Here's the deal...
So much has been said about the benefits of having a website for businesses. These benefits, which include establishing a business’s online presence, improving its brand awareness and increasing sales, make a website an essential tool for businesses to remain competitive. However, most local businesses still don’t have a website because they think it’s a difficult and costly expense they are not ready to invest in. On the contrary, it is quite easy and inexpensive to build a website that lets you communicate with your customers effectively and sell your products or services online efficiently.
Creating an inexpensive but great business website involves five steps, which include;
1. Selecting & Registering A Domain Name
2. Choose Your Hosting Provider & Website Builder
3. Create Your Business Website Content
4. Design a Unique Business Logo
5. Optimize Your Website For Mobile
Read on below to learn the detailed step-by-step guide on how to make an inexpensive website for your business.
Step #1: Select & Register A Domain Name For Your Website
A domain name is essentially your business website’s online address, such as www.humblefoxmedia.com, which prospects and customers will use to locate you online. Although, your business name can serve as your domain name, sometimes the domain name may already have been taken by another business with the same name. To check if your business’ name is available as a domain name, enter it into the domain search tool of a domain provider, such as NameCheap or GoDaddy.com. You’ll be notified if the domain name is available or not. If it isn’t, you can adjust the name or extension to find a name that isn’t taken.
Tips for Choosing Business Website Domains
To select and register the domain name that will suit your business, follow the tips below.
• Add Search Keywords – Choosing the right domain name for your business website is important for ranking high on search engines like Google and Yahoo. So, you should include words that your prospective customers are likely to use when searching for your business. For example, “ProStarLawncare” is better and more specific than “ProStar.”
• Avoid Random Symbols or Punctuation – Your prospects and customers should be able to pronounce and remember your domain names easily. Otherwise, they may land on your competitor’s website or have a hard time finding your website and give up. So, keep your business website domain name as short as possible, and avoid punctuation and random symbols like dashes and xxx.
• Use Location Keywords – To make your domain name more unique and specific, or if all your desired domain names are taken, you can include a location keyword. You can do this by adding your city or area name to the main domain name. For example, a company called Modern Cabinets based in Seattle, WA, could try www.moderncabinetseattle.com.
• Select a .com Extension – After deciding on a business website domain name, it’s best to select the .com extension over other uncommon and less expensive extension like .biz or .tk. This is because people usually search for the .com extensions of businesses when looking for information or products online, and tend to trust them more. Other popular extensions you could use if the .com extension isn’t available, include the .net and .org extension.
Step #2: Choose Your Hosting Provider & Website Builder
Once you’ve chosen a suitable domain name, the next step is to decide on a server where to host your website online. An online server is a host that stores your website’s content and shows it to your online visitors. On the other hand, a website builder is a tool that enables you to build your website without coding.
There are numerous hosting providers and website builders available, but in our experience at Humble Fox Media, Bluehost/WordPress and Weebly are the best platforms to host and build your website. Of the two options, Bluehost is the most versatile and delivers the most value. It allows you to register your domain name (as described above), host your website on its servers, access a WordPress website builder, and get a business email address for just $3.95/month.
If you would like to check out Bluehost’s hosting plans, click here. On the other hand, Weebly is a more user-friendly host, with more personalized customer support, and offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop website builder. It is a better option than Bluehost if you’re not tech-savvy and you only need a simple website. However, the pricing for Weebly is $5/month, and it doesn’t include the cost of the domain name or a business email account.
These Two Options Are Explained In More Details Below:
Option 1: Create a WordPress Website Using Bluehost
WordPress is an intermediate website builder that provides access to unlimited website features and functionalities. Most web hosting providers, such as Bluehost and Siteground offer a free WordPress builder when you sign up for any of their web hosting package. Although you need to be a little bit tech-savvy, you don’t have to be proficient in web programming to design your website with WordPress. Also, the WordPress backend is quite easy to navigate with some tech knowledge, but it isn’t as easy as Weebly, which allows you to build your website by dragging and dropping elements.
To get a step-by-step guide on how to create your business website with WordPress using Bluehost, click here.
Option 2: Create A Website With Weebly
Weebly is both a web hosting platform and a website builder. It enables you to design your business website easily and quickly using drag-and-drop interfaces, templates, and apps or plugins. However, at $5/month, it is a little bit more expensive than building your website with WordPress using Bluehost.
...the pricing is worth it if you are not tech savvy, as its website building process is very intuitive and easy to grasp. To build your business website on Weebly, all you have to do is select a website template and customize it by adding pages and elements such as your business texts, images, colors, and fonts. You can easily add elements by dragging them from the sidebar, adjust your text, image or element size by pulling from a corner, and change texts by double-clicking the text box. You can also add interactive features that will make your website more functional and engaging, such as Google Maps, web forms, YouTube embeds, social media share buttons, and more with a simple click-to-add option.
Step #3: Create Your Business Website Content
After selecting your hosting platform, the next step is to create the content you would upload on your website. Your website content includes the web copy for the different pages that describe your business and its services, and articles and blog posts for the blog page of your website, as well as all images and videos. When creating these website content, you should have it in mind that business website are more attractive and functional when they’re clear, simple, and easy to navigate. Thus, you should ensure that your texts are straightforward, your images are clear, and you have call-to-actions on each page.
What Content To Include On Your Website Pages
A typical business website usually has five essential pages, which include the Home, About Us, Products/Services, Blog, and Contact Us pages. Each page on your website should contain a captivating and engaging web copy, as well as relevant images and/or videos.
• Homepage – Your business website’s homepage is the first page your prospect will land on when they enter your domain name. Thus, the content on your homepage should include the name, slogan, logo, and location of your business, as well as testimonials from past customers and relevant images. The web copy for this page should be a simple, but captivating pitch that includes a few lines about what makes your business unique, which will convince prospects to choose your business.
• Products or Services – The products or services page is the page that offers in-depth details about your products and/or services. Therefore, ensure that you describe each type of product or services you offer, as well as include clear images that depict your products or services. If you’re offering products, it is best that you include the prices of each product, while you may or may not include the prices of your services, depending on your service type or preference.
• About Us – The about us page is the page that provides prospects with your business background, vision, and mission, as well as list key organization members of your company. You may include your customer testimonials on this page too, to help improve your business trust and credibility.
• Blog – The blog page is a page where you can share valuable blog posts and articles that will help you connect with your customers and engage your community. Ensure that you create a blog editorial calendar to help you post the right blog content at the right time that will relieve your prospects’ pain points or inform them of what is trending in your industry.
• Contact Us – The contact us page is the page that holds all your business’s contact information and enables prospective customers to reach you easily. Thus, it should contain your physical address, email address, phone numbers, links to your social media account and the hours you are open for business. If you run a local business, you should also embed a Google map, to make it easier for prospects to locate you.
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Step 4: Design a Unique Business Logo
An important part of designing your business website is ensuring that your business brand is represented appropriately. Thus, besides choosing the appropriate colors and fonts for your business website design, it is also important that you have a unique logo designed for your website. Consistency between your logo and web pages enhances your branding and improves your overall website design.
If you already have a logo for your business, you can find the digital file, or get a high-resolution scan of the logo to use on your website. If you do not already have a business logo, or want to upgrade from your existing logo design, you can either design one yourself or hire a graphic designer to create one for you.
Step #5: Optimize Your Website For Mobile
A website that is optimized for mobile is one that automatically adjusts its layout, to be attractive and user-friendly for prospects accessing the website on mobile devices. A mobile optimized website is often referred to as a “responsive” website, as it can detect the type of device used by prospects, and automatically shifts the web content to suit the screen size. It is important to ensure that your business website is mobile optimized because more than half of your prospects and customers are likely to browse your website from their smartphone, rather than a computer.
Fortunately, websites designed with most top web builders, including WordPress and Weebly are automatically mobile-optimized and gives your prospects an ideal experience on whatever device they are using. However, it is essential to note that even if your website is mobile-responsive, it’s usually a good idea to make some extra adjustments to the mobile version of your site. This includes making your call to action buttons, such as filling out a contact form or making an online order, the central focus, and getting rid of any excessive details that may impede that. Other features that you can add to your mobile-optimized website, which will help capture prospects who are browsing on-the-go, are the click-to-call button and Google Map widgets.
The click-to-call button enables your prospects or customer to dial your business directly from your website, while the Google Map widget enables easy navigation to your store.
Bottom Line For Designing A Business Website
To create a great website for your local business, you’ll need to select and register your business website domain, choose a web provider and website builder, create your website content and logo, and then design the website to be mobile-responsive.
You can easily DIY by following the steps outlined above. However, if you would like to avoid mistakes and save time, you can easily hire a company like Humble Fox Media to create your business website for you.
Co-founder of Humble Fox Media. He has helped many local businesses with their digital marketing needs for more than 4 years. In his off time, you can find him tasting some local beers around Gig Harbor, WA. Or searching for music from the 90’s at a vinyl record shop near you.