business website

How to start a business website for Startup in 2018?

Updated : October 31, 2017

Let’s cut to the chase, you clicked our article because you want to know how to start a website.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

2018 is just around the corner and it’s hard to believe a sizeable percentage of small business owners still don’t have websites.

According to Clutch’s website for small business survey,

  • 29% of small businesses do not have a website
  • 25% do not own a website due to lack of technical knowledge
  • 22% lack human or financial resources to build one

If your small business doesn’t have a website, here are some of the major things you’ll be missing out.

You’ll get less traction in search results You’ll get less traction in search results

If a consumer wants to learn about your service/product where will they go to learn more?

You’re at the mercy of social networksYou’re at the mercy of social networks

Social networks change their algorithms all the time. The new changes may make your account less visible in user’s feed.

You look less than legitimateYou look less than legitimate

Without a website, you look out of date or like you’ve got something to hide.

A website is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity to maintain your visibility.

Consumers turn to the internet for everything from product research to operating hours. So it is no longer feasible to run a small business without a web presence, even if it is just a shop that sells paint.

Starting a website for your small business can sound daunting, especially if you don’t have web design experience. If you need a complex or large website you will certainly have to work with a creative digital agency. For smaller and basic websites, you may be able to do the work yourself!

The following steps will teach you the basics on how to create a website for your small business in 2018, as well as offer tips on designing the website.

Who will find this useful?

There are many articles that explain how to create a website, but most of them are too technical or have very less information.

Unlike the others, our article will help everyone from beginners to tech-savvy users. This is beginner-friendly and contains detailed information on setting up a website.

1. Decide your goals

Website for small business provides information about your company or is a direct platform for e-commerce.

Before creating a website, it is important to identify the main goals for your website because it will help to determine about website design, potentials risks, and responsibilities.

Generally, if a website is more interactive, it will have more responsibilities. Some websites may be minimal as they just want to provide information about their products/services, business hours, and location. Others may wish to engage their customers with contests, coupons, discussion boards and much more.

If you don’t accept payments through your website, work will be much less. And if you’re retailer or service provider, you’ll need to use external service to receive payments.

Knowing what you want to do with your website is important because when you move forward, it will guide you to develop further.

Therefore, always let your marketing goals, legal obligations, and potential risks determine your website’s strategy.

TipsWhatever your fundamental goals are when you start a website, think about user experience. Users must be able to easily navigate throughout your website.

 

2. Choose a domain name

How do people call you? By your name right, likewise, a domain name is how your website will be known online. It is a unique address given to your website on the internet that costs between $8- $35 per year.

How much effort do you need to put into choosing your domain name? Is it really that important?

If you think by having a quality website and business people will visit your website no matter the domain name, you’re wrong. It doesn’t work that way.

Domain name is the key element of your website; it can make or break your website.

It provides valuable branding to your website and makes it easier for people to find and remember you.

Decide what name you want to give your website, for example, www.apple.com, and see if the name is available. To find out, enter the name into the domain search tool like GoDaddy. If it takes you to the registration page, it means the name is available. If not, you have to adjust the name.

What are some tips to choose a domain name?

tips for choosing a domain name

  • Choose a simple and memorable name. Eg- www.paypal.com
  • Go with “.com”
  • Must be easy to type, pronounce, and spell Eg- Facebook, Bing.
  • Avoid using hyphens and numbers.
  • Select a name that doesn’t bring up any copyright issue.
  • Shorter is always better Eg- www.lifehacker.com
  • Make sure the name is available on social media websites.
If the domain name is already taken, check the thesaurus for alternate words. Or use a tagline, acronym, nickname, or phrase you say all the time.

 

3. Select a web host

Before creating a small business websites, it must have a place to reside so it can be accessed on the internet. Only through a web host, you can connect your website to the internet. Choosing a reliable web hosting is important before you start a website.

Your web hosting company is like hardware for your website. It’s where all the information is stored.

How a wrong hosting provider can affect your website?

Loss of revenueLoss of revenue

Your website may be frequently down and potential customers won’t be able to learn about your business.

Negative effect on SEONegative effect on SEO

Website ranking will be affected due to poor downtime and slow websites can hurt your ranking in search engines.

Security attacksSecurity attacks

Although there is no perfect solution for keeping a website secure, only a reputable web hosting will backup your data and help to restore it if your website is hacked.

colorwhistle tipsDepending on your budget, you can get a shared web host (sharing of server with other websites) or dedicated hosting (your own private server). Dedicated hosting is the best option because you need not compete with other websites which will drag your speed.

 

4. Construct a layout

Now, it’s time to start a website.

Whether you hire a creative digital agency or DIY, it is important to map out a plan for taking customers through your website.

At this stage, you will hear a lot about CMS (content management system). It is nothing but a dashboard you will use to update content on your website. Through CMS, you can easily add images, create new pages, and post blogs.

Before you worry about choosing the right CMS, you have to decide what pages you need for your website. Normally, a website will have a homepage, ‘About Us’ page, ‘Blog’ to showcase your expertise and a ‘Contact Us’ page. Beyond this, it depends on your product/service. To get an idea, visit the websites that are in your niche and find out the number of pages they have.

Plus, these days more people browse from their smartphones instead of a computer. So it is imperative to have a mobile-friendly website. The good news is web-builders like WordPress have multiple responsive themes available.

Which CMS platform should you choose?

WordPressWordPress

Overall this is the best platform and a majority of websites use WordPress as it has beginner-friendly tools, and plugins plus, experienced users can explore more. It also supports mobile devices which is great for SEO.

JoomlaJoomla

With Joomla, you can easily create and manage dynamic websites. It is best suited if you want an ecommerce website, membership website, or one where there is a lot of content to manage.

DrupalDrupal

It gives a perfect structure for your website and you need a basic understanding of HTML to publish content. Drupal is great for experienced web developers, but not for beginners.

colorwhistle tipsOnce you have finalized the number of pages, put them in groups for your navigation. It is called as a sitemap. Make sure it is user-friendly because they are critical for SEO. Use visual sitemap tools such as Slickplan, Dynomapper, WriteMaps, and XML-sitemaps.com to easily create one.

 

5. Outline the content of your website

Once you have chosen which platform you are going to use, it’s time to decide what your website for small business is going to say.

When small business owners decide to start a website, they have a tough time figuring out what to say on their website. You don’t have to stress too much about it, keep it simple, feature minimal text, and place simple options on each page, i.e. submission form, contact us button.

And it is a good idea to make some additional adjustments to according to mobile view, like focusing mainly on call-to-action, contact forms, or mailing list.

colorwhistle tipsIf you’re still struggling to write content for your website, go through these articles 10 Ways to Make Your Website Content More Relevant, 7 Key Pieces of Advice about Web Content Strategy from Content Marketing Institute, they are big players in this field.

 

6. Pick a logo

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a top creative digital agency, or doing it on your own; you have to give a unique identity for your business through a logo.

If you’re already using a logo in the offline world, you can use it on your website. But, if you don’t have one or want to upgrade your existing one, these are some of the ways you can create one.

3 Key Ways To Create A Logo

 

Do it yourselfDo it yourself

There are many logo designing software’s like GraphicSprings, Tailor Brands which will allow you to create appealing logos on your own. In Tailor Brands, if you find a design you like, you can pay around $25 and download it.

Use 99Designs.comUse 99Designs.com

They run contests where multiple designers compete to design your logo. It is a great option because you can see the expertise of many professionals and yet pay for the one you choose. Price ranges from $300-$800, it depends on the number designers you want competing. Bear in mind, there is no guarantee that you’ll get a unique logo design.

Hire a professional logo designerHire a professional logo designer

Although they can be a bit expensive, you can get full worth for the money you invest with a professional designer. Experienced logo designers will use their creativity, understand your business and design a perfect logo.

colorwhistle tipsTo make an informed decision, go through these topics, How to Design and Create the Perfect Logo for Your Business, Brand, Identity, and Logo Design Explained and Your Guide to Creating Stunning and Effective Logos for Your Brand.

 

If you want a professional logo design created for your business, please get in touch.

7. Design your website

Now that you have all the pieces to start a website, it’s time to put them together.

It takes less than 3 seconds to decide whether a user wants to stay or leave a website. Therefore, it is imperative to make a good first impression. Here are few tips to keep your website for small business engaging to users.

Tips to keep your small business website engaging to users.

Clear navigationClear navigation

A user must be able to learn about your business, find pricing, and contact you easily. If your website is not clear, users will get frustrated and find another one.

Call-to-actionsCall-to-actions

Placing attractive buttons will immediately attract a user’s eye and will lead them to make an action quickly.

Website should load quicklyWebsite should load quickly

We know that people are impatient and if a website takes long to load, they will look elsewhere. Make sure your web host provider has speedy load times to make your website super fast.

Minimalistic designMinimalistic design

Don’t overdo it with design and you needn’t cover every square inch with information or image. There are many simple themes in CMS like WordPress, choose wisely.

colorwhistle tipsImplement white space in your web design as it is an important design element that will provide many advantages to your website. It will keep things minimal as well as focus attention on things you want a user to see.

 

8. Test and publish your website

Before making your website live, make sure it works well on major browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Go through every page and features on each browser to ensure images, links look smooth.

Another important feature to incorporate in your website is analytic. By setting it up, you can monitor page performance, traffic, and find out why a page is successful or unsuccessful.

colorwhistle tipsAnalytics gives you a lot of information on who is visiting your website, what they are looking for, and how they got to your website. Popular ones are Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Piwik. To know more read, 7 tips and tricks for highly effective Google Analytics usage and 7 Alternatives to Google Analytics.

 

Consider Hiring A Web Design Company to Build Your Small Business Website.

Consumers are evaluating a company before they decide to make a purchase, and if your website doesn’t seem professional they will simply move on to your competitor.

While sales and credibility are two main factors for having a professional website for small business, there are some more reasons as to why you have to choose a creative digital agency, to start a website.

Why should you hire a web design company?

  • They will be aware of the latest design trends.
  • Understands technology.
  • Help to build a user-friendly website.
  • Will have the ability to figure out what to focus on.
  • Create a website in less time.
  • Give you instructions on how to maintain your website.

Above all, when you hire a web design company, you will not have the hassle of figuring out how to start a website. You can concentrate on growing your business.

When you employ professional web design services, you can relax and rest assured that you did not create a poorly constructed website.

Over to you

Clutch also found that, 92% of small businesses predict that they will have a website by the end of 2018.

It seems optimistic, plus it points out the fact that small business owners understand the importance of having a website and are at least aware of the missed opportunities of not having one.

The online world changes at a fast phase. Sometimes, one year in the online world can be equal to three years in the real world.

But the principles of how to start and grow a small business haven’t changed.

If you’re planning to start a website for your small business, stick to this sequence. You will begin to see improved results once you have your business website in place.

Keep going, you got this. All the best!

 

Summary

About the Author

Anjana Easwariah

Anjana Easwariah has been a ghostwriter for the past two years working with writing challenged clients. Currently, she is a copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content related projects. To write distinctly creative and unique content, she collaborates with the website design and digital marketing team. When she is not writing, you can find her playing shuttle or watching crime shows.