Q: A Guide to Creating a Business Website

When you run a small business, you need a way to market to potential clients and build relationships with your current customers. Creating a business website is one of the easiest ways to reach out to clients. Your website shows that you are a professional company in your industry. Many customers research a business online before they will buy a product or service, so your website is also important for your company's long-term success.

Why Your Website Matters

Your website can help you generate new leads and clients in many different ways. When a client does a broad search for a certain type of business, they can discover your site. Clients may also want to research your company to learn more about it, how to contact you and where you are located.

Luckily, creating a business website does not have to be difficult. A decade ago, you had to hire a website developer or learn how to write code on your own.

Now, there are options like do-it-for-me website companies and DIY templates that can help you quickly, easily build a site.

Start by Choosing a Domain Name

It all starts with the right domain name. For most companies, the domain name will be YourCompany.com. Before you can register the domain, you need to make sure that it is actually available.

If the domain name is already taken, you can try modifying it with different phrases or acronyms. For customers to find you online, your domain name is extremely important. While you are brainstorming the perfect name, think of the ways that your customers will search for you online. You also want to pick a domain name that is easy to remember.

Decide on a Platform and a Web Host

The next step is to find a company to host your domain. You need a host in order for your clients to actually see your site. The host is like a vault that stores your site. When someone types in your web address, the site is transmitted from that virtual vault to the visitor.

You also need to choose the right platform. DIY sites are easy to design and use, but they can also take time to set up. As an intermediate website builder, it requires time and effort to figure out how to design the site, choose the right features and make your site look professional. There are drag-and-drop platforms out there that are easier to use, but they tend to have a cookie-cutter look to them and lack the right functionality. For an ecommerce site, you will definitely need a more robust platform.

Choose a Website Template and Design Content

Now that you have a platform, a domain name and a host, you need to choose a template. A template is basically a pre-made design that you can use on your site. These tend to be extremely simple templates that are quick to set up. For a customised, professional look, some companies hire a web designer instead.

When your template is ready to go, you need to add some content. Typically, you will want pages for a home page, gallery of your work, contact page, services and reviews. The home page will generally include information about your business, location and your elevator pitch. You will want to write out the services and products you offer on your services or products page. To make a visualise impact, you may want to add content like photos or videos. This allows clients to easily see examples of your work.

When creating a business website, you also want to consider adding a widget for Google Maps. With a location marker, your customers can instantly find your location and get the navigation directions. You might also want options like click-to-call features so that your customers can easily reach out to you.

Finish Designing the Site

After the initial setup, there is unfortunately more work to do still. You want to make sure that your logo matches the font, colours and style of your site. After testing your site out, you will probably need to make changes to the layout and widgets.

The average person spends less than 3 seconds deciding if they want to stay or leave a site. Your website has to make a great first impression if you want to keep your potential clients. Try to use a minimal design that does not overwhelm the viewer. Empty spaces help to draw the visitor's focus to the key elements of your page.

You should also take a look at your navigation features. When someone arrives at your home page, you want them to understand what your business is about and where to click to learn more. If your visitors cannot understand where to go to find out about your prices and products, they will give up and leave. Call to action buttons can also help you catch the visitor's attention and garner new leads.

Should I Hire a Designer?

Many website builders and do-it-yourself platforms have a cookie-cutter look to them that can repel visitors. If you choose a website builder, you also have to invest a lot of time in learning how to use them. For a professional, turnkey site, some companies choose to hire a professional designer instead.

Finding a talented designer is hard enough. Once you find a good, reputable designer, you will quickly spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your site's design. Many designers charge by the hour, so you will have to pay extra money for updates if they fail to make the site right the first time around.

Creating a business website that looks professional does not have to be impossible, and you do not have to learn how to code or hire an expensive designer. With a do-it-for-me website, you can get the site you need without all of the time or money. You spend 20 to 30 minutes on the phone discussing your company and what you want. Afterward, your site is completed within just 48 hours.

With the right do-it-for-me company, you also get unlimited updates and revisions. You get Google-friendly content, a built-in contact form and a professional site without having to do any of the work. In just 48 hours, the perfect, hassle-free website could be yours.