How to create a website for your businessSmall Business Advice 5 January 2018
Gone are the days where your customers are expected to find you via the yellow pages. Today, the internet has made it easy for anyone to find exactly what they’re looking for, encouraging millions of small business websites emerge over the years.
Many people think websites are only useful for eCommerce businesses, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you don’t sell anything directly online, your website should be an extension of your business card, with information about your business and services offered.
So how do you create a website for your small business?
Get a domain name
A domain name is your address on the internet. When people type in your domain name (e.g. yourbusiness.co.uk) they will be sent to your website, so it’s important to create one that reflects your brand and is easy to remember. Most people will use their brand name as their domain name.
Check out Godaddy, 123reg, 1and1.co.uk and names.co.uk. They will let you check if the domain name you want is available before you buy and can usually offer competitive rates. Costs are split into two: the price of the domain name and the cost of renewing it every year. Think of it like the cost of buying a property and the cost of renewing the lease.
Most domain providers will offer you a personalised email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) alongside your domain for a small fee. This can help your business to look more professional in the eyes of your customers.
Get web hosting
As well as a domain name, you’ll need web hosting for your business website. In a nutshell, all the information on your website: the images, the text, the links and everything else need to stored on a server. This server, which is just a type of computer, will send this data to anyone that types in your domain name, letting them access your website.
Think of it like a storage space holding your digital furniture. Your domain name is the key that lets people explore a replica of your home. The good news is you can get the two as a package, keeping costs low. Costs are usually based on number of visits to your website so as a small business owner, you’ll want to start, well, small. You can always upgrade later as needed.
Choose a website builder
After you’ve chosen your domain name and hosting provider, now comes the fun part – designing your website! There are tons of website builders that offer slick looking designs and most of them are either low cost or free.
Wix, Shopify, Weebly and Squarespace are some of the most popular website builders out there. All of them make it extremely easy to build your site, which is perfect if you run a small business. Please note that we do not support direct integration to any of these services.
Pick a theme for your website
Each website builder will have a set of templates so you won’t have to build each page from scratch. You’ll find templates are usually categorised by industry or even business type, making it easy to find the right one for you. Some templates are priced as a one-off cost, while others may be a lower, regular fee. Either way, you’ll be saving both time and money compared to hiring a web designer to create a website from scratch.
Create a simple website navigation
When using your website builder to create different pages, think about what people are looking for when they visit your website. If you’re a restaurant, do they want to see your menu and your location? If you’re an eCommerce business, what’s the easiest way for them to browse your products? If you’re a retail store, will you need to include your opening times?
Other things to consider include:
- Phone numbers
- Information about your business
- Locations of all stores
- Special deals
- Your business email address
It can be tempting to add more features and pages in preparation for the future. This can be expensive and complicated so it’s best to start small and add as you grow.
Take card payments
You might be selling goods from your website or taking payment for services in person, but taking secure card payments is key. The easiest way for your business to take payments online is with a payment gateway. This is an online form where customers enter their credit and debit card details to make payment.
Setting up a payment gateway is easy, and like web hosting, the price depends on how much money you process. At Paymentsense, we can set up a payment gateway for your small business website in just 24 hours. What’s more, our no fixed contract means you’ll never be tied down and have the freedom to take your business wherever you like. Join 60,000 independent businesses using our services to take card payments every day.
Now you have our 5 simple steps to setting up a small business website, start reeling in hoards of new customers with our simple guide to promoting your business online.