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How To Create A Stunning Website For Your Small Business

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

It’s no longer possible these days to run a business without a website, especially since the pandemic. We may not all be stuck inside anymore, but 2020 showed us that if you want to be successful in this world - you have to be online.


Small business web design software has evolved to be easy for anyone to use. You don't need to know how to code to create an attractive and functional website for your business. No matter what platform you decide to use, you just need to follow some basic rules and tips to give your website a professional look, make it easy to find, and showcase your brand successfully.


We’ll go over the ten steps you need to create a stunning website for your small business, as well as what to do after to give you the best chance of being found by your audience.


Let’s get started!


Small Business Web Design Overview


A web design process shouldn’t be complicated if you’re creating a basic website. Here are the ten steps we’ll be going over during your web design journey:


web design process overview on a purple and blue background


  1. Identify your goals

    1. Use the SMART goals method to determine the Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based goals for your web design project.

  2. Define your project

    1. This is where you’ll be determining the specifics, such as who your target audience is, what you want your website to look like, who your competitors are, and what areas your business needs to highlight.

  3. Decide your domain

    1. Your domain is one of the most critical aspects of your website. Choosing this name will be crucial for search engines and traffic success.

  4. Choose a website builder/eCommerce platform

    1. Depending on your website’s size, function, and goals, a good website builder and eCommerce platform can make or break your website.

  5. Sitemap and wireframe creation

    1. With the goals well-defined, we can start creating the layout and defining each of your page’s purposes.

  6. Copy and content creation

    1. Now that we understand the site in mind, we can start creating content for the individual pages. Although we’ll get more into SEO (search engine optimization) on Step 9, make sure you already have a list of keywords during this step so you can limit the number of edits. Creating your copy and content is essential for our next step.

  7. Lay out your visuals

    1. With the site architecture and copy/content created, we can start working on the visuals for your web design. Make sure you keep your style guide or brand guidelines handy, so your visual identity is the same throughout.

  8. Optimize for SEO

    1. Once your website is finished (visually and content-wise), it's time to optimize it for search engines! This includes ensuring your keywords are used throughout your headlines, product pages, and more, your images are optimized with alt-text, and even that the site can load within just a few seconds.

  9. Testing

    1. By now, you've got all your pages and defined how they display to the site visitor, so it's time to make sure it all works according to plan.

  10. Launch

    1. Expect to make a few immediate changes to the site, such as fixing broken links, editing copy, and making adjustments.


Identify Your Website and Design Goals


Small business web design is more than just slapping a website together and calling it a day. You first must understand the purpose of your website in regards to layout, time, goals, and more.


Creating SMART goals is exactly what you need to determine what your plan will be.


SMART goals

Once all of your goals are lined out, your deadline is set, and your team has been brief on the project - it’s time to move on to the next step.


Define the Specifics in Regards to Your Web Design Project


While your SMART goals should be relatively specific, your project goals will be even more specific than that.


This is when you’ll nail down exactly what you need to do, who this website is for, the purpose of your layout, and more to make sure everything from here on out has a purpose and follows a plan.


  1. Define your goals

    1. Define your SMART goals even further and create actionable steps.

  2. Target audience

    1. Your target audience or market should always be at the forefront of your mind. Define them, and your buyer persona’s, to ensure you’re creating a website that works for them.

  3. Define your web design style

    1. What do you want your website to look like? What pages will it include? Do you have your fonts and colors made?

  4. Research your competitors

    1. Who are your competitors, and what are the flaws in their website? What do they do great? What CTAs do they use?


Decide on Your Domain Name


Your domain name is one of the most essential features of your website. It's the URL you'll share with your current and potential clients and promote on social media. Therefore, you want it to be descriptive and easy to remember and type in.


Try to keep it short, and steer clear of abbreviations, acronyms, and numbers, if possible, to avoid customer confusion.


example of a good and bad domain and URL

To check if the domain you would like is available, you can use Google’s domain checker, here.


Choose a Website Builder and eCommerce Platform


Your goals are set, your domain has been purchased...now it’s time to start!


Since you're building your own website and not having it created by a web designer, here are easy DIY website platforms you can choose from.

a comparison chart of the top 4 web builders

If you’re an eCommerce business, you’ll also want to decide which platforms will be best for you and your products. You can learn more about different platforms, as well as how to avoid common eCommerce mistakes, here.


Create the Wireframe and Sitemap (Layout)


Building a site without a sitemap is like building a house without a blueprint - it rarely turns out well.


To ensure all of your pages have a purpose, you’ll want to create a wireframe or sitemap. This ensures you know exactly what each page will be about, what information it includes, and where it directs audiences to.


sitemap layout example


Create Your Copy and Content


Now that you have the layout and a general visual design idea, you can start creating your copy and content for your website. This includes copy such as headlines, call-to-actions, blog content, FAQs, and more.


To best create copy that will rank, you'll want to do keyword research on your target audience and your type of business. You can learn how to do keyword research here and create blog content that ranks, click here.


Lay Out Your Visuals


Once your copy is ready, you can start adding your visual elements. Small business web design and development heavily rely on visuals to keep your audience engaged and entertained.


Visual content is known to increase clicks, engagement, and revenue. In fact, 50% of consumers believe that website design is crucial to a business’s overall brand.


website statistics on an orange earth

But more than that, people want to see images on a website. Not only do images make a page feel less cumbersome and easier to digest, but they also enhance the message in the text, and can even convey important messages without people needing to read.


This part of the design process will often be shaped by existing branding elements, brand colors, logos, and more. Having your style guide or branding guidelines handy will be key to ensure your branding is the same throughout each page.


Optimize Your Small Business Website for Search Engines


Once your website is finished (visual and content-wise), it's time to optimize it for search engines! This includes ensuring your keywords are used throughout your headlines, product pages, and more, your images are optimized with alt-text, and even that the site can load within just a few seconds.


You'll also want to regularly publish fresh, valuable content through blogging, FAQs, videos, or other ways. Choose topics relevant to your business and exciting for your industry to position yourself and your business as thought leaders in the space.


This not only will establish you as a valuable source of information, but it can help your ranking as well.


When Google notices people going to your pages and staying on them, it will start to see you as a valuable source. If the content you produce is then linked to other pages or sources using you as a reference of information, these "backlinks" can also help you rank.


We recommend trying to publish at least one blog post a week to let Google know you're updating your website regularly.



SEMRUSH SEO checklist


Test Your Website


Before announcing that your site is live on the web, make sure it works on all major browsers, like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Nothing erodes a brand more than a site that doesn’t function properly or has misspellings or broken design elements.


Give your link our to friends, family members, or trusted members in your audience or network and have them give you honest feedback about your loading times, ease of use, site navigation, product descriptions, and more.


To check which areas need improvement, you can go to this website and enter your website:



If you're unsure how to do your own SEO, we can sit down with you and go over an SEO game plan for free at the button at the bottom of this blog.


It’s Time to Launch


a website ready to launch with a rocket soaring off the page


Today’s the day!


Expect to make some immediate changes to the site, such as fixing broken links, editing copy, and making adjustments. The internet is a fluid tool that changes daily, if not hourly, so updating and changing your website to some degree is inevitable.


You'll also want to be pushing your website on your social media platforms and email marketing campaigns to ensure your audience is aware you have a website up and running. You can even try offering discounts or giveaways to drive traffic to your website as well.



Keep Your Website Fresh With Routine Maintenance


Staying relevant is important, so update your website frequently with blog posts on current industry events, new products, and offers, and company news to keep visitors coming back to the site.


Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance. Updating content, making changes to the backend, and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work.


Are You Ready to Create Your Small Business Website?


Creating your small business website isn’t rocket science, but it is a process that can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.


If you feel like you’re at a place where handing off your brand website is something you’re comfortable with, then Zoek would love to help you design the website of your dreams!


We offer free web design sessions to go over your goals, business, and ideas and show you exactly what we are capable of making. Click the button below to book your free call today.




 

Kellyann Doyle is a Content Marketing Writer at Zoek, an SEO, Web Design, and Digital Marketing Agency that assists small and medium-sized businesses with their online footprint. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2013 from the University of Houston with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Marketing and has been working in the Digital Marketing world ever since. When not working, you can find Kellyann trying new recipes, enjoying a good nap, or watching Friends for the 500th time.

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