If you could present your business products or services to millions of people would you pass up the opportunity. The internet provides you with a platform to do just that. There are very few businesses that would not benefit from a presence on the internet. Here I will take you through how to create a website for a Small Business, step by step.
If you do not already have an internet presence decide now to place it at the top of your priority list. Create a website and tell everyone about it. If you have a reasonable working knowledge of computers and some time to spend on it you might consider doing it yourself (there are many template available for little or no cost that will give you a great start)… or pay a professional to do it for you.
To create a website is not in itself the answer but only one part of it. Think of it this way, if you opened an office or shop and didn’t tell anyone about it I don’t think you would have much success with your business. After creating your web site you need to advertise and publicise it both personally to your contacts and over the internet so people will know about it.
So, if you want to create your own website here are a few pointers to get you started.
1. First thing to do is decide 0n and purchase a domain name (such as www.businessman.ie). They can cost from as little as €15+ (paid annually). You can stop paying whenever you want but will loose the domain name. There are lots of suppliers both at home and abroad. Check if your business name is available and use it for preference. You can choose different extensions, such as .ie (Ireland), .com (US or worldwide), .co.uk (UK) and many more. Any of these can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
2. The next thing you need to do is purchase web space from a web hosting supplier, such as Irish domains, that will host and run your web site. Look at the many packages available that give you varying amounts of storage and features with an annual cost starting from less than €100.
Now you are ready to start building your web site.
3. The next thing you need to do (which might also be the first thing you do) is consider what you want to appear on your web site. Is the web site to be an information site where you want it to generate contacts/leads by way of phone calls, emails or contact form replies, or do you want it to sell products online using an online shop?
If your site is to be an information site open your word processor and create a “Table of Contents” page. Then create a page that describes each element of your business and incorporate text that describes that part of your business. Think of it as if you are creating a brochure for your business. When finished this document will form a sort of template for your web site.
Consider including pictures that can make it more interesting to view. When writing each page think of and incorporate a unique key phrase that represents that part of your business that interested internet users may search on. Keep it close to the top of the page. Now you are touching on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and in effect are starting to advertise your website when that text is placed in your website.
Online web shop
If you want to sell products and take payments on your web site you should create an eCommerce web site. This is a much more complex proposition and is best left to the professionals. You will need to consider how many products you want to sell on the web shop, how much work is involved in keeping the product details up-to-date (price changes, removing old products, adding new products with details, stock/availability, etc) and more. It is very important that your site be kept up-to-date as visitors will soon learn they cannot rely on it’s content and will not use the site again. You may want to automate this process with data feeds from suppliers. You will also want to link your site with providers that can process/handle payments by credit card and other methods.
Note: Great care must be taken to protect your site from fraudulent card use that you can be held liable for. One such fraudulent transaction can wipe out the profit from many genuine sales. The fact that a card handler approves a credit/debit card transaction may not be a guarantee of payment. If a card is later found to have been stolen you may find your payment reversed. Check out which cards offer secure payment with your provider and consider only using those if you wish to limit fraud.
4. Consider how people will access you website. For example will it be from a PC, laptop, tablet or other mobile device such as a smart phone or all types of device. More and more people are now using their phones on the move to look up information, products and services. You then need to consider the type of website design to implement. If you think a lot of visitors will access your website from their mobile phones you may want to consider using a “responsive” website design. In this way the site will display in a way suitable to the device being used. Where a conventional PC website design is used an entire page will display of the small screen of a phone making it difficult to follow and require the user to expand the display to view any part of it.
5. Next thing to consider is how you will create the site. There are two popular choices. The first is to create a conventional html website using an editor, such as Dreamweaver, or an online web site generator, such as WordPress. You will need to purchase an editor such as Dreamweaver at a cost of several hundred euro. You then install it and generate your website on your PC and then publish it to your internet space with your host provider when you are happy with it. WordPress on the other hand is all done online. Nothing is held in your computer and there is no cost… it is free to use.
6. With all of the above on board, search the internet to see if you can find a website template you can purchase (can cost from less that €100) that will do what you want. Search YouTube and look at videos on each subject to collect knowledge. When armed with that knowledge give it a go.
Note: This site has been created using WordPress with a Responsive design.
A few final words of advice:
1. Your website is your brouchure. It must not only work reliably but look good to your visitor.
2. Keep it very simple. “Less is More”
3. Being on the internet is no guarantee of a sale. There must be a need for you product/service and they must be priced competitively. Remember anyone who visits your website will also visit many other sites to compare pricing/services. Keep an eye on your competitors websites and make sure that your pricing compares favorably while returning a profit when all costs are considered. If you cannot make money from your website the whole exercise is pointless.
4. With an online shop watch out for added costs such as credit card charges, delivery costs, etc.
5. Don’t be a “busy fool” and spend more time on your website than it will generate in profits or you think it will after a period of time.
6. Advise internet search engines of your site and updates.
7. Regularly keep your site updated.
8. The target for everyone is to get the page for your product/service to appear on the first page in an internet search for the keywords you include in your page. It can take months and a lot of effort to achieve this.
9. Advertise your site. Consider using online services such as Google Adwords, but set a monthly budget and keep a very close eye on what you are spending.
Finally, Good luck. I hope this article will help you create a website for your business and that it will make you a lot of money. Remember me when you make your first million.
If you need any advice or help please feel free to contact me.