If you have a small business but no website, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business and reach more customers. In fact, according to a recent survey, 36% of small businesses do not have a website, and 35% say they are unlikely to create one in the future.
This is a big mistake because having a website is essential for any small business that wants to thrive in this digital age.
But how do you design a website for your small business? What are the steps and best practices you need to follow? And what are the tools and resources you need to use?
If the above questions bother you, don’t worry; we have got you covered. This blog post will show you how to design a website for your small business from scratch.
We will cover everything from choosing a domain name, hosting provider, and platform for your website to planning your website structure, content, and layout, to optimizing your website for SEO, speed, security, and user experience, to measuring and improving your website performance and conversions.
By the end of this blog post, you will have a complete guide on designing an attractive, functional, and effective website for your small business.
Ready to get started?
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Why You Need a Website for Your Small Business and What Are the Benefits of Having One
Before we go into the steps to design your business website, let’s see why you should think of getting one in the first place.
Having a website for your small business is not a luxury anymore. It is a necessity. In today’s digital world, where most people use the internet to search for products or services, having a website is the best way to showcase your small business and reach more customers.
But having a website is not only about being visible online. It is also about providing value to your customers and building trust. Here are some of the benefits of having a website for your small business:
Building Your Brand Identity and Reputation
Your website is like your online storefront. It is the first impression that your potential customers will have of your business. Therefore, your website must reflect your brand identity and reputation.
Your brand identity is what makes your business unique and recognizable. It includes elements such as your name, logo, slogan, colors, fonts, images, and tone of voice. Your brand identity should convey your mission, vision, values, personality, and style.
Reputation here is what people think and say about your business. This includes quality, reliability, credibility, professionalism, and customer service. Your reputation should demonstrate your expertise, authority, trustworthiness, and social proof.
Your website should communicate both your brand identity and reputation clearly and consistently. It should tell your story, highlight your strengths, showcase your achievements, display your testimonials or reviews, and differentiate you from your competitors.
By building brand identity and reputation through a website, you create a lasting impression on your potential customers and increase their loyalty and retention.
Reaching More Potential Customers and Expanding Your Market
Your website is like your online billboard. It is the best way to reach more potential customers and expand your market.
According to Statista, there are about 5.18 billion active internet users worldwide as of April 2023. That means that over half of the world’s population is online and looking for products or services like yours.
Having a website enables you to tap into this huge market and attract more customers to your business. You can also target specific segments of your market based on their location, demographics, interests, behaviors, etc.
For instance, if you’re a fitness trainer based in New York City, you can use your website to connect with clients within your immediate locality, across different boroughs, and even clients in neighboring states whom you can train remotely or through online coaching.
Also, if you are a dietitian practicing anywhere in Texas, you can utilize your website to connect with individuals seeking your expertise in various dietary needs and health goals.
You will experience an increase in your sales and revenue by reaching more potential customers and expanding your market through your website.
Showcasing Your Products or Services and Providing Value to Your Customers
Your website is like your online catalog. It is the best way to showcase your products or services and provide value to your customers.
Your website should display your products or services in a clear, attractive, and informative way. It should include features such as:
- High-quality images or videos of your products or services
- Detailed descriptions of your products or services, including their benefits, features, specifications, prices, etc.
- Customer reviews or testimonials of your products or services
- FAQs (frequently asked questions) or guides on how to use your products or services
- A clear and easy-to-use checkout process for your products or services
Your website should also provide value to your customers by offering them valuable and relevant information, tips, advice, resources, etc., that can help them solve their problems, achieve their goals, or improve their lives.
For example, if you have a small fitness studio in Texas, you can use your website to provide value to your customers by offering them:
- Fitness assessments or consultations
- Workout plans or videos
- Nutrition guides or recipes
- Ebooks or newsletters on fitness topics
- Free trials or discounts on your fitness classes or memberships
You will increase your customers’ interest, engagement, and satisfaction by showcasing your products or services and providing value to them through your website.
Communicating with Your Customers and Collecting Feedback
Your website is like your online communication channel. It is the best way to communicate with your customers and collect feedback from them.
If you have a website, it will enable you to interact with your customers in a timely, convenient, and personalized way from anywhere in the world. It should include features such as:
- A contact form or email address where your customers can reach you with their questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, bookings, etc.
- A live chat or chatbot where your customers can get instant answers or assistance from you or your team.
- A blog or social media feed where your customers can follow your updates, news, and stories.
- A newsletter or email list where your customers can subscribe to receive regular updates, offers, and tips from you.
Your website will also enable you to collect customer feedback efficiently and effectively. It can include features such as:
- A survey or poll where your customers can share their opinions, and preferences, experiences with you.
- A rating or review system where your customers can rate or review your products or services.
- A testimonial or case study section where your customers can share their success stories or results with you.
By communicating with your customers and collecting feedback through your website, you build a strong relationship with them and improve customer service and satisfaction.
Generating Leads and Conversions and Increasing Your Revenue
Your website is like your online sales funnel. It is the best way to generate leads and conversions and increase revenue.
A good website guides potential customers through the sales funnel stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. It includes features such as:
- A landing page or homepage that captures the attention of your potential customers and introduces them to your business and what you offer.
- A lead magnet or opt-in offer that entices your potential customers to give you their contact information in exchange for something valuable, such as a free ebook, checklist, or webinar.
- A lead nurturing or follow-up sequence that educates, informs, entertains, and persuades your potential customers to trust you and buy from you.
- A sales page or product page that convinces your potential customers to take action and buy from you by highlighting the benefits, features, and value of your products or services
When these features are adequately built and optimized, generating leads and conversions and increasing revenue through your website will be as easy as simile.
How to get your business website up and running from scratch
As you have seen above, the benefits of having a website are too good to be ignored. However, many small businesses shy away from it because they are afraid of the cost of hiring a developer and think it’s not yet time to move their business online.
If your business does not have a website yet, you are missing a lot, but it’s never too late. Below are practical steps to build your business website yourself.
Ø Define Your Website’s Purpose and Goals
To have a successful online presence, you must first define your website’s specific purpose and goals.
Defining your website’s purpose means determining what you want your website to do for your business. It could be to showcase your products or services, generate leads or sales, provide information or education, or build trust or credibility.
The purpose of your business website will influence the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure the success of your website. These KPIs are the metrics that show how well your website is achieving its goals, such as conversion rates, traffic, engagement, or revenue.
Defining your website’s purpose and goals will help you focus on what matters most for your business and guide your design decisions throughout the process.
Ø Research Your Target Audience
Researching your target audience will help you design a website that meets their needs, solves their problems, and satisfies their expectations.
Your task at this stage is to collect information on who your ideal customers are, what they need, want, and expect from your website, and how they behave online.
Depending on how long you have been in business and used social media, you may be able to do this without stress. But suppose you find it challenging to come up with answers to the above questions. In that case, you can use various methods and tools to research your target audience, such as surveys, interviews, personas, user journeys, or analytics.
These will help you collect valuable insights and data about your audience’s demographics, psychographics, preferences, pain points, motivations, and behavior.
Ø Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is the web address people will use to find and access your website online, such as at “www.yourbusiness.com.”
When choosing a domain name, you must select one relevant to your business, easy to remember, spell, pronounce, and unique among other websites. You also need to check the availability of the domain name and register it through a reputable domain registrar.
Choosing a domain name that meets the above criteria will help you establish your online identity and brand recognition.
Ø Select a Hosting Provider
Choosing a hosting provider is like renting an apartment for your website on the internet. The service provides the space and resources for your website’s files and data to be stored and accessed online.
It affects how fast, secure, and reliable your website will be online. Therefore, you need to choose a reliable hosting provider that suits your website’s needs in terms of speed, storage, security, and support. You must also compare the features and prices of different hosting plans and select the best value for money.
Your choice of hosting provider will determine your website’s performance and availability.
Ø Plan Your Website Structure
A website structure is the hierarchy or arrangement of the pages and subpages of your website.
It is like creating a map or a blueprint for your website. That is why planning your website structure means creating a sitemap that outlines your website’s main pages and subpages and how they are connected.
When planning your website structure, you need to consider the user flow and experience. So, make navigation intuitive and easy for visitors by organizing your content logically and hierarchically.
Ø Wireframe Your Website
Wireframes are low-fidelity prototypes that show the placement of elements like headers, navigation menus, content sections, and calls to action on each page.
So, considering the responsiveness of your website across different devices and screen sizes and the principles of web design, such as balance, contrast, alignment, proximity, repetition, and whitespace, create wireframes or rough sketches of your website’s layout and page structures.
This exercise will help you visualize how your website will look and function before moving on to the design stage.
Ø Choose a Website Building Platform
As a business owner, not knowing how to code is not a hindrance to getting your business a website for better online exposure because a website-building platform fills the gap for you.
A website building platform, also known as a website builder, is the software or tool you’ll use to create and manage your website without coding. Many options are available in the market, and each platform has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of features, flexibility, ease of use, cost, and support.
Therefore, select a platform that aligns with your needs and technical expertise. It will help you simplify the process of creating and maintaining your website.
Ø Design Your Website
It’s time to create a unique and attractive online presence for your business. So, design your website using themes, templates, or custom designs. Themes and templates are pre-made designs you can customize according to your preferences.
If you want Custom designs – original designs that you can create from scratch, hire a professional designer like thrivingsmart to do it for you.
When designing your website, you must consider web design principles, such as color, typography, imagery, and animation. Also, ensure your website design is visually appealing, consistent with your brand, and mobile-responsive.
Ø Create and Organize Content
If this whole website design process is to be divided into two phases, at this point, you have entered the second phase.
Content is the information and media you provide on your website, such as text, images, videos, and other multimedia elements. They are what will attract your target audience.
Therefore, you need to develop high-quality content that is relevant, engaging, and informative for your target audience. Organize them logically based on your sitemap and wireframes.
When creating content for your website, ensure that your content is clear, concise, scannable, and flows in a friendly tone. Your content will help you communicate your message and value proposition to your visitors.
Ø Optimize for SEO
Optimizing your website for SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines like Google or Bing. Website optimization helps you drive more organic traffic and potential customers to your website.
To get better results, you need to implement on-page SEO practices, such as keyword optimization, meta tags, headings, internal links, and external links on your website. You must also ensure your website is search engine-friendly by following the best web development practices, such as speed optimization, mobile-friendliness, accessibility, and security.
Ø Add Functionality
This means incorporating necessary features and functionalities that enhance your website’s capabilities and user experience, such as contact forms, e-commerce tools, social media integration, or chatbots.
Adding functionality will help you provide more value and convenience to your visitors. As a novice to web design, you can use plugins or extensions to add functionality to your website.
Plugins or extensions are additional software or modules you can install on your website building platform to extend functionality. There are many plugins or extensions available for different purposes and platforms.
Ø Test and Review
Test and review your website’s functionality, compatibility, and performance across different browsers and devices by thoroughly checking if your website works properly and meets the standards of web development and design. This will help you ensure its quality and reliability.
You also need to proofread your content for accuracy and readability. You can use various tools and methods, such as browser testing tools, performance testing tools, usability testing tools, or feedback tools, to test and review your website.
Ø Secure Your Website
As a small business owner, one thing not to turn a blind eye to is cyberattacks, especially in 2023, when 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. Securing your website will help you prevent data breaches and maintain trust with your visitors because no one will like to visit your site if it is not secured.
You must secure your website from threats and attacks by implementing security measures that protect your website’s files, data, and users from hackers, malware, or other malicious activities.
Use SSL certificates, firewalls, antivirus software, and regular backups to secure your website. This is the way to go because SSL certificates encrypt the data transferred between your website and its visitors. Firewalls block unauthorized access to your website’s server. Antivirus software detects and removes malware from your website’s files. Backups store copies of your website’s files and data in case of emergencies.
Ø Launch Your Website
Now, make your website live on the internet so that anyone can visit it. You have done all your in-house work, and it’s time to reach that wider audience and generate more leads or sales for your business.
Once it is live, you will need to promote your website through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, or online advertising. This is not compulsory to do now, but it is an excellent step to take if you have the ability and platform.
Another thing to start planning for at this stage is creating a marketing strategy that aligns with your website’s goals and target audience.
Ø Monitor and Maintain
Continuously track how well your website and marketing strategy is achieving its goals and satisfying visitors by monitoring and maintaining your website’s performance, traffic, and user behavior using analytics tools. This will help you improve its effectiveness and efficiency over time.
You must also regularly update content and plugins to ensure your website remains current and secure. Also, keep up with the latest trends and developments in web design and development.
Ø Gather Feedback
Gather feedback from your website’s visitors and users.
If you followed the steps I have taught you here, that means earlier, you created a comment section, contact form, or email address where your customers can reach you with their questions, comments, suggestions, and complaints.
When creating content, encourage your website visitors to provide feedback about their experience on your website, such as their satisfaction level, problems encountered, suggestions for improvement, or compliments.
You can use various tools and methods to gather feedback, such as surveys, polls, ratings, reviews, or testimonials. Collecting feedback will help you better understand your visitors’ needs and expectations and make improvements accordingly.
Ø Continue Marketing Efforts
Wash and rinse your marketing strategies to drive traffic and achieve your website’s goals.
You must maintain an active online presence and continue promoting your website through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, or online advertising.
Also, use analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and optimize them accordingly. You must test different strategies and tactics to determine what works best for your website and target audience.
As you can see, having a website for your small business is a good idea and a must-have.
Getting a website means setting the stage to enable and support growth in your business.
Many successful small businesses today use their websites to grow and achieve their goals.
Yours shouldn’t be different; get a website today and start scaling your business by:
- Building your brand identity and reputation
- Reaching more potential customers and expanding your market
- Showcasing your products or services and providing value to your customers
- Communicating with your customers and collecting feedback from them
- Generating leads and conversions and increasing your revenue
We hope this blog post has been helpful and informative for you. However, if you feel overwhelmed by the complexity and difficulty of this process, or if you don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself, you can always get a professionally designed website for your business by contacting us at Thriving Smart LLC.
We are a digital marketing agency specializing in business website design. We can help you create a responsive website that suits your needs, preferences, and goals.
To contact us, fill out the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You will also get access to our free ebook on creating a killer marketing strategy for your small business. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Thank you for reading this blog post, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!