A well-designed website is vital for any modern business – from e-commerce giants to sole traders just starting out. Websites are where customers research potential purchases, check opening hours before shop visits and buy from businesses directly.
Even if you’ve been trading for a while, new customer channels are available through a website and can help your business appear more trustworthy. We’ll walk you through the key elements to consider and steps to follow as you’re creating a business website.
In this article, find out:
- How to create a business website
- The key design and user elements to consider
- How to drive traffic to your website
- How to save time and build your business
How to create a business website
Building a website requires a domain, a host, and a platform to build how your website will look and function.
We’ve outlined steps below to take care of each of these things, however some services offer all three to simplify the process. As you’re creating your business’ website, check which services offer you the most value from a cost, functionality and customer support perspective.
Step 1: Decide what your website is for
Do you want customers to place bookings, send inquiries or purchase from your website?
Having a website that does what you want it to is essential if you’re to keep customers on your site. For example, a website with information about your business and an inquiries portal only needs a few pages. A fully-fledged e-commerce platform will need extra functionalities, including product photography, detailed descriptions and secure payment methods.
A poorly designed website can mean customers get frustrated from not finding the information they want and leave for a competitor’s site instead. To avoid this, building a website well is crucial.
Step 2: Find a domain name
A domain name is the first part of your website:
example.com or your-business-name-here.co.uk
You can buy a domain name at a low cost from several providers, including GoDaddy, Shopify and Google. Each offers different rates and introductory deals, so you should shop around to find the best value.
Try to make your domain:
- Short and easy to spell
- Related to your business and memorable
- Versatile for future growth or product offers
The next step is to choose the right top-level domain. The top-level domain (TLD) is the part of your website at the end.
TLDs like .com or .co.uk are very common and trusted options for many businesses. However, you might have access to some alternative ones, like .edu, depending on your business, or .london, .wales or .scot, based on your location. Having these domains can add clarity about what your business offers or where it operates but may limit your growth to a single region.
Step 3: Choose a website host
A website host is a business offering servers for website data to be stored on and websites to be run from. Some of the businesses providing domains mentioned previously also offer hosting and design services, too.
If you handle payments on your website, you should find website hosts that offer significant security measures. Your business reputation can be damaged if customers have their data stolen. Some website hosts offer shared servers for lower costs; however, this can mean you’re exposed to data vulnerabilities from other websites. If you need or can afford it, choose a dedicated server for your business’ website.
Popular website hosts include BlueHost (recommended if you build your business on WordPress), Hostinger, and GreenGeeks (300% energy offset for your website available).
Step 4: Build the website
If you’re looking for a straightforward or common website format, you can build your website yourself.
Services like WordPress, SquareSpace and Wix offer templates for you to build a website quickly and easily. Their interface allows you to further customise your templates to offer useful customer features, helping to make your website more unique and navigable. Other services, like Shopify, specialise in e-commerce websites so you can create a website to sell products from just as quickly.
If you want a more specialised website, or to have more direct control over your data and website format, you can hire a website designer to build something more bespoke. This can be useful if you don’t like any of the template designs or if you want to provide the amount of data protection your industry expects. However, this can be an expensive route to choose.
Design and user elements to consider
As you’re creating your website, put your customers’ experience at the heart of every decision you make. Make sure common pages are available, such as:
- An ‘about’ and ‘contact us’ page
- A section for business updates or events
- Product or service information and reviews from customers
- Social media links
- FAQ’s, delivery information (where relevant)
Beyond the information available to your customers, you should also consider how it’s presented.
Include high-quality images, easily readable fonts and accessible language (avoid technical terms where possible). Make sure to optimise your website for devices like tablets or smartphones, and have a consistent design throughout.
How to drive traffic to your website
Driving customer traffic and views to your website can be done through your advertising or through search engine optimization (SEO).
Advertising your business or website can be done through a number of different channels – read our dedicated guide How to Advertise a Small Local Business.
Optimising your website for search engines means making the information available on your website clear to search engines. This can include tagging your website or content with keywords or common search phrases, as well as fast-loading data and interesting content for customers to share with others.
How to save time when launching your website
While building a website can be done quickly and efficiently, optimising and customising it for your customers takes time.
As you’re launching a new business, there’s a lot to do, which is why finding ways to save time is important. Countingup helps thousands of UK business owners manage their financial admin so that they can stay focused on what matters most.
The Countingup app automates the time-consuming parts of financial admin. Having your business current account and accounting software in one app will help you understand your finances and stay organised more easily.
With automated invoicing tools and handy receipt capture, you can be confident that your records are accurate. And with profit and loss reporting, you’ll be able to quickly understand your trading performance in real-time.
Gain complete confidence in your books and save time with the Countingup app. Find out more here and sign up for free today.