Your website is one of your most important marketing tools because it is the first interaction most customers have with your local business. It is also the place they visit to order your products or make inquiries about your service.
Your local business can have a digital space
The local business includes most things from hair salons, cake bakery to local service providers like plumbers. Whether it an independently-owned local toy store or local food vendor, there is the need to make a compelling, and user-friendly website that serves as a vehicle for customer service.
Before you start building for your local company
Before building a website for your local business I recommend that you take some time to familiarize yourself with a few important aspects. By doing so, the process of building your site will not only be easier, but more efficient. Taking the time to make sure you have planned out your site can save you time, frustration, and even money.
Set clear goals for your business
Before you start, it is important to have clear goals as to what you are looking to ultimately achieve. These days, websites serve as advanced marketing tools, and having clear goals will set the stage for creating a path to reaching those goals.
Below are some simple goals when creating a website for your local business
- Drive awareness by providing information about your goods, services, and location.
- Generate leads through strategies such as sales and email marketing campaigns.
- Generate phone calls by including a front-and-center “Talk to a Rep” or a “click-to-call” button on your home screen.
- Book appointments, consultations, or reservations
- Increase online sales by asking visitors simple questions in order to know their needs better and know how best to meet those needs.
- Drive offline sales by designing a site that can easily be found online.
Follow the rules during creating website for your local business
Regardless of brand, a good local business website design adheres to the following rules highlighted below.
- First, your design should function correctly and easily across both desktop and mobile devices. In 2016 Google announced its mobile-first indexing. This is a clear signal to all businesses the dominant importance of mobile search.
- Then your design must avoid any technical problems that would prevent it from being fully indexed and ranked. Technologies that aren’t friendly to users or search engines must be avoided.
- Also, your design should guide the user towards specific actions. The visual layout and content of your website must offer the right support, taking the user from one point to another as easily as possible.
- Your design should be simple, empowering the user to make decisions without distraction from pop-ups or Ads.
- Make sure that the visuals of your design aren’t outdated. An outdated visual design is problematic in that it may indicate a neglected business. Also, the logo on your website should matches what the consumer sees on street-level signage, allowing your website to foster instant brand recognition.
These are the few guidelines applicable to all local businesses. Whether the website is being designed for a small jewelry store or a local restaurant, it’s appropriate to devote maximum resources and thought into developing an asset that truly serves the public.
Decide who builds the website for your local business
It is important to decide in regard to whether or not you want to hire an expert to build your business website on their behalf or build it yourself. In the past, building a business website would require a degree of technical expertise, and so most businesses would leave their site-building to the pros.
Now, thanks to the abundance of tools that have made it easy, you can build your website yourself. And with an almost endless list of platforms and tools, it’s now possible for you to build a website local business without any technical or design experience.
One benefit of building your own website is that you maintain full control and manage it in-house.
Step to creating a website for your local business
In this article, we will look at seven steps to creating a website for your local business.
- The first is to choose which content management system (CMS) platform to build a site on.
- Then Pick the right hosting plan
- Register a domain name.
- Move on to choose a template or theme.
- Customize your website by creating content and building web pages.
- Then install plugins
- Finally, review, launch, and maintain.
Choose which content management system (CMS) platform to build a site on
Building a website for your local business is easier than ever. And you can create a professional website without any web design experience thanks to the easy-to-use platforms and tools available. Two methods can be used for building a local business website.
- Using a website builder.
- Using a Content Management System (CMS) e.g. WordPress.
Choose the best for you local business
And from my many years of experience as a webmaster, I will recommend WordPress for any local business that requires a highly custom website with unique capabilities.
Choose WordPress CMS for your local business website
WordPress is extremely popular, powering one-third of all websites today. It is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and customize digital content without a fuss.
Though it does require a little more technical know-how than some of the other website builders, that’s why its best you assess whether you have the skill to use WordPress, or whether you’d like to hire a web designer to build your website for you. And if you choose to build it yourself, there are plenty of plug-ins and tools that make it relatively easy for you to build an affordable website that meets your business needs.
Many local business websites are made possible thanks to WordPress themes, plug-ins, image galleries, and other project management tools. Also, there are many other features the platform offers out of the box that is useful to all types of websites. It is free and relatively simple to install.
Pick the right hosting plan for local entrepreneurs
Web hosting is the digital rental space for the website. Simply put, with it, your website won’t be online without. With the right hosting plan, your website will keep ticking along smoothly without fear of lagging behind the competition.
And if you are building a website with a CMS such as WordPress, you will need web hosting. There are dozens of companies to choose from, with each having almost the same plans, but offering different features and inclusions.
It is important to choose the right web hosting plan for your website. This will save you a lot of time, money, and also give extras such as a free domain, free business email, and a free SSL certificate.
Although WordPress is a free CMS platform, it does require you to purchase web hosting separately in order for the website to be available online.
Bluehost is a leading web hosting company that offers affordable plans that cost as little as $2.95 per month. It also comes with WordPress-specific hosting plans to help make the whole hosting process a totally easy, offering extra features such as one-click WordPress installation and automatic software updates.
Register a domain name
Your website’s domain is the digital address of your website. It’s how users find your site on the internet. Every website needs one, and your domain must reflect your business name.
It should also be easy to remember and to spot on search engines. You can register a domain for free on Bluehost for the first year when you sign up to a hosting plan. And as you know, cutting costs is vital to growing any business.
Choose a template or theme perfect for your local market
Whichever platform you decide to use to build your site, you should choose a prebuilt template or theme before you begin building out your pages.
This will not only make the web design process a lot easier, but your website will look professional regardless of whether or not you have web design experience. The theme is the basic foundation of your website, the platform on which you’ll paint and customize your personalized website.
WordPress has thousands of themes within its directory and over 1,500 ‘business’ themes to choose from. And because WordPress content is categorized into pages and posts, the theme you choose will dictate what that content looks like.
Customize your website to meet your local clients needs
After you must have selected the theme or template that you want for your website, now it’s time to make this general template or theme your own by swapping out all the placeholder content for yours, and adding any extra pages.
In terms of pages, all business websites will need:
- A strong homepage Visitors should be able to work out what you do quickly, and navigate to other sections smoothly.
- An informative ‘About Us’ page. Tell people your story, and add pictures of your team.
- A clear ‘Contact’ page. Customers need to know where they can find you, and how best to reach you.
- A products/services page Talk about what you do best, and add images if you have them.
- A blog. This can help demonstrate your expertise, keep your site feeling fresh, and help your site perform well with search engines.
It is also advisable to check out the competition. Your website should look distinct, but it’s good to know what your customers will be expecting to find.
Install plugins which help run local company
When it comes to plugins, WordPress has over 50,000 to choose from, both free and paid, and are all easy to install from the plugin directory. There are plugins for any area of business, whether it’s SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, or visitor analytics. WordPress really does have a plugin for everything. It is also important to always check the plugin’s star rating before installation.
Other nice plugins include
- WPForms – add a contact form to make it easy for customers to get in touch with your business
- MonsterInsights – the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress
- Social Media Share Buttons – encourage visitors to share your content on social media quickly and easily
- Yoast SEO – a comprehensive SEO solution to help bring more search engine users to your business website.
Review, launch, and maintain your local business website
Before you launch your business website, double check your website for any issues. Then after publishing, you will need to maintain your website by updating the design, fixing the tech issues, and restructuring the pages to help improve your ranking on search engines.
It is safe to now say
The quality and power of the finished product will largely depend on how much care is taken in each step of the planning and execution. As a core customer service asset and the central vehicle for achieving search engine visibility, your website is all and unequaled.