If you want to build and grow a successful business, a website is a must. Do you know that 97% of people in the world search the internet when they are looking for a local business. There are basically only 3% left out there that does not use the internet when searching for something. How the world have changed in so little time.
I have been meaning for months, to write a post about how you could build your own business website in easy steps. For some odd reasons, I couldn’t quite get my thoughts around it, until today!
Anyone can build a basic business website by themselves
Creating your own business websites used to be reserved for tech savvy people and people with deep pockets! But not anymore. Today, anyone can build there own basic website on a $20 per month budget! However, keep in mind that basic websites can easily be outgrown by your needs. That is when you have to get professionals to have specialized functionalities built for you. And with that functionalities, the cost naturally goes up.
Steps to go through when building your own website
- Define your purpose
- Find a solid web hosting company
- Choose your site builder
- Outline your web pages
- Optimize your website
- Set up a payment processor
Let’s get through these one by one:
1. Define your purpose
What do you want to sell to the world about? If a business is solely about making more money for the owners, it’s probably not worth starting in the first place. Most if not all the successful business have successfully provide value to their target market. Google, for example, is not created for solely making money, but have provided a very valuable solution in the form of a search engine. Facebook has a very strong “why” to help us connect with more people, and so on.
Effort and resources are wasted just because the builder didn’t sit down and asked the right questions. Questions like: What functionalities does your site need? Are you selling products online? You need to choose a site builder and host that specializes in ecommerce. What if you are dealing with digital products? You will need the ability to send files automatically. Do you want to provide direction to your store’s physical location? Make a list of features and functions you need. You will refer to this list as you consider which web host or site builder to select.
What features or marketing strategies would you like to explore? If you have plans to use paid ads, for example, you may want to make sure the host you choose can support a large increase in traffic and the easy creation of landing pages.
Defining your purpose can save you a lot of stresses and money along the way! And it may well shape your financial structure in the future!
Research your field. Research the competition. Here is a useful article on using information and data to formulate your own strategy and easily implement them. Data-Driven Ecommerce Strategy: 5 Easy Steps to Implement
2. Choose a Solid web hosting company
In choosing a web hosting company, go for solid infra-structure. Avoid saturated web hosting companies that offer cheap hosting. They usually come with cheap service.
Because we are talking here of business website with ecommerce, it will serve you well to go for hosting that specialized in ecommerce for the simple reason that they usually are good at providing you the necessary package for an ecommerce website. A lot of web hosting are like do-it-all hosting. They host all, but are really great in one particular field. Since we are talking about business here, it will benefit you well to choose hosting services that specialized in ecommerce.
Look for the following features and packages:
- Decide what type of hosting you need: Shared or cloud hosting is cheaper and will be sufficient for most small business websites.
- High traffic or large ecommerce brands should consider dedicated or VPS hosting.
- Pay attention to uptime: If your site is unavailable, you are going to lose money. Look for a web host that offers at least 99.9% uptime and will refund a portion of your fees if they fail to meet their guarantee.
- Consider security: Hosts are tasked with keeping your web files secure, so you want a host that cares about security. Look for features such as an included SSL certificate, firewall, and malware protection.
- Think of the future: If your site is for informational purposes, a cheap, shared hosting plan may be fine. However, consider whether traffic will increase substantially as your business grows and look for a hosting provider with plans that will grow with you.
- Look at features: Hosts often offer a wide range of other products, including site builders, SSL certificates (which give your site the https prefix), free domain names, marketing credits, and email hosting. Choose a host that offers what you need, not a more expensive plan that includes “free” features you will never use.
- Pay attention to pricing details: Many hosts offer discounts on the first year or a “free” domain name that renews at a much higher rate. Before you buy, check on the renewal price for your second year of hosting service.
One of the more helpful thing I do when choosing a web hosting for my need is to check and read the reviews. Reading reviews allows you to get into the experiences of others with similar need as you.
Once you are able to find your web hosting of choice. Register you domain name.
3. Choose your site builder
All hosting providers I know comes with a proprietary site builder or access to a third-party builder with your hosting plan.
Here is a quick look at the most popular site builders on the market.
WordPress. As the most popular content management system on the internet, you have likely heard of WordPress. WordPress can be as complex or simple as you like, and there are a variety of themes to choose from. If you plan to expand your site, WordPress is an excellent option.
Thirtybees is an ecommerce platform that comes with nice and elegant theme you can build your business website on. I comes with a blog which handy for delivering contents.
Squarespace is a template-based site building tool and an all-in-one platform. They offer hosting, domains, a site builder, and even ecommerce features. Squarespace sites are quite flexible, but options are slightly limited compared to WordPress.
Weebly is a super easy to use, template-based site builder with drag and drop features. It is an affordable option, but businesses looking to expand will quickly outgrow Weebly.
At Shoptech Media, we have our own website builder system that have ecommerce as the core. Our system comes with a blog, and all the necessary functionalities an ecommerce business website need. It comes with a Data Analytics that is comparable or better than google analytics in terms of wider user data coverage. It also comes with a ticketing system and an email system to run your email campaign. Plan is in the work to build into it a POS. Contact us on how you can avail of these advance functionalities to take your ecommerce business to another level! Our team is standing by to accommodate your need.
4. Structure your web pages to get your navigation up to par
Keep in mind when you build your own business website, users should not have to dig to find information. If a page is important, be sure to list it in the main navigation bar or the footer.
Here are a few main website pages every site should include:
- Home page: This is your elevator pitch, your first impression. Explain who your company is and your values. Include a CTA to other pages, such as contact and products or services.
- Product/Services pages: Include one page for each major service or product line your business offers. For example, a bakery might include cakes, pies, and catering pages.
- About us page: A look at the history and the people behind your company. What is your founding story? What background do you want to share? Are you a veteran, a former police officer, do you have a family?
- Contact page: How can site visitors reach you? Your contact page may include an online form, phone number, address, hours, and embedded Google map.
- Privacy statement: This is the page where you explain what information you gather from site visitors and what you do with the information.
5. Optimize your website
The question remaining for you at this point is: How will people find you on the internet? Most users locate the information they need by typing (or speaking) a search into Google. For example, a family looking for a children’s clothing store might type in “kids clothing near me.” Or they log into their social media accounts and tell friends about it! These actions are part of the so called “search engine optimization(SEO)”.
If you use WordPress.org, make sure you download JetPack and use the guide that comes with it to optimize your site.
Squarespace users can use the checklist provided by Squarespace.Our ecommerce system comes SEO ready.
Additional resource regarding SEO:
6. Set up payment processor
Popular payment options include PayPal, Stripe, and Square, though there are plenty of other payment processor options. The host you choose may provide an ecommerce option, as well.
Three of the most popular payment processor options:
- Stripe is an online payment API that works well for e-commerce companies. Collect for Stripe will also allow you to accept in-person payments.
- PayPal is one of the most popular online payment processors. They offer online checkout, invoicing, and payments that work well for most ecommerce businesses.
- Square offers a variety of POS systems, online checkout, and invoicing that works well for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses.
When selecting a payment processor, consider how your target audience prefers to pay and also how much each processor charges.
Stick to the basic. Creating a business website can sometimes feel overwhelming. But with the wide range of tools and solutions on the market today, getting your business online no longer requires knowing how to code or spending thousands of dollars.
Following the steps outlined above to build your own business website, your business can be ready to connect with the 4.33 billion internet users in just an afternoon.