Creating a small business website is a step in the right direction. Especially at the moment with COVID-19. Even businesses that normally have offline services are scrambling to get online and set up an online presence to showcase their business.
Websites can have such a positive effect on your small business. Whether you’re a service based business or product. But there’s quite a few components that make a good website.
- Domain name
- Plan – structure, functionality, design, development, email signup, lead magnets, blog
- SEO research and strategy (aka search engine optimisation)
What is a domain name?
Starting right at the beginning you need a domain name. This is basically your website name and the URL aka your web address. Generally, your domain is your business name but sometimes it can differ.
If you are considering a variation or something different to your business name. Really think about your reasons. As you want your domain name/URL to be something easy for potential customers and clients to remember.
You will also need to choose your domain extension. This will depend on where your clients are based. If they’re Australian then I’d recommend the .com.au but purchasing the .com too is good practise if you’re able. This stops someone else from securing it and you never know you may want world domination in a few years in which case you can use the .com when promoting your website overseas.
What hosting company should I choose for my small business website?
There are many hosting companies out there as you’ll probably know if you have a Google. But how do you choose a good one:
- Try and get a recommendation from a small business friend or colleague. I personally use and recommend Siteground to my clients.
- A hosting company that has servers close to your location or as close to will help with speed.
- Look at what support the host offers. If sometimes goes wrong, it’s guaranteed to be after hours.
Which website platform should I choose?
WordPress is my preference for service based small businesses and ecommerce websites. But depending on your needs and technical abilities Shopify is a good alternative option.
If you do choose WordPress make sure you choose wordpress.org not wordpress.com as that’s the self-hosted option.
I recommend and use WordPress normally even for selling online unless my client particularly wants Shopify. I find WordPress so flexible and will grow with you as your business grows and evolves. I’ve worked with so many small business owners that have set up a DIY website on Weebly and Wix and they find after a period of time they need extra features or functions. And end up having to switch to WordPress or the like. So, choose a platform that’s going to grow with you is my advice.
If you are going to use WordPress and are going to tackle it yourself. Ensure the theme you choose is mobile responsive too. As that’s one big part of Google’s ranking factors.
This is extremely important as you want your website to be user friendly of course. You’ll benefit from thinking about the future and how your business might grow and what that means for your small business website too.
- You ideally want someone to find what they’re looking for in 3 clicks.
- You also want to consider what is the best user experience (UX) for them too.
UX is particularly important for larger sites when it comes to your URL structure. You don’t want to be making changes once your site is live or renaming URLs unless it’s completely unavoidable as you’ll need to redirect them too. Which is all doable but you do lose some SEO goodness the more redirects you have. So, if you plan it out properly from the start you won’t need to worry.
Ideally you can find what you want in 3 clicks.
SEO (search engine optimisation)
My favourite topic or one of them at least. Your SEO is so important and the foundation for so much. It all starts with your keyword research which is what your users will be putting into Google. Whatever you do when it comes to SEO don’t just keyword stuff everything.
- Choose keywords that have enough traffic but aren’t too competitive. You don’t want to set everything up but not have a hope of ever ranking for it.
- Assign one keyword focus per page and then utilise synonyms of that keyword too.
- Don’t use your focus keyword solely on other pages. Variations and longer tail keywords are good to use though.
- You may need to focus on long tail keywords initially while you build your website’s Google authority up. Once you do that and get ranking then you can change your strategy and focus on more competitive keywords.
- Don’t forget to optimise your images:
- Your file names should feature your keywords and synonyms.
- Only use hyphens between words. Don’t use underscores as Google can’t read them for some reason.
- Be realistic with your image size. Think about what size you need your image to render at. If it’s only 330x330pixels then upload it at that. Don’t upload it 5000×5000.
Other places to use your keywords are:
- Page titles
- Image alt tags
- Body copy
- H1s and H2s and so forth
- Anchor text
- Meta description – although this doesn’t have an SEO effect as such. It does help immensely with click-through though. As that’s what people read along with your page title when they’re choosing what to click on.
You also want to be able to track and keep an eye on things. So, setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console is a must. They’re both free so why not take advantage and see what’s exactly happening with your site.
Are you all set on what you need to plan your small business website?
As you can see there’s a lot involved in planning, designing, and creating a website. And then you still have the web design aspect to delve into too. I can’t stress how important the SEO side of things is when planning your website either.
Don’t forget too that a website is only one part of your digital presence too and you should also look at social media, newsletters, blogging, podcasting to name a few. Remember don’t do everything at once. Pick one or two things and do them well before introducing another aspect. And depending on your business you may not benefit from all those aspects. But if you don’t have one a digital marketing strategy will help determine what you are best to do and how you should do it.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you get online or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.