Do people keep telling you that your business needs a website?
If you run a successful small business that’s done well, you may be wondering: does my business really need a website?
The answer is yes. Whether you’re in the private or public sector, the answer is always yes.
Without a website, your business is missing out on a huge number of potential customers because many people nowadays compare products and services online before they commit to purchasing them.
While your business might be doing well, you can never make too many sales, right?
If you’ve never created your own website before, don’t worry. We can also help with 4 steps to create a flawless website, the ultimate checklist to building a website and how often should you redesign your website. For an example of our tailored approach to web design, you can see our guide to building an architect website.
We’ll explain the basics of designing your own business website below.
1. Define your website’s purpose
Before you can start designing your website, you need to establish a clear purpose.
What is your unique selling point and how will you convey that to visitors to your website?
You’ll also need to think about what kind of pages you need for your website because this will determine the amount of protection you need.
Some businesses may only need a landing page, a services page and a contact form. Others may need more advanced functions, like a membership login page or payment processing. Then you need to think about how you’re going to keep your customers’ information safe.
This will also help you later when you are choosing your content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Wix.
2. Decide on your branding
Branding encompasses not just your company’s logo but also the colours, fonts and imagery that you use on your website.
You should make sure that your branding is consistent across your social media channels and other marketing strategies that you implement.
Most brands stick to one dominant colour with one or two secondary colours.
Colours evoke different emotions, so choose colours that best reflect your brand.
3. Map Out The Site Architecture
Once you’ve got your colours, it’s time to plan your site architecture.
If your business is small, you’ll probably only need a few pages which will make this process easier. However, if you’re looking to build a website with a large number of pages, then you’ll probably need a drop-down menu bar so users can easily find the page that they’re looking for. You’ll also need to think about which pages will link to which. For example, your home page can connect to your category pages, which would link to your products or sub-categories.
This helps you plan the customer’s journey, and it also keeps a nice internal linking structure for search engine optimisation (SEO).
SEO is crucial for your business to stand out from your competitors because you’ll appear higher than them in search results.
When planning your website pages, you might consider including a blog because adding high-quality content is important for SEO.
4. Choose a Website Builder/CMS
By now you should have a basic idea of what you want your website to look like. You’ve got the structure of pages, the colour, and functions, meaning you have enough to get started.
Before you can start, you need to choose a website builder and/or CMS to build your website.
There are hundreds of website builders out there with each having their pros and cons. Do some research before picking one to make sure that it’s going to suit your business needs.
If you know people that run their own website, ask them for advice on which one you should choose. There are also many online forums where web designers discuss which CMS they like to use and why.
Below we’ve outlined some of the most popular website builders.
WordPress (best for small businesses)
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the internet with 39.5% of all websites powered by it. It’s an entirely free, open-source CMS that you can install and it’s very user-friendly. The great thing about WordPress is that there are many plug-ins that you can download. Plug-ins are software that you can add to your website that can extend functionality or add features to your website.
We recommend pairing WordPress with the Divi website builder (the most widely used WordPress theme).
Webflow (Best For Designers)
Webflow is a more visual website builder that has gained popularity in the last couple of years. It’s easy-to-use and navigate but isn’t an open-source platform like WordPress.
While Webflow is not as cheap as WordPress, you can customise more aspects of your website without needing to know how to code.
The templates are well-designed and work for a range of different industries.
Shopify (Best For e-commerce)
Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform on the internet. It has a wide range of features and apps specifically for e-commerce businesses, making it a great choice if you are looking to start an online store. Alternatively, you can also use WordPress + WooCommerce, which is also very popular.
Bonus tip: If you are looking to get organic traffic through SEO, make sure to choose an SEO-friendly CMS.
5. Choose a Template/Theme
Next, you’ll need to choose a template or theme. This will determine the layout of your website. Think of it like the foundations of a house – it forms the building blocks, but you make it your own by filling it with your possessions.
If you decide to use WordPress with the Divi builder, it comes with plenty of preloaded themes you can use and easily edit.
However, regardless of which CMS you choose to use, each will have their templates that are ready for you to start designing your website.
You’ll be able to filter templates by industry, so that you can find out that suits yours.
Once you’ve picked one, you can create the different pages that you planned earlier.
6. Add Content
Website content is what is going to set your business apart from others. Unfortunately, this is where people can have the most issues because content can alter the format of your website, especially when you’re adding images.
Depending on how big your website is you can write the content yourself or hire a professional copywriter to assist you. The advantage of having a copywriter do this for you is that they know how to optimise your content for SEO purposes.
If you are unfamiliar with SEO, then terms such as ‘meta description’ and ‘alt text’ will be quite foreign. However, when SEO is done correctly, your website will start to rank higher in search engine results. While content alone won’t rank you higher, it’s a great starting point.
When creating content make sure to include images – and videos, if possible – to engage with the user. However, make sure large images and videos are compressed because they can slow down the speed of your website.
The language should be kept simple and written in short chunks so the reader isn’t overwhelmed. Break up your content with clear headings so that visitors can scan to find what’s useful to them.
7. Publish Your Website
It’s almost time to publish your website. But just before you hit ‘publish’, ensure your website is fully functional; test out the links, buttons and any other functions. At this point, you should also test your website on different devices and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Another thing to double-check is that all your content is readable (on all devices). Get a friend to look over your website, just in case there’s something you’ve missed.
Designing a website for the first time can be difficult and time consuming. However, at any point that you get stuck, there are thousands of people who have experienced the same problem or similar that you can read about online.
You will reap the benefits of having a user-friendly website because the easier people find it to use, the more likely they’ll stay on your site and potentially purchase your products or services.
Having a website isn’t just something you set up once and forget about. You need to refresh it with new content and ensure all software is up-to-date.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO or website design, please check out our other articles below: