Building a website sounds super complicated and expensive, especially if you’re not familiar with the tools and software that are commonly used to create websites nowadays. But the good news is that you don’t need a single qualification in website development to get a fully functional site for your business.
If you’re not convinced that your business needs a website: think again! Research shows a 66% increase in South African online sales in 2020. And the ecommerce industry just keeps on growing!
Websites establish your business’s digital footprint and help you showcase how great your offerings are. A website is undoubtedly one of the best ways to market your small business.
Remember that when consumers are on the lookout for information about businesses, they go straight to Google for answers. Google sends them straight to your site (if your website ranks and complies with some other good stuff, but that’s a story for another day).
In this article, we’ll show you just how easy it is to build a website in a matter of hours!
How to Build a Website in 9 Easy Steps
1. Identify the primary purpose of your website
First things first, you need to decide what the primary purpose of your website is. We get it: the goal of all businesses is to make some moola, but you need to figure out your purpose before you figure out your “how”.
Use the following to find the purpose of your website:
- Do you want to advertise your services?
- Do you want to sell your products online?
- Do you want to use your website to research customer satisfaction?
- Do you want your website to make it easier for customers to locate and contact you?
Once you have an understanding of why you’re building your website, you’ll be able to get started on some of the more tangible steps of your website build.
2. Settle on a domain name
Less is more when it comes to selecting a domain name. Domains should be clear, concise, and something you are happy to be represented by. Your domain name shouldn’t just be something you think of off the top of your head because, ultimately, it will stick with you for years to come (or until you choose not to have a website anymore).
When brainstorming for a domain name, remember to choose keywords that represent your site, are unique and are specific to your brand. The best place to start is with your brand name. Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed that your brand name will be available. You can find out by doing domain research to see if you can purchase a domain based on your brand name or check out similar alternatives if you can’t.
You can also use a domain name generator for some inspiration if you’ve hit a roadblock and are struggling to come up with something spectacular for your website.
3. Choose a hosting provider
Next, you’ll need to pick a hosting provider. All hosting providers offer different features and functions, so it’s up to you to research providers to see which one will serve you best. Be sure to consider how reliable the provider is and its reported uptime (because there’s nothing worse than a slow website!).
Now, you may think this sounds like it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg, but there are quite a few hosting providers that are both affordable and reliable. Check out what Xneelo and Afrihost have to offer!
Remember, your website is a brand investment that’ll leave you reaping rewards for years to come.
4. Build your web pages
Now it’s time for the fun part: designing the website itself. For this step, you will need to think about the look and feel you want your website to have, what your landing page will look like and what copy will need to feature on each page.
Take a look at some websites from local competitors to see what they’ve included on their website pages - and see where you can stand out!
The best part about building your own website is using the free tools available that make the job super simple! Did you know you can use a website template and customise it for your business? No coding or crying here, friends!
5. Set up a payment gateway
A payment gateway acts as a link between your website and the payment provider or customer, allowing payment data to flow securely.
In a nutshell, payment gateways allow you to:
- Securely validate customers’ credit card details.
- Ensure there are enough funds available to complete transactions.
- Approve transactions and transfer the amount to your account.
You should now be ready to showcase your business to the world (and receive some hard-earned randelas)! While this isn’t quite the last step of the process, it sure is one of the most exciting!
When you think you’re ready to publish, do yourself a favour and double-check the following just in case:
- Has your copy been edited?
- Are all the prices listed on the website correct?
- Does the payment gateway work?
- Does the website load quickly?
- Is your contact information accurate?
After you’ve confirmed that everything is in its place and ready to be seen by the world, hit that publish button!
7. Market your website
Marketing your website has never been easier. Nowadays, there are just so many ways to successfully (and organically) get your website seen.
- Leverage the power of social media to help drive up traffic and generate more awareness.
- Create a blog to give your target audience more insight into your business and its products or services.
- Set up an email marketing system to share promotional content.
8. Fine tune your website - the SEO way
SEO marketing helps increase and direct traffic to your website by making it easier for search engines to find you.
Among the many SEO best practices, some you can use to give your site a boost are:
- Make sure your site is fully functional and glitch-free.
- Conduct keyword research when writing your website copy.
- Ensure that all the information displayed on your site is up to date.
9. Perform regular maintenance
Once your website is up and running, you still need to keep an eye on it. A website will only stay relevant if the information on it is correct. Or else you open yourself up to having upset customers on your hands, thanks to outdated info!
As part of your regular maintenance efforts:
- Check that your website continues to run smoothly.
- Update content so that it remains fresh.
- Review website analytics to see where you can improve it.
Ready to try it out?
That brings us to the end of our short guide on building a website for your small business! Not as daunting as it seems, right? Building a website for your business will take you one step further on your entrepreneurship journey and unlock tons of opportunities for growth. We can’t wait to see how far it takes you!