As a web designer, a lot of small business owners ask me advice on how to start a website for their business.
I’ll be honest but not everybody has at least £500 for a basic website. So I completely understand that you want to create a website for your business on your own. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
To help you with that, I want to share some of my secrets with you! I will show you how to create a website for your business, step-by-step as I would do it.
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How to create a website for your business
I don’t think that there’s a rule that says you need a website when the business is established or you need it at the very beginning.
In any case I really believe EVERY BUSINESS need a website! …Why?
Let’s make an example: You’ve got a shop or you offer services. As a small business owner you probably only reach your local area or region. But what if I tell you that with a website you can offer your product or services to a person that is at the opposite side of the world?
Plus, you don’t have to pay rent, utilities, employees, etc… sounds good?
Or… your offline business is doing great but you want to reach more local people to win over the competition. You can use your website to show up in local Google results! This way people will know that your business offers what they need.
Trust me when I tell you that: as a young person, I’m more likely to look for what’s “near me” with my phone than ask someone local.
These are just a couple of reason why a website is important for your business. Whatever your reason is, let’s get started with facts!
1. Choose a Secure and Reliable Hosting with Good Tech Support
First of all, we need a place to host the website. Technically a website is not just what you see graphically. In order to show what you see on a screen, it needs different folders and files.
Just like a CD-ROM: the computer loads it to show you the content but if you “explore it” it has lot of files and folders.
So we need to reserve a place for the website in the world wide web. And this digital landlord is called Web Hosting.
Nowadays, there are a lot of companies that offer Web Hosting. My advice is to choose a reliable service, like Bluehost, that also offer tech support 24/7 via chat or phone.
Extremely cheap providers are at high risk of hacker attacks. To keep the price low, where do you think they’re going to cut? Unfortunately in security. And you CANNOT risk to get your website hacked and taken down.
Secondly, you want a service that can offer support as soon as you need it. In the unfortunate case your website’s got an issue (it doesn’t load or it doesn’t work) you want to fix it as soon as possible.
Bluehost offers 24/7 support by phone, email and chat. So you can actually chat in real time with a real person instead of waiting on hold on a phone for ages.
So, click here to get started with Bluehost, click the “get started” button to jump to the next step.
2. Select a plan
Now we need to choose a plan, according to your needs.
As you can see there are different options you can choose from. Anyway, for a small business owner, the BASIC plan will be perfectly fine for your needs. This is what I used to recommend to my clients, too. It offers all you need from a basic website and is only $3.95/month.
The only two things I would consider, depending on the type of your business, are:
- website space – If you need to upload lot of pictures, for example you’re a photographer or you’ve got lot of product pictures, you’ll need unlimited space.
- email storage – if you deal with tons of emails daily or you need different email accounts, go for the unlimited.
Now, click “select” on the plan you want to choose and let’s go to the next step.
3. Domain name
The domain name is the name of your website and you probably want to call it as your business.
If it’s a brand new website and you haven’t got a domain name yet, go for “create a new domain“. Bluehost offer a FREE domain for the first year.
Instead, if you’ve already got a domain name (for example you bought it from another provider) or you’re moving an old website, go for “use a domain you own“.
Click “next” to continue.
4. Account Info + Payment methods
Next step is for creating your account. Fill in all the required information or simply sign-in with Google to speed up the process.
Select the package, aka how many months you are willing to pay upfront. Of course, the longest you stay, the cheaper the price will be. 36 months gives the best saving option without being tied in for too long.
In any case, if your business is already established, there’s no reason why you should put the website down one day. So you can happily go for a 60 months package, too.
Sometimes they also offer additional discount on the already discounted price. This mean you can sign up for just $2.65/month!! These offers are quite rare, but if you are lucky enough is an absolute MUST-GRAB!
5. Set up your website
Once you complete the payment we can finally set up our website.
Follow the screen to set up a password and choose a temporary theme for the website. You’ll see something like the pictures below.
Click on “Start Building” to go on the website dashboard. We are now in the behind-the-scenes of the website!
Then, you’ll be asked if the website is for business or personal, just to help you with the set up. Click on “Business” to proceed.
Now that we have our website set up on business we can launch it. Click on “Launch” and you’ll see a new screen where you can set the Title and description of the website.
For the title, I recommend your business name. However for the site description, I recommend a keyword rich sentence that will help search engines finding the website.
Click on “next step” to launch the website.
6. Choosing a theme
A theme is the design of the website. What customers will see when visiting it.
Depending on your needs and customers, you’ll want to install a specific theme. My favourite place to find theme for business website is ThemeForest.
They have a huge selection of any kind of theme: corporate, portfolio, retail, education and much more! Prices vary depending on features, but in average are around $45.
Here’s just an example of what you can find on ThemeForest. But it’s just really a tiny little bit of the tons of theme you can find.
If you want to have a look at more business related WordPress theme, click here for a selection that I’ve done for you.
7. Install a theme
Once you’ve decided which theme you want to use, follow the screens to download it. You’ll receive an email with the instructions to download it from your account. Make sure you download the .zip file.
Once you’ve got “mythemex.zip” file on your computer, it’s time to upload it on the website.
Go back to the Dashboard of your WordPress website and go on appearance>themes. On top of the screen you’ll find an “add new” button.
Click on it, wait until it loads a new page and then click on “upload theme“.
It will open, just underneath it, the theme uploading feature. Click on “choose file” and select the theme file from your computer. Once chosen, click on the “Install Now” button to start the installation.
It might take a couple of minutes, so make sure to not refresh or load another page or you’ll loose the progress or even worst, messing up with the database.
Once the theme is installed, you’ll find it in the “Themes” page with the other installed themes. Move the cursor over the thumbnail, so you can see the two options and then click on “Activate”.
The theme is not activated and you can personalised it as you want, import demos and much more. You can start creating pages, posts and uploading pictures from the dashboard or top of the pages.
Don’t forget to install the recommended and essential plugins, too! They will be a big part of the website and without them you won’t be able to customise it as you’d like to.
These are exactly the steps that I followed to create a website from scratch and I hope this post will guide you through the process.
It’s pretty straightforward and Bluehost tech support is always available if you get stuck or have any concern.