Steps to Creating a Website

Creating a website for your small business involves many steps. From planning your layout and content all the way through to launching and marketing your completed site, these tips will help.

There are many steps involved in building a small business website. Among the steps you’ll need to take will be creating the website design, determining what actions you want visitors to take once they are on the site, gathering the information and graphics that will encourage visitors to take those actions and choosing a system for building web pages to display that content. And that’s just for starters.

Whether you are creating your first small business website or relaunching an existing site, following these basic steps for building a website will help the project go more smoothly and be more successful.

Planning Your Website

Whether you plan to hire someone to create your website or will build it yourself, the first step in developing a successful website or blog is planning. Among the considerations are what the website will be used for, what results you want to achieve, and what content will go on the website and how you want the website to look. These guides will help you plan your website.

Website requirements questionnaire

The key to getting the best results when you build or rebuild your website is to start out with a thorough review of your needs. This 32-point questionnaire will help you identify those needs.

Website Basics

Like any other project, there are a lot of pieces that go into getting a website set up. This website basics guide informs you of the tasks involved and provides tips on how to choose a web developer or designer to help with your project.

Building the Website

With your plans in place, it’s time to consider your options for getting the site set up. Depending on the skills and time available to you, you may choose to build the site yourself or find a web developer or designer to do some or all of the work. 

Doing it Yourself

Web hosting companies that provide do-it-yourself web design tools and templates make it sound like it’s very easy to create your own website.  And some small business owners find they can use these tools on their own to create a nice site for their business. Others, however, find they would prefer to hire someone to get the site built.  This article on website building  will help you choose the best path for your business.

Working with a Web Developer or Designer

If you find you don’t have the skills, time or patience to build your small business website on your own, then you’ll need to hire a professional to help. No matter who you hire, you will still need to be involved in the project.  Here’s how to work with a web developer to get the best results.

Whether you choose to build the site yourself or work with a web designer, you’ll want to give careful consideration to the site’s overall color scheme. Use these website color selection tips to help you choose the best color palette for your site.

Creating the Website Content

What should you put on your website? And how hard is it to write web content? The answer depends, of course, on what kind of website you want. But for most small businesses there are some pretty basic website content requirements. Here’s what to include on your website

How to Write Web Content

Writing good web content isn’t as difficult as you think. The keys to success are keeping your audience’s interest in mind as well as focusing on the results you want to achieve. To get yourself past writer’s block, read the best way to write web page content. Next, read and follow these web writing guidelines.

Web Content Ownership

Just because you pay someone to design the website, create the graphics, or write the copy, doesn’t mean you automatically own the rights to what you bought!  Be sure you own the rights by getting the appropriate agreements signed by the people you outsource the work to. Here’s important legal information about what you must do to be sure you own the rights to your website design and content.

Where to Get Images for Your Small Business Website

If you have an eye for photography, you can probably get take some of the images you’ll want on your business website with your smartphone or with a digital camera.  But often, pictures you can snap yourself don’t do the trick. In some cases, you may want to hire a photographer, but there are less expensive solutions that may work for you, too. Here are some tips on where to get free images for your website, along with what not to do.

Before You Launch Your Website

Once everything is in place on your new website, you’ll be anxious to go live with it (ie, make it publicly available.) Before you do, take the time to go over the site and be sure everything is easy for a visitor to find and use. Go through this website usability checklist yourself, then have someone who isn’t familiar with the project look at the site and let you know their thoughts about the items on the checklist.

Redesigning Your Website

If you’re redesigning a website instead of building a new one, you probably are unhappy with the way your current site looks or performs.  But knowing just knowing that you want to change the look of the site, or you want to get more sales or leads from the site isn’t enough to make substantial improvements. Before you can improve the site you need to gather details about what’s wrong with the site. Things to consider are what visitors want to find on the site, and what search engines think individual web pages on the site are about. 

If you are not getting enough business, here are 12 improvements you can make to get more sales and leads from your website  You should also be sure that you are not making any of these web mistakes that lose sales.

Other issues that could be causing poor results from your site could be that you’re not doing enough to market and promote the website, you don’t have good calls to action, or people may be abandoning their shopping cart before completing their orders.  You’ll find solutions for many of those problems in our section on website results and profitability.

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Marketing Your Website

Once you build the website you have to market and promote the website to get people to find it. At some point, you may want to buy advertising to promote your site, but there are a number of free and low-cost strategies you can use to market the website. For more information, see our sections on social media, email marketing, and SEO.

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