If you’re tired of working a traditional office job, this is a great time to launch your own business. It’s a tough move, of course: immensely challenging and undeniably stressful. But if you have the commitment and determination to follow it through, you can build a professional path that gives you real freedom with a great work-life balance.

So let’s say you’ve decided to do just that. Maybe you have a business model in mind, or perhaps you’ve been getting good results from a hobby you’re sure you could monetise. Regardless of the situation, one of the first things you need to do is create a small business website. This will allow you to get found online and bring in sales or bookings.

Thankfully, building a website isn’t nearly as complicated as it once was. Today, there are numerous useful tools out there that can help you whip up a great website in very little time — and plenty of resources out there to guide you. This is one such resource, of course, so let’s get to some core tips about how you can build your first small business website.

Choose a good domain name

Your domain name will essentially serve as your website’s home address — and even though prospective customers are unlikely to type in your URL, it still matters because it’ll show up in Google search results and links to your site. If you can get your chosen business name, do so. It’ll show legitimacy and make your website optimally trustworthy.

If you can’t get your business name because it’s already taken, consider using a different domain extension (.io instead of .com, for instance) or even changing the name. Alternatively, look into tacking on a relevant keyword to help your search performance. If you’re starting a decorating business called “Buckland Decorators”, for instance, you could try for “bookbucklanddecorators” or “bucklanddecoratorsservices”. Services like Domainr can quickly and easily help you sort through and register available domains, so use them.

small business website

Invest in an easy hosting solution

Your website hosting will safely store all your online content, including the code, copy and images that make up your site. For obvious reasons, it’s extremely important. You need to be able to rely on it to deliver the necessary content quickly and consistently. If a prospective customer tries to load your site and gets an error page, they’ll probably just leave.

The difficulty about a lot of high-quality hosting is that it’s really tough to use, making it unfriendly to beginners — but there are ways around that. Using a managed hosting service will pass most of the work to a team of experts, leaving you to deal with a simple dashboard and easy-to-understand options. Cloudways is a good option, being one of the fastest WordPress hosting solutions (WordPress is essentially the default choice for small websites), so it might be worth checking out the trial to see if it’s a good fit.

Start simple and gradually build up

Building a website is an incremental process, so you needn’t worry about making everything perfect from the offset. The most important things to work on are navigation, design and usability. Once you have the basics in place and can start using the website, you’ll notice areas that need more work, and you can gradually address them over time.

If you’re using a platform like the aforementioned WordPress, you’ll have access to a huge range of plugins and integrated services that can help you establish a superb site piece by piece. Getting into the habit of sorting through new plugin and template recommendations and learning how they work will help you take advantage of their features. Whether you’re adding live chat or reviewing new theme options, there’s plenty to find.

Launch a long-term SEO strategy

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is essential for getting your website to rank well for relevant Google terms. Getting noticed only isn’t easy, and organic traffic (the kind you don’t pay for directly) is absolutely invaluable. And while it’s incredibly hard (almost impossible) to get a lot of organic traffic early on, anyone can get some traffic over time by steadily working on a sensible SEO strategy.

Such a strategy will line up keywords and types of content for you to cover, pushing you to write posts and optimise your existing pages so they’ll be indexed appropriately and rewarded by Google’s algorithms. It’s all about being patient. Your efforts won’t mean much in the short term, but if you keep them up then you might start getting respectable rankings a year from now — and once you build up that momentum, it’ll be hugely powerful. 

You’d be surprised just how easy it is to create a small business website these days. Get the basics in place and you’ll have the foundations to develop your site as your business grows for long-term success!

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