For small businesses that are looking to grow, the best way to create a website is to first have a plan. Get a domain name and self-hosted WordPress on your own web host, then hire a professional web designer to build your website.
Even though you’re hiring a web designer, you should get knowledgeable about the basics of owning and operating a website.
Plan Your Website
The main purpose of any small business website should be to promote your business and to generate leads, like telephone calls or contact form submissions.
So what we mean by “plan your website” is to have an idea of how your website will achieve its main purpose.
You should take a few minutes to Google your competitors’ websites. You should look at the general design and layout, as well as the content of their websites.
Do their websites look modern, and useful? Or do they look poorly designed and lacking relevant and up-to-date information?
Think about how you can do better than what your competitors are doing. Not just in how your website looks, but in the content and tools that are on yours that would help a potential client to choose you over them.
You should also google what you believe are keywords that a potential client would use to find a business or service like yours.
Think about how to integrate those relevant keywords on your website and within your content so that searchers will be able to find you. Once they find you, your website should be used to get them to like you enough to want to contact you.
Write out what pages you believe you need to include on your website. This is called your architecture or navigation. Make some bullet points on the content that will be included on those pages.
You can then use those bullet points to flesh out the content of your pages. Remember that your web designer is not a copywriter. It’s up to you to provide your web designer with the written out content for your site.
If you need help with writing content for your website, you can hire someone on Fiverr.
We recommend that you have your website built with WordPress. It is a content management system that helps you to build a website that you can then modify and add content and features as you go along.
WordPress is the most popular content management system in use on the web and therefore has a large community of enthusiasts, developers and tools around it.
Before you go down a rabbit hole, what we want you to know is that WordPress can sometimes be hard for beginners and non-techies. To make it easier, we encourage you to have your WordPress website built with a framework, like a popular theme or page builder.
We believe a great combination is the Astra Theme with the Elementor page builder, or Elementor Pro on its own.
Both of these products are built by professional companies and have great support, as well as large, active Facebook Groups where you can ask questions and get answers from people like you.
We recommend these tools because they will allow you to easily make changes to your website after the web designer completes the project and hands it over to you.
Get a Domain Name
We recommend you get a domain name at Namecheap. It’s a no-fuss domain name registrar and website services provider with a good reputation.
Namecheap’s upsells during checkout are not tricky like other popular domain name sellers.
They include free Whois privacy with their domain name registration, which is something that other registrars charge for.
A first time buyer can pay around $10 for a .com domain name at Namecheap and renewals around $13. Domain name renewals at Namecheap are cheaper than at many registrars, like Godaddy.
Get Web Hosting
If you’re a techie, can figure things out yourself and want to get something good from the start, we recommend you get web hosting from Cloudways, with a server from Digital Ocean or Vultr.
Otherwise, if you’re not a techie and you want to get something cheap to begin with and then see how things go, we recommend you go with a web host like Bluehost or Siteground.
With Cloudways, you pay monthly at the end of the period. With Bluehost and Siteground, you generally pay upfront for a period, like 3 months, 6 months or a year. It’s cheapest if you pay for multiple years.
Gather Your Website Materials
To get your website built, you need to provide your web designer with some common materials like your logo, your page content and any custom images you have.
Any professional web designer would give you a list or form for what they need to get the website built.
In your planning stage, you should also know what your brand colors are, or your desired website color scheme.
If you have never picked colors for a brand, here’s a link that explains very nicely how to choose colors using a color wheel that we have found very useful.
You can also include any fonts you’ve seen that you like or that you use in your other marketing materials.
Here’s a link to a resource to help you choose font combinations.
Hire a Designer
We recommend that you hire a web designer or web design agency to create your small business website.
Professional web designers are experts in their line of work: web design. You are an expert at your line of work.
The web designers’ knowledge and experience would allow them to take a high-level view of your plan and transform that into a website that achieves your goals.
If you’re unfamiliar with the web design process or even online marketing in general, hiring the services of a web designer will save you tons of time and effort.
A professional WordPress web designer will get your site up faster than you can, and save you money in the process. If you’re new to web design, you can expect to have many false starts and there will come a point where you may want to throw in the towel.
They will have complete knowledge of how to install and set-up WordPress properly, make it more secure and make it load fast. The web designer will also advise you on ongoing support and maintenance. Websites that are built to generate leads for businesses are not set-it and forget it!
Where to Hire a Web Designer
Two popular choices in hiring a web designer are to find one locally, or to go to an online marketplace.
You can find a local web designer by googling [your city] web designer. Or if you have friends with business websites, ask them for a recommendation. With Google, you could see local web designers’ reviews and ratings on the map, provided by Google My Business.
You can also visit an online marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr. On these platforms you can post jobs and have web designers respond to them. You can then choose to speak with the designers with the best feedback, ratings and offers.
The best way to create a website for a small business is to:
- Have a plan
- Get a domain name
- Get web hosting
- Gather your website materials
- Hire a designer
If you are unfamiliar with the web design process, or online marketing in general, following this five step plan will lead to a successful outcome, which is a great website that gets you business.