How to Create a Website for Your Brand or Small Business
You should give great importance to the SSL certificate as it is a global standard security technology that enables a secure connection and protects your and your visitors’ sensitive data and information. Simply put, this security measure adds the S in HTTPS to the beginning of a website’s URL. Search engines and visitors look upon it favorably.
These features are more common with all-in-one providers, but there are no guarantees, so make sure the one you choose offers them before purchasing a plan.
If your 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 for organizing your content about your business and its services.
That said, strive to include these important pages on your website:
- A striking homepage. The central hub 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 appealing calls to action.
- An enlightening “About Us” page. Share your company’s origin story. Highlight your achievements, your mission and your values. You can also feature any team member to foster closer connections with customers.
- Booking or shop page. Generate more revenue and integrate with a third-party online scheduling platform or e-commerce platform, such as 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 suits your business, add your opening hours as well.
- Memorable content. Sharing compelling content makes you an expert in your industry and helps build a community loyal to 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 the number of site visitors.
- A robust FAQ page. Providing answers to common questions not only helps build trust with your brand, but it can also reduce the number of support calls and tickets you receive.
- Testimonials and press coverage. Boost your credibility by sharing your successes. Create a page that shares positive reviews of your services and include any mentions of your business in notable media.
4. Optimize your website for search engines
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of fine-tuning your business website so that your pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), including Google. It’s what helps people find you.
When creating your website, keep these basic SEO practices in mind to increase your visibility and drive more traffic:
- Use relevant phrases, called keywords, in your posts and pages. Don’t use keywords just for fun, though. Make sure your choices are intentional. Excessive use can negatively impact your rankings.
- Regularly publish valuable content for your customers or readers.
- Perform routine content audits or cleanups to see what you can consolidate or refresh.
- Keep your website loading speed as low as possible by optimizing images or enabling browser caching. These tweaks can help your web page rank higher in search engine results. You can measure your page speed at GTmetrix. (Learn more about the importance of webpage loading speed.)
- Make sure your design and content work well on computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Don’t underestimate your website’s performance 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 your authority when they index it in their search results.
When optimizing 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 range of user abilities, follow Section 508 guidelines for making your site as accessible as possible.
5. Review your site before clicking “Publish”
Before you launch your website into the real world, you’ll need to test it to make sure it’s working properly.
Make sure, among other things:
- 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 on browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.
- Connect your website to Google Analytics to monitor its performance.
Once you’re ready, click publish. To help drive traffic to your new website, share it with your 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 the minute you hit publish. To stay at the top of search rankings and improve your visitors’ experience, you will need to consistently maintain your website. Consider adding the following items to your webmaster to-do list:
- Use webmaster and analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to monitor how people are using your site. Some website engagement metrics to track include bounce rates, click-through rates, and average session length.
- Update your website regularly with blog posts, products, and promotional offers.
- Perform monthly reviews to ensure that all aspects of your website, including internal and external links, pages, and plugins, are working as expected.
- Update your “About Us” page with new team members or accomplishments.
Over time, you may want to foster relationships with other business sites to establish your credibility and improve your SEO. When other prominent websites link to your website, search engines consider your site more credible and worthy of ranking higher in the results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do businesses really need a website?
Yes, every business really should have a website. Even if you’re not looking to sell online, a website is an essential part of marketing because it lets people know about you online, which can boost offline sales.
How much does a website cost to make?
Websites for standard small business, personal use, or portfolios can range from free to $20,000 upfront, or even more in some cases. Final and recurring costs are based on your web hosting package, add-ons, design, SEO, and other customizations. For an average small business website, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000.
Should I build my website or pay someone else to do it?
If you have a large budget and don’t want to handle the design or technical aspects yourself, it might be a good idea to hire a designer. Otherwise, you can create your own website using beginner-friendly platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.
Can I permanently buy a domain name?
No. Domains require annual registration, but you can prepay for up to 10 years. In addition to the registration fee, you may need to pay a one-time purchase fee, depending on the availability or previous owner of the desired domain. The more desirable your website name is, the more expensive it will be.
Is it possible to create a free website?
Yes, it is possible to create a website for free. Admittedly, most platforms that offer a site for free use a subdomain or display third-party advertisements, which will quickly make a business website look unprofessional. However, they can be a great way to build a site without any upfront cost. Learn more about how to create a website for free.