By now, every small business should realize they need a website. In 2019, Espresso said that less than two-thirds (64%) of small businesses have a website.
Even if you only have local clients, they should be able to easily find you online. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for a 1990s one-page business card style website.
Your goals for your website should dictate where you build it and what you put on it. An ecommerce site is very different from a site for a local small business. Websites that rank online have content worth linking to and sharing. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you want to build the site yourself using a website builder or have it built for you?
- Will you regularly publish new content? If yes, you need a site with a blog built in.
- Who will market it? Is that something you will do in-house or outsource?
Creating the site is just the beginning. You also need to promote it. With the answers to the above questions in hand, consider the options available. Want the condensed version? Watch this video:
Did you want to read those points again more closely? You can view this SlideShare made from what is in the video:
So instead of replaying the video or going back and forth in it, you can just flip through the slides in the SlideShare to find what you need to focus on next.
Done For You Websites With Marketing
There are many website builders available for the do-it-yourself inclined. But many small business owners are not into being creative or are busy running their company.
They may want to consider a company that creates small business websites and also markets them. Or, they can hire a developer to create the site and a different agency to market it.
Often, the website creator is also put on retainer to update it regularly, create backups, and assist with any technical issues. Content is typically created by writers or copywriters, although some site developers also create content.
The reason you might hire one agency to build and market your site is that marketing agencies often have conversion optimization experts on staff. Developers who work with optimizers learn what design elements increase conversions.
This is especially important for lead generation and ecommerce sites.
The more you expect your site to accomplish, the more important the design and marketing are. It is critical to choose the right developer and marketers from the beginning.
I recommend you get referrals from people who have actually worked with them, ideally from someone experienced in what they’re recommending.
Many people sound like they know what they’re talking about or have great marketing, but are not very accomplished. Until you have worked on a project with someone, you won’t know how good or bad they are or if they communicate clearly.
There are many DIY website building platforms. The best way to choose between them is to read reviews to get the real scoop on how good the support is.
Look for reviewers in your niche if you have specialized requirements. They may reveal pros and cons you need to know.
Before you choose, make sure they:
- Are fully SEO-optimizable
- Have a blog, if you intend to use one
- Support the addition of social media icons
Read the fine print as some may require long-term contracts. And do read all the reviews, both positive and negative. G2Crowd.com is a good place to find the most comprehensive reviews. Search the best website builder category.
One of the best ways to attract incoming links to help your site rank in search engines is by blogging once a week. That is why a quarter of all websites are built on WordPress.
If you want someone to install, host or maintain WordPress for you, contact us and we’ll recommend someone great.
We can also teach you how to use WordPress, create custom images, and fill in the image and SEO fields. Self-hosted WordPress is an excellent choice if you are serious about regularly publishing content.
Our influential-writers and other creative talent can create content, custom images, videos and SlideShares for you if you prefer. See the creatives in this post for examples of what is possible.
If you plan to have a large store with hundreds of products, you will want to consider using an e-commerce platform. Research carefully because which you choose can make a huge difference in how well your site ranks and converts.
For small stores, you can use WordPress plugins like WooCommerce. Read our post Can You Run a Huge Store on WooCommerce for more information.
55 Features for Successful Small Business Websites [Infographic]
Building a website is complicated, but the features it needs to have are not unknown. This infographic lays them all out in a visual way:
NOTE: This post was originally published 7/31/17; updated and republished 5/20/19 with new video and SlideShare added. The video and SlideShare have been upgraded with more specifics about mobile responsive design and best practices.