Whether ecommerce or not, a small business needs to create a functional and well-designed website to remain competitive. It doesn’t really matter whether you trade online or off-, business today goes hand-in-hand with a robust online presence, and failing to attend to this is a sure way to fail.
Of course, though, if you are reading this article and looking for advice on how to design your small business website, you already know that. What you might not know is that the majority of small businesses fail – and the majority of that group fail within the first five years.
The aim of a website is, ultimately, to reach your target audience. Online promotion is today the most effective type of promotion. This is good news for small businesses – you can hardly afford billboards, can you – and therefore the importance of getting it right cannot be overstated. Website design specialists Peak Design out of Sacramentohave some useful advice here: there is actually only one thing that sets apart small business websites from any other – the cost.
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What Determines the Cost?
Naturally, this is where small businesses need to think hard. As we will see in a moment, the actual steps of creating a website do not vary much, but the cost analysis is essential when company funds are limited. You should certainly set aside a sufficiently large chunk of the budget for this.
That does not mean you need to hire the top website designers straight away, butunless you are yourself a website designersome professional help is usually required. Moreover, websites require more than just website design; this is only oneof the steps involved. There are many things that determine the overall cost but the biggest one is certainly whether to go with a website builder or a professional web designer. In the latter case, what you ask them to do is also a determining factor.
With all of that said then, here follows the main steps to progress through if you are going to handle website creation yourself (as well as some info on the costs involved).
Purchase a Domain Name and Web Hosting
Your website needs to have a location on the web – that is the web hosting. And you will not have full control over content and design if you don’t have your own domain, something which would also limit your ability to keep the costs down.
Pick a Website Builder
Here is where costs can vary a lot. A website builder can be as idiot-proof as it needs to be, ranging from those that allow you to code right down to others that are simply drag and drop and require no technical expertise.
Choose a Template or Theme
This is the design and aesthetic choice that will determine all others. Without an overall theme, your website risks becoming a jumble of dissonant features and aesthetics.
Set Up a Payment Processor
This one is only for the ecommerce companies – i.e., those that will actually sell something from the website. One sure way to scare off customers is if there is even a hint that this is in any way insecure. Don’t go cheap where this is concerned.
Test Before Publishing
The memory of a bad website experience is sure to scare off a customer for good and sow the seeds of a bad reputation. Once that gets out of control, it might become too late to save your brand.
And that is the DIY approach to creating your own small business website. It is also one of the cheaper ways – you can always invest in the professionals later.