A Guide to Small Business Website Creation to Help You Compete with the Big Boys!

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Many small businesses either do not have a website at all, or their website is working against them. Here is how you can do better!

Why You Need a Small Business Website, and How to Get One!

Is your small business still operating without a website? You are actually not alone! Over 50% of all small businesses did not have a website as recently as 2014. You might want to join the rest of us in 2017 and change that! Our simple step-by-step guide to small business website creation makes it easy for you to get the small business website you need.

“In 2017, almost 50% of all small businesses had any kind of website at all!”

You see, modern and mobile consumers expect brands to be online, and without a small business website, you’re losing valuable opportunities to attract more visitors and tell them about your awesome business. By not having a website you give the impression that your business may actually be out of business!

Having a well designed small business website is also an effective way to market your business and compete with larger brands in your industry. There are plenty of time and cost-effective options for small businesses to get the website they need. It has never been easier for budget-conscious small businesses to make themselves look as professional and polished as the big brands.

So whether you’re creating your first small business website or rebuilding an outdated one, our step-by-step guide to small business website creation will help you design, market and maintain a great professional site. Let’s get started, shall we?

Small Business Website Creation in Easy Steps

Step 1 – Determine the Primary Purpose of Your Website

Before you can even start with your own small business website creation you need to figure out exactly what kind of site you need! There are two basic types of small business websites. A static or brochure website simply provides information about your business and the products and services you offer.

While it can provide interactive functionality such as contact forms and email opt-ins this type of site is generally not used for actually selling your products or services, or to accept payment for them. This is the most common type of small business website we design for our clients.

If you are a retailer or service provider you may want to consider selling your products and even services on your website. This type of website is generally referred to as an e-commerce site. By providing your customers with the option to pay online, you’ll need to use an external service to receive your payments, which we will go over a bit later in this post.

Even if you are a service-based business, you still need to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) on your small business website. People need to know what you intend them to do. The main purpose of your website is to gain more consumers or clients for your small business. This should be defined from the start and shape how your website is structured.

Think about the specific user experience you intend to provide. Whatever the fundamental purpose of your website is users need be able to achieve it easily. Here at the highly caffeinated agency we sometimes use our moms as usability testers. “Hey Mom, can you figure out how to …?” It may sound funny to you, but it really works!

Here are some other essential items you should consider for your small business website creation.

Step 2 – Choose your Domain Name

Your domain name is one of the most important features of your website. It’s the URL (web address) you will be sharing with your current and potential clients. If you want to keep them coming back to your site you need to make it something memorable. Keep it short, and easy to spell and pronounce. Stay clear of abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers to avoid customer confusion. And remember that Google does not like special characters in URLs.

You will also need to decide your top-level domain or TLD. This is the suffix at the end of your domain name. Since many domains ending in .com have already been taken, it is very tempting to consider something different and register your site as a .net, .us, .co, or .biz. That’s entirely up to you, of course. But we always recommend you try to get a .com if at all possible.

Once you’ve selected your domain name, you’ll need to confirm its availability and purchase it through a domain registrar. We use and recommend GoDaddy. We generally do not recommend hosted solutions where the service provider also controls your domain. Should you change your mind it can be difficult to gain control of a domain URL you actually own!

Step 3 – Select a Web Host

Every website needs a “host,” a server where all of its data is stored for the public to access at all times. We like to refer to website hosting as being the same as leasing a new car; you have to drive it off the lot and park it elsewhere. As a small business, hosting your own website is simply too large an expense, so you’ll need to select an external host. Depending on your budget, you can go a couple of different ways.

A shared Web host, the least expensive option, means you’ll share a server with other sites. Dedicated hosting costs significantly more, but it means that you get your own private server and won’t have to compete with other sites that could drag down your speed. Here are some other things you should know about small business website hosting.

We are big fans of WPEngine, and we recommend our friends in Austin highly to anyone looking for speed and dependability. But they are not the cheapest out there. We understand that your small business needs to save money. The folks at BlueHost and InMotion provide great service at a more affordable rate.

Step 4 – Build Your Pages

Before you can start building your small business website you need to determine which contact management (CMS) you want to use. We recommend and use WordPress ourselves, and there are many benefits to having a WordPress business website. But there are other options such as SquareSpace, Shopify, and others. Just be sure to consider your future needs as well as your current budget.

A good small business website consists of more than just a home or landing page. You need to create multiple pages dedicated to different aspects of your business, such as a detailed catalog of your products or services, information about your business and team, the story behind why you are in business, or a blog section for company updates.

SEO should always be part of your small business website creation. Building relevant keywords into your content from the very first phases of your website, and having a strong focus on SEO from website launch will help you generate traffic early on.

A contact page, your customers’ direct link to you, is an absolute must. Be sure to include as much information as you can (phone number, email address and physical location if applicable). We recommend getting a box at a UPS Store in your neighborhood. It not only gives you a real street address; they also sign for packages.

Special Hint: Never, ever, list your own home address on your website. No, never! Not even if your world HQ is your spare bedroom or garage. Not only does it make you look unprofessional; but you make it easy for unhappy customers to find you.

If your small business doesn’t already have a brand identity, consider hiring a graphic designer or firm to create a logo to use on your website, business cards, and social media profiles. This will help your clients identify your company quickly and easily on the web.

Here are a few basic tips to help you create efficient, content-rich pages for your small business website:

Be Clear about What Your Business Does

Distill what your business does into a clear, concise statement and lead with that. Visitors should be able to understand what you do within seconds of landing on your home or landing page. A few well-written pages are more effective than dozens of poorly written ones. In the impatient mobile age, you need to be quick!

“In 2018 the average human has an attention span of 7.1 seconds, two seconds less than a goldfish!”

Place Strategic Calls to Action

Call-to-action buttons tend to perform best if placed where visitors also find the information they need. Rather than placing calls to action throughout the site and on every landing page and blog post, take a more strategic approach and place the button at the point where the visitor is prepared to make a decision.

For example, if you have a page describing your products or services, you can place a “Buy” button or quote request form at the bottom. And we also recommend using something more original than the common “Buy Now!” or “Request Quote!” Our current favorite is “Don’t Press This!

Avoid Stock Photos

Cheesy stock photography is the quickest way to turn a great site into a mediocre one. It is always best to use a picture of your actual team or office. If that is not an option at least select images that reflect your product, service, or location. And you should engage a professional photographer to get some images of your business, team, and location as soon as possible.

Step 5 – Set up Your Payment System

If this does not apply to you skip ahead to the next step. Have a quick doppio while the rest of us catch up!

Companies that want to offer the option to pay online will need to integrate electronic payment systems into their websites. Mention this to your web designer at the beginning of your project. This functionality is usually achieved through third-party e-commerce applications such as Woo Commerce or Shopify, and a payment gateway like Stripe or PayPal.

Step 6 – Test and Launch Your Website

Before you announce that your site is live on the world-wide interweb, make sure it works on all major browsers, like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Click through each page and feature on every browser to ensure a hassle-free user experience. This will take some time, but the effort you put in now will save future complaints from visitors who can’t access certain features.

You can also use online applications like Responsinator or Screenfly by Quirk Tools to see what your small business website looks like on a variety of mobile devices. These are not simple screenshots, but live views of your site on devices ranging from “Crappy Android” (for an old small-screen phone) to the latest version of the iPad.

We also recommend that you implement a web analytics program like Google Analytics in your website right away. Your web designer or agency can help you with that. By setting this up before the website is live, you can iron out any issues and coordinate a proper setup. Once your new website is live you can monitor page performance and determine the reasons why a page is successful or unsuccessful based on your analytics.

Step 7 – Promote Your Website on Social Media and Search Engines


Submitting your website to major search engines will help direct potential leads to your page, as will deploying a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy across your site. Defining title tags, alt tags, meta-descriptions, and uniform resource is an essential part of that.

Be sure to use links that are relevant to your company and aspects of your industry will help ensure that you rank correctly in search engines for the products or services that you’re trying to market. Here are some additional tips for creating SEO-friendly links.

Social Media

If your small business doesn’t already have profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you need to stay after class! Just kidding, but you need to claim and optimize your social profiles, and include links to these profiles on your home page. This is the best way to increase your audience reach and to alert customers and clients about what’s going on with your company.

Step 8 – Maintain Your Website

We like to tell clients that small business website creation is a lot like having a kid. It takes a while, hurts a little (or a lot depending on the circumstances) and costs real money. And the parent (client) is usually happy it’s all over. And then you wake up and realize you now have to care for your child (creation.) It’s exactly the same for your small business website.

Staying relevant is just as important as being on the web in the first place, so update your website frequently with blog posts on current industry events, new products, and offers, and company news to keep visitors coming back to the site. It also helps to regularly or as available add new images, testimonials, case studies, and video to your small business website.

You should need to make sure that you are using the latest versions of your CMS, any extensions or plugins, your e-commerce cart and payment gateway, and a host of other important things. If you can’t delegate the task to a trusted employee you should see if your web agency or hosting provider offers a business website maintenance plan.

Step 9 – Stay Ahead of the Curve

We always recommend that you stay current, or at least as much as possible, on current web design trends and options. Take a look at what your competitors are doing as well. This will give you ideas for future additions to your website. We have done everything from catering forms, insurance quote requests, camera feeds, reservation systems, and store locators over the past 12 months. We are still working on the drone-based content delivery system, sorry!

So keep in touch with your web designer and agency. Ask them if they can keep you in the loop regarding technology or applications that may apply to your business. If they are anything like the highly caffeinated agency they will be happy to help you push the envelope.

Starting Your Small Business Website Creation

Starting a website for your small business should be a no-brainer! Yet it seems to be a major stumbling point for many small businesses. We can understand that. Many times owners tried on their own, or with a low-cost alternative like Wix or Weebly, and got stuck. Or instead of hiring a dependable web designer or agency they select the “Cheap dude from Craigslist” and get burned.

But there is no way around it! You need a small business website. It is a cost-effective investment in your small business. It will help you to both establish credibility and reach a wider customer base than you ever could through traditional marketing techniques.

As long as you keep your website updated with fresh, current content and are quick to address technical issues, you’ll never have to worry about “not existing” to your current and future clients.

We hope that our guide to small business website creation gives you some concrete ideas. If you follow these nine steps you will avoid many common small business website mistakes. And you will find that getting your own small business website is much less scary than you think. Maybe you just need somebody to take you by the hand.

Need Help With Your Small Business Website Creation?

We are experts at small business website creation! At the innovative web design agency, we offer a full range of small business web design services, including brand strategy and development, small business website design, e-commerce solutions, and search engine optimization.

Reach out and say hello to learn more about our small business web design services, and how our team can help you with your small business website creation. But please don’t click the button below; it creates a conflict with our espresso maker!

Do you have anything to add to our guide to small business website creation? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And help your audience get the business website they need by sharing our small business website creation guide with them!

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By Gregor Schmidt Co-Founder / Creative Technologist @gregorspeaks