It’s Easy to Build a Website
Every small business, even a small farm business, needs to build a website in this day and age. The question becomes, “How can I do this?” It is a daunting project, but it is very doable if you tackle it in small steps.
If you personally build a website, your costs will be minimal. If you hire a website builder to create your own website, the costs do go up. Yes, it takes more time to do it yourself, but if money is an issue, this is the way to go.
Table of Contents
Take Simple Steps Slowly
We’ll go through the steps very simply and explain the basic terminology as we go. If you understand everything along the way, you should be able to move forward and build your own website or talk intelligently to a website builder.
Purpose of Your Website
When deciding what to do with your business website, one of the most important aspects is knowing your own needs. What do you want this website to accomplish? Do you want people to buy products from the website? Do you want to tell them about the services that you offer? Do you just want to teach your readers? Your website is a major part of your marketing action plan.
If you need to sell products online then you want to look into platforms that make it easy for customers to purchase items. A platform is a technology that helps build a website. Platforms that can help you sell online are e-commerce tools. E-commerce is selling a product or service online. Some examples are Shopify or WooCommerce. You can even build a website on Shopify, using it as your web host.
Choose Website Hosting
What is website hosting? In simple terms, the web host is the landlord of space on the World Wide Web (www), and you rent that space for your website from them. Technically, the web host “houses, serves, and maintains site files” for websites. It’s a complicated job that they do, and it’s important that you find the web host that can serve you best.
When choosing web hosting when you plan to build a website, it is important to consider features that suit your needs when you build a website. If you don’t know much about web hosting technology, look for web hosts with drag-and-drop functionality and tutorials that are easy to follow. BUT, if you can write, you can create content. You won’t need drag-and-drop.
Don’t forget to investigate whether the web host you choose has options for quickly integrating with social media websites. This can make a big difference in the reach of your website, especially when you’re just starting out.
Make sure the web host also offers customer service so that you have help if you need it along the way. With the right web host on board, you will be ready to start building your online presence when you build a website.
Most web hosts have pricing schedules that start very inexpensively, and the more services you need, the higher the cost per month. Usually, at the beginning of a business, you just need basic services.
Some web hosts offer a free website, and if cost is a serious consideration, this might be an option for you. However, your URL will include the web host name and your domain name will not be as professional looking as you would like. There is a cost for a free website even if it is not monetary at the beginning.
Over the years, I have had personal experience with at least 7 different web hosts. To build a website on any of these web hosts has been an experience from terrible to terrific. Everyone’s experiences are different because everyone has different expectations. I have 2 favorite web hosts for my sites and each offers different benefits. My personal recommendations are as follows:
Bluehost is a terrific web host which can accommodate any type of website. In addition, their customer support is superb. I have always had an answer to any problem quickly and in language that I can understand. The Bluehost web hosting is not expensive (as low as $2.95/month) and they offer many free benefits (such as a free domain). They also have pay services if you wish them to be your website builder, SEO specialist, and other marketing services. You will find this a great web host to help you build a website.
I recommend that you use one of the WordPress templates (themes) for your website. WordPress has volumes of information on how to use it online and I have found it to be a bit easier than other templates. You can get to WordPress through Bluehost and you can upload the themes into your website framework. The themes can be free or you can purchase the premium version. Most of the time, the free templates are more than adequate for a small business. Bluehost is very compatible with WordPress themes and can support them. They also support a number of SEO tools and e-commerce tools.
If you are unsure as to the direction to take, Bluehost offers a free consultation to get you going. Of all of the web hosts that I have used, Bluehost is my favorite.
Wix: I found Wix by accident one day when I was frustrated with another web host (not Bluehost!). The beauty of Wix is that you can build a free website on their site. They offer over 900 free, customizable website templates, even for e-commerce, and have a Wix website builder. They provide a drag-and-drop editor, and simple directions on how to build a website by yourself. For one of my sites on Wix, I built it within an hour. Granted, it’s not complex – only a couple of pages – but it was nice to get it done. They do have a detailed support list, and I have paid a Wix Expert to help me with some issues.
If I have a complaint, and it is a small complaint, I found it harder to manage my SEO, which I personally like to do. If that isn’t your thing, and you want a free website, this might be the web host for you.
Choosing the right domain name for your website is an important decision, as you saw above, and there are a few factors to consider. A domain is also called a URL and it is the label or web address attached to your website. The goal is to make your domain easy to remember and reflect your brand in some way. You can either customize a URL or take advantage of free domains on some hosting sites. It’s worth doing some research beforehand and thinking through all of your options, as the wrong choice of the domain name can have long-term implications.
Making sure the domain is memorable, relevant, and fits within budget should all be taken into account. Once you choose your web host, the host will have a place where you can purchase a domain. My recommendation: if you find that your preferred domain name is available, purchase it immediately. The odds are if you wait and go back later, it may not be available. The wrong domain names have stymied the growth of some businesses.
Also take care in choosing the extension of your domain name. The extension is the last part of the URL. You should try to get .com if you are boing to build a website for a small business for it is the most popular extension and indicates a commercial business.
Custom Domain Name
You should try to get a custom domain name so your business has its own dedicated branding in the digital world. A custom domain name is a unique name for your website – it helps customers to recognize and remember your site. For example, here is my custom domain name: https://kathygaudry.com.
However, if you just need an informational website for customers to better understand your business model then there are many platforms available that could take care of hosting and maintenance for less cost than dedicating resources towards a full-fledged e-commerce business.
To decide which route you should go, assess what exactly it is you’re trying to accomplish with a business website first.
Pick a Website Theme
Inside your web host, you will find a tab probably entitled Appearance. This tab should contain your themes (templates for your website). Look through what is available and see if any fit with your vision. If not, go online and Google website templates.
WordPress templates are an excellent choice when you build a website, and you can find free as well as premium themes. I would say that most of them are easy to use for you are just inputting content into the spaces the theme has designed.
Once you have decided on a theme and uploaded it to your web host, you can begin to easily create content, informational, e-commerce, or both.
The creation process of building a website is an effective way to create a professional online presence. Investing time and energy into creating high-quality web content can be a great asset to businesses, entrepreneurs, and individual freelancers alike. Build a website properly and it will enhance your professional image.
Your website will have Pages and Blogs, and possibly an Online Store. Your Pages will be the entry into your website. The basic pages will include information about your business, contact forms, and maybe an About page, but you can add more categories. Your Blogs will be information you wish to share with visitors and can be only any related subjects. Your Online Store will be where you sell online your products and/or services.
Whether you create a website with a web design program or have someone create it for you, the right content can make all the difference when setting up an online hub that accurately reflects your brand. High-quality content can create trust with your potential customers and create an overall better user experience.
Valuable Tools to Build a Website
After you write content, check your work for any errors. Look for misspellings, missing words, punctuation, or hard-to-understand sections. You want your content to be perfect: no grammatical errors and it must read easily.
Illustrations or Images
I caution you not to just lift images or text from other websites when you build a website. That is copyrighted material and the penalties for using copyrighted material without permission are severe. You have plenty of options online to find copyright-free materials. If you can’t, think about purchasing materials so that you have the correct permissions.
There are at least a hundred sites of free images that can be used copyright-free and can be manipulated for commercial use. The 2 best free sites that I recommend are Unsplash and Pixabay. There are other pay sites, but that can get pretty spendy when you need a few for a blog. Your other choice is to take your own pictures.
If you decide you can’t build a website by yourself, you can always contact Fiverr.com and hire someone who has experience in creating website content or any of your other needs. This is a hire, but it doesn’t need to be expensive if you look at all of the possible candidates. Other website builders are Upwork.com, which is another place where you can hire someone to help you. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but you do need to be clear with your directions and your goals for the tasks.
It’s important to create a website that has engaging and useful content that will keep website visitors returning to your site. They will be interested in learning more about what your organization offers.
Website Design Features
When you create an entire website, you have to be aware that website design features are what people remember. Website design features such as beautiful images, templates, SEO, videos, and/or an online store are essential for any good website.
Images should be well thought out and beautiful to create an inviting atmosphere.
Website themes give you the opportunity to have a consistent and beautiful design throughout your website that you really don’t have to think about. You just fill in the blanks.
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps you get more traffic to your beautiful pages.
Adding videos to the website increases engagement with users and gives them something interesting to watch.
Finally, an online store is essential for businesses that have a product or online service and need to generate actual revenue from their website.
All these features will give your customers an amazing experience when they visit your site.
Promote Your Website
Promoting your website is an essential part of navigating the digital space. For search engine optimizations, an audit of your site is a good starting point that can help you target the right audience and search queries.
If you’re looking for an effective way to promote your website, search engines, social media integrations and powerful marketing tools are the best place to start. These search engine optimization strategies can help you drive more traffic to your website, with those connections allowing you to reach a wider audience.
Meanwhile, potent marketing tools (often found online) can provide insights that can help increase search engine visibility, while building and growing an email list is essential if you plan on keeping visitors updated on the latest offers and updates.
By employing all of these strategies, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive campaign that will maximize the potential of your website.
If you find this task of being your own web designer too difficult to face, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Or, better yet, take a class and become independent of the techies – YOU can do this. Skillshare has a class called “WordPress for Beginners: Build a Pro Website in 50 Minutes.” That will take you where you want to go.
Your website should be a major part of both your business plan and your marketing action plan. This is the place where people will find your small business. When you do your business startup, include a website and the time and money it will take to build it. You will reap the rewards.