How to create a small business website?

Create a business website yourself

Hi and welcome to our complete guide for creating a small business website. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a daunting task. Luckily we’ve made it as easy as possible to see if a business website is really right for you, how much it costs and how long it takes to get started.

The only thing to note is that for selling online we have a complete guide for creating an ecommerce.

So, let’s open with the big question:

1. Why does my small business need a website?

Well, it’s a bit like if we lived in the 1950s and you asked: why do I need a physical storefront to run my business? As you can imagine, having your name on a high street window has huge advantages, regardless of what kind of services you offer.

Now of course you could just rely on word of mouth from local clients and customers. But if you want to grow your business overtime, a website -like a physical storefront- helps in a number of ways:

  • It clearly shows what your business is about.
  • It helps gain visibility and customers.
  • It’s a great promotional tool, which can be easily shared.
  • It allows you to engage with customers and clients.
  • It makes your contact information available for people to find you.
  • It lends credibility and makes you look professional.
  • It allows you to sell goods directly online (when it is an ecommerce).

2. Ok I’m convinced! Now What?

Time to decide what kind of website you want. To make things simple, we have divided them into two categories: simple websites, and complex ones. Which one you need will greatly influence how expensive it is and how long it takes to build.

Type of website Simple Complex
Number of pages  1 – 20 1 – 100
Templates Ready-made. Limited customisation options Ready made or full customisation available
Time frame to completion 3 – 7 days Several weeks or even months
Budget (rough estimate) $7.50 to 15 per month $800 to $1,500 if you hire someone to do it. Plus per $6 to $25 month
Hosting Included (Cloud hosting) You need to buy your own web storage
Services you can use Weebly, Jimdo, Wix WordPress, Drupal or Joomla

As you can see, for the simple website category it is best to use a website builder such as Weebly and Jimdo: These are great tools for simple informative websites. So a page that shows what you do and where to find you (although you can of course do a lot more too). They are quick to setup and extremely easy to use. They tend to be easier to manage because they let you buy a domain name, hosting and professional email all in one place. Some of them even offer them as all-in-one packages.

Then you have other solutions for more complex projects. These are called Content Management Systems (CMS) and you might have heard of one called WordPress. They are best if you are building a serious website where you want full control of the look and style, the ability to scale over time, and other advanced options like multiple languages. They also require more technical knowledge – or at least enough free time to scan through all the community forums to find answers!

3. I have a list of things I really need for my website. Can I add them?

Technically, yes. But it might be easier and cheaper with some solutions than others. In any case, the most common must-haves for a business website are:

  • your own domain name (e.g. www.your-biz.com)
  • email accounts (e.g. myname@your-biz.com)
  • professional looking designs
  • SEO features (for better ranking with search engines)
  • mobile-friendly templates
  • contact forms
  • email marketing options
  • social media integration
  • technical support
  • option to add an online shop

Our overview of the main website building solutions below should give you a good idea of where to start.

4. Ready to start building. What should I use?

Here we’ll show you a few of the most common alternatives. As you’ll see they all have pros and cons.

Weebly

Weebly: Probably the easiest solution available. The templates look clean and professional. You can customise them by changing the position of certain elements on your page, but you won’t have complete creative freedom there. You get a domain name, but it’s only free for the first year. If you want a professional email address, you can get it through G Suite (Google’s business emails) but it costs extra. Find our review here.

wix logo

Wix: The most popular solution. The templates and designs look great, there are tons of them focused on various industries, and they give you greater customisation options than Weebly. They are very business-orientated so they offer cool tools like Wix Bookings (to accept online appointments and bookings) or Wix Restaurants and Wix Hotels. Here again you can add your own domain name and pro email, but it costs extra. Read more about Wix in our review.

Jimdo-logo-lp

Jimdo: A great all-in-one solution that includes a domain name, professional email inbox and https encryption. Jimdo packages are decently-priced and the website building is done with responsive templates that look good on every device. However, the number of available templates is somewhat limited. You also lack in extra functions and add-ons because there is no official app store. For details about the pros and cons please take a look at our full Jimdo review.

WordPress logo

WordPress: Best for complex websites of 20 pages or more (for example a multilingual website). The service is free, but you need to buy your own hosting. It requires technical knowledge and doesn’t have official support. You have complete and unlimited customisation power if you spend some time learning how to install plugins and add-ons. Learn more about WordPress.

And we’ve also created a little graph to help you refine your choice:

Decision tree to create a small business website

5. What about the legal stuff?

Ok we’re not legal experts, so if this is a big deal for you, please make sure you consult a lawyer. But generally speaking, there are 3 things you need to do when creating your small business website:

  • Register your business: The simplest form of business is the sole proprietorship, also known as sole trader. You need to be 18 years of age to do it.
  • Provide a Privacy Policy: The style might look different depending on where you are based in the world. But the content is generally the same: what information you gather and how you share it; how users can see the information they gave you and change it; your policy’s date, description and updates.
  • Give clear Terms and Conditions: This is where users can see what they must do and mustn’t do. It will generally detail: important keywords, user rights and responsibilities, use of the website, and more if you are creating an online store. While it may not be required by law, it can limit your liability should a website user take you to court.

6. Any other tips I can use?

Yes! While we specialise in helping people choose their perfect website building solutions, we’ve seen enough sites over the years to know what works and what doesn’t.

  • Create a professional website that also stands out. If you do a minimum of research on your competitors, you will probably see a lot of business websites in certain fields look the same. It’s good practice to try and make yours pop a little!
  • Branding is everything. And we don’t just mean having a cool slogan. You can really create a strong voice for your website by using high-quality images, good fonts and getting a professional logo made.
  • Show your human side. A picture of you or your team goes a long way. Remember that you’re building trust with your users, and people like doing business with people, not anonymous brands.
  • Offer quality content. Avoid empty business jargon and stock photos. It takes a bit of time and effort, but make sure you proofread your text and mix your media (using images, video, graphics etc.)
  • Social media links and contact forms are always good. They create trust and let users communicate with you easily.

7. Oh, how do I attract visitors?

Good question. This is a vast topic with multiple answers. But generally speaking there are two ways to attract them to your business website:

  • Through paid traffic: this is where advertising comes into play. You can use AdWords, Facebook ads or similar marketing services.
  • Through “organic traffic”: this is what people call it when visitors come from your social media page, a link in your marketing email or SEO.

And by the way, SEO is a big, big thing in website marketing, so make sure you check out our complete guide to make the most from it.

8. Thanks for all that! Anything else?

You’re welcome. And yes, if you want a more in-depth look, we have also written an ebook you can download here – for free.

So thanks for reading and start building!

Examples of small business websites

Other Website Types

Small Business Website

Tip: Our Free Ebook

small business website ebookTo get you started, please feel free to download our eBook “Website Creation for Absolute Beginners,” completely free of charge. This will help you plan your business website and get things right from the outset.

Questions?

reviewer

Hi, my name is Robert Brandl and I am the founder of WebsiteToolTester. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Your opinion

  • Linda

    Hello,
    Nice simple comparison of builders. I have a site made with IWeb, can it be transferred? Is SEO or Google ranking affected? Can you use a builder and have the site hosted elsewhere?
    Thx!

    • Josep Garcia

      Hi Linda. You can only manually transfer your website to another website builder as these tools aren’t compatible among themselves. When doing the transfer, you need to be careful not to mess your SEO rankings. For this you can create 301 redirects from IWeb to the new site. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to create a site using a website builder and host it somewhere else.

  • She cant see this

    Hello we have been using GO Daddy for the last 2 years for our YouTube business. We really don’t need a web site or domain and we never had anyone to maintain it but we do need the email as devs and others send us emails so where can we go to just get a business email address without the fuss of a domain and web site?

    • Josep Garcia

      Hi there. You can try Namecheap, they offer email accounts relatively cheap (starts at $ 8.80 yearly). However, if you need to have a custom domain name after the @ (e.g. john@your-domain), you’ll also need to register the domain name.

      • She cant see this

        Thank you will go check it out.

ebook website creation cover

Get your FREE ebook now! 100% knowledge, 0% spam!

Create your own business website the right way! Read this ebook and you will be surprised how simple it is.
  1. Plan your website properly from the start
  2. Create a website in no time
  3. Use our checklist before going live
  4. 100% free, no spam, no hidden costs
  5. Already over 10,000 downloads!
Instant Download