Every small business needs a well-designed website. It is an essential part of the success of small companies. But building the perfect website for your business may not be a cheap task.
Almost every small business joins the market with a limited budget. Outsourcing web development or custom ecommerce development services can be expensive. But this is not the only way you can create an exciting and attractive website for your business.
You can build an affordable web design for small businesses on your own. This article will provide you with the ultimate guide you need for the complete process.
4 Reasons Why You Should Focus on Small Business Web Design
A good website can bring huge success to your small business. There are no alternatives in today’s world. Imagine you own small local craft business. You will need a website to reach the maximum number of customers in your community.
We have also moved into a time where online presence matters more than brick-and-mortar entities. Consumers want to be able to shop sitting in the comfort of their homes. Thus, websites can be a big asset for small businesses.
Apart from the obvious ones, there is much importance to a small business website. But still, new entrepreneurs think twice before investing in web design services. Here are 4 reasons why you should have a website for any business you own.
Gaining a competitive advantage
Small businesses are often newly formed companies. No consumer will choose your business without prior research. They will go on the internet and compare between different competitors.
You are competing with other online businesses. So, having a website means you are on the same playing field as them. It will allow you to promote your offerings and capture a huge pool of online customers.
If your competitor has a website, those customers will end up choosing that company. So, websites give clear competitive advantages to small businesses. Every top small business needs to capture the opportunity.
Many startups think that social media presence is enough for brand awareness. But that restricts so many opportunities for you. The best websites use technology, process, and design to build brand awareness.
And it is even more useful for small businesses. A business website can build credibility and trust over your business. As a result, you can brand your offerings better with more flexibility and control. Websites can make a huge difference in attracting customers.
Your business website is an eCommerce store for your business. You can use the platform for many different activities. All these together add up to growing your business online.
Suppose you are in the local crafting business. You offer handicrafts to your local market. The business has been going well, and now you want to spread out. How do you do that?
The best option is to have a website and let it do the magic. You can use the web platform to target countrywide customers. You can even grow globally with your small business. All you need is a well-functioning website.
Finding customers on the internet
As mentioned already, customers will search your business online. If they find your website, they will be enticed to go in. What happens when you do not have a website? The customers will not be able to find you from their Google searches.
So, having a website allows you to gain potential online customers. And the numbers are on the rise. A majority of the customers want to buy company offerings online. It enables small companies to get new customers on the internet constantly.
5 Things to Consider when Designing a Website for Small Businesses
Building the most affordable website is important. But the task is not so simple. You need to consider quite a few things before getting into the process.
These things are part of the planning you do before designing a small business website. The planning phase could seem boring. But it is just as much crucial as creating the actual web platform. It also makes the main process simpler.
Here are 5 things to consider before business web design.
The primary goal
Ask yourself- why am I designing a web platform for my business? The answer may seem obvious. But being clear about it is paramount.
Being clear about the goal of the website is a key step. Many things depend on this step. You can use the web platform for many purposes. You have to be specific about which purpose the website serves for your small business.
Once you are clear about the goal, you can expect positive results from the platform. You can meet customer expectations. You can also create the best customer experience through the website. Everything becomes a lot easier to execute when you know the goal in advance.
The target audience
It is crucial to create a website that targets specific audiences. You cannot expect to reach all kinds of customers. So, you need to find out your online customer pool. And use the website to target those audiences.
A lot will depend on the audience you choose to target. Your website design should match the audience’s preferences. The contents of the website will also depend on the target customers. Thus, you cannot design a workable platform without knowing your audience.
We are focusing on building an affordable website. But it will still cost you a formidable amount of money. So, planning the budget is an essential part.
The budget will determine several steps of the designing process. Can you outsource the web design services? Or you will need to do everything on your own? Which approach will your budget allow you to take to design the website?
A clear and well-planned budget will prevent making mistakes. You can also keep away from overspending. The budget will give you a clear idea about what you can afford as well.
You will surely find other small businesses using websites to promote their offerings. It is always a great idea to research their web pages. You will be able to gain better ideas on what to do and what not to do.
It is also a good practice to think beyond specific industries. For example, you may only consider going through your industry competitions. But other industries also have new companies. You can research their websites and contents as well.
It is always an excellent practice to gather as much information as possible. It will help you to generate unique ideas.
Getting contents ready
The final consideration is to prepare the contents even before creating the website. It might sound like a backward process. But this approach can bring quick traffic to your newly designed website.
Designing a website is not about creating the web platform only. There are many other processes involved. And contents are a significant part of them.
It will simplify the promotional activities after the website is ready. So, focus on getting the contents ready.
2 Ways to Build a Unique Website for Small Business
Now comes the step to make a big decision. Should you use a website builder or WordPress to design the website?
As you can see, there are 2 ways you can build an affordable website on your own. But making a choice can seem tough. We are here to simplify the decision.
Website builders are the easier option to use. It is especially true for new web developers. The best part of website builders is that you do not need much coding knowledge. They offer many different templates for website features. But there are still some drawbacks.
Pros of website builders
You can create a very user-friendly platform with website builders. It is specifically beneficial for mobile-friendly websites. And you do not need much coding knowledge either.
Website builders also offer free trial runs. Some website builders even offer free plans. And you can avail all these with excellent customer service.
Cons of website builders
The biggest problem of website builders is their creative limitations. The templates are more mainstream. If you want to create unique templates, that may take much effort.
Another issue with website builders is that it can be hard to switch. So, you may have to completely redesign the website when you move to a new website builder. And this can increase the total expenses as well.
WordPress requires you to use codes to build your website. It is an open-source platform. If you have some working knowledge of coding, this is the place for you. WordPress is famous for its creative capacity.
Pros of WordPress
The best feature of WordPress is that you can customize your website as you want. You can be creative with the design. It will enable you to create a unique platform.
WordPress is a popular and reliable platform for website building. It is primarily because it gives you complete ownership of the website. You can make every decision about your website. And you will never have any third-party ads on your website.
Cons of WordPress
WordPress is not suitable for beginners. You need working coding knowledge to use the platform. It also makes the platform more expensive than website builders.
As you are in control, you will experience a lack of customer support from WordPress. You will need to maintain everything about the website. It involves updates, security, and backups of the site. You will also be responsible for fixing any bugs.
10 Steps for Affordable Web Design for Small Business
Building an affordable website for your startup is easy when you follow the steps. There are certain things that you must ensure. We have accumulated all of them into 10 key steps. So, let’s begin the journey of creating a small business website.
Step 1: Obtain a domain name
The domain name is the website address. It is the entry point to your website. You will need to ensure that the domain name includes usability features. So, how do you select a domain name?
Easy to spell
The first thing to ensure is that the domain name is easy to spell. It is best if you do not include any long and hard-to-spell words. Try to name your website domain as simply as possible.
Keep it short
Shorter domain names are easy to spell. Visitors can find your website quicker as well. So, find a domain name that involves fewer typing mistakes when visitors search online.
Suitable domain extension
The domain extension should include the most common form. It means that you should consider using “.com” as a domain extension only. But you can use “.gov”, “.edu”, or “.org” if they are relevant.
Avoid hyphens and numbers
Finding a unique domain name could be challenging. But you can still try to avoid the obvious mistakes. It involves including hyphens and numbers inside the name. The best practice is to avoid this extra stuff for better SEO.
You can begin the digital marketing campaign through domain names. It involves optimizing SEO features inside the domain name. For example, you can include keywords that search engines can easily find. You can use geo-location in your website domain as well for better local SEO optimization.
Step 2: Get secure and supportive website hosting
A website hosting service provides the platform to host your website on the internet. The service involves the necessary technology to host your website domain. So, it is important to choose a plan that supports your budget.
The plan you pick should provide you with good customer support. It means that you should be able to reach for instant services. For example, you may need bug fix support from the hosting service. You should be able to reach them through strong communication channels.
A good hosting service should also include proper security for your website. It involves accessing the server through a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). The host should also backup website files every day. Also, you should opt for a service that ensures regular security maintenance.
3 types of website server hosting
You can choose between 3 types of server hosting. The first one is a “Shared server”. As the name suggests, you will be sharing the server with other customers. It is the cheapest yet the most unsecured option.
The second type is a “Dedicated server”. It is the most expensive option. But this choice can give you the best outcome.
And the last one is “Virtual Private Server” (VPS). Its is the more popular option among the three. VPS offers cheaper deals than “Dedicated server”. And you will also get better services than “Shared server”.
Step 3: Include a clear description of the business
It is quite common for people to get confused about the functions of a small business. As a result, it is important to display a clear description of the business. You can easily attract customers through an engaging explanation of your offerings.
The best way to do this is by utilizing the “Hero Image” of the website. It means including a display banner on the homepage of the website. You can include several other visuals to represent the activities of the business.
You can also include text blurbs explaining the offerings. The best practice is to use the “About Us” page to explain the business idea through texts. You can optimize SEO features here as well.
Step 4: Implement Content Management System (CMS)
CMS is an application that you can use to develop and manage content on the website. Digital contents are crucial to increase website traffic. A CMS application will allow you to maintain these contents better.
The best part about CMS is that you do not need much technical knowledge. You can easily design contents that meet business needs. And you can optimize them with user-friendliness, accessibility, and budget.
There are many popular CMS applications you can use. The most popular of them is WordPress. Other applications include Drupal, Wix, and Squarespace.
Step 5: Select the eCommerce platform
If you are selling goods or services through the website, you need an eCommerce platform. The eCommerce platform will provide you with the technology necessary for transactions. It can increase sales and generate profits quickly for your business.
There is no point in having a website if you cannot increase revenue generation. So, select a good eCommerce platform for your website. The best one you can choose is Shopify. Other platforms include WooCommerce, Business Squarespace, and Wix.
Step 6: Website user interface
Small business websites need to have user-friendly interfaces. It is one thing that can leave positive impacts on visitors. Thus, it can also generate better results for your company.
The best way to enhance the user interface is to reduce page load time. You will have to use engaging and good-quality visuals. But make sure that the web pages do not take too much time to load.
You should also focus on creating a mobile-friendly website. A majority of the visitors will use mobile devices to search on the internet. You will be able to generate a lot of traffic with this feature.
Step 7: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a must for any website. As for small business websites, there is no better alternative. You must optimize SEO features in your website for better results.
Optimizing SEO features involve many tasks. You can optimize keywords, online marketing, social media marketing, and many more. The best practice is to conduct thorough research before going into SEO.
Step 8: Create and publish content
After creating the website, you cannot leave it empty. You will have to publish original and unique content regularly. So, it is important to strategize beforehand.
Visual and written contents are great ways to drive traffic. You must keep your website fresh and informative through regular content publishing. Another great practice is to include testimonials. You can ask previous customers to review your service. It can help generate more sales as well.
Step 9: Use Webmaster tools
Webmaster tools are analytics you can use to gather data. The data can help you understand performance. Then, you can plan better activities for your website.
You can use Google Analytics Tools and Google Search Console for this. They are the most popular and easy-to-use tools available for everyone. You can also use Bing Webmaster Tools for the same purpose.
Step 10: Website maintenance plans
The last task is to create website maintenance plans. If there is any problem, you should be ready to tackle them immediately. Such issues involve hacking, viruses, bugs, and lagging.
Developing an affordable web design for small businesses can save you a lot of money. The process is simple as long as you follow the 10 steps.
But it would help if you remembered to pre-plan everything. You will need to follow the planning phase word-by-word. It can help you to guide through the website development process.
The cost of developing a small business website is not straightforward. The answer depends on many things. You can expect to incur from $1000 to $100,000 in total depending on the size, structure, features, and technology.
An online presence can involve social media pages and third-party sites. Both have some limitations. Social media pages will only help you promote company offerings. You cannot expect better revenue generation from them. And third-party sites do not give you the control. Thus, it is an excellent strategy to create an affordable website for your small business.
Website builders are often cheap for website making. You can use Gator, Jimbo, and other platforms at a very low cost. But you must remember that the creative aspects in those sites are minimal.
Budgeting is an important part of designing an affordable website. You should invest a minimum of $1000 to as much as 10,000 USD and more.
Budgeting is an important part of designing an affordable website. You should invest a minimum of $1000 to as much as 10,000 USD and more.