I Need A New Website For My Small Business. Where Do I Start?
Ready to get a website set up for your business? Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place — we’ve got a roadmap for you.
Websites are essential when it comes to small business. Especially since 70% – 80% of customers look you up online before buying something or heading in.
This means your small business website has to do a lot of heavy lifting. And if you’re a small business owner, you might worry you have to do a lot of heavy lifting to get your website up. But the good news is that we’ve put together a roadmap for you to help you get started.
Start with the basics
Before you look into WordPress or call a developer, take a few minutes to think about who you serve. This will save you time (and money) later down the line. And it’ll give your customers a better online experience. Start with these prompts:
Identify the target audience
Your business doesn’t serve everyone — that’d be impossible. Instead, your business serves a select group of customers. Your products or services solve a problem for them, and you make their lives easier or better.
So ask yourself who these people are. What do they like about your business? What problems do you solve for them? What do they need from you? Then think about demographics. This can include age, location, and so on.
Believe it or not, this will help inform how your website looks, feels, and functions later on.
Spy on your competitors
Look up competitors in your area or market. Identify top players and browse their websites. Jot down some notes about competitors’ websites like what you like and what you don’t like. And think about what they’re doing that works (and what doesn’t work). You can use this information to build a better website experience for your customers.
Iron out a budget
Small business websites can be affordable. But affordable means different things to different business owners.
So take a look at your numbers and come up with an idea of how much you can comfortably spend on a website. Keep this number in mind while you talk with different website developers.
And remember, there’s not a fixed price for small business websites. Every agency has its own way of charging — flat or hourly. And those figures can vary wildly.
For example, one agency may have a lower hourly cost. But they’ll take longer to launch your website. A different agency may have a higher hourly cost but they can get it done in less than half the time for the same price.
Pro tip for getting started
Think about things your website can do for you. For example, scheduling appointments, accepting payments, answering FAQs, and so on. This makes life easier for your customers, and easier for you.
Website developer vs. website builder vs. content management systems
Alright, so you’ve got your basics ironed out and you’re ready to take another step forward. Next up is deciding which path you’ll take to the finish line. Most small business owners have three options when it comes to building a website:
- Website developer (or an agency or a designer)
- Website builder
- Content management system (CMS)
Each has its own pros and cons so let’s break them down.
- 100% unique website
- Custom design
- You get what you want
- Tough to find the right one
- Some are priced too high
- Others are priced too low
- User-friendly platforms
- No coding necessary
- Free trials
- Restricted functionality
- Restricted customization
- Expensive monthly costs
- Total control
- Lots of apps and plugins
- Fully customizable
- Not beginner-friendly
- Hidden costs (like hosting)
- Limited customer support (if any)
Weigh the pros and cons of each and take your budget and goals into consideration. In most cases, working with a professional website development agency is the best way to go.
It’s affordable, it’s customizable, and you get someone to help you out along the way. Plus, you don’t have to figure out how to code and you won’t have to sacrifice functionality.
Pro tip for website development
Talk to lots of different agencies and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Discuss budget, timelines, and experience. Look through their portfolios and ask for their opinions about your project.
Final thoughts on getting your small business website started
Running a small business is tough — let’s face it. Chances are you wear every hat in the house and there’s always a fire to put out. But that doesn’t mean your small business online presence should suffer.
It’s important you invest in a quality website. But knowing exactly where to start can be hard. So here’s a quick recap of everything you need to take that first step:
- Think about your business and who you serve
- Your website should reflect the needs of your target audience
- Offload some common tasks onto your website (automate scheduling, payments, and so on)
- You can use website builders and CMSs. But a professional website development agency is usually best for small businesses. This saves you time and money (even if it doesn’t seem like it at first)
- Ask for cost and timeline when you get estimates. Just because someone’s hourly rate is lower than someone else’s doesn’t mean the project will be less expensive
Ready to keep exploring small business website design and dev? Check out our small business hub here. It’s packed with helpful guides, tips, and small business resources.
And if you’re ready to take the first step into the world of small business websites, contact us. We’re ready to talk shop and get your project going.