Building a website can be a complex, tiresome, and stressful task. Especially for small business owners who might not be able to dedicate the necessary time to learning all the skills required to build a great website.

In this post I’m going to be breaking down the 10 key steps to building a great small business website. While it will take time and effort it isn’t as hard as it might seem. In most cases with this kind of work, having a clear process simply makes life much easier.

If you require any help building a website for your small business I would encourage you to contact us and someone from our team will be able to help. Sometimes an extra hand can make all the difference!

1. Domain Name

The first thing that you need to do to get started on you website is pick the right domain name. This is the most important step for number of reasons so make sure you pick the right one.

The following are 6 steps you should keep in mind:

Make it easy to spell

Simplicity is important when it comes to picking your domain name. It should be a reflection of the name of your business so try not to use abbreviations or add unnecessary words.

Keep it as short as possible

The shorter your domain name is, the easier it will be for people to understand, and the easier it is for people to understand, the more likely they are to remember it.

Use the proper domain extension

Try to always make it a .com domain name (as opposed to .net, .co, etc.) as this is universally recognised. However, you should use extensions such as .gov, .edu, or .org if it is more appropriate.

Check if the price is right

Determine if you can purchase your desired website address at a reasonable price since most good domain names are taken and will need to be bought from the current owner. You can do this with Godaddy and Namecheap.

Avoid nonsensical names

Choose a name that users will immediately recognise and understand. While Yahoo and Google are catchy names, they were very expensive to brand. I wouldn’t advise spending a lot of money on a domain name, but it is important to invest in one that people will easily understand.

Create an SEO-friendly URL

When appropriate, try to come up with an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location; for example, “www.LasVegasElectrician.com”. Of course, this completely depends on the name of your business, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Hosting Provider

The next thing you need to do is choose the right hosting provider for your website, and this can be quite tricky if you’re just getting started.

You have three different kinds of hosting:

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting and also the most affordable.

Shared hosting is where you’re sharing a server and its resources with other customers, and that’s the part that isn’t ideal. You can get shared hosting for as little as £2/mo from websites like Namecheap, Godaddy, and many others.

A Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is the second option which will cost anywhere from £100 - £2000 a month.

While a dedicated server is more secure, it’s overkill for most small businesses. I’d advise not investing in dedicated server if you’re just getting started. However, it might be something to consider in the long term if you can see your website begin to grow.

VPS Hosting

VPS stands for ‘Virtual Private Hosting’ and it offers the best of both worlds. It’s as affordable as some shared hosting services and has similar levels of security as dedicated hosting.

VPS pricing ranges from £15 - £50 a month and is affordable for the hosting service you’ll receive. We would recommend Kamatera or A2 hosting but there are many providers to choose from - it all depends on your preference!

Choosing a CMS

So now that you’ve chosen your domain name and picked your hosting provider, you need to choose your CMS.

CMS stands for ‘Content Management System’ and is the system you’ll use to build and manage your website. There a variety of CMS’s you can choose but we’re going to share with you our top three.

Wix

Wix is the most beginner-friendly CMS and will allow you to easily build a website even if you’re a newbie.

WordPress

34% of all websites on the internet are built with WordPress, making it the most popular CMS in the world

However, it can be tricky to use and you need to have some kind of understanding of how the platform works to get the most out of it

Webflow (Our favourite!)

Webflow is the most intuitive website design platform on the market today

However, it does come with quite a learning curve. Webflow is the closest you’ll get to actually coding a website without knowing how to code.

Style Guides

The next thing to do before building your website is to go ahead and create your Style Guide.

Your style guide is where all your brand assets are going to sit and will allow you to maintain brand consistency as you’re building your site.

This includes:

Typography

Typography is the art of assembling copy in such a manner that it is legible but beautifully designed. It’s important to take time to pick the fonts you feel are an accurate reflection of your brand.

Brand Colours

Brand colours help contribute to the persona of your company and when used correctly, aid the feeling and memorability of your brand.

Sizing and Proportions

One of the key elements of your style guide is the sizing and proportions. You want things to remain consistent across your site and not look out of place, and this is precisely what a style guide will help with.

Here is an example of a basic style guide that I created for a website I was building recently.


As you can see it doesn’t have to be excessive and is just to give you some clarity around what you’re building.

Sitemap

The next thing you need to do is build your sitemap. This step is important because it will help the structure of your site. You will also have to submit a sitemap to Google when you launch, so it’s better to get it out the way before you start the development process.

This is a great example of a well-prepared sitemap.



We recommend using Lucidchart to build your sitemap

Create The Header and Footer

The next thing you need to do is go ahead and start building your header and footer

We always recommend getting these two components of the site out the way first, mainly because they show up on every page and can take a bit of time.

Everything should begin to fall into place once you’ve got this part out the way

Fill in Your Page Content

Now that you have the basic structure of your website in place it’s time to start filling in your pages.

This is the part that will take the most amount of time but it’s important to not rush the process. The way that you do this will also change depending on what website design platform you’re using.

We currently have a website design course available on Skillshare that will show you the best practices for doing this if you’re using Webflow.

Install Analytics

Now that you’ve created all your pages it’s time to add all the relevant analytics platforms to your website.

This means adding Google Analytics, verifying your domain with Google Search Console, and adding your Facebook Pixel, to name a few.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a website analytics tool offered by Google that tracks and reports all of the traffic that passes through your site. Furthermore, you can view key metrics such as return on investment (ROI), Bounce Rate, click through rate (CTR), and much more!

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a web service by Google allowing the user to check the index status of all their websites and pages and optimise the visibility of their website.

Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code placed on your website that lets you collect data on conversion events. This data helps you optimise your ads and maximise the effectiveness of your budget.

Once you do this you’ll be so close to launching your website!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

One of the final things that you’re going to want to do is make sure that your website is SEO optimised.

This means making sure you’re using the right keywords across your site, optimising your metadata, and making sure that all your images have the appropriate alt text.

Using the correct keywords

Using the correct keywords means properly targeting your audience online by using words and phrases that describe what your content is all about. In doing so, Google will show your content to the most appropriate queries on its site.

Optimising Metadata

Metadata tells search engines how to read and display your pages on search engines, this means having an appropriate title tag, a title description that is engaging and use keywords that will help your website show up in search results.

Image alt text

Image alt text is a piece of text that appears in place of an image should it fail to load, or if someone with special needs requires a description of the image.

If you’re using WordPress, I’d recommend using a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you identify SEO opportunities.

You also have SEMrush and Moz if you want to use a more sophisticated SEO tool to optimise your site.

Final Checks

The final thing you need to do before you launch your site is do a final check.

This means making sure:

  • Your website looks good on all devices
  • Your titles are structured properly following H1 H2 etc
  • All your images have alt text
  • All your buttons are properly linked up

You get the idea, but this will save you from having to make changes when your site is live.

Hey readers! Thank you for checking out this post. We just wanted to let you know that we were recently featured on DesignRush as one of the best B2B website design companies in the UK, which is a great highlight for us!


Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need website design help!