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PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website

A Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website

A Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website

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Your Small Business Needs a Website. Here’s How to Build One.

Building a small business website is important to inform your audience, explain your value proposition, boost brand recognition and drive sales. This article is for business owners wanting to learn how to build a small business website or improve upon their existing website.

It’s no longer feasible to run a business, even a brick-and-mortar one, without a web presence. Consumers turn to the internet for everything from product research to location and operating hours. Even just a simple, well-designed website can give you an edge in your field, and if you have products to sell, your site can open up new markets and expand your business cheaply and easily. 

In 2022 it is critical to have a website for your business or product brand. Whether you are a business coach, a painting contractor, or own a retail store, building a small business website is essential for your company’s success. Yet, many small businesses still do not have a website.

PixoLabo - Building a Small Business Website

Building a Small Business Website

Building a small business website can be an overwhelming task for many small business owners; I understand that. But it is not impossible. It helps to break the entire process down into more manageable steps.

I have been building websites and online stores for small to mid-sized businesses and professional service providers for almost 20 years. While individual projects vary greatly in nature and scope depending on the company, the required steps are always the same.

Website design software has evolved to be easy for anyone to use. You don’t need to know coding to develop an attractive and functional site. No matter what program you use, you just need to follow some basic rules and tips to give your website a professional look, make it easy to find, and show your company in the best light.

PixoLabo - What to Consider When Building a Small Business Website

What to Consider When Building a Small Business Website

When building a small business website, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. You’ll need to consider your goals before you get started so that you can implement design elements and tools to achieve your objectives.

For instance, a dentist’s office would need a completely different website than an architecture firm. Whether you want to inform visitors about a brick-and-mortar business or conduct sales online also significantly influences how your site should look.

When starting the process of making your small business site, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What information do you need to communicate to your site’s visitors?
  • What actions do you want visitors to take after they view your site (e.g., buy products online, come to your brick-and-mortar store, request a quote)?
  • How will you display your products or services?
  • Do you need an online portfolio of past work to demonstrate your value to potential clients or customers?

 

You should also think about the expected traffic to your website. If you want to sell products online, you may receive a lot more attention than a local business that relies on in-person sales. Your needs in this area will influence which platforms and hosting providers are suitable for your site.

Are you looking to build a new startup website or want to make your current site more effective? Follow these 17 critical steps to building a small business website to help you compete effectively in the online marketplace.

How to Build a Small Business Website – Planning

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Purpose

Step 1: Determine the Primary Purpose of Your Website 

Think about your specific user experience and the journey the user will go through as they navigate your site.  Whatever the primary goal of your website is or whatever the focus may be, users should be easily able to achieve it, and the goal itself should be reinforced as users navigate throughout your site.

Websites are marketing tools for business, though they are not all created equally and some are more effective marketing tools than others. Design your site to serve your business as a marketing tool that generates awareness, incites interest, and drives sales in a number of ways, such as a value proposition, using live chat as a sales or customer service tool, embedding reviews, and using widely known and highly trusted integrations to drive sales.

Here are nine marketing elements and tools to use for your business website:

  • Include a value proposition or offer, such as a free demo or consultation.
  • Build custom landing pages for all paid digital ads, such as Google Ads.
  • Use call-to-action buttons to drive specific actions.
  • Utilize custom lead capture forms to generate leads and build your contact list.
  • Add live chat to provide immediate sales and customer service assistance.
  • Use analytics and data insights tools (e.g., heat maps and user video recording tools) to get more information about your site visitors and how they interact with your site.
  • Embed reviews or testimonials from third-party platforms (e.g., Yelp, Google, or Trustpilot) to gain social proof.
  • Link to social media accounts to increase following and to build a community.
  • Use well-known, trusted, industry-specific integrations to increase sales (e.g., OpenTable for the foodservice industry or MindBody for the fitness industry).

 

Plan to approach your web design as an ongoing process that will enable you to optimize your site and make it a more effective marketing tool. One way to help ensure your small business website works as a marketing tool is to identify a clear goal as to what you are looking to ultimately achieve with your website. These days, websites serve as advanced marketing tools and having an end goal will set the stage for creating a path to reaching that goal.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Domain

Step 2: Choose Your Domain Name

The next step in building a small business website is to choose a domain name. Your domain name, also known as your website address or URL, is often the entry point to your site. It is crucial that it makes a good impression for usability purposes and search engine optimization (SEO).

It’s the URL you’ll share with your current and potential clients and promote on social media. Therefore, you want it to be descriptive and easy to remember and type in. Try to keep it short, and steer clear of abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers, if possible, to avoid customer confusion. 

You also need to decide on your top-level domain or TLD. This is the suffix at the end of your domain name, such as .com, .net, or .biz. However, nontraditional TLD names have grown in recent years. These TLDs can be based on location, such as .nyc, or type of business, like .marketing, .agency, or .law. While these can be descriptive, .com is still the main go-to.

Ensure to purchase your domain from a reputable domain registrar, such as GoDaddy. Lesser-known registrars may not offer the same level of security and support.

Domain registrations are available for one-, two-, five-, and ten-year periods. Since search engines do not index one-year period domains I always recommend five- or ten-year domain registrations.

BONUS TIP: If your preferred URL is already taken, you can call the company using it and ask to buy it from them or use a domain buying service from a company like GoDaddy, which will reach out to the owners of your desired domain name. This service costs around $70 per domain.

Here are some tips for coming up with an optimal domain name:

  • Make it easy to spell. Try not to use slang, made-up, or extremely esoteric words.
  • Keep it as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and type correctly.
  • Use the proper domain extension. Try always to make it a .com domain name (as opposed to .net, .co, etc.) unless it is more appropriate to use another extension, such as .gov, .edu, or .org.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens. They are difficult to remember and less elegant and memorable than word-only domain names. And numbers especially are often misunderstood when vocalizing the domain name.
  • Make the address broad to facilitate future growth. For example, Amazon.com is a much more complete website address than BooksOnline.com. It allows Amazon to sell pretty much every consumer good instead of books only, as was its original purpose.
  • Ensure it is memorable. With so many websites on the internet, your website name must be catchy so people will remember how to access it in the future.
  • Research the domain name. Google it to see if a similar website address already exists online, and search on uspto.gov to make sure it does not contain any registered trademarks.
  • Check if the price is right. Determine if you can purchase your desired website address at a reasonable price. Most good domain names are already in use, and you may have to buy from the current owner.
  • Avoid nonsensical names. Choose a name that conveys a meaning so that users will know immediately what your business is. Yahoo and Google are catchy names, but they were costly to brand, and your small business may not have the same budget.
  • Create an SEO-friendly URL. When appropriate, try to develop an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location; for example, SeattlePaintingCompany.com

 

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Hosting

Step 3: Select Your Website Hosting

The next step in building a small business website is to select a reliable and secure website host or hosting provider. A website host is a company that offers the technology and services necessary to view a website on the internet.

You connect your domain name to your hosting provider. When users visit your website address, they see the website that you store on your hosting account.

Hosting services can cost anywhere between $2 to $100+ per month, depending on the kind of technology and support you choose. You can usually get a discount if you purchase a yearly plan as opposed to a monthly plan. In a previous post, I outlined the different types of website hosting options.

Depending on your budget, you can choose from two different routes. A shared web host, the less-expensive option, means you’ll share a server with other sites. Dedicated hosting costs significantly more, but it means that you get your own private server and won’t have to compete with other sites that could drag down your speed. Some web builder platforms, such as Squarespace and Wix, include web hosting in their monthly packages.

BONUS TIP: If you’re looking for free website hosting options, it’s important to remember that hosting a website is by no means free for the hosting company. Therefore, they may employ other methods, such as placing banner ads on your website, to compensate for the free hosting.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a good website hosting plan:

  • Although you can get a “shared server” hosting plan for as little as $2 per month, I strongly advise against this. Shared hosting means you are sharing a server and its resources with other customers, which can impact your site’s performance and security.
  • “dedicated server” hosting plan is the most expensive option. Monthly costs range from around $100 to $2,000. But it will make your website perform the most optimally.
  • Having a dedicated server plan means that only your site is on the server. Therefore, all the resources are yours. It is more secure than a shared hosting plan with optimal technology.
  • However, it is much more expensive than what most small businesses usually are willing to pay. Once you have a very high-performing site, this may be what you need, but it is overkill for most early-stage and small businesses.
  • The compromise I typically recommend is a “virtual private server” (VPS) hosting plan that offers both worlds’ best. The cost ranges from around $20 to $50 per month, which is affordable for most small businesses.
  • A VPS is one machine partitioned to act like multiple machines. VPS provides similar affordability to shared hosting, with similar security and performance potential as a dedicated server hosting plan.
  • Ensure your hosting company has phone and chat support to help you if you have a problem. Email support can often take too long and become frustrating when you need to resolve an issue immediately. Phone support is best, but chatting works well, too.
  • There needs to be an easy-to-use server interface like cPanel to access your server. This option will save you the expense of hiring a professional server administrator to help you.
  • Check to see what kind of server security is in place on the server you are considering. You will want to be able to access your server via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
  • There should be daily backups of your website and server contents. There should also be an easy, one or two-click method to install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates.
  • Make sure the hosting company performs regular security maintenance. Ideally, your hosting company has a published security protocol you can review. Hence, you know how they keep their servers safe.

 

 

Some hosting companies specialize in WordPress hosting:

 

While this kind of specialized hosting is more expensive it will provide you with additional benefits and help you get the most out of your small business website.

BONUS TIP: As your business grows, you may find that you need to upgrade to a different web host, or even work with multiple providers to handle your website traffic and operations. Keep a close eye on your site performance and the experience your customers have using your website so you can determine your hosting needs.

How to Build a Small Business Website – Building

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - CMS

Step 4: Choose Your Content Management System (CMS)

Building a small business website for your business or product brand means you will want to create, update, and otherwise manage the content. To do that, you need a content management system that is both reliable and simple to use.

A content management system (CMS) is a software program or application used to create and manage digital content. A good CMS will help you maintain your site without requiring much technical knowledge.

You should choose a CMS that is designed for your unique needs; different systems are used for different reasons, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and budget.

There are a lot of CMS platforms for small businesses. Some content management systems offer additional benefits, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and cost.

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It has a vast, active support community and many useful plugins to extend the functionality of your site. (And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, it is easy to find a WordPress developer who can make one for you!)  WordPress is also free and relatively simple to install.

Most website developers are familiar with it, so it is not hard to find an individual or agency that can work on your site. I highly recommend that small businesses use WordPress to create their websites due to its flexibility and extensibility.

I should point out, however, that WordPress’s biggest weakness is security. Because it is so popular, hackers target it the most. Your WordPress site needs to be regularly maintained and secured to keep it protected from malicious attacks.

Keeping your WordPress site secure must be an ongoing commitment through various best practices (checking to see if your plugins have been updated within the past few months, making sure it is a plugin provided in the official WordPress repository, deleting unused plugins immediately, etc.).

Drupal

Drupal is another popular CMS. It offers many of the same benefits as WordPress, including flexibility, ease of use, and a large support community. Notably, it is a more secure CMS than WordPress (safer from malicious activity.)

However, it doesn’t have as many plugins or theme options, which makes it less extensible.

Joomla!

Joomla! is another popular CMS. Out of the box, it has better SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities than WordPress; however, with the help of a few plugins, WordPress surpasses Joomla!’s capabilities.

Squarespace 

Squarespace is a service you subscribe to monthly or annually that makes website and blog creation an easy “drag and drop” experience.

It is especially suitable for creatives and provides you with top-notch design templates. If you are on a tight budget, need a beautiful and straightforward site but cannot afford a website designer, this is an excellent service for you.

There is a much smaller learning curve with Squarespace than WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, but it doesn’t have nearly as many extensibility options. However, suppose you have little or no technical knowledge and need a quick and easy way to put up a website. In that case, Squarespace is an excellent option for you.

Wix

Wix is very similar to Squarespace but a bit more user-friendly. It offers a monthly, not annual, subscription and includes similar features. Wix is also a drag-and-drop builder—you can freely drag and drop elements anywhere on the page.

The learning curve to using Wix is even shorter than Squarespace, so if you need to publish a site quickly, this may be your best option.

Wix has many more templates than Squarespace to choose from, but once you select a template, you must stick with it, or you must completely rebuild your site. With Squarespace, you can change your template anytime without having to rebuild the entire website.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - E-Commerce

Step 5: Select an E-Commerce Platform

If you plan on selling goods and services through your website, you will need the right technology to do so. Even if you are not selling online, you should consider starting an e-commerce business. Retail and shopping have changed, and by having an online store, you will meet the expectations of modern consumers, and potentially increase your profits.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms; it can turn your WordPress website into an online store. Like WordPress, there are many plugins available, and it attaches to WordPress, which makes it highly flexible.

If you are not tech-savvy, you will most likely need a WordPress developer to help you set it up and use it. WooCommerce also offers advanced capabilities and scalability that your small business might need.

Shopify

Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that allows you to create and customize an online store and manage products, inventory, payments, and shipping. It is not a WordPress extension like WooCommerce; it is a standalone platform hosted on the Shopify server.

Features include unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, discount codes, reports, and much more. The key benefits of Shopify are that you do not need a developer to set up a store, and everything on the backend is already set up for you when you subscribe.

The downside is you do not have as much control or flexibility over your store as you would with WooCommerce.

Shopify Plus 

Shopify Plus is Shopify, but with a higher level of customization, more staff accounts, and international e-commerce options. It also has a higher level of support. However, all this comes with a higher subscription cost. It still does not have all the flexibility and customization abilities as WooCommerce.

Business Squarespace

Squarespace has an e-commerce subscription option, so if you chose Squarespace to build your site and have simple e-commerce needs, you can choose this route. Business Squarespace charges a transaction fee, but you can bypass this by upgrading your subscription to the basic online store plan.

This option includes a free domain, SSL security, SEO, abandoned cart recovery, discounts, real-time carrier shipping, and more. However, it is not as user-friendly as Shopify. And like Shopify, it is simply not as flexible as WooCommerce.

Wix

Wix actually has a Shopify extension which is very user-friendly. You will have to upgrade your Wix account and subscribe to Shopify in order to use it.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Online Payments

Step 6: Set Up an Online Payment System (if applicable).

If building a small business website includes letting users financially transact with you online, you will need to choose your business model’s right platform.

Many small businesses and professional service providers need the ability to accept online payments. Accepting online payments allows users to pay for appointments or seminars, online classes, and membership fees.

While this step won’t apply to all business websites, companies that want to offer the option for customers to pay online will need to integrate electronic payment systems with their websites. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software or small business credit card processing solutions.

There are many online payment processors, including PayPalStripe, and Square. Other options include accepting Apple Pay or Google Pay. Do some research to make sure you get a solution that is easy to work with and flexible enough to meet your needs now and in the future.

Some web hosts offer an in-house shopping cart or integration with e-commerce programs. Do some research to make sure you get a solution that’s easy to work with and flexible enough to meet your needs now and in the future. 

Did you know? E-commerce businesses need to make payment processing available on their sites, whether through their e-commerce software or a third-party processor.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - User Experience

Step 7: Focus on User Experience

As you are building a small business website, you must focus on the user experience your online presence will provide. Make sure your small business website interface leaves a positive impression that drives results.

You can do so by implementing the following suggestions:

  • Use beautiful graphics and easy-to-read fonts.
  • Make sure your graphics are compressed and optimized for fast loading. If your website is slow, search engines like Google will penalize your ranking.
  • Research the competition to see how they have designed and optimized their websites; implement similar components that will work for your small business website.
  • Research your target audience to see what they want from your site and make it easy for them to accomplish it.
  • Stay consistently on-brand throughout your website design.
  • Design an intuitive navigation system that allows users to get to the pages they need quickly.
  • Publish easily accessible contact information.
  • Incorporate obvious call-to-actions (especially “buy now” buttons).
  • Create pages that are standard for small business websites, such as:
    • Home
    • About us
    • Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
    • Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
    • Management team
    • Contact us
    • Terms of use (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
    • Privacy policy
    • Additional pages relevant to your specific small business

 

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Describe Your Business

Step 8: Describe Your Business

A critical part of building a small business website is to clearly state what your business or product brand is all about. Here are some questions your visitors will have when they first visit your small business website:

  • What service or product do you provide?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • What results have you achieved?
  • What are the benefits of doing business with you?
  • How do your existing clients or customers feel about doing business with you?

 

It is important to let people know who you are and what you do right away so they don’t feel confused when they visit your small business website. Make sure your main homepage banner (also known as a “hero image”) and subsequent banners are visual representations of your services, and also that you have an introductory text blurb near the top of the page that describes who you are and what you do.

A business website generally serves as a space to provide general information about your company or a direct platform for e-commerce. Whether you create a small business website that tells a little about your company or a more complex e-commerce site, the most important thing you must do is say what your company does – on the homepage in plain terms. Don’t make customers root around to discover if your company can do what they need.

BONUS TIP: Make sure both your main and footer navigation menus have “About Us” page links easily accessible so people can click them and read more about your business in-depth.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Website Pages

Step 9: Build Your Website Pages

A good website is more than a static homepage. You will want to create multiple pages dedicated to your business’s different aspects, such as a detailed catalog of your products or services or a blog section for company updates and related news and information.

Include pages that are standard for small business websites, such as:

  • Home
  • About Us
  • Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
  • Blog Page
  • FAQ Page
  • Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
  • Management or Team
  • Contact Us
  • Terms of use (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
  • Privacy policy
  • Additional pages relevant to your specific small business

 

As for your overall website, make sure each page supports the site’s primary goal, has a clear purpose, and includes a call to action (e.g., “learn more,” “sign up,” “contact us” or “buy now”).

A contact page, as your customers’ direct link to you, is one of the most important sections of a website, so include as much information as you can (your business’s phone number, email address, and physical location, if you have one). It’s also a good idea to include information about the founding team or staff on an “about” page so customers can put real names and faces to your brand. 

BONUS TIP: If your business doesn’t already have a logo, hire a graphic designer or create a logo yourself to use on your website, business cards, and social media profiles. This will help your clients identify your company quickly and easily on the web. 

Here are a few basic tips to help you create efficient, content-rich pages for your website: 

  • Be clear about what your business does. Distill what your business does into a clear, concise statement and lead with that. Visitors should be able to understand what you do within seconds of landing on your homepage. A few well-written pages are more effective than dozens of poorly written ones. 
  • Place strategic calls to action. CTA buttons tend to perform best when they match the information on the page. For example, a “buy now” button makes sense on a product page, but a “contact us to learn more” button might be more appropriate on the “about us” page. Similarly, a page listing customer reviews might have a button that takes the reader to the available plans and pricing.  
  • Automate speed improvements. Set up as many automated speed improvements as you can. If you use a content management system (CMS), installing the right plugins will cache parts of your site so visitors don’t need to download anything more than once. For WordPress users, we recommend WP RocketWP Super Cache, or W3 Total Cache, which compresses files and allows visitors to browse your site more quickly. Some of the more technical aspects of caching and compressing files may require a web development partner if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. 
  • Avoid stock photos. Tacky stock photography is the quickest way to turn a great site into a mediocre one. If you’re looking for photos to use on your page, it’s best to use a picture of your actual team or office. 

 

Keep in mind that high-quality images of the products increase sales, so invest in good photos of the products or services you sell. 

BONUS TIP: Build informative and engaging web pages that offer a positive user experience. Strategically place CTAs to encourage users to engage in specific behaviors.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Optimize for Search Engines

Step 10: Optimize your Website for Search Engines

SEO is a set of practices you apply to your website to ensure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to search engine users. Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content are, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

  • Keyword research and implementation
  • Optimal website code
  • Fast loading speed
  • Being secure and having an SSL certificate installed; SSL is the standard security technology that ensures data passed between web servers and browsers remains private
  • Having a mobile-friendly site
  • Existence of high-quality backlinks (links on external websites with related content) that lead to your site
  • Having lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
  • Using internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
  • Using social media to link to your site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

 

SEO is an extremely important ongoing process that can mean the difference between showing up on the first page of search engine results pages (resulting in large amounts of free traffic to your website) or page 300 (resulting in no traffic).

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Website Analytics

Step 11: Install Analytics Tools

Part of building a small business website is tracking your website analytics. Analytics will provide you with valuable insights regarding user behavior.

Use vital data to help you analyze traffic and site performance by installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console (both preferably via Google Tag Manager) and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Website owners can use these tools to track the following types of information:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to your site
  • Number of views on each page of your site
  • “Bounce rate”—the percentage of users who come to your site and leave after only viewing one page. Google algorithms give higher rankings to websites with a low bounce rate. On the theory, visitors are spending more time on the site and find it valuable.
  • Average time spent on site by visitors
  • Crawl errors on your site (errors that the search engines found on your site in crawling its content)
  • Broken links on the site
  • Keywords that lead users to your site
  • Backlinks to your site
  • Page load speed
  • Other information that can help you enhance your SEO

 

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Test and Publish

Step 12: Test and Publish Your Website

Part of building a small business website is to thoroughly test it before launch.

The first thing is to make sure it works on all major browsers, such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.

Click through each page and feature on every browser to ensure images show up, links are correct, and the format looks smooth. This process will take some time, but the effort you put in now will save you future headaches and fixes.

Check to make sure that your website displays correctly on all mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Do not overlook this step, as Google and other search engines have migrated to mobile-first indexing. Google prioritizes the performance of the mobile version of your website when it comes to search engine rankings.

Another essential feature to incorporate from the very beginning is an analytics program. I cover this part in more detail in step #11. Setting this up before the website is live can iron out any issues and coordinate a proper setup.

How to Build a Small Business Website – Optimizing

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Optimize for SEO

Step 13: Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As you are building a small business website, be sure to follow best practices for search engine optimization. SEO is a set of rules that ensure search engines index, rank your website appropriately, and then show it to search engine users.

SEO is a set of practices you apply to your website to ensure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to search engine users. Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content is, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content are, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

  • Keyword research and implementation
  • Optimal website code
  • Fast loading speed
  • Being secure and having an SSL Certificate installed, SSL is the standard security technology that ensures data passed between web servers and browsers remains private.
  • Having a mobile-friendly site
  • Existence of high-quality backlinks (links on external websites with related content) that lead to your site
  • Having lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
  • Using internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
  • Using social media to link to your site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

 

SEO is an essential ongoing process that can mean the difference between generating large amounts of free traffic to your website or resulting in no traffic.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - SEO

Step 14: Invest in Ongoing SEO

Submitting your website to major search engines will help direct potential leads to your page, as will deploying a strong SEO strategy across your site. Defining title tags, meta descriptions, and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that are relevant to your company and aspects of your industry can boost your rankings in search engines for the products or services you’re trying to market. 

Building relevant keywords into your content from the very first phases of your website, and having a strong focus on SEO from website launch, will help you generate traffic early on.

As you build your business website, these important on-site SEO tactics can help you improve your ability to move up the ranks. (There are also off-site SEO tactics you can pursue).

  • Choose the right keywords. Select keywords that are relevant to your business and that your potential customers are searching for online. Visit our guide to SEO small business tools to find a solution that can help you identify, analyze and track these keywords.
  • Publish fresh content. Regularly publishing on a blog, adding to your website, and updating your content all signal to search engines that your site is relevant for the chosen keywords. Choose topics that are relevant to your business and exciting for your industry to position yourself and your business as thought leaders in the space.
  • Place internal and external links. Internal links are the links on your website pages that lead to other pages on your site, while external links are your links to other popular, high-authority websites. Place these links strategically throughout your website. Make sure that the links make sense, fit the context and provide value to the reader; otherwise, linking may count against you.
  • Optimize images. Compress images so they don’t slow down your site’s loading time. Take the same approach with video, making sure that any clips load quickly and don’t slow down how your site moves overall. Images’ metadata, such as tags and captions, is also an opportunity to work in your keywords and tell search engines what the images are about.
  • Maximize your site speed. Pages should load as quickly as possible; within a few seconds is ideal. You can use free site speed checkers such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see if your site is performing optimally.

 

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Create New Content

Step 15: Regularly Create and Publish Quality Content

Another critical aspect of building a small business website is to create an effective content creation and marketing strategy.

Both content quantity and freshness are essential to search engines. You must regularly publish quality articles and blog posts on your site and external sites linked to your site.

Suppose you want to rank highly in search engine results and encourage people to return to your site repeatedly. In that case, you will have to update your website with new and relevant content as frequently as possible.

In addition to static page content and articles, a valuable form of content to post on your website is testimonials or reviews.

Asking for your customers’ testimonials and then publishing them on your website is a great way to post fresh, high-quality content on your site. This effort makes your small business more attractive to search engines.

BONUS TIP: Make sure your content uses an appropriate, on-brand tone that people will enjoy reading.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Social Media

Step 16: Promote Your Website on Social Media

FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagramPinterestYouTube, and Vimeo are the best way to increase your audience reach and alert customers to what’s going on with your company.

Include links to your social media profiles on your website. The most common places to do this are the footer or the ancillary bar (the extra menu in the top right that often holds login or contact links). 

Whenever you update your website, post about it on your social media outlets, but make sure to balance self-promotion with genuine, nonpromotional engagement.

BONUS TIP: Be sure to allow social sharing on your website or e-commerce store. The easiest way to do this is through a plugin such as AddThis, Monarch, or Social Warfare.

PixoLabo - Step-by-Step Guide How to Build a Small Business Website - Website Maintenance

Step 17: Implement a Website Maintenance Plan

I often tell our clients that building a small business website and launching it is like giving birth to a baby. Just like you need to feed and nurture a newborn, you need to support and maintain your website.

website maintenance plan provides valuable benefits to business owners, allowing them to focus on running their business instead of their website or online store.

Here are some tips for creating a small business website maintenance plan:

  • Check Webmaster Tools data at least once a month and have any vital errors emailed to you in real-time.
  • Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so you can better cater to them.
  • Use performance data to optimize and fix warnings and errors.
  • Make sure all software is always up to date.
  • Run security scans, so you know your website is clean of malware and not hacked.
  • Use “split testing” to see if certain variations of your website help performance. For example, suppose you are selling a product. In that case, you might have two versions of a particular landing page with different images and wording. The split testing allows you to see which version has a higher conversion rate.
  • Follow my recommendations about SEO (see point #12) and regularly publish quality content (see point #13).
  • Find on-trend and effective ways to market your business online.
  • Allow website users to provide you with feedback about your site.
  • Continue to check out your competition from time to time to see what they are doing with their online presence and see if what they’ve done can work for you as well.
  • Ensure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day and at least ten days back.

 

PixoLabo - Small Business Website FAQs

Small Business Website FAQs

How much does a small business website cost?

The average cost of a small business website ranges from $4,000 to $10,000. The reason for such a wide range has to do with the type of business involved and the amount of work the business owner is willing to do. The difference between taking your own pictures and hiring a photographer can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The same can be said for professional copywriting for web content and so on.

How long does it take to create a small business website?

Website creation can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the size of the site and the scope of work to be done. Based on our many years of experience the typical website building process runs between two and four months.

What should I include on my website?

Every business should include pertinent information like who you are, what you do, and how you can be contacted. Your site should also include the products or services you sell, along with an easy way for customers to make purchases online. Businesses may want to include mission statements, reviews, testimonials, and a regularly updated blog that provides valuable information regarding the company and industry.

PixoLabo - Building Your Small Business Website

Building Your Small Business Website

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas for building a small business website or e-commerce store. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I tried to cover all the basics. Follow the steps I outlined in this post. Your small business will have an excellent chance of succeeding in the online marketplace.

Building a website for your business is a low-cost investment that can help you establish credibility and reach a wider customer base than you ever could through traditional marketing techniques. If you keep your website updated with fresh, current content and are quick to address technical issues, you’ll never have to worry about “not existing” to your current and future clients. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Remember that unless you have a solid understanding of web development, it’s not a good idea to design a website by yourself.
  • A website’s purpose isn’t just to put your business or product brand online; it needs to generate leads and attract and engage new customers.
  • Building a small business website requires planning before you start building.
  • Decide what you can realistically do yourself and hire a professional to do the rest.
  • Remember that you are building a small business website to meet the user expectations of your target audience, NOT your own.
  • Keep your site up to date with fresh content and timely information to ensure it remains professional and top of mind for your audience.

 

But building a small business website may not be as simple as you first thought. Sooner or later, you may run into challenges and obstacles.

Suppose you need additional help or have any questions. Why not request a consultation with the small business web design experts at PixoLabo.

Let us help you create the online presence you need to market your products or services online.

PixoLabo - Do You Need a Small Business Website?

Do You Need to Build a Small Business Website?

Do you want to create a functional, thoughtful, and user-friendly website for your business or product brand? Our team of professional designers will be happy to help you with this. First, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.

Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and developmente-commerce solutionsmultilingual web designsearch engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.

And if you are still not sure how to build a small business website, let’s talk! Our team has built small business websites for many small to mid-sized businesses just like you!  We will listen to you, answer your questions, and help your small business get the online presence you need. That is one of our specialties, after all!

Did You Build a Website for Your Small Business?

Do you have a small business website? What steps did you follow in building a small business website or online store? What results did you achieve? What challenges or obstacles did you face along the way?

And most importantly, if you don’t have a small business website, what prevents you from building one?

Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit and grab our feed, so you don’t miss our next post! And help other business owners build a small business website or online store by sharing these tips with them!

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO
@gregorsaita

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