How to Build an Smart Small Business Website
Based on recent studies, about half of small business owners don’t know a website is a requirement in modern business. Like everyone of us before we start to purchase any type of goods or services, we research online to learn about them and find businesses to provide such goods or services. Result, losing potential customers and potential sales. Lack of enough knowledge bring up excuses to not build a website. Put it in action and follow these five simple steps to have your smart and small business website up and running in a short period of time.
Register Your Small Business Website’s Domain Name
Decide which name to choose for your website – for example, www.SmartBusiness.com.
At first, you’ll have to check to find out if the business name is available. To find out, go to triHead domain registrar panel and enter the desired domain name it into the domain search tool. If you are told the domain is available proceed with registration, if you see a message that the domain is taken and is not available for registration, then you will have to adjust your business domain name.
If the .COM version of your business name is available, consider using this for your website. As we’ll explain more later, there’s just some other scenarios when you might think to add a location at the end of your domain (i.e. RyanPlumbersNYC) to improve your visibility in search engines such as Google or Bing to people searching locally.
In time when your business name is not available, try to add some different phrases before settling for an alternate suffix, like .NET or .ORG. Consumers usually use .COM when entering a web address. However when you promote your .NET website, you’re most likely lose few customers who typed in the .COM version instead.
Tips for Finding Business Website Domains
If your business name is not available or taken, there are a few tips to keep in your mind as you search for another names:
- Domain names are important for search engines, like Google. When possible they should include words that people are likely to use when searching for your business and/or the products and services you sell. “LoneStar Webdesign” is probably better than “LoneStar USA.”
- Domain names should be easy to pronounce and remember. Keep your name as short as possible and avoid punctuation like dashes. As a simple rule of thumb, make sure somebody can find your domain if they hear it spoken out loud.
- Use location to find a unique URL. If all other options are taken, add your city/area name to the domain. For example, a company called Ryan Plumbers based in Houston, TX, could try www.ryanplumbershouston.com. This, again, can help your website appear in Google since customers are likely to enter their city name when searching for a service.
If you still need help choosing a domain name, see our Top 25 Domain Name Tips From The Pros.
Registering a Domain
Once you have chosen the domain you want for your website, you will need to register it to make sure no one else can claim it.
If you are just started registering a domain, we recommend triHead.Domains since it is one of the least expensive options – $9.99 per year. Learn more about why this is our recommended provider in our comparison guide.
If you want to build a website using WordPress (we will go over who this option is right for in the next section of this article), you’ll save money by registering your domain as part of a hosting package from triHead. You can get your domain, website hosting, and business email address for $2.95 per month. We show you how to create a professional WordPress website and business email with Website Cost for free in this step-by-step guide.
Which Platform is Fit to Your Business
The important part of building a website is choosing the right platform to balance of the time you have, what are your skills for designing, What is your budget to spend, and what you are plane to do with the website.
Option 1: Use a Website Builder like Weebly ($25/month)
Small business owners who are usually busy with many tasks and have no time, are less technical, but are willing to pay a little bit more, we recommend using a website builders such as Weebly.
Website builders are super easy to build a website and we recommend builders, like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace. They have tons of nice looking, mobile friendly and responsive template designs to choose from.
You start by choosing a template, then customize your pages by adding your text, images, etc.
The editing process is very intuitive. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, you’ll easily grasp the tool. Add elements by dragging them from the sidebar. Adjust the size by dragging from a corner, and change text by double clicking within the text box.
It’s also very easy to add interactive features to your website. Most website builders will have a click-to-add option for Google Maps, YouTube/Vimeo embeds, web forms, and more. This makes your customers more likely to share and spend more time on your website.
You can read why Weebly is our recommended builder in our website builder buyer’s guide, or go ahead and check out our step-by-step instructions on how to create a website using Weebly.
When to Use a Website Builder Besides Weebly – Ecommerce Website ($29/month)
If you’re just selling one or two products, Weebly has the capability to handle this. However, if the primary purpose of your website is to sell products, you may want to choose a website builder that specializes in creating an online store. We recommend Shopify as the best dedicated e-commerce platform since it’s all-in-one multichannel selling solution includes a full suite of web store, marketplace, social, and in-person selling tools. It’s pricing is comparable to Weebly’s e-commerce plan at $29 per month.
Option 2: Create a WordPress Website using triHead LLC ($2.95/month)
It may sound contradictory, but it’s true that WordPress is both a more economical, and more feature-rich option than a website builder. Therefore, if you are a little more technologically savvy, and want access to unlimited features and functionality, then WordPress is the way to go. Through WordPress Website, you can create a WordPress website (with a domain and business email account included) for just $2.95/month. We provide instructions on how to set this up here.
As one of the original and most popular website engines, WordPress has countless plugins for additional features. You should consider WordPress if you want to start a blog with lots of entries (it’s what we use here at Fit Small Business) or allow visitors to register user accounts – such as, for an online forum.
While Weebly does offer blogging and visitor accounts, WordPress is better at managing a large number of pages and users. Also, if you decide you need a special feature, like scalable tables, a mortgage calculator, unbranded video players, calendars and more, WordPress is almost guaranteed to have a plugin for it.
Getting Started with WordPress
Just bear in mind: WordPress is an intermediate website builder. You won’t need any programming knowledge per se, but you will need to familiarize yourself with their backend menu. Unlike Weebly, which lets you edit the website just by dragging and dropping elements, WordPress has a more traditional edit menu.
That said, we’ve written a few guides and recorded a video that explains how to create a WordPress website using Bluehost from start to finish. If you follow one of our guides and use the same theme, you should get most of the work done in less than an hour.