What are the Requirements for a Small Business to Start a Website?

What are the Requirements for a Small Business to Start a Website?

First things first, you need to figure out what purpose your website serves. It is a necessity that you decide what direction you want to take your site. Do you want to build an ecommerce website? Will your site only serve the purpose of advertising your business, for instance, an electronic and fully interactive billboard accessible to anyone with internet access? Or will you decide to go the direction of a regularly updated blog?

If the plethora of wide open possibilities is a bit daunting, the good news is that you get to control the narrative. Once that decision is made, it is not irreversible if you find that one direction isn’t working or you just so happen to change your mind at a later time.  Whatever you finally decide on, be aware that this is only your starting point. It will help you develop a site that not only suits your interests but also caters to your target market or audience.

Now that You’ve Chosen a General Direction, You need a Name, a Domain Name that is.

Your domain name is like a secured file space stored on a computer accessible to all who have an active internet connection. In order to begin creating your small business website, you will need to think about, create and decide on a unique domain name. One very important thing to keep in mind, however, is that there are millions of sites out there. Chances are there may be active and inactive websites that share your desired domain name.

With that being said, you will want to have a couple of extra domain name ideas on the back burner in case the domain name you have your heart set on is unavailable.

You do have options if the domain you want is already owned, but it will come at a potentially high cost. The first requires you to purchase the domain name from the owner. Chances are, they also have had their heart set on the domain name and if willing to sell it, you will need to have a considerable amount of capital to spend. You will have to gauge, for yourself, whether or not the cost is worth it.

The other option is to try different variations of the domain but there are more negatives than positives when going this route as, again, your variation may be taken and choosing similar domain names will make your website difficult to find and easy to mix up with others when potential consumers type your web address incorrectly. This will make your intended target market dislike your website and by the same token, your business.

In this way, you will ultimately wind up hurting your business more than helping it. However, we’ll move away from this caveat and get back to the topic at hand; your small business website requirements. Here is your next step.

Register Your Domain Name!

Registering your domain name is the next step you need to take before getting started on anything tangible as far as a website goes. It is important to choose a domain name that does not already exist. You cannot register a domain under the same name as another which is already registered.

As mentioned above, domain names are like a file stored on a personal computer for you to access at any given time. You can’t save a file in the same directory with the same filename without overwriting the original. Therefore, two identical domains cannot coexist.

In order to register your domain name, you will need to find a web hosting service that will allow you to register through them. There is a fee associated with registering your domain name. This is not only a service you pay a web hosting company for. This fee ensures that you own your domain and that no one else can use it. It is now your domain name! Congratulations!

It’s Time to Think about the Priorities for Your Small Business Website

Now that you own your domain name, it is time that you start thinking about what is most important for your website. What is most critical for your website today? This harkens back to the opening statement about making sure that you know the purpose your website serves for you and your target audience.

If you want to sell merchandise, book appointments, and reservations, advertise your business and what services you have to offer, you will need to decide this now. What is essential, today, for your website to achieve its intended function?

The more exposure you can have through your small business website, the better. It is easier to decipher what functions your site requires to meet the needs of conducting your business initially than it is to just put a website out there with no clear direction. That frustrates visitors, potentially ruining business opportunities that will be hard or next to impossible to regain.

You can always add more bells and whistles at a later time if necessary. However, functionality and purpose should always be first and foremost in your mind. Are the essential needs of your small business website being met from the moment you go live? If not, then you’ve missed your mark and your potential customers.

Deciphering your Small Business Website’s Pages and Features

We are not yet ready to go live with our website just yet. We are still in the planning phases. Here is another critical element to mull over when thinking about what your small business website needs right now. Since you will need to purchase web hosting in order to launch your website, you will need to know what packages to purchase so that you will be able to achieve all that you intend to prior to actually putting your website together.

Think about the number of website pages, the amount of website storage you will need. Will you be utilizing photos and videos on your website? If so, you will need more storage space. Will you use forms, post customer reviews, blogs, etc? Will you integrate your other social media platforms into your small business website?

Let’s say that you are an artist and want to protect your work but you still need people to listen to your content, you will want to utilize video/audio player features on your site. Do you want to sell merchandise, both digital and physical? You may want to utilize a shopping cart feature on your site.

If you are going to run a site where frequent and common questions are asked of you and time won’t allow you to answer each on individually, an FAQ may be right up your alley. If you have a large enough staff to man live questions, you may want to add in live technical support for more specific questions asked by your consumers.

As you know, most user will be accessing your small business website via the device that fits right into their pockets and is within arm reach at all times. You will need to make sure that you think about mobile device optimization. Nothing will turn potential buyers away from your business quicker than a poorly designed website.

If pages and information are difficult to navigate to, your site looks cluttered, or even loads too slowly, you will lose business. One other thing that needs to be considered is making sure that you can easily update the content on your website. It sounds like we have everything we need to finally get started on the actual building and creation of your small business website.

Can You do it Yourself or will You need Professional Services?

With the advances in technology, there are a plethora of DIY site building pages you can find. They don’t require technical know-how nor do you need to know any type of coding. It is all done for you behind the scenes. This is great for your personal customization and instant gratification of knowing how your small business website will present itself as you are making changes. You won’t need to wait to see a finished product only to need to make adjustments after initial results are revealed. You cut out the middle man, so to speak.

However, if you hire a professional service to do the leg work for you, you may end up saving more money on the packages offered than you would be doing it all on your own. You would need to think about logos, hosting, registering, web building sites, and so on. A professional web service company may offer you all of these things in one package for a reasonable price based on what your needs are. It is a one-stop shop. For excellent service in web hosting and more, check Rebolt Web Services for lightning fast websites at unbeatable prices.

Connect Your Domain Name to Your Website

You will need to know if you will need to redirect ( aka web forwarding) your domain name to where your website is located. For instance, if your website builder tool places your small business website online under the builder’s domain instead of yours, you can use web forwarding so that your site will have a web address that’s easy for your customers (potential and existing) to remember. This will also make it easier for you to build your brand. This makes your business look more legitimate and makes for much more effective marketing.

Let’s build your website

Now, that we have all of the preliminary steps out of the way, let start to building the content you want on your website. We will need to start to think about the content we want to be featured on our website. What is essential for you to have on your website at launch so that it performs in the manner you want. Yes, this is about what you want your website to do and how you want it to look.

However, you will also want to look at your website through the eyes of your customers. You will also need to keep in mind what potential customers may want to see when planning and developing your web content. It is important that you keep as much of your business company branded as possible. Even something as seemingly trivial as a company-branded email can do wonders for your business.

Promote. Your website

If I were looking for a business offering services you provide, how would I find you? If you are active on social media, you need to post your web address on every platform as much as possible. You can also reach a wider audience than just your friends and followers by experimenting with paid advertisements and track the activity to see what method is most effective.

You can also use these paid advertisements to draw per-per-click traffic to your website. However, the costs associated with PPC advertising would need to be assessed. If this is something that you simply cannot afford, there are other methods you can use.

In order to understand how well your site is performing, you will need to use website analytics tools. You can determine from the data, who is coming to your site, what those users are clicking on when they come to your site, and much more. This can give you great insight into what you can enhance and what you may need to change or ax it all together. Website analytics tools can be searched and downloaded or they may be a service offered to you through your web hosting service.

Continually Update Content

Now that your small business website is complete, you will want to make sure that you are continually updating the content of your website as needed. You will want to ensure that you are constantly developing your website for optimization and respond to what is and is not working for your visitors.

You now have everything you need to get started on building your small business website! What are you waiting for? Get out there and get building!

If all of this sounds overwhelming or too much, let Rebolt Web Services help you. Fill out this form today, and we can have your website completed within a few days!

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