You're no doubt aware that creating a small business website is an absolute no-brainer. However, it’s not always a simple task. Despite the current climate of rapid website creation, designing your business site so it looks and performs its best for your business can still be a complex task. Following proven strategies will bolster your confidence, and save you time and energy over the long run.
In this post, we’ll offer five key considerations to keep in mind when creating a small business website:
5 big considerations for creating a small business website
Formulate a plan.
Choose your website’s platform.
Decide on a domain name.
Select a quality web host.
Decide whether to outsource the development work.
Let’s get started!
1. Formulate a plan
First, let’s talk about creating a reliable plan. In this context, we mean clearly outlining your website’s goals and figuring out how you’ll achieve them.
This step is vital for a number of reasons:
- A plan is an anchor to refer to for any later decisions.
- You’ll have a roadmap that can be used to set deadlines and targets.
- You’re able to adapt to any surprises that crop up.
The simplest method for creating your plan is to ask questions about your site’s audience and its required elements. You might ask yourself, “What is the goal of our site?” or “What is our development budget?” Some of these questions may seem obvious, but their answers will provide deeper insight into your goals and needs.
Once you have your answers, you can identify your main priorities and figure out how to accomplish each one. By the time this stage is over, you’ll have a clear and defined plan that can propel you into the next phase.
2. Choose your website’s platform
This consideration is arguably the most important after formulating a plan. The wrong choice here could slow you down and negatively impact your budget, so it’s important to take your time.
There are several options you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons:
Solutions such as GoDaddy’s New Website Builder get you up and running quickly. For some businesses, this is the best option. But if you’re creating a small business website that will need a deal more flexibility and scalability than many site builders offer, you’ll want to consider other alternatives.
Content management systems (CMS)
Collaborative platforms such as WordPress and Joomla! provide a balance between ease of use, flexibility and scalability. Creating a small business website using WordPress, for example, requires some intermediate skills — such as installing the plugins that will boost your site’s flexibility. It’s not difficult to build a website with a CMS like WordPress, but it’s not as simple as using a website builder.
Old-fashioned hand coding
This method gives you the ultimate flexibility. However, coding your own website requires specialized knowledge and is almost certainly impractical for your needs.
At this point, you should do your research into each avenue, referencing the plan you created earlier. While your choice will ultimately be based on your unique needs, it’s usually important to consider a platform’s ease of use, its ability to handle multiple users, how well it handles search engine optimization, and its customization options.
3. Decide on a domain name
For this consideration, let’s first talk about the concept of domains and hosting. Think of web hosting as your home, since it’s the place where your site “lives.” In order for people to find your home, you’ll need to give them the address – this is your domain name.
Choosing the right domain name is vital, as one that doesn’t fit with your business’ brand could confuse your visitors. Worse still, they might not be able to find you at all.
Settling on the perfect domain name is a bit of an art form, although making it short and pronounceable is key. If it’s brandable, that’s even better! The availability of a multitude of top-level domain extensions that are geo- and industry-specific (think .attorney, .construction, .photography, etc.) make it easier to find a domain name that checks all these boxes.
Give it a try
When you find the right domain name, you’ll need to register it. There are plenty of registrars available, but you don’t have to look far: GoDaddy has served millions of website owners, and offers an extensive selection of top-level domain extensions.
4. Select a quality web host
Finding the right web host is just as crucial as picking your domain name. A poor-quality choice could see you stuck with a provider that can’t scale as your business grows, and doesn’t offer suitable support when things go wrong.
Your web host will do a lot to determine how successful your site becomes.
Making this decision can take a fair bit of research but ultimately you’re looking for a host that can provide:
- 24/7 support (so it's available whenever you need it).
- Dedicated hosting for your chosen platform.
- Built-in security so you don’t need to worry.
- A feature set that’s adaptable to your unique needs.
Again, we’re hoping to make this an easy choice for you. GoDaddy offers a number of hosting packages that will meet these criteria for all manner of websites.
5. Decide whether to outsource the development work
This final consideration represents a fork in the road. Now that your plan and primary tools are in place, you can choose to either develop your website in-house or outsource the work. There are a number of pros and cons to think about here:
- Creating a site in-house is cheaper, and you get to completely control the design and development of your site. However, this is at the potential expense of quality in design, and it will take up more time.
- Outsourcing the development is more expensive, but you’re entrusting your site’s design to an expert who can offer you value for money and take considerable work off your shoulders.
Ultimately, the decision will be based on your budget and needs.
If your needs are fairly basic and your budget on the smaller side, the website builder option likely is the way to go. Outsourcing won’t be a consideration because these tools are made for do-it-yourselfers.
If you choose to go the CMS route and decide that creating a small business website is best handled in-house, check out this advice on how to build your own website.
If you go the do-it-for-me route, choosing a web design company, freelance website designer or developer will require the some additional research. These articles are a good place to start:
- Website Development 101 for small businesses
- What to look for in a web design company
- How to hire a pro for web page design
- WordPress designer vs. developer vs. devsigner
- How to make your website designer your business partner
- The worst things you can say to a web designer
In order to remain current and keep up with your competitors, a professional-looking website is crucial. It’s not just a virtual calling card — it can be central to your lead generation and marketing strategies. However, knowing where to begin when creating a small business website is the hard part, and you could end up wasting valuable time if you’re not fully prepared.
In this piece, we’ve offered five key considerations you should keep in mind when creating a small business website:
- Hash out goals and a plan before you begin development.
- Choose a platform that can help you achieve your goals.
- Select a quality, marketable domain name.
- Opt for a suitable web host that meets your unique needs.
- Decide whether to tackle your site’s development in-house, or leave it to the experts.
If you keep these key considerations in mind at the outset, you’ll be ahead of the curve for creating a site that works well for your business.