With most of the world’s economy now moving online, it has become more essential than ever before to make your business digitally accessible. Why? Because a post-COVID-19 world is looking more and more digital.
Small businesses who do decide to go online but do so through a social media platform, find that the process can be quick, the page is easy to manage and it’s a cheap solution to getting your business online.
However, when it comes to content, design and audience reach, these platforms can fall flat, which is why creating a website for your business can be the best decision for small businesses.
If you’re not quite convinced to make the move online, consider the statistics to come from the 2020 eCommerce Industry Report from Australia Post.
Around 5.2 million households shopped online in April 2020 alone. Despite the fact that most people around the country were in lockdown at this time, it also means small businesses with websites were still able to be contacted. Essentially, to win your customers, you have to be in the game.
Secondly, consider the huge change to the way people are now living, working and shopping in a post COVID-19 world.
In March 2020, when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the week following the announcement saw online purchases up 28 per cent. That continued to climb and hit a peak of 135 per cent year on year in the week after Easter. April also welcomed more than 200,000 new shoppers to the online space, a third of these making an online purchase more than once, and 16.7 per cent shopped three or more times.
Nationally, online shoppers in major cities, regional areas and remote areas around Australia grew by 95 per cent in April alone.
Despite most of Australia coming out of lockdown, the way people shop has changed forever.
Being online is essential.
So, let’s look at an easy step-by-step guide to set up a website for your small business.
Step 1: Organise a plan for your website
In terms of what point you need to start at, having an idea of what you would like your website to do and the basic design, will help during the initial stages.
You will also need to consider e-commerce functionality, which means having an e-shop on your website. Or perhaps your website will be more about providing information. Also, think about customer engagement tools, level of control you want to have, and your budget for the website, not only the financial side but the time you are willing to invest.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of your competitor’s websites to get an idea.
Step 2: Choose a web hosting provider
Want to start from scratch? You can build your own website with WordPress or another website builder.
WordPress’ pros include a free, open-source content management system that allows users to create a website from various templates and plug-ins. However, WordPress does require some technical knowledge to run.
If you decide to use a website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, then you will find it much more ‘user-friendly’. It also allows you to create a functional website for all types of businesses.
Once you have created your website, simply choose the service you would like to use. Some website builders will have their own service, however, WordPress and other CMS site builders will need a separate hosting service. It can be easier having the website builder and the hosting service all in one, but it also means you cannot change web host providers later down the track for perhaps more cost-effective reasons.
If your mind is reeling from the technicalities at this stage, perhaps the best option is to outsource the job to a professional web designer if you don’t mind out-laying the money.
Step 3: Pick a domain name
Picking a name for your website will inevitably be a big decision. Considering the length, spelling, keywords and location are some essential factors when choosing the right domain name for your website.
Some businesses even go to the extremes of registering multiple domain names to protect their business against competitors or as a tool to redirect traffic to their website.
Ultimately, once you have a name that encompasses the essentials of your business, register it, and keep it renewed on a regular basis.
Step 4: Make sure your content is relevant
You have made it this far in the creation of your website, now the time has come to add the most essential elements to your website: your business.
Start at the Home Page, where your visitors will meet your business, and make the content enticing. Follow with The About Page, which lets customers know your business’ story, values and team. Then move to your Products and/or Services Page. This is essentially telling potential customers what you are selling and giving them a chance to use the e-commerce part of your website, like inventory pages, shopping cart and payment processing.
The Contact Information Page is where customers can find where you are, how to contact you, where you can give customers the opportunity to share their contact information with you.
If you want to continue driving website traffic to your page, add a Testimonials Page where past customers can review your business and a Blog Page for keeping customers updated on new products or services.
Step 5: Optimize your SEO and Drive Traffic to your Website
Now that your website is completed, it’s time to ensure people see it.
Search Engine Optimisation is a process in which you refine your website’s content to get higher engine rankings to get people to visit your website. This helps your website to pop up on search engines, like Google or yahoo.
Keywords are essential to customers finding your business. Words that encompass what your business service is or what your business sells, and words that are associated with it. For example, if you are a shoe shop, your keywords would be ladies shoes, men’s shoes, children’s shoes, comfortable shoes, etc.
As for getting more clicks on your website, try keeping up to date on your business’s social media pages, promotions, emails, newsletters, and blogs. If it’s in your budget, you can also consider paid advertisements.
Step 6: Make website visitors, into your customers
Having people visit your website is essentially what you want. But, turning these visitors into customers is the hardest part. You also want to ensure visitors see your business as a trusted authority on the products or services you provide. Giving visitors the opportunity to share their email address gives you the opportunity to keep them up to date with your business happenings.
Step 7:Keep your Website up-to-date
Finally, maintaining and improving your website, as well as tracking your website’s performance may mean more in the future, but it will ensure that all the hard work you put into building your website won’t go to waste.