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Crucial Steps to Building an Outstanding Small Business Website

Crucial Steps to Building an Outstanding Small Business Website

Regardless of what type of small business you run, a website is a prerequisite for not only surviving but thriving in the digital era. If you’re just starting to set up your new small business website (or need some tips to make your existing site more effective), here are some crucial steps to getting started and ensuring your site can compete in the online marketplace.

Start with the Domain Name

Your website address, which is your domain name, is the first thing visitors will see. It must, therefore, make a good impression in terms of SEO and usability. Aim to keep it as short as possible and ensure it’s easy to spell too. It’s also essential to create an SEO-friendly URL that includes keywords and geo-location.

Just because you’re launching your own website doesn’t mean this has to be a burden you need to carry on your own. The majority of web hosting services providers will help you find the most suitable domain name to ensure you’ve got the right foundations to build an attractive and functional site.

Use the Best Content Management System

Content management systems (CMSs) are software programs or applications that are used to create and manage digital content. In many cases, your web hosting company will recommend the most suitable option for small business owners.

The best CMS will help you maintain your website, and in general, you don’t need expert-level tech skills to use them. Choose a CMS that’s designed for your small business needs. Here are some options to consider.

WordPress

WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system out there. The active support community and an array of valuable plugins can help extend the functionality and usability of your website.

Since it’s so widely used, most website developers are familiar with it, so you won’t struggle to find a developer to work on your WordPress site. Most businesses choose to use a WordPress site for its flexibility and extensibility.

Drupal

Drupal is gaining popularity as a CMS and offers many of the same benefits you’ll find in WordPress. It’s flexible, easy to use, and has an active support community.

Although many argue that it’s more secure than WordPress, it doesn’t have as many plugins or themes as WP, so it’s less extensible.

Joomla!

Joomla is another popular content management system. This one has better SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities than WordPress.

With some plugins, however, WordPress easily surpasses the capabilities of Joomla.

Use a Suitable E-Commerce Platform

If you want to sell goods and services through your website, you’ll need the tech to enable you to do so. Two of the most popular e-commerce platforms for small businesses include the following.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. And if you’re using WordPress as your CMS, WooCommerce can easily convert your entire website into an online store. It features an abundance of plugins and is easy to integrate with WordPress.

It’s favored by small businesses since it features many capabilities and has scalability that their companies might need in the future. Its innovative features also make it very easy to do business online.

Shopify

Shopify is a good e-commerce platform that’s cloud-based. It enables you to create an online store to manage your products and your inventory, payments, and shipping. Unlike WooCommerce, it’s not a WordPress extension, so your Shopify site will run separately from your main site if you use this for e-retail.

The great thing about Shopify is the fact that you don’t need a developer to get your store up and running. The server already sets everything up for you in the backend. But this also means that you don’t have as much control or flexibility when compared with other platforms like WooCommerce.

Build an Engaging Website User Interface

Your website interface needs to make potential customers feel good about using your site. It also needs to drive results. Beautiful graphics and easy-to-read fonts are great starting points, but you can also optimize your graphics to improve site speed.

Go ahead and research your competitors to see what they’ve done, and then compare that to research on your target audience that depicts what it is they want to see. If you don’t want to tackle these tasks in-house, you should consider business process outsourcing (BPO) services.

Focus on Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization ensures that search engines index and rank your small business website appropriately and display it to your target audience when they’re searching for products and services you offer.

Keyword research, optimal code, mobile-friendliness, high-quality backlinks, and internal links throughout your website help boost your rankings and will help you rank higher than your competitors if it’s done right.

Publish Quality Content on a Regular Basis

Fresh quality that’s uploaded to your small business website on a regular basis is very important for SEO rankings. This is why you need to prioritize publishing quality articles on your site and other sites that link back to your site. Create pages that cover topics that customers from search engine traffic might be interested in.

You can also include client testimonials as part of your initiative to keep your small business website stocked with fresh and relevant content. It’s a great way to showcase your product or service’s benefits while making your website more attractive at the same time.

Use Webmaster Tools

There’s a lot of valuable site performance data that you can use to enhance the performance of your small business website. Tools like Google Analytics and Search Console can help you track things like:

  • Number of visitors to your site
  • Number of views on each page of your site
  • Bounce rate
  • Average visit times
  • Crawl errors
  • Broken links
  • Keywords that attract visitors
  • Backlinks to your website
  • Site speed

Make Localization Part of Your Development Strategy

Even though you might initially only want to target a local audience when it comes to web design, the world is more connected than ever before. If your small business is going to thrive in the modern economic climate, you need to consider global expansion long before you’re ready to tackle it.

Localization refers to the cultural and technical translation of your business website, and it goes much further than word-for-word translations of written text. Small businesses targeting an American audience can’t possibly use the same website, brand messaging, and content to target a Chinese audience.

When launching your product in a new market, you want your audience to feel like the product was made for them. And by implementing localization services to expand your business right from the web design stage, you’ll achieve just that!

Create and Follow a Maintenance Plan

Websites aren’t one-and-done deals. Just like your small business, your website needs constant maintenance to grow and stay secure.

You need to ensure your software is always up to date and that your security scans are performed regularly to ensure your website doesn’t contain malware. Split testing is also a good idea to see if certain variations of your website improve performance.

Wrapping Up

As a small business owner, the first thing you need to focus on is the domain name of your business website. Once you have the ideal domain name, it’s time to consider the most suitable CMS. If you don’t have one already, you’ll also need an e-commerce platform that aligns with your business needs.

Along with building an engaging user interface, you also need to ensure that you optimize your business website for search engines. As a small business, this is vital to help you gain as much exposure as possible.

Regularly publishing high-quality content on your site will help keep your audience engaged, and it also improves your rankings on the result pages of search engines. If you’ve got the right webmaster tools on hand, you’ll be able to measure just how happy your customers are with your website. Webmaster tools can also help you optimize your business website even further for search engines.

Last but certainly not least, localization should always be part of the web development plan of your business website. And contrary to popular belief, localization is as important to a small business as it is to international corporations. Localizing your business website can help you expand to foreign markets and captivate the audiences with content that feels like it was created with their cultural and linguistic needs in mind.

As you can see, creating a business website for a small business might not be as straightforward as many people assume it to be, but it isn’t rocket science either. Thanks to an array of drag and drop builder options available on the market today, it’s easier than ever to build a professional website. All you need is the willingness to learn and a tech-savvy attitude.

If you follow the steps we’ve set out in this article, you’ll have an excellent chance of seeing your small business website succeed in the online marketplace and ranking high on the result pages of the search engines!


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by Lillian Connors // Lillian is a senior business consultant and the co-editor at Bizzmarkblog.com. She's mainly focused on business optimization and sustainable growth. In her leisure time, she likes to lose herself in a good book or drink a couple of hoppy pale ales.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.