With all the hype surrounding social media, we often forget that a small business website is still important in your branding, trust and customer list building.
When you are looking for options on how to build a small business website, you are offered with 2 typical options: Hire someone or Do-It-Yourself. Unfortunately, this is usually not a simple decision to make.
Many business owners – especially those who are not tech enthusiasts – don’t really want the nitty-gritty that comes with building and running a website for their companies. So DIY might not be a part of the plan.
The next route would be hiring a pro. Unfortunately, quality comes at a price. This makes many biz owners don’t fancy hiring expensive web designer/developer to build a website for them.
Before you neglect the idea of building a website for your business because it’s too difficult/expensive, read this first – let me tell you a myth to debunk: Building a business website is NOT difficult; today, it’s as easy as 1-2-3 – literally. It is also NOT expensive – some of the best tools available today is available for you free of charge.
So, let’s get down to business, shall we?
First things first – story time
Let me explain with a story of my dad and his new iPad…
My dad is not a gadget enthusiast. His number one gadget is the old Nokia phone – the “old-reliable” he uses for running his business (yes, you still CAN run a business from an old handphone.) Recently, he considers buying an iPad, mainly for entertainment purposes. So, he told me about that.
As he is not that tech-savvy kind of guy, I don’t really have the confidence that he will be able to use it. I mean, he couldn’t really use a laptop. Plus, he’s at his 70’s – so, he doesn’t really want to learn techy stuffs too much.
Fortunately, the “wonder” of touch screen and gestures make things easier – even for my non-tech-savvy dad. He can now use an iPad really well, swiping pages after pages looking for information on pets and gardening, his big-time interests. Perhaps he will run his business from an iPad really soon? Who knows…
The moral of the story?
There’s no excuse for you NOT to build a website for your business. And no, you can’t use “I’m too old for this” or “I can’t design” as an excuse.
Here’s a solution for you: Use online tools.
So, please allow me to suggest these steps to easily build a small business website and get it launched today – without the need of coding knowledge:
1. Plan, plan, plan
“Just do it” attitude is good, but it comes with a caveat: You could forget things in the process. Planning your website is important so that everything will be executed as planned. There will definitely be changes along the way, but be sure you have a starter plan so that you can refine it along the way.
What to plan: What is the purpose of your website? Is it going to be company profile only? Are you going to sell your products/services directly from the site? Who will run/update the site? What’s your budget like? What’s your future plan for the site? Any milestones to reach or certain level of ROI to achieve?
Don’t forget to find the right domain names for your website – you can use this free tool I personally use to find non-registered domain names. Please note, don’t register your domain just yet. Carry on with the next step.
2. Prepare content and how to present it
Company website is all about the content and how the content is presented to the visitors.
A great design is pretty much useless if visitors can’t find what they are looking for from your website. On the other hand, a great content is pretty much useless if your visitor can’t trust your brand due to your poorly designed website.
With that being said, you need to create engaging content (yes, your “Company profile” can be as much engaging as those social media updates, if you know the art of using great headlines and interesting content.) Not stopping there, you need to use design elements that suit your target audience well.
3. Bring your company identity online
As you have your brand identity ready, now it’s the time to bring everything online: Prepare your logo for displaying on the website; use your company color as the main color of the website. Bring your mascot online. Don’t forget, take pictures of your office and staffs – and get them ready for publishing online. Let your potential customers know that your company is a real deal.
4. Start building your website
For the rest of us, there’s one good solution for building a website: Use an online website builder.
An online website builder lets you launch a website easily using click-and-drag interface. Their services are usually available free of charge, with more features available when you are upgrading to paid plans.
There are many WYSIWYG online tools available; you can create a website using IMCreator, Weebly, Wix or similar services. I would recommend IMCreator as it’s beginner-friendly, and the design created is responsive, meaning the website looks great on any devices.
Be sure that you read reviews and choose the one that suits your style and needs.
Now get your prepared content and brand identity and start adding those – along with the design elements – to your design template.
5. Register a domain name
This comes late in the list not because it lacks in importance; if you are using a quality online website builder, you are most likely to be enabled to register a domain name straight from the tool. This is recommended as setting up are much simpler, as you can ask for support from the site builder’s staffs (you can definitely set a domain yourself, but it’s a bit complicated – your choice.)
6. Don’t forget your contact details!
Business owners, for some reasons, often forget that everything is useless if your audience/future customers can’t find a way to contact you. With that being said, you need to make your phone number visible on every page of your website; you also need to design your contact page well – offer adequate information (e.g. address, office hours, etc.) and make it easier for people to contact you.
7. Check and recheck everything
When you have finished setting things up, don’t forget to check everything – is the content published on the right web page? How about the page navigation? Is that contact form placed on the right part of the page?
8. Get found – online and offline!
When your site is ready for the prime time, be sure to let people know about it. Let those in your Rolodex know about your new website. Email your clients. Update your business cards and include your website address. Include your web address in your marketing copies – your flyers, brochures, billboards, banners, etc.
If you are creative, you can use guerrilla tactics to get people know about you and your new website.
So, there you go – 8 easy steps to get your small business website launched. There are many things you can – and should – do, such as adding a blog, for instance – but those 8 steps cover the basics of website building – even without the need for you to know how to code.
As always, when you are not sure of what you are doing, it’s always a good practice to hire someone. Online tools are great, but they can only help you if you know what you are doing.