Creating a website for your business isn’t easy. Particularly if you’re coming to it brand new (after all, you started your business to do what YOU excel at, not to build websites, right?).
And the truth? It can be a long, tedious process to create a website for your business from scratch, involving lots of YouTube wormholes, Google searches and moments of pulling giant clumps of hair from your head (ouch!)
If you want to take a moment to plan things before diving in, I’ve got a blog post that should help. It shows you how to plan your website out BEFORE you start building it.
To make this process easier for you, I have put together this EPIC guide to walk you through the steps you need to follow in order to create and launch your small business website.
And because I love to show as well as explain, there are plenty of videos for you to follow along.
I promise you, that while this isn’t necessarily easy – it IS totally do-able. So let’s start at the beginning.
Why Your Small Business Needs a Website
Websites Build Brand Credibility
Let’s face it, your business needs a place on the internet to call its own. Your website is where your audience gathers information about you, and how your business can help them.
By having a website, you’re adding credibility to your brand, by showing the world exactly who your are, and how you can help them.
Use Your Website To Showcase Your Products And Services
Whether you’re selling products, services, online courses, workshops, books – whatever it is that ticks your business over – you HAVE to have a place on the web to show the world your wares.
People like to browse before they buy, and the online space is no different.
Your website is how potential future clients and customers can snoop around, see what you’ve got, and ultimately decide whether or not they want to buy what you’re selling.
Your Website Can Become An Online Lead Generation Machine
This is hands-down my favourite part of having a website for your business.
Set up properly, you can get new subscribers onto your list, every single day. Paired with a kick-arse email marketing strategy, over time you can develop a system where your website is out there making SALES for you. (yes, even while you sleep!)
OK, so are we all on board? Yes?
Great. Let’s get started. I’m going to show you exactly how to build your website from scratch!
Step 1: Register Your Domain Name
What Is A Domain Name?
Nope, not a trick question! But I just wanted to make sure that we’re on the same page.
Your domain name is your address on the internet. Another term for it, is your URL.
It usually makes the most sense to use your business name as a domain name, in order to make it easy to be found (or remembered).
How To Find Out If A Domain Name Is Available.
In order to check that the domain name you want is actually available (and often..they’re not – boo!) there are various resources to help you to do this.
Name Check is my preferred resource for this, because not only can you check if the website address you want is available, but you can also see if it works across various social media channels.
How to Register Your Domain Name
Instead of loads of screen shots and explanations, the easiest way to show you how to do this is with a video. So…here you go!
My preferred domain registrar is NameCheap – so this video will walk you through the steps of how to use them.
Step 2: How to Choose The Best Web Hosting For Your Small Business Website
Different Types of Web Hosting
There are many different ways to host a website. The best method to host your website all depends on what you need out of your site and what you are going to use it for.
Shared hosting is the most affordable method of hosting a website. Small websites that do not get much traffic will benefit from this method the most.
With shared hosting, you are (as the same implies) sharing a server with other websites. This can impact your website’s speed and performance, but when you’re just starting out, this usually isn’t something you need to worry about too much.
And you can always upgrade as your site grows.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting is considered an upgrade from shared hosting, where a website gets its own virtual server. You would be sharing a physical server, but you get control over your own performance and traffic.
Dedicated servers offer the most control over the server that your site is located in. In essence, you are renting out an entire server, and you are the only one who has data on it. Dedicated servers are very expensive, and should only be recommended if you need the server performance and control.
Cloud hosting is best for websites that are getting high levels of traffic. A cloud is a group of servers that host a series of websites. This allows many different computers to handle high traffic rates. Cloud hosting is expensive, however, and it does not provide root access.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress Hosting is a service where all parts of a WordPress site are managed by the host. This type of hosting offers highly optimized servers that allow you the speed, security, and support you need.
Recommended Web Hosting: Siteground
I am a BIG fan of Siteground, and I use it for hosting all my websites.
Over the years, I’ve seen inside plenty of hosting platforms – and believe me, I have seen a WIDE range of quality.
As an online entrepreneur, what you want from a host is:
- Great support
- Affordable start-up hosting costs
- Help with migrating from your old host
- Good uptime on the servers
Siteground exceeds at all of these points. Most importantly, I would say that their online support is some of the best I’ve come across.
And if you’re not techy, and just want someone to sort it out for you when something goes wrong – Siteground support will do just that.
Step 3: How to Choose The Best WordPress Theme
What is a WordPress theme?
A WordPress theme is the container that holds all the styling and structural elements for your website.
Essentially, it’s a collection of files that sit together on a server, and between them all, make your website look a certain way, and have certain functionality.
Free themes vs Premium themes
When you first install WordPress, you’ll be presented with almost limitless optins of free WordPress themes.
Tempting as they might be – you don’t want to use a free theme for your business website.
Why not? Because:
- They’ll be basic
- They won’t have support (if you were a developer, would you offer ongoing support for something you’re not getting paid for?)
- They’ll likely have bugs as they don’t get updated regularly (same reason as above…there’s not money in free themes, so no motivation to keep working on them).
Premium themes on the other hand, are part of someone’s business model.
They will offer support, and be regularly updated.
But not all premium themes are created equal, and if you’re looking for create a website for your business that looks professional (and shows you in the best possible light), then I highly recommend using Divi.
Divi is more than just a theme, it’s a website builder that allows you to build your website to look however you want.
There is a bit of a learning curve with it, as it’s such a powerful tool. My free course – WordPress in a Day – walks you through step-by-step on how to use Divi to build your website from scratch.
Want to find out about other WordPress themes for building your website? I wrote a comprehensive post outlining the ones I think are best for online entrepreneurs. You can read it here.
Step 4: Outline Your Website Content
Create a sitemap for your website
To get a better understanding of what sorts of pages you need for your website, spend some time researching what others in your niche are doing.
You’ll quickly notice that there will be a pattern to the pages on their sites, and how everything flows together.
For example, for an online coaching business, you might have the following pages:
- Work With Me
Create SEO friendly content
Need a quick overview of SEO? This blog post helps you navigate those waters!
When you sit down to write the content for your website, you’ll need to have at least a basic understanding of how to create Google-friendly content.
To do this, start researching keywords that visitors might use to find your content on the internet.
A great starting point is answerthepublic.com. You put in your search term, and it sends back a heap of suggestions based on what people are ACTUALLY searching for on Google.
Some simple SEO tips for creating content that Google will reward are:
- Write longer articles (more than 1500 words is good)
- Include images, videos and other interactive content
- Use headlines and bullets to break up your content (people on the internet are skim-readers)
- Don’t keyword stuff
- Write for your readers, and make the content as useful as possible
Want to read more about SEO for your website? This article gives you an introduction to all things SEO!
Step 5: Create a Logo
If you don’t have the funds to pay a brand designer at this point in your business journey – don’t let that be an excuse to not keep moving forward!
A simple text logo with a stylized font is more than enough for now.
(Remember, your brand is MUCH more than that logo – so working on developing your content, your business ethos, your target client – all these are a much better use of your resources right now than an expensive logo).
How to Create a Simple Text Logo
Step 6: How to Build Your Website From Scratch
How to install WordPress
Installing WordPress is really just a matter of a couple of clicks, particularly if you choose a host like Siteground.
How to install the Divi theme
These instructions are specifically for installing the Divi theme, but the process is the same – no matter which theme you’re installing.
Designing Your Small Business Website Pages
The process of designing the individual pages is then done using the Divi Builder, which I’ve outlined here
Step 7: Join WordPress in a Day
WordPress is a Day is a completely FREE mini-course of video tutorials to guide you through this entire process.
Broken down into 3 modules with a total of 15 lessons, we cover all the technical nuts and bolts of building a website, allowing you to quickly and confidently get your WordPress website online.