5 Easy Steps to Revamp Your Small Business Website

Written by Business

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Off the top, let me say that easy doesn’t necessarily mean quick.

Constructing a multi-page website is still very time-consuming, but the good news for entrepreneurs is that creating and managing a professional-looking website no longer takes a 2-year learning curve or side degrees in coding and programming.

Use the web development supply chain to accomplish the first three technical tasks, and then tap into your own creative side to put the finishing touches on your newly designed small business website.

1. Choose a Web Hosting Service.

The web hosting provider stores your website on their servers and makes it accessible over the Internet.

While this simple statement describes the basic function of a web host, one of the primary benefits of using a hosting service is that most come with email accounts.

This means that instead of running your business from a Gmail account, you can boost your professional image with email addresses from your business domain. If you don’t have a registered domain, you can purchase and manage your business domain from within the host dashboard.

Additional benefits of using a web host include increased security, technical support, traffic reports, additional cloud storage, and more. I personally use iPage, but other top-rated web hosts include BlueHost, HostGator, JustHost, InMotion, and others.

Many web hosts offer a one-year teaser rate, but be prepared for that cost to jump after your introductory offer expires.

Depending on the add-ons you choose, that cost can range from $115-$200 or more.

Expected billing should be straightforward and easily viewed from within your host account.

2. Install a CMS onto the Web Hosting

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), and while you may be under the impression that it’s just for blogging, guess again.

Businesses can create static pages to display products and services, tell about their company, integrate contact forms, and easily add campaign landing pages.

And since we all need to improve our content marketing strategies, the blogging functionality of a CMS platform is a bonus (if not the reason to use a CMS in the first place).

Joomla, Drupal, and MODX are other popular content management systems. If you already have a preference, be sure to choose a web host that offers the best support for your CMS platform.

The host will do the heavy lifting of installing the CMS – just follow their step-by-step instructions.

3. Buy a Theme

Yes, buy. Since small business websites no longer cost thousands of dollars (as they did it seems not that long ago), it’s more than reasonable to cough up $40-$100 for a web template.

Not only will you be supporting the community of developers/programmers who devote their time to building WordPress, Joomla, or other CMS-specific themes, you will save yourself from wasted time and unnecessary frustration.

Themes-for-purchase is more customizable, may include detailed documentation, offer support forums, and work well with 3rd party plug-ins.

Many templates widen the scope of customization even further with fields to add HTML and/or CSS edits.

The result is your own branded business website that is easily updateable and does what you need it to do.

Your web host may provide access to a theme marketplace.

Also, browse these popular theme providers (pay-per-theme or annual memberships):

4. Customize Your Website

Resist the urge to just stick with the default layout that comes with your template. Take a step back and think about your business purpose, your audience, and the message you want to convey in your website.

This step will likely be the most time-consuming unless you have already planned out your site details or are using most of the elements from your existing website.

Using the CMS dashboard, structure your site by building your static pages; deciding what will go into your columns, sidebars, navigation, header, and footer; which plug-ins you need to use; how to integrate your logo and visual brand (colors, graphics, fonts); and any other customization options that come with the template.

Use lorem ipsum and image placeholders for content while you customize your structure.

5. Finish with Great Content

Once you have completed the technical steps and structured your new website, switch creative hats and begin to develop content that will tell your story, benefit your audience, and improve your chances of being found on the web.

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