TABLE OF CONTENTS
Read our quick and easy guide to learn how to create a website for a small business. We’ll walk you through important design considerations, useful tools, and how to get your site up and running.
How to make a website: a step-by-step guide to get started
Your website is the most effective sales and marketing tool in your arsenal. In just five easy steps, you can create a beautiful personal or business website that attracts visitors and makes them excited to work with you. Here’s how to get started.
1. Choose a domain name
A domain is the unique name of your website.
You can choose any name you like, but it’s best to have one that matches your business or professional name. Not only does this keep your brand consistent, but it can also significantly affect how you appear in search engine results. A good domain name can help you rank higher, which can increase the number of people who click through to your site.
As you brainstorm domain names, pay attention to these helpful tips:
- Include keywords relevant to your business to increase your visibility in search engines.
- Make sure it’s easy to spell.
- If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, use a domain name generator as a starting point.
- Keep your domain short to make it easier for visitors to remember.
- Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, hyphens and numbers.
- Try to use traditional top-level domains, or TLDs, like .com or .net, or one that most closely relates to you or your business.
- Make sure no one else is using it. While you can buy a domain from someone else, this can be expensive. You’re better off choosing a different name or using a different top-level domain, like .net, instead.
2. Register your domain and choose your design and hosting providers
Once you have decided on a domain name, you will need to register it with a domain registrar. You can do this using a website like Domain.com or Network Solutions. Note that these providers simply register domain ownership for you, which can cost between INR 500 and INR 1,000 per year, depending on your TLD.
You will still need to find another provider to host the URL where you will build your website and possibly use another program to design it. To keep things simple, you can choose to register your domain with a provider that offers registration, hosting, and design capabilities.
If you don’t have much or no coding experience, you may want an all-in-one option like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.
If you choose to use separate companies to manage your hosting and web design, look for a hosting service that offers benefits such as technical support, a free domain name, or a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
You should be very aware of the SSL certificate as it is a global standard security technology that enables a secure connection and protects your and your visitors’ data and sensitive information. In a nutshell, this security measure adds the S in HTTPS to the front of a website’s URL. Search engines and visitors welcome it.
These features are more common with all-in-one providers, but there’s no guarantee, so make sure the one you choose offers them before you buy a plan.
Popular web hosts with and without built-in design integrations are Bluehost, DreamHost, GoDaddy, and InMotion.
If your web host doesn’t provide any integration features, some third-party design programs you might consider are Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud apps. You can create designs on these platforms and embed them on your website pages.
3. Add useful pages and engaging content
You have many options when it comes to how to organize your content about your business and its services.
With that said, strive to include these important pages on your website:
- An eye-catching home page. The centerpiece of your business website should captivate people and tell them exactly what you do and who you serve. Incorporate eye-catching graphics, readable fonts, concise and clear descriptions, and enticing calls to action.
- An illuminating ‘About Us’ page. Share the origin story of your business. Highlight your achievements, mission and values. You can also feature any team member to foster deeper connections with customers.
- Booking page or store. Generate more revenue and integrate a third-party online scheduling platform or eCommerce platform, like HoneyBook or WooCommerce.
- An accessible contact page. Include social media accounts, emails, phone numbers, addresses, and a contact form to make it easier for people to reach you. If it fits your business, add your hours of operation as well.
- Memorable content. Sharing compelling content establishes you as an expert in your industry and helps build a loyal community for your business. This can include blogs, videos, podcast episodes, case studies, and more. As a bonus, this content can help you improve your ranking in search results and increase site visits.
- A solid FAQ page. Providing answers to common questions not only helps build more trust with your brand, it can also reduce the number of support calls and tickets you receive.
- Testimonials and press coverage. Increase your credibility by sharing your successes. Create a page that shares positive reviews of your services and include any mentions of your business in prominent media outlets.
4. Optimize your website for search engines
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of refining your business website so that its pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), especially Google. It’s what helps people find you.
As you build your website, keep these basic SEO practices in mind to increase your visibility and drive more traffic:
- Use relevant phrases, called keywords, in all your posts and pages. However, don’t use keywords just because. Make sure your choices are intentional. Excessive use can negatively affect your ranking.
- Constantly publish valuable content for your customers or readers.
- Perform routine content audits or cleanups to see what you can consolidate or update.
- Keep your website loading speed as low as possible by optimizing images or enabling browser caching. These settings can help your web page rank higher in search engine results. You can measure your page speed in GTmetrix. (Learn more about the importance of web page load speed.)
- Make sure your design and content work properly on computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Do not underestimate the performance of your website on mobile devices. Up to half of web traffic now comes from smartphones.
It’s great to have a beautifully designed business website, but search engines want to see more than that to establish their authority when they index you in their search results.
As you optimize your site for search, be sure to keep your visitors in mind. You’ll want to choose simple navigation systems and create pages that allow for fast load times. To accommodate a variety of user abilities, follow the Census of India guidelines to make your site as accessible as possible.
5. Review your site before you hit ‘Publish’
Before you launch your website into the real world, you’ll need to test it to make sure it works properly.
Among other things, make sure you:
- Read your content to make sure everything is accurate and error-free.
- Check for broken links.
- Remove any filler content from your website theme or template.
- Test your website in browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and more.
- Connect your website to Google Analytics to monitor its performance.
Once you’re ready, hit publish. To help drive traffic to your newly created website, share it with friends, market it to customers, and include it on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media profiles.
Keep your site up to date
You’re not done with your site by the time you hit publish. To stay high in search rankings and improve your visitors’ experience, you’ll need to constantly maintain your website. Consider adding the following to your webmaster to-do list:
- Use webmaster and analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor how people use your site. Some website engagement metrics to track include bounce rates, click-through rates, and average session length.
- Regularly update your website with blog posts, products, and promotional offers.
- Conduct monthly reviews to ensure that all aspects of your website, including internal and external links, pages, and plugins, are working as intended.
- Update your “About Us” page with new team members or achievements.
As time goes on, you may want to nurture relationships with other business sites to establish credibility and improve your SEO. When other major websites link to your website, search engines see your site as more credible and worthy of ranking higher in results.