WEB DESIGN

10 Key Steps To Building A Great Small Business Website

Being the awesome entrepreneur that you are, you already have the flare to create your own home based business. Or at least, you have an idea of something you’d like to embark on to bring your personal passion to life.

And just like any business, you’re going to need a website to advertise and sell your services or products.

Not quite sure how to go about it?

No worries! I’m laying out the 10 key steps to building a great small business website – WITHOUT needing to learn code. Phew! 😅

Alright, awesome mompreneurs – let’s go!

1. Obtain a good domain name

First off, you’ll need to get your domain name. This is also known as your website address and is basically the entry point to your site.

Make sure that it’s easy to use (as in not confusing) and is optimised for search engines like Google (more on that later).

To keep things simpler and easier to set up, I suggest you purchase your domain name directly from your hosting provider (more on hosting in step 2). That way you won’t need to mess around with the domain settings to make it point to the correct server. Sounds a little techy? It is, so just stick to your hosting provider. We’ll go over hosting in the next step. 😉

Most of the time, it will make the most sense to use your business name as the domain. However, sometimes this is already taken and you’ll need to come up with a variation.

Here are some tips for coming up with an good domain name:

  • Make it easy to spell. Try not to use slang, made up, or extremely esoteric words.
  • Keep it as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember.
  • Use the proper domain extension. Try to always make it a .com domain name (as opposed to .net, .co, etc.) unless it is more appropriate to use another extension, such as .gov, .edu, or .org.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens. They are hard to remember, less elegant and less memorable than word-only domain names. They also can be misunderstood when vocalising the domain name.
  • Make the address broad to facilitate future growth. 
  • Ensure it is memorable. It’s important that your website name is catchy so people will remember how to access it in the future.
  • Research the domain name. Google it or use username and domain checker (like namechk.com) to see if a similar website address already exists online.
  • Avoid nonsensical names. Choose a name that conveys a meaning so that users will know immediately what your business is.
  • Create an SEO-friendly URL. When appropriate, try to come up with a website address that includes keywords and geo-location (like “www.NewYorkLifeCoach.com”). Only when appropriate, it has to still make sense for humans too. 😉

2. Purchase secure, scalable website hosting with good tech support

What is hosting and why do you need it? Well, a website hosting provider is a company that offers the technology and services necessary for a website to be viewed on the internet. It’s basically a big server where all your website files are stored

Your domain name will connect to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that you store on your hosting account. So without hosting, your website won’t be visible to anyone.

Personally, I recommend using SiteGround, which is a WordPress specific hosting provider. Their platform is built for performance which makes it very fast, their server security is top notch and their chat support team responds quickly and is very knowledgeable. A dream to work with!

As for the various hosting plans, for most small businesses the cheapest option, which is the StartUp plan, will be sufficient. They often have offers on their plans, currently this one is at €2,49/month (excl. VAT) if you sign up for an annual plan.

👉 You can find more information here.

3. Implement the best content management system

Next, you’re going to need a content management system or CMS for short. This is a software program or application that is used to create and manage digital content.

A good CMS will help you maintain your site without needing much technical knowledge to use it. There are various popular systems, like Squarespace, Shopify or Wix, but personally I’d recommend WordPress any time.

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It’s
free and relatively simple to install, especially if you use the SiteGround step-by-step installer. It has a vast, active support community and many useful plugins to extend the functionality of your site. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, it is easy to find a WordPress developer who can make one for you!

Its flexilibity and extensibility makes it the perfect platform for any type of business.

WordPress’s popularity means it’s also a popular target amongst hackers. Just make sure your site is regularly maintained and secured through best practices (checking for plugin updates, making sure the plugin is provided in the official WordPress repository, deleting unused plugins immediately, etc.).

Make sure you use wordpress.org, not wordpress.com. If you install it following the steps from Siteground, you’ll automatically have the .org version.

4. Choose a good e-commerce platform

If you plan on selling goods and/or services through your website, you’ll need the right technology to do so.

WooCommerce is one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms and is the go-to platform when using WordPress to turn your website into an online store. 🛒

Just like WordPress, there are many plugins available, which makes it extremely flexible. There are many free and premium themes pre-built for WooCommerce.

WooCommerce is quite straight forward to set up and also offers a very high amount of capabilities and scalability that your small business might need (now or in the future).

5. Create an interesting, memorable and engaging website

Once you’ve got the technical stuff done, you can start creating the look and feel of your website. Make sure your small business website leaves a positive impression that drives results.

Don’t just start creating without a plan but think about your strategy first. What is your website goal? Who is your audience? What information are they looking for?

Here are some more suggestions you can implement:

  • Use beautiful graphics and easy-to-read fonts.
  • Make sure your graphics are compressed and optimised for fast loading.
  • Research the competition to find out industry best practices. Use these ideas as inspiration, never create an exact copy!
  • Stay consistently on brand throughout your website design.
  • Design an intuitive navigation system which allows your website visitors to get to the pages they need quickly.
  • Publish easily accessible contact information.
  • Incorporate obvious call-to-actions (especially “buy now” buttons).
  • Create pages that are standard for your type of business websites, such as:
    • Home
    • About us
    • Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
    • Sitemap (for SEO purposes only, don’t include it in your main navigation)
    • Contact us
    • Terms of use
    • Privacy policy
    • Any additional pages that might be relevant to your specific business


One huge life saver when it comes to designing web pages, is the drag-and-drop page builder from Elementor. Aside from a range of templates and website kits, Elementor allows you to just drag the elements you want onto the page to create the layout you desire. No coding required!

👉 You can get the Elementor plugin here. Make sure to select “Website builder” from the plugin plans. If you only have one website, the Essential plan is the one for you!

6. Display a clear description of your business

It is important to let people know who you are and what you do right away so they don’t feel confused when they visit your small business website.

You can do that by making sure your main homepage banner (or “hero section”) and subsequent banners are visual representations of your services. Also add an introductory text box near the top of the page that describes who you are and what you do.

Additionally, make sure both your main and footer navigation menus have “About Us” page links easily accessible so people can click them and read more about your business in depth.

7. Optimise your website for search engines

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is a set of practices you apply to your website to ensure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to search engine users. 🔎

Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content is, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

  • Keyword research and implementation
  • Optimal website code
  • Fast loading speed
  • Being secure and having an SSL certificate installed
  • Having a mobile-friendly site
  • High-quality backlinks (links on external websites with related content that lead to your site)
  • Lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
  • Internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
  • Using social media to link to your site

SEO is an extremely important ongoing process that can mean the difference between showing up on the first page of search engine results pages (and large amounts of free traffic to your website) or page 300 (and no traffic).

8. Create and publish quality content regularly

Both content quantity and freshness are important to search engines, so it’s important that you create a plan to publish quality articles and/or blog posts on your site and on external sites that link to your site.

If you want to rank highly in search engine results and encourage people to return to your site again and again, you will have to update your website with new and relevant content as frequently as possible. ✍️

In addition to static page content and articles, a great form of content to post on your website is testimonials. Asking for testimonials from your customers and then publishing them on your website is a great way to post fresh, high-quality content on your site that makes your small business more attractive.

A little bonus when it comes to testimonials: these are also a great way to establish credibility and inspire trust!

9. Install analytics tools

You can analyse your website traffic and site performance by installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 📈

These tools can be used to track the following types of information:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to your site
  • Number of views on each page of your site
  • Bounce rate (the percentage of users who come to your site and leave after having only viewed one page)
  • Average time spent on site by visitors
  • Crawl errors on your site (errors that the search engines found on your site in crawling its content)
  • Broken links on the site
  • Keywords that lead users to your site
  • Backlinks to your site
  • Web page download time
  • Other information that can help you enhance your SEO

This data can give you a lot of information on what you can improve on your website, what content is working, where your visitors are from etc.

10. Implement a website maintenance plan

A website is a marketing tool that should grow with your business, so don’t just create it and forget about it. In order to have a successful website that ranks well in search engines and doesn’t get hacked, you need to make sure it is properly maintained. 🔧

Here are some tips to create a small business website maintenance plan:

  • Check Google Analytics data at least once a month and have any vital errors emailed to you in real time.
  • Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so you can better cater to them.
  • Use performance data to optimise and fix warnings and errors.
  • Make sure all software is always up to date.
  • Run security scans so you know your website is clean of malware and hasn’t been hacked.
  • Use “split testing” to see if certain variations of your website (like two versions of a landing page for selling a product) help performance.
  • Follow my advice about SEO and continually publish quality content.
  • Find on-trend and effective ways to market your business online.
  • Allow website users to provide you with feedback about your site.
  • Continue to check out your competition from time to time to see what they are doing with their online presence and see if what they’ve done can work for you as well.
  • Make sure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day and at least 10 days back.

Conclusion

As you can tell after reading this article that creating a great small business website may not be as simple as you first thought! 😅

However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you want a more detailed step-by-step breakdown of my process, I’ve got you covered.

Sign up below for the waiting list for my upcoming website creation course and get early bird access when it launches as well as some exclusive bonuses! 👇

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