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[10 STEPS] Making A Website for A Small Business in 2022

Written by:
Mike Lowe
Founder & CEO of Growth Saloon - Search Optimization Companies Can Trust
Making A Website for A Small Business in 2022 | Maven Marketing Group
Table of Contents

Creating a great professional website is essential for any business, regardless of how big or small that business may be. It can be even more important if you have the goal of getting found online.

With so many websites competing with each other and new ones coming out every day, ensuring that your site stands apart from all others will help people remember what makes yours special – which could lead them back to explore further!

Your small business website should be an extension of your company’s personality. In order to compete effectively in today’s marketplace, you need an online presence that depicts your company as a well-known and trusted brand, with products and services that people want.

If you’re making a website for a small business in 2022, here are 10 steps that you can take to make sure it’s up-to-date and competitive in your market – and the entire digital world!

1. Choose & Purchase a Great Domain Name

A great domain name is an essential aspect of your small business website. Unfortunately, it’s also one that can be difficult to come up with!

It’s critical for your domain to be memorable and also deliver a positive first impression – not just for sake of usability but also because it can help with SEO (search engine optimization).

Here are some pointers for choosing a domain name that is best for you:

Make it simple to spell

Slang, invented, and extremely esoteric terms should be avoided.

Keep it concise

It’s easier to remember and type correctly if it’s as brief as possible – while still being easy to understand.

Use the appropriate domain extension

If you can, you should attempt to always use a .com domain name (compared to .net, .co, etc.) unless it makes more sense to choose another extension, like .gov, .edu, or .org, for your business.

Avoid hyphens and numbers

They’re difficult to recall, and word-only domain names are more distinguished and catchy than ones that include digits or hyphens. When saying the domain name, it’s possible that people will misunderstand the spelling, and go to another site because of this.

Make the address generic to allow for future expansion

Amazon.com, for example, is a much broader website address in comparison to BooksOnline.com. This has allowed Amazon to grow and sell a wide range of consumer products rather than books alone, as they intended to in their original mission.

Make sure it's catchy

Because there are BILLIONS of websites on the internet, your small business website name needs to be catchy in order for people to remember how to get back to it in the future.

Look into the domain name

Check Google for any similar website addresses that might exist. Then search those domains on USPTO.gov to see whether it contains any registered trademarks or not.

Evaluate the cost of the domain

Check to see whether you can get your desired website address at a good price (under $50). Most of the best domain names are already taken and must be purchased from the current owner, so it can get expensive quickly if you aren’t paying attention.

Avoid names that are meaningless

Choose a domain name that has meaning so that visitors will know what your company does/offers, right away. Names like Apple, Google, or Uber are memorable, but they were insanely expensive to brand, and your small business likely does not have the same budget they did.

Make your URL SEO-friendly

If you are a local business, try to come up with an SEO-friendly website domain that includes keywords and your service location, such as “www.ChicagoRoofRepair.com.”

2. Buy Secure, Safe & Expandable Website Hosting - With Great Technical Support

Buy Secure, Safe & Expandable Website Hosting - With Great Technical Support

Website hosts, also commonly known as web hosting services, are internet companies that provide the technology and server space required for a website to be viewed on the internet.

As long as you connect your domain correctly with your hosting provider – users will be able to see your website when they enter your domain. If it’s not connected correctly, or just not connected at all, visitors will see an ugly error page because your own website is not being hosted.

Depending on the type of technology and hosting support you select, website hosting services can range from as little as $50 to well over $100 per month, if your site is enterprise sized. If you buy a yearly plan rather than a monthly one, you can generally save some money!

Here are some tips for picking the right hosting plan for your business’ website:

Shared Servers

Shared Servers

Even though you might be able to find a “shared server” hosting plan for as little as $50 per month, we typically would not recommend this.

With shared servers, you’ll be stuck sharing a server, and its limitations, with other small business websites – which can have a strong negative impact on your website’s performance.

It’s also possible for your professional business website to be hacked if one of the other websites on your shared server gets compromised!

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Servers

The most expensive hosting plans are for “dedicated servers” — these hosting plans can cost anywhere from around $100 to $2,000 per month —but these hosting plans are what will help your website perform the best it can.

Having a dedicated server plan means that the entire physical server is dedicated to your site, and your site only. This means all the server’s resources go to your website, you have complete control over your hosting, and your website is far more safe than on a shared hosting plan.

However, this is obviously much more expensive than what many small businesses are able to pay.

This might be the solution for you if your website is performing exceptionally well and getting a ton of website traffic – but it’s likely overkill for most early stage businesses!

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

We typically recommend a “virtual private server” (VPS) hosting plan because it combines the benefits received from a dedicated server with the affordability you’d receive from a shared server – the best of both worlds, so to speak!

The cost ranges from around $50 to $80 per month, which is both affordable, and a fair price, for the quality of hosting services your website will receive.

A virtual private server (VPS) is a single machine that has been divided so it can perform the functions of many machines. This gives it a similar price tag to shared server plans – but offers the performance and security of a dedicated server plan!

Find A Hosting Provider Offering Phone and/or Live Chat Support

Live Chat Support

Remember to search for a hosting provider with phone and/or live chat support so you’re able to get help fast if something goes wrong.

When a problem needs to be fixed right away, receiving email assistance can sometimes take an eternity.

The preferred way to get support is by Phone, but live chat support can be effective and timely as well!

Easily Accessible Server Interface

There should be a simple server interface in place where you are able to access your server – a cPanel is usually a viable solution for this.

You don’t want to have to use terminal commands to access and modify your server content unless you’re prepared to pay a professional server administrator, which can get expensive.

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) Access to Server

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) Access to Server

Take a look at the security offered on the server you’re considering, and make sure it’s appropriate for your needs.

You will want to be able to access your server via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). Backups of your server’s data should be made on a regular basis.

Also, there should be a simple, one- or two-click method to install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate on your website. A good hosting company should be performing constant security maintenance on your website.

The best hosting providers will typically have a standard security procedure in place that you’ll be able to review to better understand how your website is being secured!

Here is a handful of the most frequently used, and most well-known, website hosting providers:

3. Display A Clear Description of your Business that Visitors See Immediately

It is critical to introduce yourself, and your business, right away so that people aren’t confused when they visit your small business’ website.

You’ll want to make sure that your main homepage banner (also known as a “hero image”), and all associated graphics, are depictions of the services your company provides.

You’ll also want to be sure that your introductory paragraph does a good job of explaining who your company is, and what your company does, at the very top of your page.

Also, make sure your primary header and footer navigation menus include “About Us” page links that can be clicked to learn more about your company in greater detail!

4. Use the Best Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is a program or application that aids in the production and management of digital material. An effective CMS will assist you in maintaining your site and does not require a great deal of technical expertise to be used.

Choose a CMS that is tailored to your specific requirements; different systems are used for various reasons, such as ease of use, extensibility, and cost.

The following are some of the best website builders and most popular Content Management Systems, along with a rundown of their advantages and disadvantages:

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and the best overall website builder (in our opinion). It offers a large, active help community and several useful plugins to expand the functionality of your website. (It’s also pretty simple to find a WordPress developer who can create a plugin for you if you can’t find one that meets your requirements!)

WordPress is also free and straightforward to set up. Most website designers and developers are familiar with it, so finding a designer or an agency to work on your site is not difficult.

Because WordPress’ flexibility and expandability make it an excellent choice for small businesses, we usually advise that they utilize the WordPress CMS to develop their websites.

WordPress’s greatest weakness is security, since it is the most popular blogging platform. WordPress’s popularity makes it a target for hackers, therefore you must keep your site up to date and secure it on a regular basis in order to avoid being hacked.

It’s also tough to secure all of the third-party plugins, so ensuring the security of your WordPress site must be an ongoing effort based on best practices (looking for updates on your plugins in the last few months, double-checking that it’s a plugin from the official WordPress repository, getting rid of outdated plugins as soon as possible, etc.)

Drupal

Another CMS to consider is Drupal. It has many of the same advantages as WordPress, including versatility, simplicity, and a large support community.

Further, Drupal is a more secure CMS than WordPress (less susceptible to intentional or accidental damage) – but it does not support as many plugin or theme options, making it less adaptable.

FUN FACT: The White House website (Whitehouse.gov) was originally developed with Drupal, but has since switched to WordPress!

Joomla!

Joomla! is another well-known Content Management System (CMS). It has greater SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities out of the box than WordPress offers.

However, with the aid of only a few plugins, WordPress far surpasses the capabilities offered by Joomla!

Squarespace

Squarespace is a CMS software that you pay for on a monthly or yearly basis to turn website and blog development into a simple “drag and drop” process.

It includes website design, development, software maintenance, metrics, domain name with annual purchase, SSL security, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth and storage hosting all in one package.

It is most ideal for designers and provides excellent design templates to work off of.

This is a fantastic service for individuals or small business owners on a restricted budget, who need a simple and attractive website but can’t afford to hire a professional web designer or agency.

Squarespace has a far more gradual learning curve than WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla! However, it doesn’t provide nearly as much extensibility.

Squarespace, however, is an excellent choice for those with little or no technical expertise who need a simple approach to create a website. But, if you can afford to hire a professional, we always advise you do so!

Wix

Wix is essentially the same as Squarespace – but out of all the website builders on this list, it’s probably the easiest to use. It has similar features and is available on a monthly rather than annual basis.

Wix also has a drag-and-drop builder – you can move components anywhere on the page, as opposed to Squarespace, which is more structured in terms of where you may drop elements on the page. 

Wix is a lot easier to use than Squarespace and has a correspondingly quicker learning curve. If you need to post a website right away, this may be your best bet. It’s a very popular small business website builder for this reason!

Wix offers a lot more templates than Squarespace, but once you’ve chosen one, you’re stuck with it… With Squarespace, you may modify your template at any time without having to re-build the entire site!

5. Doing eCommerce? Pick A Good eCommerce Platform

You’ll need the appropriate eCommerce technology if you want to sell products or services on your website. (If you don’t currently offer anything, you may want to reconsider because e-commerce could help you boost your revenue.)

If you decide to let customers pay for goods and services on your website, you’ll need to select the proper eCommerce platform that best fits your business’ wants and needs.

Here are the most popular e-commerce platforms for small businesses:

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the internet, and it can turn your WordPress website into an online store. There are several plugins available for WooCommerce, and they all connect seemlessly with WordPress, making it an extremely versatile solution.

There are numerous free and premium WooCommerce theme options available. (As a rule of thumb, using a premium theme from a trustworthy developer is preferable since it will offer you the best security and support.)

If you’re not tech-savvy, you’ll almost certainly need a WordPress developer to assist you in setting it up and utilizing it. WooCommerce also provides a broad range of features and scalability that could be required for your small business’ needs.

Shopify

Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that allows you to build and customize an online store. From there, it also allows you to easily manage your inventory, payments, and shipping.

Shopify is not a WordPress plugin like WooCommerce; it’s a standalone platform that lives on the Shopify servers, so your e-commerce site would technically be independent of your main website (if you already have website for your business).

If your main website doesn’t have a Shopify integration plugin – you can always link to your Shopify account from your regular website built with WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc.

Shopify’s features include unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, discount codes, reports, and much more.

The main advantages of Shopify are that you do not need to hire a developer to open a store, and everything on the backend is already ready for you when you sign up.

The disadvantage is that you have less control and customization over your store than with WooCommerce.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is Shopify, but with a higher level of customization, more staff accounts, and international e-commerce solutions. It also has a higher level of support.

However, even so, all of this comes at a higher price tag – and it still doesn’t offer all of the flexibility and customization that WooCommerce is able to!

Business Squarespace

Squarespace offers a paid subscription plan for e-commerce. If you picked Squarespace to design your website and have very minimal online shopping requirements, this could be the option for you.

Business Squarespace will charge you a transaction fee, but you can get around this by upgrading your subscription to a basic online store. This plan will include a free domain, SSL security, SEO features, abandoned cart recovery, discounts, real-time carrier shipping, and more free features.

However, it has been noted that Business Squarespace is not as user-friendly as Shopify. And like Shopify, it is simply not nearly as flexible, or as customizable, as WooCommerce.

Wix

Wix has a Shopify extension that is simple to use. In order to use it, you must first upgrade your Wix account and subscribe to Shopify.

GoDaddy Online Store

GoDaddy now offers a modern e-commerce standalone subscription platform that is fairly simple to set up and operate.

With GoDaddy Online Store, you don’t need much technical know-how to start selling online. The templates are clean and minimalistic, yet they’re still customizable.

Marketing and SEO tools, social media connectivity, appointment booking, SSL security, fast page loading, and more are all included in their plans!

6. Create a unique, intriguing, and engaging website user interface

Make sure that the appearance of your small business’ website leaves a good first impression, resulting in positive results. You can accomplish this by following these guidelines:

Graphics & Fonts

Use high-quality, eye-catching graphics and simple, web-friendly fonts.

Image Optimization

Compress and optimize your image files for fast loading. Search engines will penalize your website’s ranking if your website is sluggish.

Research Your Competitors

Invest time into researching the competition to learn what they’ve done with their websites and how they’ve optimized them. Adopt comparable components that will work for your small business’ website.

Know Your Audience

Study your target audience to discover what they want from your site and make it as simple as possible for them to get just that.

Consistency

Netflix Consistent Branding Style Guide

Maintain a consistent visual style across your website’s pages – this is key for branding.

Easy Usability

Make your site easy to use, with a logical navigation system that allows visitors to quickly reach the pages they’re looking for.

Easy Access

Make your contact information easy to find on your site’s footer, contact page, and anywhere else you wish to include it throughout your site!

CTA Buttons

Incorporate obvious, aesthetically-pleasing CTA (Call-to-Action) Buttons that will catch the eyes of your visitors (especially “buy now” buttons).

Create ALL Business Website Pages

Create pages that are common for small business websites, such as:

  • Home
  • About us
  • Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
  • Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
  • Management team
  • Contact us
  • Terms of use (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
  • Privacy policy
  • Additional pages relevant to your specific small business

7. Make Sure Your Small Business' Website Is Search Engine Optimized

Small Business Website Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the practice of improving your website’s visibility in search engines through various methods and procedures. You may optimize a website to ensure that search engine spiders index it properly and display it to search engine users by following SEO guidelines.

Your website competes with similar websites after it is “crawled” by search engines. The higher your site appears on search engine result pages, the better your website design and content are, compared to your competitors.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

  • Keyword research and implementation
  • Optimal website code
  • Fast loading speed
  • Being secure and having an SSL certificate installed – SSL is the industry standard for encrypting data as it travels across the internet between web servers and browsers
  • Having a mobile-friendly site (mobile makes up over 50% of your website visitors so this is CRUCIAL)
  • Backlinks with relevant content (internal and external links from websites/webpages with related information) that lead to your site are essential
  • Having lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
  • Using internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
  • Using social media to link to your site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

SEO is an essential ongoing procedure that will determine whether your site appears on the 1st page of search engine results pages (resulting in a large number of free visitors to your website) or page 100 (resulting in no visitors).

Honestly, anything after Page 1 is a graveyard – so you’ll want to make sure you end up on Page 1!

For more information on how you can incorporate SEO on your small business’ website – checkout Growth Saloon’s article on The 6 Most Affordable SEO Services for Small Business!

8. Create and Publish High-Quality Content on a Consistent Basis

It’s critical to search engines that you establish a strategy to post high-quality articles and blog entries on your site as well as external sites that link back to it.

If you want to rank high in search engine results and entice consumers to return again and again, you must maintain your website with up to date, fresh, and relevant content on a regular basis.

A fantastic type of material to put on your website is testimonials, in addition to the static page content and articles you’re posting. Requesting client testimonials and then putting them on your website is a wonderful method to add fresh, high-quality content to your site that will make it more appealing to visitors.

Make sure that your content uses an appropriate, on-brand tone that your visitors will enjoy reading when they come to your small business’ website!

9. Install Google and Bing Webmaster Tools on Your WordPress Site (or Chosen CMS)

Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console (both preferably via Google Tag Manager), Bing Webmaster Tools, and other essential tools to gather data and analyze traffic and site performance.

The following kinds of information may be tracked with these tools:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to your site
  • Number of views on each page of your site
  • “Bounce rate”—the percentage of people who visit your website and leave after only viewing one page (Google’s algorithms favor websites with a low bounce rate, according to the belief that people are spending more time on the site and finding it useful)
  • 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

10. Have A Website Maintenance Plan in Place

Why Do You Need A Website Maintenance Plan

It’s a mistake to think that the goal of a website is simply to exist. A website should not be established and allowed to go stale.

In order to have a successful website that ranks high in search engines and is not hacked, it is critical that it is properly maintained.

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

Check Webmaster Tools

Check Webmaster Tools data at least once a month and have any vital errors emailed to you, or your webmasters, immediately by Google or Bing.

Traffic Data

Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so you can better cater to them.

Performance Data

Use performance data to optimize and fix warnings and errors.

Update Software

Make sure all software is always up to date!

Security Scans

Run security scans so you know your website is clean of malware and hasn’t been hacked.

Split Testing (A/B Testing)

Website Split Testing / A/B Testing | Maven Marketing Group

Split testing can be used to determine whether particular variants of your website improve performance.

For example, if you’re selling a product, you may have two different versions of a certain landing page with varying images and text. The split testing allows you to determine which version produces a higher conversion rate!

Search Engine Optimization & High-Quality Content

Follow our advice about SEO (see point #7), and continually publish high-quality content (see point #8)!

Follow the Trends

Find on-trend and effective ways to market your business online.

Visitor Feedback

Allow website users to provide you with feedback about your site.

Keep Your Friends Close... And Your Competitors Closer

Continuously check in on your competitors to see what they are doing with their online presence and see if what they’ve done can work for you as well!

Backup Your Site Constantly

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 see from this article, building an effective small business website isn’t as simple as you, or most people, may have initially thought.

But, if you follow the methods outlined in this post, your small business will have a great shot at succeeding online!

We hope this article helps you out! If you want more advice for expanding your reach, getting leads, & growing your business — let us know in the comment section below!

Or if you’d like help implementing any of these tactics into your business – drop us a line! We’d love if you left a comment/question for us to answer below!

Which Content Management System (CMS) are you currently (or going to be) using for your small business’ website? Why?

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Hey, we’re Maven Marketing Group. 

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About Maven Marketing Group

Maven Marketing Group was founded in 2019 on the core principle of bringing small businesses into the digital age. We are a Chicago based company, with clients all over the United States (& world). 

Maven Marketing Group has matured into a full-stack freelance digital marketing agency that focuses on offering high-quality web design packageswebsite management services, and freelance digital marketing services

 

 

 

Do you want
more traffic?

Hey, we’re Maven Marketing Group. 

We’re determined to make a business 

grow. Our only question is…

will it be yours?

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