms.
- It should be as brief as possible. It is easier to remember it and type it correctly the shorter it is.
- Make sure you use the correct domain extension. It is best to use a.com domain instead of.net, or.co. If it is not appropriate, you can use another extension such as.gov or.edu or.org.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers. These domain names are more difficult to remember, less memorable and elegant than domain names that contain only words. They can also be misunderstood if the domain name is uttered.
- To facilitate future growth, make the address as broad as possible. Amazon.com, for example, is a wider website address than BooksOnline.com. This allows Amazon to sell almost any type of consumer product instead of just books.
- Make sure it is easy to remember. It is essential that your website name is memorable, as there are many websites online. This will help people remember where to find it.
- Do your research on the domain name. Google the domain name to check if it is already in use. Search on USPTO.gov for any trademarks.
- Verify that the price is correct. You should check if it is possible to purchase the desired domain name at a fair price. Most domain names that are good will be taken by current owners.
- Avoid using nonsensical names. Make sure your name conveys a message so users know what you are all about. Yahoo and Google are memorable names but were expensive to brand. Your small business might not have the same budget.
- Make sure your URL is SEO-friendly. When appropriate, try to come up with an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location; for example, “www.LasVegasElectrician.com.”
2. Hosting your website securely and scalable with great tech support
Website host, also known as website hosting provider, is a company that provides the technology and services needed to make a website accessible on the internet. Your domain name is connected to your hosting provider, so users can visit your website address and see the website you have stored on your account.
Hosting services can run anywhere from $2 to $100+ per monthly depending on what technology you use and the support you need. A yearly plan is usually more affordable than a monthly one.
These are some guidelines to help you choose a great website hosting plan.
- You can purchase a shared server hosting plan starting at $2 per month. However, I wouldn’t recommend it. You share a server with other customers and can cause your website to slow down. It is also possible that your website could be infected if a hacker attempts to access your shared server.
- The most expensive option is a “dedicated host” hosting package. It can cost between $100 and $2,000 per month, but it will make your website work optimally. A dedicated server plan gives you the ability to use all of the server resources for your site. It is also more secure than shared hosting plans, provided that the technology is optimized. It is however more costly than most small businesses are willing to pay. This is a great option if you have a site that performs well, but it’s not the right choice for small businesses and startups.
- A “virtual personal server” (VPS),hosting plan is the compromise I recommend. It offers the best of both web and hosting. It costs between $20 and $50 per month. This is reasonable for the services you’ll receive. VPS hosting is a single machine that can be partitioned to serve multiple purposes. This gives it the same affordability as shared hosting and offers similar security and performance as dedicated server hosting plans.
- So that you are able to get help quickly, make sure your hosting company offers phone support. When a problem is urgent, email support can be frustrating and take too much time. Although phone support is the best option, chatting is also a good option.
- To access your server, you will need an simple to use interface such as cPanel. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional server administrator, you won’t want to need to use terminal commands to see your server contents or make any changes.
- You should check to make sure that server security is in place on any server you are interested. Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is required to allow you to access your server. Daily backups of server content should be made. It should be easy to install Secure Sockets Layer certificates (SSL) with just one click. Regular security maintenance should be performed by the hosting company. It is a good idea to have a written security protocol that your hosting company can provide you with so that you are aware of how they protect their servers.
These are some of the most popular web hosting companies:
3. Display a concise description of your business prominently
So that people don’t feel lost when visiting your small business website, it is essential to tell them who you are and what they do. Your main homepage banner (also called a “hero picture”) and any subsequent banners are visual representations your services. Also, make sure you include an introduction text blurb at the top of the page that describes you and your business.
Also, ensure that your footer and main navigation menus contain “About Us” links so people can click them to learn more about you business.
4. The best content management system
A content management system (CMS), is a program or application that allows you to manage and create digital content. You don’t need to have any technical knowledge to use a CMS. A CMS can help you manage your website. Choose a CMS that suits your needs. Different CMS systems can be used for different purposes, including budget, extensibility, user-friendliness and cost.
These are some of the most popular systems, along with descriptions of their weaknesses and strengths.
WordPress WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world. WordPress has an active support group and many plugins that can be used to enhance the functionality of your website. If you can’t find the plugin you need, you can easily find a WordPress developer to make it for you. WordPress is free and easy to install. It is easy to find a person or agency who can help you with your website. WordPress is well-known among web developers. Because WordPress is flexible and extensible, I recommend WordPress for small businesses.
However, WordPress security is the biggest weakness. WordPress is so popular that hackers are most likely to target it. It is essential that your WordPress site be maintained and protected regularly to prevent it from being hacked. It is not possible to protect every third-party plugin. Therefore, keeping your WordPress site safe must be a continuous commitment. ).
Drupal: Is another very popular CMS. It has many of the same advantages as WordPress: flexibility, ease-of-use, and a large support network. It is more secure than WordPress, and can be used to protect your website from malicious activity. However, there are not as many theme or plugin options. This makes it less extensible. Whitehouse.gov was originally built with Drupal for many years. However, it switched to WordPress in the end and continues to use WordPress today.
Squarespace A service that you can subscribe to either monthly or annually, Squarespace makes it easy to create a website and blog. This package includes website design, development and software maintenance. It also includes metrics, software maintenance, metrics and domain names with an annual purchase. This package is ideal for creatives as it includes top-quality design templates. This is the perfect service for those who are tight on budget and need a beautiful website but can’t afford a designer.
Squarespace has a lower learning curve than WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla!, but offers more extensibility options. Squarespace is a great option for those with little to no technical knowledge who want an easy and quick way to create a website.
Wix has a similar design to Squarespace but is more user-friendly. You can subscribe to it monthly but not annually and get similar features. Wix also has drag-and-drop functionality. You can drag and drag elements to any place on your page. Squarespace, on the other hand, is more structured. Wix takes even less time to learn than Squarespace. This is a great option if you are looking to quickly publish a website.
Wix offers more templates than Squarespace, but you have to stick with the template you chose or risk having to rebuild your entire site. Squarespace allows you to modify your template at any time without having to rebuild the entire website.
5. Select a reliable e-commerce platform
You will need the right technology if you intend to sell goods or services via your website. If you don’t sell any products, e-commerce may be a good option to increase your profit. You will need to select the right platform to enable users to transact financial transactions online.
WooCommerce : The most widely used e-commerce platform in the world, WooCommerce can transform your WordPress site into an online shop. There are many plugins that can be attached to WordPress. This makes it very flexible. WooCommerce comes pre-built with many premium and free themes. A premium theme created by a trusted developer will provide better support and security. A WordPress developer will be able to assist you in setting it up and using it if you don’t have the technical skills. WooCommerce offers all the capabilities and scalability your small business may need.
Shopify This cloud-based ecommerce platform allows you to set up and manage an online shop, as well as inventory, shipping, and payments. This is not a WordPress extension, like WooCommerce. It is a standalone platform hosted on Shopify’s server. Therefore, if you already have a website, your Shopify e-commerce site will technically be independent. Your regular website that is built with WordPress, Drupal or Wix can link to your Shopify account, provided it does not have a Shopify integration plugin.
Unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth and fraud analysis are just a few of the features offered by Shopify. Shopify’s key advantages include the fact that you don’t need to be a developer in order to create a store. Everything on the backend has already been set up when you sign up. However, Shopify does not allow you as much control and flexibility as WooCommerce.
Shopify PLUS: Shopify Plus is Shopify with more customizations, more staff accounts and international ecommerce options. You also get a higher level support. All of this comes at a higher subscription price, and it does not offer the same flexibility and customization options as WooCommerce.
Business Squarespace – Squarespace offers an ecommerce subscription. This is a great option if you choose Squarespace to create your site, and you have simple ecommerce needs. Business Squarespace has a transaction fee. However, this can be avoided by upgrading to an online store. You get a domain free of charge, SSL security, SEO and abandoned cart recovery. There are also discounts and real-time carrier shipping. It is however not as user-friendly than Shopify. It is also not as flexible and user-friendly as WooCommerce, just like Shopify.
Wix: Wix has a Shopify extension that is extremely user-friendly. To use Shopify, you will need to upgrade your Wix account.
GoDaddy Online Store –GoDaddy offers a new standalone subscription platform for e-commerce that is easy to set up. GoDaddy Online Store is easy to set up and use. Templates are easy to use and can be modified. The templates include SEO and marketing tools, social media integration and appointment booking. They also have SSL security and rapid page loading.
6. Design a memorable and engaging user interface for your website
Your small business website should leave a positive impression and drive results. Here are some tips to help you do this:
- Use stunning graphics and simple-to-read fonts
- Optimize your graphics for speedy loading. Search engines such as Google will penalize websites that load slowly.
- Look at the websites of your competitors to find out how they have optimized their websites. Then, implement similar components for your website.
- Find out what your target audience wants from your website and make it easy to achieve it.
- Ensure that your brand is consistent throughout your website design.
- Create a user-friendly navigation system that allows users to quickly get to the pages they want.
- Make contact information easily available.
- Include clear call-to actions (especially the “Buy Now” button).
- Make pages that are common for small business websites such as:
- About us
- Descriptions and images of products/services
- Sitemap (for SEO purposes).
- Management team
- Get in touch
- Additional pages that are relevant to your small business
7. Optimize your website for search engines
SEO refers to a set or practices that you use to optimize your website for search engines to index it and rank it appropriately. Search engine users then see your website. Your website will compete with other websites that have similar content once it is “crawled by search engines”. Your website will appear higher on search engine result pages if it has a good design and quality content.
SEO includes these practices:
- Keyword research and implementation
- Optimized website code
- Rapid loading speed
- Secure and installing an SSL certificate; SSL is the standard security technology that protects data between web servers.
- Mobile-friendly websites are a must
- Existence of high-quality links (links to external websites with similar content) that link to your site
- Positive reviews on the internet (Google, Yelp and Facebook)
- Use internal links throughout your website to keep people reading and clicking
- Use social media to create links to your site (LinkedIn. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest.
SEO is an ongoing, critical process that can make the difference between appearing on page 1 of search engine results pages (resulting large amounts of traffic to your site) and page 300 (resulting no traffic) hiring the help of an expert can be beneficial.
8. Quality content should be regularly created and published
Search engines value both content quality and freshness. This is why it’s so important to have a plan for publishing quality articles and/or blog post on your website and any external sites linking to it. You must update your website as often as possible to ensure your website ranks highly in search engine results. This will encourage people to visit your site again and again.
You can also post articles and static pages on your website. However, testimonials are a great content form. You can make your small business stand out by asking for testimonials from customers and publishing them on your website.
Your content should be consistent with your brand tone and people will enjoy it.
9. Install webmaster tools
Install Google Analytics, Google Search Engine (both via Google Tag Manager) and Microsoft Webmaster Tools to get vital information. These tools can be used for the following types information:
- Your site receives visitors daily, weekly, and monthly
- Each page has been viewed approximately 2,000 times
- “Bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing one page. Google algorithms gives higher rankings to websites with a low bounce rate. This means that users spend more time on your site and find it valuable.
- Visitors spend an average of 3.5 hours on the site
- Crawl errors (errors that search engines find on your site when crawling its content).
- Broken links
- Keywords that direct users to your website
- Backlinks to your website
- Web page download time
- Additional information to help you improve your SEO
10. Plan for website maintenance
Websites shouldn’t be built and left to deteriorate. You must ensure that your website is well maintained to maintain its ranking in search engines.
These are some ways to maintain a website for a small business.
- Webmaster Tools data should be checked at least once per month. Any vital errors can be emailed to the user in real-time.
- Traffic data can be used to better understand your audience and help you cater to them.
- Performance data can be used to improve and correct warnings and errors.
- Always ensure that all software is up-to-date
- You can run security scans to ensure that your website is safe from malware and has not been hacked.
- Split testing is a way to determine if certain versions of your website improve performance. For example, if you sell a product, there might be two versions of the landing page. The split testing will allow you to see which version converts better.
- Follow my SEO advice (see point #7) and continue to publish quality content (see number #8).
- You can market your business online in the most effective and up-to-date ways.
- Site visitors can leave feedback.
- Keep checking in on your competitors from time to check their online presence to see if they have any tips for you.
- Your website should be backed up at least once per day and for at least 10 days.
It may not be as easy as you thought to create a small business website. If you follow these steps, your small business will be able to succeed in the online market.