The Small Business Checklist: Four Things to Consider Before You Build a Website

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July 13, 2020
The Small Business Checklist: Four Things to Consider Before You Build a Website

In 2017, 69% of small businesses with a website reported income of between $1 million and $2.49 million. This doesn’t mean your business will automatically turn over seven-figure sums by setting up a website. However, the statistics show that having an online presence is good for business. Indeed, a survey by ESPRESSO Digital found that 91% of consumers visited a store because of the online experience. A further 37% used the internet at least once a month to purchase products.

Whichever metrics you use, websites make sense if you’re a small business. Despite the benefits we’ve just stated, HR Dive found that 40% of small businesses still don’t have a website. What’s more, 28% of business owners said they didn’t plan on getting one. If you’re looking to get ahead of the competition, it’s clearly a good idea to get a website. Consumers are increasingly moving towards online purchases and almost a third of your competition isn’t equipped to meet these demands.

Of course, you can’t just make a website. Like all things, there’s a certain amount of planning and development required. Are you going to make your website mobile friendly? Is dedicated server hosting for small business websites the way forward? cPanel vs. Plesk: which is best for your needs? These are just some of the questions you need to answer before you build a website. With this in mind, we’ve outlined the top small business web hosting and development tips you need to achieve success online.

1. Purpose and Planning – Why Do You Want a Website?

Things such as website and email hosting for small businesses is important, as are technical considerations such as cPanel vs. Plesk and Java vs. JavaScript. However, before you can dive into these things, you need a purpose. Without deciding what you want from your website, you’re never going to build anything worth using.

So, before you start planning, do some research, and see what others in your field have done. After that, write down your reasons for wanting a website. Some of the common reasons small businesses launch a website are:

  • To sell a product

  • To educate customers and/or clients

  • To promote the business

  • To entertain

  • To inform

Only by making your objectives clear can you come up with a structure that serves your needs.

2. Designing Your Website: Grab Their Attention

There are many design tips and tricks you can follow to make your website great. However, everything needs to start with one consideration: the 15-second rule. As far back as 2011, the Nielson Norman Group found that users typically leave a webpage after 10 to 20 seconds. They will, however, stay for longer if they see value in the content. But, and this is the crucial part, you must “communicate your value proposition” within 10 seconds. If you can’t grab someone’s attention within a few seconds, you’re probably going to lose them.

Therefore, everything you do has to fit with this goal. If your page is filled with text, make sure you outline the main points at the start and then work backwards. In journalism, this is known as the inverted pyramid structure. Also, think about breaking up your text into small paragraphs and making use of bullet points. Images and animations are great, but only if they don’t distract users from the thing you’re trying to promote. The same goes for colors and fonts. Be creative but not to the point it clouds the message you’re trying to convey. If in doubt, opt for simplicity.

3. Small Business Website Hosting 101

When you know the type of site you want and what each page is going to look like, one of the most important steps in the process is hosting. To make your website available to the world, you need a server to host it. With a host in place, people can follow a domain name to said server and access your site. In essence, a host is a gateway to your piece of cyberspace. With that being the case, you need to understand how small business web hosting works.

If you’re new online, you might want to consider free web hosting options. Because traffic is likely to be low, dedicated server hosting for small business websites might not be cost-effective. However, as we’ve noted, free solutions often mean your site will be littered with unwanted adverts and instability issues. A better solution is to use a hosting company like Verpex. Companies such as GoDaddy tend to be less accommodating if you’re a small business.

Verpex is able to offer small business website hosting in Asia, Europe, and the US, while still maintaining high-quality customer service. As a small business with little experience in websites, you’ll need all the help you can get. This is why Verpex is an ideal solution. Indeed, because it’s designed to host WordPress sites, you can keep the costs down without sacrificing quality.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to think about specificity. Website and email hosting for small business ventures are all about speed and stability. The best way to meet these goals is to consider the location of your host. The closer you and your customers are to the host server, the better.

From this, you can start to think about cPanel vs. Plesk. If you’re a beginner, cPanel makes it easy to control and edit your site. As you progress, you might switch to Plesk. Either way, you need to stay on top of your site to ensure speed and stability remain strong.

4. To Go Mobile or Not? Should You Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Once you’ve planned, executed, and found a hosting solution, you can increase your online presence with a mobile site. In today’s mobile-focused world, this often means optimizing your site for smartphones and tablets. We’ve already given you advice on how to make your website mobile-friendly. However, one of the key points to note is that attention spans are often shorter on mobile devices. Therefore, you need to make sure every page element is both visible and necessary.

Anything on your desktop site that’s not easily converted for mobile use should be scrapped. As long as you remember this, you won’t go far wrong. In fact, if you follow the fundamentals we’ve outlined in this guide, you should be well on the way to creating the perfect website. More importantly, you’ll be another step closer to making your small business a big success.

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