10 essential steps for creating a great small business. Here are 10 key steps to getting started and helping your Great Small Business website compete effectively in the online marketplace if you are looking to build a new startup website or make your current site more effective.
1. Purchase a suitable domain name.
Your domain name, also known as your website address, is frequently the point of entry to your website. It is critical that it makes a good first impression for both usability and search engine optimization (SEO).
Here are some suggestions for creating an ideal domain name:
- Make it simple to spell. Avoid using slang, made-up, or extremely esoteric words.
- Keep it as brief as possible. It is easier to remember and type correctly if it is shorter.
- Use the correct domain extension. Unless it is more appropriate to use another extension, such as.gov,.edu, or.org, try to always use a.com domain name (rather than.net,.co, etc.).
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens. They are more difficult to remember, less elegant and memorable than word-only domain names, and may be mispronounced when spoken.
- Make the address as broad as possible to allow for future growth. For example, Amazon.com is a much broader website address than BooksOnline.com, allowing Amazon to sell almost any type of consumer good rather than just books, which was its original purpose.
- Make sure it’s memorable. With so many websites on the internet, it’s critical that your website name is memorable so that people remember how to access it in the future.
- Look into the domain name. Check Google to see if a similar website address already exists, and check USPTO.gov to ensure it does not contain any registered trademarks.
- Determine whether the price is reasonable. Determine whether you can afford to buy your desired website address because most good domain names are already taken and must be purchased from the current owner.
- Avoid illogical names. Choose a name that conveys meaning so that users understand what your business is right away. Although Yahoo and Google have memorable names, they were expensive to brand, and your small business may not have the same budget.
- Make an SEO-friendly URL. When possible, create an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location, such as “www.LasVegasElectrician.com.”
2. Invest in safe, scalable website hosting with excellent technical support.
A website host (also known as a website hosting provider) is a business that provides the technology and services required for a website to be viewed on the internet. You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are directed to the website that you host.
3. Display a clear description of your company prominently.
It is critical to let people know who you are and what you do right away so that they are not perplexed when visiting your Great Small Business. Make sure your main homepage banner (also known as a “hero image”) and subsequent banners are visual representations of your services, and that you have a text blurb near the top of the page that describes who you are and what you do.
Additionally, make sure that “About Us” page links are easily accessible in both your main and footer navigation menus so that people can click them and learn more about your Great Small Business.
4. Use the best content management system available.
A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software that allows you to create and manage digital content. A good CMS will help you maintain your site and requires little technical knowledge to use. You should select a CMS that is tailored to your specific requirements; different systems are used for various reasons, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and cost.
5. Select a reliable e-commerce platform
If you intend to sell goods and/or services through your website, you will need the appropriate technology. (If you do not currently sell anything, you should consider doing so because e-commerce has the potential to increase your profits.) If you decide to allow users to make financial transactions with you online, you must select the appropriate platform for your Great Small Business model.
6. Design an engaging, memorable, and interesting website user interface.
Make sure the interface of your Great Small Business website creates a positive impression that leads to results. You can accomplish this by implementing the following recommendations:
- Make use of eye-catching graphics and legible fonts.
- Check that your graphics are compressed and optimised for quick loading. Search engines, such as Google, will penalise your ranking if your website is slow.
- Investigate your competitors’ websites to see how they have designed and optimised them; implement similar components that will work for your small business website.
- Research your target audience to find out what they want from your site and make it simple for them to get it.
- Maintain brand consistency throughout your website design.
- Create an easy-to-use navigation system that allows users to quickly access the pages they require.
- Make contact information easily accessible.
- Include obvious call-to-action buttons (especially “buy now” buttons).
- Create standard pages for small business websites, such as:
- About Us
- Product/Service (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
- Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
- Management group
- Please contact us.
- Terms and Conditions (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
- Privacy statement
- Additional pages pertinent to your particular small business
7. Make your Great Small Business website search engine friendly.
SEO is a set of practises you implement on your website to ensure search engines properly index and rank your website and then display it to search engine users. When search engines “crawl” your website, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better the design and content of your website, the higher it will rank in search engine results pages.
SEO consists primarily of the following practises:
- Keyword research and application
- The best website code
- Quick loading time
- Security and the installation of an SSL certificate; SSL is the industry-standard security technology that ensures data sent between web servers and browsers is kept private.
- Creating a mobile-friendly website
- The presence of high-quality backlinks (links to your site on external websites with related content).
- A large number of positive online reviews (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
- Use internal links throughout your website to keep visitors clicking and reading.
- Using social media to promote your website (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
SEO is an ongoing process that can mean the difference between appearing on the first page of search engine results pages (resulting in massive amounts of free traffic to your website) and appearing on page 300. (resulting in no traffic).
8. Create and publish high-quality content on a regular basis.
Both quantity and freshness of content are important to search engines, so make a plan to publish quality articles and/or blog posts on your site and on external sites that link to your site. If you want to rank your Great Small Business high in search engine results and encourage people to return to your site, you must update it as frequently as possible with new and relevant content.
In addition to static page content and articles, testimonials are an excellent type of content to include on your website. Requesting customer testimonials and then publishing them on your website is a great way to post new, high-quality content that will help your small business stand out.
Make certain that your content is written in an appropriate, on-brand tone that people will enjoy reading and your Great Small Business will flourish.
9. Set up webmaster tools
Install Google Analytics, Google Search Console (preferably via Google Tag Manager), and Bing Webmaster Tools to help you analyse traffic and site performance. These tools can be used to keep track of the following types of data:
- Visitors to your website on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
- The number of visitors to each page of your website
- “Bounce rate”—the percentage of users who visit your site and then leave after only viewing one page (Google algorithms give higher rankings to websites that have a low bounce rate, on the theory that visitors are spending more time on the site and find it valuable.)
- Visitors’ average time spent on the site
- Crawl mistakes on your website (errors that the search engines found on your site in crawling its content)
- Broken links on the website
- Keywords that direct visitors to your website
- Backlinks to your website
- Download time for a website
- Additional information that can help you improve your SEO
10. Create a website maintenance plan.
A website should not be created and then abandoned. To have a successful website that ranks well in search engines and is not hacked, you must ensure that it is properly maintained.
Here are some pointers for developing a small business website maintenance plan:
- At least once a month, review Webmaster Tools data and have any critical errors emailed to you in real time.
- Use traffic data to learn more about your target audience and better cater to them.
- Make use of performance data to optimise and correct warnings and errors.
- Ensure that all software is always up to date.
- Run security scans to ensure that your website is free of malware and has not been hacked.
- Use “split testing” to determine whether certain variations of your website improve performance. For example, if you are selling a product, you may have two versions of a specific landing page with different images and wording—split testing allows you to determine which version has a higher conversion rate.
- Follow my SEO advice (see point #7) and consistently publish high-quality content (see point #8).
- Discover new and effective ways to market your company online.
- Allow website visitors to provide feedback on your site.
- Keep an eye on your competition to see what they’re doing with their online presence and if what they’ve done can work for you as well.
- Ensure that your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once per day and for at least 10 days.
As you can see from this article, developing a Great Small Business website may not be as simple as you first thought. However, if you follow the steps outlined in this article, your Great Small Business will have a great chance of success in the online marketplace.