When starting a new business, or expanding an existing business into the online space, building a website is a top priority. This may seem like a daunting task, but it is easier than ever with available technology.
In this article, we will show you three paths to building your unique business website so you can launch in no time.
Let’s start with how you can make a business website using a page builder.
There are many advantages to using a page builder, including ease of use. This means if you’re a beginner at web development, a page builder could be the best way to put your business website together.
The tools included in page builders are simple to use and understand, and you can create an online presence for your business on the web fast. The use of a page builder is also great for businesses that are just starting, as these tools won’t eat a lot of your budget. Here is your start to finish guide on using a page builder approach to launching a business website:
The first step is choosing the proper website builder for your business.
For this article, we are going to focus on the page builder Wix. Wix is a fantastic resource to help small businesses of all types build and publish websites. They offer a wide range of templates to help you start your project, which gives you plenty of creative freedom.
They also have 24/7 customer support available, so you can get answers whenever you may find yourself stuck in the process. In addition to great creation and customization, Wix also offers a free domain name and their monthly fee includes web hosting for your site.
Of course, there are other builders you can choose from–each with its own strengths and weaknesses for each aspect of the website building process. Make sure to take the time to research which builder best suits your particular business needs before committing.
Not all web builders include a domain name or hosting in their offering. If you have chosen a builder that falls under this category, you will need to configure hosting and register a domain name separately for your business website.
- Hosting refers to the storage of your site’s data on a server, which can be a shared web or a dedicated hosting server.
- The shared web host is, as its name implies, a shared server where your business website will be stored alongside multiple sites. This is a very cost-effective option, as you’ll be sharing the cost of the server among other sites. However, while it may be the cheaper option, the drawback is in speed. Because you’re sharing hosting space, there is an inherent risk of other sites’ web traffic slowing your page down.
- A dedicated host, however, stores only your business website’s data. Because the dedicated web host is all yours, you can expect a markedly higher fee for this service. Unlike shared web hosts though, you will not have to sacrifice speed.
- Domain names identify your business on the web. If your website builder doesn’t offer a domain name, you can expect to pay a modest fee annually to continue using the name. You will also need to go through a separate domain registrar site, so make sure to check your business name against domains and grab the name that best suits your needs.
Once you have your page builder chosen and your domain and hosting squared away, it’s time to start designing your business website. This is where page builders shine.
Most have hundreds of templates to choose from to serve as the foundation of your design. Using a template is a great way to create the base of your business website, and you can find one that fits your style, industry, and niche rather easily.
One of the greatest things about Wix is its built-in eCommerce features, including paid monthly site plans that come with built-in eCommerce tools.
If the page builder that you choose to go with doesn’t come with these features, you will need to add them yourself. This means adding features such as a shopping cart, payment processors, contact forms, and so forth, manually on your site.
Now that you have your business website set up with the style you like, with the features you need, the last step before you go live is adding content.
Among all the possible content that you can add, take note that adding an “About Us” section on your website is one of the most important things you can create for your website. This will basically give your customers background information on who you and your team are as well as what you do, thereby establishing your business relevance. A blog is a good idea, too, as it offers a convenient way to consistently publish new content and help you rank higher on search engine searches.
If you sell products or services, individual product pages are a must. Be sure to feature samples of your work featured in a Portfolio section of your website if you provide a specific service. Your business website should serve as a reliable repository for your portfolio of previous work or reference for your products, with potential clients able to see your experience or offerings easily.
Once you secure the domain name you want and have the page looking how you like, finalize your editing process within the page builder, then click Publish. Your site will go online and be ready for all to view it.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach to building your website, then using WordPress is a great option.
This building path is for people who have at least some coding knowledge who like having complete control over the look and functionality of their website.
Similar to page builders, when building your site with WordPress, you will need a domain name to get started. In addition, you will also need a web host provider to build your site. A great resource for this service is Bluehost. Bluehost is actually WordPress’ recommended and preferred web host. At the same time, it’s an affordable web hosting service, so beginners and experts can feel confident using them.
There are other hosting providers out there, and researching all options is always good practice before making your final decision.
After securing your domain name and hosting plan, it’s time to get WordPress.
Head over to WordPress.org, and install WordPress to begin. Or, if your host offers one-click installation, opt for that instead. From there, you will be presented with options for themes, plugins, and more. Make sure to take time to acquaint yourself with everything they have to offer before diving in.
Themes are much like the templates offered by page builders in that they set the tone and feel of your website.
Note that there are hundreds WordPress theme options, and while some themes are free, they also provide paid options that come with additional features. Depending on your budget and site objectives, you can pick the right theme to fit your business and style.
While the theme of your WordPress business website sets the tone of your page, WordPress plugins assist with adding functionality, extending compatibility, and can even be used to add fun features. Plugins are often added to boost a site’s range of features and make your site more efficient.
Depending on your requirements, plugins can help create a seamless eCommerce experience, add a portfolio or gallery to your site, include live chat functions–it all depends on what you need and what you want to add for your site. There are thousands of plugins to choose from, so take your time and explore.
Now that you have the tone of your business website set with a solid theme, and you’ve increased the functionality and features with proper plugin selection, it is time to add content. Great websites are able to clearly show what their business is about and what their brand personality is through choice content.
That said, be sure to craft a well-written About Us/Me page, Contact details, feature an FAQ/Help tab, in addition to your main product or service pages to ensure a great visitor experience. If necessary for your industry, be sure to add a privacy and information disclaimer on your site as well.
After getting through the administrative aspects and creative process, review your site carefully and hit publish. Read through your pages and make sure to not only test them with a desktop browser but on a mobile device as well. Additionally, double check to make sure all the tabs, links, and pages are all working.
Make sure you conduct regular maintenance including site updates as well as theme and plugin updates to prevent security issues from cropping up down the line. Keeping your business website up to date is crucial to continued success online.
The third option is for business owners who already have their business all set up and want to establish better online presence, but don’t have the technical knowledge, expertise, or even the time to attempt building a site themselves.
If your budget allows for it, you can opt to hire a professional web developer instead.
A pro web developer with the proper training and education will help you bring your business website to life. This is an excellent option for business owners who have the resources to outsource some of their design work so they can focus on growing their business and its needs. The following will explain each step of hiring the perfect developer to get your online presence off the ground.
The first step is finding the right talent to complete your project.
There are a host of great networking and job board sites that cater to the world of freelance web development. Fiverr, Upwork, and similar sites will connect you as a client with thousands of potential web developers.
You can also search for local web developers in your city or region for a more personal approach with someone familiar with your area. Using social media as a tool to gather recommendations is another great resource that can connect you with developers your friends, family, or business contemporaries have used in the past.
Whichever path you take, be sure to take the time to vet your candidates accordingly. This is an extremely important decision. You will need someone that has a blend of experience, knowledge, and affordability. Make sure to try and work with someone who has prior experience developing business websites in the same industry as yours, too.
After you’ve found a suitable web developer, it’s time to establish a contract. Make sure to read your contract very carefully. Everything about the project will be contained in the language of the contract, including costs. Look over every aspect of the project and compare it to what you have listed in the contract. If you ask to add something that isn’t listed, there is an expectation of added cost, so being clear upfront and consistent in communication is key.
Hiring a web developer to build your business website isn’t an operation you walk away from after handing over the contract. It’s a collaboration between yourself and your chosen developer, and working together to get the finished product.
You need to be active throughout the entire process, providing feedback at regular intervals to make sure the developer is staying true to the vision you have. Remember, clear and constant communication will lead to better results.
While a web developer will build your business website from the ground up, they basically handle the technical backbone of your site as well as its design. It’s important to remember that copy and content will be provided on your end. You could either write the material yourself or hire a copywriter to do this for you. The same job sites where you found your web developer will also have listings for copywriters.
After the design is complete and your content has been added, your business website is just about ready to make its debut online. Before you publish though, test your new site multiple times. Every page, every link, and all payment options must be tested and vetted by you before you publish.
As with the previous methods, you’ll need to test your business website on both desktop browsers and your mobile devices. Maintaining a user-friendly experience across all devices can boost SEO. Once the testing is complete, you’ll have a polished final website ready to grow your business.
What to Include On Your Site
No matter what path you take to create your business website, there are some must-have features across the board that need to be utilized to be successful. Make sure to include the following key components to ensure success in your online journey:
- About Me/Us
- Contact Us
- Store/Services Catalog
Make sure you are clear about what exactly your site provides. Being clear and concise will make navigating your business website easy and convenient for your visitors.
Make sure to include links or call to action buttons. Dedicated sales pages with lead generation forms, “Buy Now” buttons, and contact forms that let your visitors interact with you and your team are all vital to growing and sustaining a prominent online presence in your industry.
Now that we have explored these three paths to building your business website, the only thing left to do is to begin your journey.
A quick summary of the best ways to get started with your business website:
- Build a Business Website with a Page Builder – Best options for beginners who are keen to design a website by themselves without the need to code. Some simple to use yet powerful website builders include the likes of Wix, Squarespace or Zyro.
- Build a Business Website with WordPress – Best option for digitally savvy entrepreneurs that value customizability over the easy of use. All you need to get started is one of the WordPress.org-recommended hosting services like Bluehost or Siteground.
- Build a Business Website by Hiring a Developer – Hiring a freelancer is the way to go for a businesses looking for fully custom solution to meet their specific requirements. Fortunately, finding the right talent has never been easier with marketplaces such as Upwork, Fiverr or Toptal allowing business owners to quickly search and find highly experienced web designers.
Using the information above, including the important aspects listed, pick the path that best suits your budget and needs. This should give you the confidence to start building your site.