Written by Dan Barraclough Updated on January 18, 2021 On this page 1. Decide on Your Website's Purpose 2. Pick a Domain Name 3. Choose a Web Host 4. Build Your Pages 5. Optimize for Search Engines 6. Install Analytics Tools 7. Test and Publish 8. Promote Your Site 9. Create a Maintenance Plan Recommended Web Design Agencies Next Steps Expand Building a website for your business is vital for success. Here’s how it’s done…What do karate teachers and plumbers have in common? They both need a website for their businesses to succeed in 2021 and beyond. In truth, the same can be said for any type of business.Well-thought-out web design could be the difference between your business rising above the competition or falling by the wayside. No, really. Research has shown that 75% of internet users admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on its web design.We’ve designed a step-by-step guide on how to create a business website from start to finish. We’ve also included expert tips and some information on the best web design companies, who can help give your business website the edge. 1. Decide on Your Website’s PurposeDo you want to feature collections of your artwork, sell your products, or simply display your contact information? Whichever purpose you choose for your website, you must clearly demonstrate on your homepage what your website’s trying to do. Defining a clear purpose will help visitors understand what your website is about. It will also build a solid foundation for a positive user experience (UX). Why? Because the less time your visitors spend scrolling and clicking for answers, the better. The sheer number of how many small businesses have a website means you'll want to do all you can to stand out from the competition.The FreshBooks homepage clearly shows the website’s main purpose: to encourage sign-ups for its accountancy service 2. Pick a Domain NameChoosing the right website address, or domain name, is almost as important as deciding on the name of your business. It’s usually the first thing users see about your business, so make it count.Ideally, your domain name will just be the name of your business. But if you decide to use something different, just make sure it accurately reflects the purpose of your business and offers a good first impression to users. Below are some tips on how to choose a domain that delivers the goods…✔ Keep it short – short and sweet domains are easier to remember✔ Check the price – use domain registrars to check the price of your domain (you may even need to purchase yours from another user if it’s a popular domain)✔ Use ‘.com’ – it’s the most reputable and established domain name extension✔ Research the domain name – use tools such as US Trademark Search to find out whether your desired domain name is being used or contains registered trademarksThe Expert Market domain is simple to spell, say, and rememberTo register your domain, you’ll need to visit a domain registrar such as GoDaddy, Domain.com, or Bluehost.In terms of website costs, your domain will be a yearly subscription, priced somewhere between $10 and $20 per year, depending on the popularity of the domain. 3. Choose a Web HostWeb hosts provide a digital space for your website to be viewed on the World Wide Web. Without a host, your website won’t run. It will usually cost anywhere between $2 and $300 per month, depending on the type of hosting you want and the provider you use.From our years of extensive research into the wonderful world of US web design and hosting, we can confidently recommend these three web hosting providers to power your business website:HostGatorGoDaddy BluehostBut which type of hosting is right for you? For most small business websites, we recommend VPS hosting (details to follow), but we’ll discuss the most common types of hosting below…Shared HostingTypically costing between $2 and $5 per month, using this type of hosting means you’ll be sharing the servers and web hosting resources with other websites. It’s restrictive and provides little room for growth. For that reason, we’d recommend against shared hosting.VPS (Virtual Private Server) – Our RecommendationStriking a balance between the affordability of shared hosting and the scalability of dedicated hosting is VPS.Costing between $20 and $50 per month, VPS hosting means sharing the server with far fewer users than on shared hosting. This freedom grants your website access to a greater allocation of resources – such as disk space, memory, and bandwidth – that can help your site run more efficiently.VPS is suitable for websites that are looking to grow quickly, but don’t yet require the resources (or expensive fees) that come with dedicated hosting.Dedicated HostingOnly suitable for high-performance websites, dedicated hosting can cost up to $2,000 per month. Your website has its very own server, enabling your business to run at full capacity online. The price tag is normally too high for small businesses, so we’d recommend aiming for dedicated hosting further down the line.HostGator provides a host of useful features to help your business website reach new levels Get Free Quotes and Save on Your Business Website Do you already have a website live? Yes No Answer this question to get started... 4. Build Your PagesSmall business website design is all about keeping things simple. We don’t mean plain or boring, but simple in terms of helping the user to navigate your site and take any desired actions as easily as possible. That’s to say, don’t try to reinvent the wheel with a website that risks being confusing, cluttered, or chaotic.In terms of pages, your business website should really include:✔ Homepage✔ Contact page✔ About us pageYou should also consider adding a blog (we’ll discuss the benefits later) and a products page if you want to sell online. Below, we’ve got some tips for web page perfection. Did You Know? 94% of first impressions on websites are based entirely on how it looks.Your HomepageAs we mentioned earlier, your homepage should clearly explain how your business works and what your website is there to do. In terms of design, less is more. Using minimalist design and lots of whitespace will help the user get from A to Z without any unnecessary clicks.For example, if you’re building a website for your coffee bean delivery subscription service, you should consider adding a concise description of your service, along with eye-catching call to action (CTA) buttons such as ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Get Started’, etc.70% of small business websites lack a CTA button on their homepage, which means they’re losing out on God knows how many sales or sign-ups. Our advice? Be part of that wily 30% who are using CTA buttons.Website visitors love videos. Studies show that users spend 88% more time on pages with videos, and you can create one easily using tools such as Lumen5.Lemonade’s homepage is simple but effective, utilizing whitespace and eye-catching CTA buttonsIt’s really important that your homepage wows visitors. Otherwise, you’ll likely see your bounce rate rise and your profits fall. If you don’t have the skills to build a sleek homepage yourself, then you should consider hiring an expert to build one that visitors will definitely love.We can help you find affordable web design experts to help you build your business website. All you need to do is tell us what you’d like from your website, and we’ll find web designers to suit your needs. They’ll then offer free, no-obligation quotes for you to compare. It’s the quickest, easiest way to compare the right options for your next website. And it’s free!Your Contact PageAgain, keep it simple. The contact page is where you’ll likely turn website visitors into clients and customers, so you don’t want to add any unnecessary roadblocks (i.e. making your contact information hard to find) to that conversion highway.Your contact page should include:✔ Phone number✔ Email address✔ Physical address (ideally with an integrated map showing your location)Your contact page doesn’t need to be boring, though. Check out the page below: an example of how you can spice up your contact page without losing sight of the end goal – asking visitors to contact you.Get creative with your ‘Contact’ page and watch your email inbox popYour ‘About Us’ PageWriting an ‘About Us’ page will help differentiate your business website from the competition. This page helps users to understand you, the person or people behind the business, which may help them choose your company over another.Your ‘About Us’ page should describe:✔ Who you are✔ What you do✔ How you do it✔ Where it all beganDon’t think adding this page is important? We spoke with UX designer Heather Brick, from marketing company MVF Global, about the importance of adding that human touch to your business website:Heather Brick, UX designer“More than ever, people want to be sure that the site they’re visiting is honest and credible, and that there really is someone there on the other side of the screen!With this in mind, my top UX recommendation is to make the content of your site as easily digestible, transparent, and human as possible.This means using language that is accessible, friendly, and even conversational where appropriate, refraining from using industry jargon. This applies to the labelling of your menu items, to the wording of your call-to-action buttons, to the voice and tone of your sentences.”The Expert Market ‘About Us’ talks about our background, and shows our lovely faces, to help the user better understand our businessYour BlogWhether you name your blog page ‘News’, ‘Press’, or ‘Articles’, regularly adding high-quality content to your website brings value to both your business and visitors. Here are the main reasons to consider blogging:✔ Drive traffic to your website – Sharing high-quality content online gives users more opportunities to click directly through to your website.✔ Great for SEO – Blogging about relevant topics that users want to read can help to improve the position of your web pages on the SERPs (search engine results pages).✔ Bolster your social media marketing – Sharing blog posts on social media is an effective way to generate a buzz around your brand and increase website traffic. Save Money on Your Business Website by Comparing Quotes Today Do you already have a website live? Yes No Answer this question to get started... 5. Optimize for Search EnginesSEO involves employing many different tactics to help improve the visibility of your website online. Below are the easiest ranking factors to implement, helping to improve your site’s position on the SERPs and bring you more traffic:Use keywords in your content and URL – These are popular words or terms that users are searching for related to your industry. Use tools such as Semrush to find these words and use them sparingly in your content, and within your URLs (web page addresses) and meta titles and descriptions (the snippets of content, shown on the SERPs, that describe your web pages).Get an SSL certificate – Google ranks secure websites higher than non-secure sites (most hosting providers offer SSL certificates for free).Design mobile-friendly pages – That’s when the page reformats to display clearly on mobile devices (web designers can do this easily for you).Use internal links – Keep users on your site and reading your content by linking to your different web pages throughout your siteCompress your images – Use free tools such as TinyPNG to help improve your page-loading speed (which is a Google ranking factor) by keeping your images as small in file size as possible‘Trim down’ your code – Remove any code that isn’t completely necessary to improve your loading speeds.Haven’t got the coding skills? Not to worry, you’re not alone. You can always ask a web designer to trim the code down for you.Keyword research shows you which topics within your niche your audience is searching for, helping to inform your content-writing decisions, whether it’s blog posts or your site’s URL nameDoes SEO sound like a step too far for your busy schedule? Remember, you can always find a web designer to handle everything for you. After all, successful SEO tactics can be the catalyst for turning your small business website into the next big thing. 6. Install Analytics ToolsWe’ve shown you how to create a business website, so now it’s time to explain how you can measure your site’s performance. Doing this will help inform your decisions when making updates or changes to your website.There are a number of tools that help you analyze your traffic and overall site performance, such as Google Analytics and Search Console.These tools enable you to view things like:Number of views on each page of your siteAverage time users spend on your siteDaily, weekly, and monthly visitor numbersBroken links on your website that need to be fixedThe keywords that brought users to your web pagesBounce rate (when users return to the search engine after only viewing one page on your website)Google Analytics provides detailed information on your website’s traffic and performance, helping you make the right changes at the right time 7. Test and PublishBefore you share your brilliant business website with the online world, you need to make sure it works without a hitch. A poorly functioning or crashed website can be disastrous for your brand image, so it’s vital that you test, test, test.First off, check your site loads quickly on all the major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. During these checks, make sure your images and videos load, and that your content formats correctly.If anything looks awry, make the necessary adjustments and get your business website back in ship shape before you publish. 8. Promote Your SiteThings would be pretty easy if you could just publish your site, sit back, and watch traffic bottleneck into your website. In reality, you need to start marketing your website to bring in the clicks and cash. You’ve already learned how to promote your website through SEO using keywords (in Step 5), but there are plenty of effective ways to bolster your marketing efforts, including posting on social media and using PPC advertising (pay-per-click).Post on Social MediaOver half the planet’s population uses social media. That’s how posting about your new website on social media and co. can help bring you lots of traffic. For every small business, we recommend creating business accounts on:FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn Along with your non-promotional posts, you should always update your social media followers about any website changes or new blog posts when they happen (with links to your website, of course). You should also include links to your social media channels on your website. Posting on social media with links back to your website is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your siteUse PPC AdvertisingA type of search engine marketing (SEM), PPC involves paying Google Ads or Bing Ads each time a user clicks on your link. You ‘bid’ on certain keywords or phrases to have your website appear when users search those terms.The more you pay, the higher up on the SERPs your links will appear. So, if one user searches ‘Karate teacher Iowa’, your Iowa-based karate teaching service website will appear higher than the competition if you’ve bid higher for that specific search term.You’ll normally pay between $1 and $2 per click, but it can cost slightly more depending on the popularity of your chosen keywords, for example, when lots of other businesses want to bid on those words, too.You can also use Google or Bing Ads to make sure your links are only shown to certain users. This is called demographic targeting, in which you have your web pages appear only to specific users based on metrics like their location, age, and gender.Use PPC advertising on Google Ads to promote your business to users who are already searching for your services Get Free Web Design Quotes and Save on Your Business Website Do you already have a website live? Yes No Answer this question to get started... 9. Create a Maintenance PlanOnce you’ve published, you’ll need to maintain your website to ensure long-term success. Remember the analytics tools we discussed in Step 6? You’ll want to check Google Analytics and Search Console at least once a month to see how your site’s performing, and to identify where or how you can make improvements.We also recommend installing Optimizely to run A/B tests. This is when you divert half your website visitors to a ‘test’ page or element, and half to the original page. You can then see which version of your website gets the most positive reaction, judging certain metrics like clicks, conversions, and time spent on page.Running A/B tests with Optimizely allows you to see which versions of your web pages perform better than others Recommended Web Design Agencies73% of companies invest in design to help their brand stand out from the competition – and for good reason. A website that’s been expertly crafted will leave its sloppy counterparts in the dust.Most business owners don’t have the time or expertise to build a sleek website from scratch, which is why it’s a good idea to hire an extra pair of web designing hands to give your business that edge. We’ve selected a few of the best web design agencies in the US today for you to check out.Hibu Say hi to one of our favorite web design agencies. Hibu will create a bespoke business website for you to review within seven to 10 days (once you’ve spoken over the phone about what you want, of course).The Hibu team can also build social media pages for you to promote your own website, while taking care of the ongoing maintenance to ensure your site never falters.Hibu’s services start from $99 per month, making it an ideal option if you want an affordable, professional website built quickly.Read Review Dotcom Design Combining expertise in web design and digital marketing, Dotcom Design is your one-stop-shop for website success.With clients in the construction, retail, and healthcare industries, Dotcom Design can boost any type of brand with a brand new website. They’ll also provide your business with a bespoke digital marketing plan to help your website reach dizzying heights online. Web.Com With over 20 years’ experience, Web.Com’s certainly been around the block and knows what works with web design.Starting with a free consultation, Web.Com’s service not only includes building a professional website that’ll look great on all devices, but also live customer support and an upfront, bespoke price that will never change. Want to save money on your next business website? Get your free quotes to get started... Get me free quotes Next StepsThis guide has shown you how to create a business website, from deciding on your site’s purpose to implementing a maintenance plan. Before we go further, let’s recap those steps…How to Create a Business Website in 9 StepsDecide on your website’s purposePick a domain nameChoose a web hostBuild your pagesOptimize for search enginesInstall analytics toolsTest and publishPromote your websiteCreate a maintenance planWe’ve given you all the information and tips you need to build a business website that shines online, but, like many business owners, you may not have the time, energy, or skills to craft your site from scratch. If that’s the case, you can always hire a web design expert to handle the legwork for you and create a stunning website to boost your brand image.Sound good? To get started, you’ll just need to tell us what you want from your new business website, and we’ll match you up with web design agencies that can cater to your exact web design needs. You’ll then hear from web designers with bespoke, no-obligation quotes for you to compare. This is the easiest, quickest way to ensure you find the right designer for your business website. Oh, and it’s free to get started! Dan Barraclough Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.