Are you looking to make a dynamic, magnetizing website for your startup? Fortunately, making a small business website has become incredibly easy, and you can do it all yourself without hiring a web developer (but they can help)! Still, creating an engaging website takes a lot of work.
If you’re looking to build an entirely new website or make your current one more effective, here are 8 key steps to help you get started on your journey for online marketplace success.
Step 1: Hire a Web Designer
Instead of creating a website yourself, consider hiring a web designer. Web designers plan, create, and code web pages and Internet sites. Multidisciplinary teams, like The 215 Guys, can create beautiful, functional websites, portfolios, or eCommerce systems, all with SEO in mind.
If you require web design in Philadelphia for your business, we suggest checking them out.
Step 2: Domain Name
Your domain name, also known as your website address, is often the entry point of your website. It’s the first thing people see, and it’s what your brand will be known for. Coming up with a great domain name can be tough, so use the following tips to help you along:
- Make it short, easy to spell, and avoid numbers and hyphens.
- Always use the.com extension unless you need to use .gov, .edu, or .org.
- Make the domain name broad. Don’t use books.com, or you can only sell books.
- Research the domain name to ensure it isn’t taken on social media or elsewhere.
- Create an SEO-friendly URL that includes your geo-location or keywords.
Step 3: Purchase a Scalable, Secure Website Hosting Platform
A website host is a company that offers the services and technology necessary for the website to be viewed on the Internet. These companies connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when a user visits your website address, they’re taken to a working site.
Hosting services cost anywhere from $2-$150 a month. Shared server host “Bluehost” offers great customer service for a low price, but if you want fast speeds and optimal performance, get a dedicated server plan.
Regardless of what you choose, make sure they offer a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), which provides daily backups to your site and regular maintenance.
Step 4: Find the Right CMS or eCommerce Platform
A content management system (CMS) is a program or application that’s used to create and manage digital content. An eCommerce platform allows users to buy goods or services you sell on your website. Both need to be secure, user-friendly, and within your budget range.
We recommend the following CMSs for your business:
We recommend the following eCommerce platforms for your business:
- Business Squarespace
- Shopify Plus
- GoDaddy Online Store
Step 5: Create an Engaging and Interesting Web Interface
Make sure your small business website leaves a positive impression that drives growth. You’ll need to use easy-to-read fonts and beautiful graphics that stay on brand, but you’ll also have to optimize your website for speed by compressing images and making it simple to navigate.
To ensure you sell, place call-to-action buttons and opt-in email bars on your site. It’s also important for you to publish easily accessible contact information on the following pages:
- About Us
- Management Team
- Contact Us
Your business may have to add additional pages that are relevant to your industry.
Step 6: Optimize Website for SEO
SEO is a set of practices businesses use to ensure they rank high on search engines. The better your website content and design is, the higher your site will appear on search engines. There are several best practices you can use to improve your SEO:
Keyword Research and Implementation
Keyword research provides you with specific search data that can answer questions like: what are people searching for? How many people are searching for it? How do I format this info?
Optimal Website Code
Websites need optimal title tags, meta descriptions, H1 heading tags, internal links, anchor text, no follow links, image alt tags, and canonical tags embedded in their code.
Fast Loading Speeds
Use software like Google PageSpeed to check your performance based on three core web values (CLS, FID, LCP). Speed Index, Time to Interactive, and Total Blocking Time also matter.
Security (SSL certificate)
All highly ranked websites have an SSL certificate, the standard security technology that ensures the data that passes between browsers and web servers remains private.
All websites have to have a mobile-friendly layout, as most of your customers use their smartphones or tablets to look up information and buy products or services.
Whenever a third-party website links to your own blog posts, it boosts your SEO rating. Services that offer high-quality backlinks can ensure your business website appears all over the net.
As well as backlinks, search engines encourage websites to embed internal links in their content. Internal links encourage people to keep clicking and reading.
Positive Online Reviews
Business websites with multiple positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook tend to rank higher. One or two bad reviews won’t significantly affect your ranking.
Social Media Links
Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can contribute to SEO if you use them to link back to your website. Try to place a link to your site at least once per post, if possible.
Regularly Create and Publish Content
Both content freshness and quantity are essential for search engines. If possible, post at least once per week (daily is preferred) to consistently encourage people to return to your website.
Step 7: Install Webmaster Tools
Businesses need webmaster tools that allow them to analyze site performance and traffic. For example, Good Search Console and Google Analytics give you access to the following info:
- Number of views per page
- Number of visitors to your site
- Bounce rate (how quickly people leave)
- Average time spent on site
- Crawl errors (errors found on site the affect SEO)
- Keywords and backlinks that lead to your site
- Broken links, image or ad content
- Total web page download/upload time
Keeping track of your analytics will help you rank better on search engines. However, to keep up with regular website maintenance, you’ll need to develop a competent maintenance plan.
Step 8: Create a Website Maintenance Plan
When you update your site, you keep your business safe from hackers who can find backdoors through your code. At the same time, you’ll want to stay vigilant when looking up new SEO practices to ensure they’re present on your website.
For example, the core website values (CLS, FID, LCP) were just implemented in July 2021 and caused many sites to lose their rank on the front page.
Your website maintenance plan must include:
- Checking webmaster tools for vital errors affecting your ranking
- Use performance and traffic data to optimize your website
- Check on your competition and research how they maintain their online presence
- Run security scans and ensure all software is up to date
- Use A/B testing to help website performance.
- Research marketing trends and use them to promote your business
- Back up your websites at least once per week.
Although creating a small business website isn’t as easy as you thought, if you follow the sets in our article, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding in the online marketplace.