If you’re starting a business, it’s tempting to think that getting your name and logo out is the most important thing. But while branding matters, so do websites. Having a website is like having an online storefront—you can reach customers who might not otherwise find you, plus it gives people a place to learn more about your company and its products or services. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide on creating a business website for less than $100!
Start with a plan
First, you need to decide on your goals. What do you want the website to accomplish? Do you want visitors to buy something or sign up for a subscription? Are you trying to get people interested in what your company does so they’ll invest in an ad campaign later on?
It would be best if you also wrote down who your target audience is and how they use the internet. For example, if you’re targeting businesspeople in New York City, it’s probably not worth setting up a blog post about how much fun it is to go hiking in nearby mountains during the summertime. If, instead, most of our users are older women who enjoy gardening and cooking for their families, then maybe that would be worth writing about on our blog—and perhaps even posting pictures of our favorite recipes!
Of course, having some idea of what kind of content will work best for us would help us get started toward making these decisions faster, too–but luckily, there are plenty of tools available online that make creating new pages more accessible than ever before!
Choose a domain name.
Choosing a domain name is one of your most important decisions when starting your website. The words, numbers, and symbols that combine to form your domain name should be easy to remember and spell, but they also need to be original and not too long or short.
The best way to develop good ideas is by brainstorming with others (or yourself). Don’t worry if they are silly or don’t make sense—the point here is to get everyone thinking creatively and out of the box! Once everyone has had their say, go through the list together and discuss which ones look promising. Remember: it’s better for everyone involved if there’s some consensus about what goes on an index instead of people just saying what they think without regard for anyone else’s opinion.
Register your domain name
Now that you have a name for your business and its website, it’s time to register your domain name. A domain name is the web address for your business; for example, Google’s registered domain is google.com. It should be short and easy to remember so that customers can easily find it online or in print (for example, if someone were to write an article about your company on their website).
The good news is that registering a domain name is free! There are many websites available where you can search for general terms and sign up with one of those companies that provide this service (like GoDaddy).
Choose a search-engine–friendly hosting provider.
Choose a search-engine–friendly hosting provider. As you already know, people search for businesses online. If your business website is not optimized for search engines, it will not be found by customers looking for your products or services.
The best way to ensure that your site ranks high in the search results is by using a highly experienced web designer who understands how to optimize content for SEO (search engine optimization). You can also take this step by learning about keyword research and how it relates to optimizing websites for Google’s algorithms.
Set up your hosting account
Hosting is the service that allows you to display your website on the internet. When you sign up for hosting, a company provides space for your website and bandwidth (the amount of data transfers allowed) so that users can visit and see it.
There are two types of web hosting: shared and dedicated. Shared is cheaper and more widely available, while dedicated provides higher performance. A good rule of thumb is if you have a small site or don’t expect much traffic, go with shared; otherwise, consider going with dedicated hosting.
When choosing a hosting provider, there are several things to keep in mind: security features such as encryption and firewalls; ease-of-use; customer support options; reliability history; pricing structure (monthly fees vs. pay-as-you-go); uptime guarantee policies; how much storage space/bandwidth comes included with each plan level (and whether there’s an option for more storage/bandwidth if needed).
Select a business-friendly website builder
Now that you have an idea of what you want your site to look like, it’s time to choose a website builder. A business-friendly website builder will be easy for any team member to use, and it should also be compatible with the domain name and hosting provider you’ve chosen (see Step 4).
- Hosted vs. self-hosted: Most hosted solutions cost less than self-hosted ones because they allow you to pay one monthly fee instead of paying separately for web design, hosting, and maintenance services. However, if ease of use is not important to you or if money isn’t an issue, then a self-hosted solution may work better for you because more options are available in terms of functionality and flexibility. If this sounds like something that might interest you but doesn’t seem entirely feasible right now (or ever), consider working with a freelancer who can build the site on their server while helping guide the process along based on what they know about where things go best within WordPress.*
Choose your design template.
The design template is like the skeleton of your website, and it should reflect your business goals and audience. If you’re hoping to start a blog about organic gardening, for example, choosing a basic WordPress theme with a lot of white space will keep users focused on what you have to say. On the other hand, if your goal is to create an online store that sells handmade jewelry, then it makes sense to use something more colorful and visually engaging.
Choose a design template that is:
- Professional-looking (but not too professional). You want people visiting your site to feel comfortable there; otherwise, they won’t stick around long enough for anything else on the page—including calls-to-action or content—to work its magic. In this context, “professional” means clean lines and neutral colors, no clipart or stock photos unless necessary, and text written in plain English without any unnecessary jargon or buzzwords.
- Easy to use (and maintain). At some point in their lives, every website owner ends up spending hours trying unsuccessfully to figure out why their site isn’t working correctly, only then realizing all they had done wrong was change a specific setting somewhere in WordPress’ admin interface . . . but which one? They’ll also likely spend time researching how other sites do things like styled links/text posts/etc. Because unfortunately, there needs to be a proper way to create great experiences within these environments!
- Create pages and edit text, images, and other media using the content management system
Now that you’ve created your website, you can add all its content. Depending on what CMS you’re using (and there are many), this may be as simple as uploading files or as complex as installing plug-ins and third-party apps.
In general, though, using a CMS will give you the following:
- Access to templates and other tools that help put you in control of how your site looks and feels
- A platform for building landing pages with contact forms, surveys, etc., without having to learn code or hire someone else to make them for you.
Add your business logo to the site.
The final step to putting your site together is to add your logo. To do this, you’ll have to upload it from a file.
Now that you have the logo uploaded, there are several places that you should put it:
- In the header (above or below the navigation)
- On every page of your site (except for this one!)
You can create an effective website for your business for less than $100
You can create an effective website for your business for less than $100. You don’t need to be a web designer, and plenty of resources can help you get started.
The best part about creating a website for your business is that it’s not complicated. You can do it yourself and save some money, or hire someone to do it for you. Either way, the process is straightforward and doesn’t require special skills—just a little patience and willingness to learn!