Times are ever-changing, and with the great resignation, people find themselves with ample time to come up with different ideas to make a living by becoming an entrepreneur. Current technology can be leveraged to test a proof of a concept without necessarily going through all the hassles of establishing a conventional business. As such you can have an idea and have your business up and running within a weekend.
You may not have the budget necessary to compete with the big boys yet but there are certain tools you can use to make yourself look like a fortune 500 company while you conduct your business.
This article will aim to show you how you can build a website for your small business without your customers knowing that you built everything on a weekend while covered in a blanket in your living room.
Luckily for you my friend, there are a lot of beginner-friendly website builders that you can choose from to help you create beautiful professional-looking websites.
Do you really need a business website?
Is that a fair question to ask nowadays?
Perhaps, but consider this… the average user spends more than 40 percent of their time on the internet. That’s not too surprising especially now with the rise of people working from home.
I firmly believe that if you plan to or have a small business, you owe it to yourself to have a website. Otherwise, how are you to let your customers know, where, or how to find you? Hmm… I sense resistance in you.
So let’s consider the items described below. Read them and let’s rethink that question again shall we:
- Obtain Local Visibility: A properly built website, optimized with local metadata, will give the opportunity for local prospects to find your business by using community-centric business keywords. this would include searches like “electrician near me”, “Best landscaping company in Bethesda MD”, “hire an accountant near me” etc.
- Your Information is Readily Available: Let’s face it, business cards are not as effective as they used to be, especially with everything revolving around the digital world. Potential customers can quickly look up your address if available, so they can plan their schedule around a visit to your shop, or they can quickly obtain your contact information to establish a line of communication.
- Gather Questions & Educate Your Prospects: You can establish an FAQ page to quickly answer common questions, create surveys or publish useful articles to educate your potential clients.
- Collect and Grow Your audience: Having a website makes it a lot easier for you to promote your social media sites and content, but more importantly, it allows you the opportunity to collect your prospects’ contact information. This will help with surveys to help you provide a better service for example.
- 24×7 Global Reach: A website allows your business to run 24×7. While you’re out with friends or family, or simply asleep your business continues to deliver value to your clients. There is a place for your customers to make a purchase, ask a question or learn something about the services you provide.
6 key elements to include when building your own website
Now that we know the importance of a website the next question to ask then would be…
What content do I place on my website?
The truth is actually quite simple. You simply display the services that you’re providing, who your ideal client is, and why they should trust you. There are plenty of ways to display important information on your website. The best recommendation would be not to reinvent the wheel but to see what others in your industry are doing.
Most websites do not need hundreds of pages with complex graphics and videos. Here are the key elements to include on your website:
- Home page: an introduction to your business, the customers you serve, and what makes your business the best choice for them.
- Product Page/Service Page(s): to display the products and services your business offers.
- Contact us page: a place where customers can reach you.
- A Call to Action: the next logical step for your website visitor (example: subscribe, purchase, complete a survey, etc…)
- Lead gathering mechanism: a way for you to collect the contact details of our visitors.
- Social media links: increase your reach by making it easy for your visitors to follow you on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
The elements above would be a great way to start a small business. More essential resources may be added as your business grows based on the demand and feedback you receive from your readers.
Do you need to know how to code to build your own website?
This is an excellent question. I built my first website many years ago strictly by putting together hundreds of HTML strings. Then I would follow a simple 97-step process to publish the website. Let’s just say that it would take a lot of work.
Luckily for you, times have changed. You do not have to know any HTML to create a website for your small business or as the cool kids call it nowadays, you do not have to know HTML to create a website for your side hustle.
You can use your mouse and keyboard to leverage the simple drag and drop technologies made available to you by Software companies like Leadpages. With tools like Leadpages, you can easily create a professional-looking site without having to spend days or several hours, or thousands of dollars.
Here are a few examples of website templates available to you with the Leadpages website builder.
As you can see from the image above you can quickly leverage the available templates to create a business for your small business if you are an investment firm, a real estate company, a legal firm, or offer any other type of services.
Which website builder is best?
At The Digitalincome we have used different types of website builders and if we had to recommend one we would recommend one that fit the criteria listed below:
- Easy to use and allows you to update key features
- No coding is required
- Simple integration with key business tools
- Great technical support
- No technical experience required
It is important to use a malleable service that fits the above-listed requirements.
What features does it offer?
Not all websites are created equal. I remember being super excited after publishing my first website many years ago. As my needs evolved I had to migrate my website elsewhere because my needs were not supported as a service.
Some website builders offer basic templates but may not offer some features you require for your marketing. So before you decide it is important that you outline the tools your business needs to be successful (forms, the ability to receive payment book appointments, display dynamic data, etc…).
Here are some features to keep in mind:
- Domain & Hosting: does your website builder offer hosting and domain names? If yes are they complementary or do they come at a price? How much storage space do you have available to store images, videos, etc.
- Design & templates: is there a good collection of templates to choose from? Are they free or paid? Are the templates customizable? etc…
- Education & Support: what form of support would be available (email, phone, or chat). Is there training available?
- Security: are you able to easily set up SSL encryption on your website to keep your customers’ information safe?
- Marketing options: are you able to add features such as pop-ups, alert bars, SEO features, images, receive payments, etc?
Compare site builder costs
The next logical step would be to compare costs. Some website builders offer free trials or free builders depending on the hosting plan and subscription you sign up for.
Here are a few items to look out for when comparing costs:
- Hosting and domain name:
- Free vs Paid Templates
- First Year vs second-year costs:
- Premium Support:
Pay close attention to what is included in each plan.
Is the builder easy to use?
Most Website builders claim they are easy to use, but you must have your own due diligence. I recommend that you watch a few demo videos showing you how other people are using the tool. Then you can sign up for a free trial and give it a try for yourself.
While I recommend that you do your own research to determine what builder is best for you, I selfishly recommend that you use LeadPages. It is my tool of choice. I have used it for years now with ease and no technical difficulties.
Do they offer a free version or a trial?
Many website builders offer a free trial. You can leverage the offered free trial to test out the web builder to build a website for your small business.
How to build your own website
We have covered a lot so far. Now let’s summarize the essential items required for you to be able to build a website for your side hustle.
1. Choose a website builder
Use the criteria listed above to select the right website for you or take a shortcut and sign up for LeadPages. Take a quick peek below to see the different types of pages you can build.
Leadpages is so simple that I used it to create several websites for family and friends. They think I’m some sort of amazing web designer, but the truth is that I’m using an amazing tool. So I invite you to give it a try.
2. Choose a hosting plan and domain name
Now that you’ve selected Leadpages as your preferred tool to build your website, the next step is to find a place to host your website once it is built. A hosting company is important because they host important files on your behalf and deliver them at the request of your website visitor.
There are multiple types of hosting services, but most small businesses can use the shared hosting plan. After you have chosen the hosting plan the next step would be to choose a domain name.
3. Choose the right website template
You may be inexperienced with web design but website builders like Lead Pages offer a wide variety of templates that you can customize to fit your business.
Here are examples of templates that are available with Leadpages.
4. Write your web copy (or contract it out)
Your website copy is your opportunity to explain who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique from the competition. I use a tool like Grammarly to check my content for spelling errors. Take the time to proofread your content before you publish it for the world to see.
A lot of marketers forget to include a Call to Action CTA. Please don’t do that. Be sure to include a CTA that guides the user on what to do next on your website.
If writing is not your forte, there are a multitude of freelance copywriting services that you can leverage to have professional-looking content added to your already amazing-looking website. You can find services such as this on platforms like Fiverr Upwork etc.
5. Add images
It’s a known fact that we respond well to visual cues. A visual image can impact behavior as your website visitor views your content.
According to an article by Jeff Bullas, articles with images usually get 95 percent more views. Images also increase engagement rates by 37%.
Make sure the images that you utilize are congruent with the message you are trying to convey.
6. Optimize your website for SEO
Once your website is built, the logical next step would be to get people to come to pay a visit and hopefully leave a comment about the content you’ve shared. One of the best ways to get visitors to your website is by optimizing your pages for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes.
This would help Google find your content and share it with users who are searching for content that are relevant to yours. Ideally, you would want to get a website builder that offers SEO features such as meta descriptions, meta titles, and descriptions.
This setup will allow users to find your content based on the terms or keywords you have placed in your meta descriptions.
7. Publish it
Congratulations, your website is built and you are ready to share your message with the world. One last thing I would recommend doing is to set up an analytics program like Google Analytics to see what content visitors see the most so you can make sure to focus on providing value as well as additional supporting content.
As you can see building your own website is very easy. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, hire a web designer, or learn how to code to build professional and effective-looking websites.
I have used many website builders from typing in HTML code to using drag and drop website builder software. The software that I would recommend you use to build a website for your small business would be Leadpages. It is a super easy tool to use and the customer service provided is second to none.
Ready to build your own website? Get started now with LeadPage’s Drag & Drop Website builder.