Whether you are a startup, a lawyer or doctor, own a tile & marble business, or have another type of small business, a great small business website is important for your organization’s success. As a digital marketer who has worked on building or marketing over 500 small business websites, I know what it takes to create innovative and engaging business websites.
If you are looking to build a new startup website or make your current site more effective, here are 10 key steps to beginning and helping your small business website contend effectively.
- Buy a good domain name
Your domain name, otherwise called your website address, is how your clients reach your website. It is important that it is responsive, and looks great on all devices, as well as for search engine optimization (SEO).
Here are some examples for coming up with a great domain name:
- Make it easy to spell.
- Keep it as short as possible.
- Try to keep it a .com domain name.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens.
- Get a secure, scalable website and domain hosting with tech support.
A website host is the place where your website will reside and will store all your business website pages and images.
A domain host can also be your website host. You will need a reliable place that keeps your domain name secure and points the domain name to the location that is hosting your website.
Hosting services can cost anywhere from $5 to $100 or more per month. The monthly cost depends on the technology, space size, and support that you get.
Make sure that the host backups your website frequently. If you, or any software/technical glitch erases some, or all, of your website pages; a backup can get you back up and running quickly. Otherwise, you’ll need to start from scratch and build a new website.
The host should provide you with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This is the HTTPS in front of a domain, and it shows a closed lock to the left of the address bar. This tells Google, and Bing, search engines that your website is secure for the visitors they send your way. Otherwise, your visitors will get the dreaded “This Website Is Not Safe”, and prevent them from going forward. Also, not having an SSL website will make it almost impossible to show up on Google’s first search page results. Google penalizes websites that do not have SSL.
- Have a clear description of your business.
It’s important to let your visitors know who you are, and how to contact you. Make sure you have an About Us page, and have phone and email links on your footer and header.
- Have an easy to use CMS system.
A content management system CMS0 is a program or application used to manage your website content. One of the best is WordPress. It is the world’s most popular CMS. Like all things digital, it must be kept updated weekly, and/or monthly. Because it is so poplar hackers target it the most. So, keeping it updated is a must.
- Have great design and make it responsive.
Leaving a good impression for your users is a priority. If your website looks outdated, has spelling errors, is slow, or looks broken on a tablet or smartphone; Google will penalize your ranking. And your users will think your business is just like your website. For a startup and small business impression is everything.
- Website pages.
Make sure that your website designer makes a responsive website that looks great on all devices, has great graphics, at minimum, the following pages:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Additional pages relevant to your specific small business.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimize your small business website for search engines. This ensures that your website will rank high on searches for keywords for your company and services/products that you provide. SEO includes:
Keyword research and optimization
Good website code
Fast loading page
Having a secure site with SSL certificate.
Consistent backlinks (links pointing back to your website from externals sites)
Positive reviews on Yelp, Google and Facebook
Social media sites pointing back to your website
- Blogs and social media posts
Creating and sharing website blogs and social media posts are important to search engines. It tells them that your website is relevant and has fresh content. If you want to rank high on search engine results, posting is a must.
- Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
Make sure to have Google Analytics code and Facebook Pixel code installed on all your website pages. This is how you can keep track of all your visitors, how long they stayed on your pages, or what the Bounce Rate was. Bounce rate is when a visitor leaves after a short period of time. High Bounce rate means your website is not useful to visitors and Google will penalize your site for that. You’ll also be able to track if there are any broken links on your website, backlinks, and which keywords drove traffic to your website, both organic and paid (PPC).
- Maintenance plan.
Once your small business website is created, it needs to be taken care of with updates and frequent changes. Leaving it stale is not good.
Implement a way to insert keywords that you want to rank for on your pages, or create new ones.
Use split-testing to see if one page does better than another similar one.
You’ll also want to keep plugins up to date to prevent hackers.
After reading this, you’ll notice that creating a great small business website is not as simple as it looks. A business website design is like a baby. You business website needs to be taken care of, protected, and educated. If you don’t have the expertise or time, hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in this. It will save you more than time and money, it will be stress free. Contact us for a free estimate.