How to Build a Small Business Website

Yes Even With No Experience. I Show You Everything You'll Need and It's Simple Too!

 

Most small business owners know that having a website for their business is important but don't really know how to do it.

Usually they'll look online at what others are doing, wonder how they made it or pay someone a lot of money to make one for them and then wonder why they still aren't getting customers.

Recently I built a small service business site for myself to test out a niche I was thinking about.

Since I used to be a contractor and still have many friends who are, I know that almost all of them have no idea how to go about getting business online.

Since the reason you're here is to learn how to build a custom, attractive, business getting website easily, let's jump right in and get started.

What You Will Learn In This Post

  • How to choose a domain name
  • How to choose a hosting provider
  • Installing WordPress (free content management system)
  • Choosing and installing a theme (styles WordPress to look like you want)
  • Adding click to call for your phone number (over half your visitors will be from their phone)
  • Simple ways to get traffic to your new site
  • How to add content to your site

What makes a good small business website?

A good small business website and by that I'm talking about one for a service business like an electrician, contractor, carpet cleaning company...or a professional such as an accountant, attorney, chiropractor etc...

Not a small retail type business that also sells physical products online.

The number one purpose of your website is to first, make a good professional impression. People make up their minds within a few seconds of landing on a website.

You want them to immediately see yours as a professional business.

Secondly and most importantly you want that website to get them to do one thing only.

To get them to pick up there phone and call you. THAT is the number one thing your website is there for.

What You'll Need

You'll need at least 4 things to build a small business website and they are all very easy to setup

  1. A domain name
  2. Hosting
  3. WordPress installed
  4. A WordPress theme

Domain name considerations for your business

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding on a domain name. We’ll talk about:

There's are a few things to consider when choosing a domain name for your business.

  • Available
  • Specific
  • Relevant
  • Short
  • Domain extensions (.com, .org, .net)
  • Numbers & dashes

Some are more important than others, but take them all into consideration. Now let’s talk about each one.

Available

Probably the biggest issue you'll face is finding one that is available. It might be easy and it might not. It just depends on your business type and where you're located. The more specific you get about yourself though the easier it is.

On Target

Ideally when someone sees your domain name they would know exactly what you do and where you're located.

We'll use trash hauling as an example. Say you own a trash hauling business and you work mainly in Pasadena, CA and that the name of your business is Allen's Trash Hauling.

Instead of choosing Allenstrashhauling.com the better choice would be PasadenaTrashHauling.com.

Even if you could get it, TrashHauling.com would not be the best choice as it's too general. CaliforniaTrashHauling again would be too general unless you own a company that serves the whole state of California.

PasadenaTrashHauling.com might not be available as someone may have picked it up already. In that case you could try the Pasadena nick name of "Rose City" or one of the neighborhoods that someone living there would immediately recognize.

RoseCityTrashHauling.com
OldTownTrashHauling.com
NorthPasadenaTrashHauling.com
SouthPasadenaTrashHauling.com
HastingsRanchTrashHauling.com

And so on.

By using neighboorhoods you should be able to get a specific domain name for your business even if the first one you picked is taken.

Relevancy

Since you are a small business, most likely unless you have service trucks with your brand on them all over town, no one has probably heard of you. That's why you want to have what it is you do and the location in your domain. Don't try and get fancy with "branding" let them know right away what you do and where you are.

Short

By keeping your domain short and to the point, you also make it easier to remember.

Having the name of the business in the domain does fit the "keep it short" rule however it doesn't really help in telling Google anything about you in order to show up in the search results. That's one of the reasons having what you do and where you are is the better choice.

.Com, .Org, .Net etc...?

Always go for a .com. If it's not it just doesn't look right. There will always be a slight degree of not being professional if you use one of the other domain extensions.

Dashes

Again using dashes like Pasadena-Trash-Hauling.com just does not look professional and will reflect on your business. Don't use dashes.

Choosing the best hosting for your business

The first thing you need to know are the three different levels of hosting and what they mean and how they can affect your business.

Tier One: Shared hosting

This is the cheapest form of hosting and honestly you get what you pay for. Some of these plans can cost as little as $10 per month. The reason they can charge so little is that you're sharing the server with thousands of other website owners.

A lot of features that you may need can be limited, such as doing a backup of WordPress. You may not be able to do it because your hosting has features turned off to save money and limit resources on the server.

It's possible to have a few bad apples on the server with you that could possibly affect your ability to show up in Google.

Customer support many times with cheap hosting is not all that great.

It's not recommended to use shared hosting for something that's going to be reflecting your business reputation as well as bringing in new customers.

Tier Two: VPS (Virtual Private Server)

More expensive yes, usually somewhere between $40 to $65 a month plus or minus. However as the name implies you have your own virtual server. This means that your space on the machine has been partitioned off and you are using your own operating system and most likely have access to many features that you wouldn't have on a shared hosting plan.

For most small businesses a VPS is the recommended level of hosting.

Some examples of good hosting companies with affordable plans and good customer service are:[list out some hosting companies here]

[List some hosting plans that offer VPS]

Tier Three: Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is where you have the entire server (basically a computer) to yourself. Because of that you aren't sharing it with anyone. Dedicated servers are for companies that get tons of traffic, sell lots of stuff and need the features, support and security of having their own server for their business. For a typical small business though it's way overkill.

The cost of a dedicated server can easily be $300 a month and higher, much higher. For a small service business, serving local customers, you don't need that.

Choose instead a VPS (Virtual Private Server)

Homework:

Step 1. Buy a domain name using the guide above as a reference. I recommend Godaddy simply because their customer support is second to none. It's not outsourced overseas and they are very helpful.

Step 2. Sign up for VPS hosting. I'm personally very happy with ___________ customer support is very fast and good. Never had any issues at all with them. If you'd like a cheaper option, JVZOO hosting is shared but has a reputation for high quality and they aren't as well known, meaning you're not sharing your server with as many people. They are only X$ a month

Step 3. Get your hostname or nameservers from your hosting company. If it did not come in an email when you signed up, contact support and you should get it in a few minutes.

Step 4. Add your hostname or nameserver to the domain you bought on Godaddy. Rather than walk you step by step through this process as Godaddy's interface changes all the time, call Godaddy support. Tell them you just bought a domain name from them, you have hosting and need help adding the hostname or nameserver to the domain you bought. They will step by step walk you through it.

You need to do this so that when someone types in your domain name or clicks a link of it, in the background your browser will know where the server is located so that your website will pop up. This is done with IP Addresses which are computer readable addresses. A computer can't read something like PasadenaTrashHauling.com but it can read something like 192.0.2.1.

It's sort of like your street address for your house and zipcode. Just like that tells the mailman where you live, having your hostname or nameserver registered at Godaddy lists the machine address where your server is and pairs it up with your domain name. If you didn't do that, the internet wouldn't be able to tell exactly where on the internet your server is.

A smaller company with a good reputation for uptime and customer service are JVZooHost. Their prices are very reasonable starting at just $20 a month for a VPS which is much cheaper than most.

They are part of the JVZoo platform. Most known as a very solid platform for launching information products. I've used them and am very happy with them.

Setup between them and where you purchase your domains is also quite easy and straightforward unlike some other hosting companies.

Tier Three: Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is where you have the entire server (basically a computer) to yourself. Because of that you aren't sharing it with anyone. Dedicated servers are for companies that get tons of traffic, sell lots of stuff and need the features, support and security of having their own server for their business. For a typical small business though it's way overkill.

The cost of a dedicated server can easily be $300 a month and higher, much higher. For a small service business, serving local customers, you don't need that.

Choose instead a VPS (Virtual Private Server)

Homework: Hosting & Domain Name

Step 1. Buy a domain name using the guide above as a reference. I recommend Godaddy simply because their customer support is second to none. It's not outsourced overseas and they are very helpful.

Step 2. Sign up for VPS hosting. I'm personally very happy with ___________ customer support is very fast and good. Never had any issues at all with them. If you'd like a cheaper option, JVZOO hosting is shared but has a reputation for high quality and they aren't as well known, meaning you're not sharing your server with as many people. They are only X$ a month

Step 3. Get your hostname or nameservers from your hosting company. If it did not come in an email when you signed up, contact support and you should get it in a few minutes. If you signed up through JVZoo this is very easy. When you setup your server you will be asked to name your own.

Once you choose the plan you want (see below). Basic is probably fine for most people unless you think you'll be getting lots of visitors then the higher RAM is probably a better choice.

You'll be taken to a setup page (see below) where you'll enter your

Use your domain name you purchased for hostname and enter it where it says ns1 and ns2. You'll enter these under your domain name at Godaddy.

Under the drop down menu for operating system, choose Centos 6.7 with Softaculous. Even though it's extra per month, you'll want Softaculous. It's software on your hosting company that makes literally push button easy to install WordPress as well as other scripts you may need. (See below)

Now that you have your hosting and have purchased a domain, you need to tie them together so your site will show up in someones browser, Google etc..

Step 4.  

Under your domain name at Godaddy, first go to your manage domains

Click on the name and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on manage DNS

.

Under name servers you want to select custom instead of default.  Enter the NS1 and NS2 you setup when you purchased your hosting and save.

Your domain name and hosting are now tied together. As soon as you have something online, which we're going to do next, you'll be able to find it by typing in your domain name into a web brower.

 

Optimizepress 2.0 Theme

Optimizepress is the theme that I recommend you get. The reason is that it’s a visual website builder that’s very easy to get the hang of, you can pretty much copy any website layout using it and it has all the features that you’ll need to have a successful business website. It was built from the ground up with one thing in mind, getting visitors to become customers.

Plus you only have to pay one time, many other themes require a yearly fee of roughly $45 or so. You don’t want to forget to make the payment or have a credit card expire and find your nice website looking like someone dropped napalm on it because your theme expired.

You can purchase a license for Optimzepress here:
You don’t really need the updates or the clubhouse add-on unless you’re a web designer.

Install Optimizepress

First download the Optimizepress theme. If you lost the download link they sent you you can do it here:
https://members.optimizepress.com/download-archive/

To install it, log into WordPress and in the dashboard go to appearances > themes > add new > upload theme2017-05-08_1311.png

Once uploaded, activate it. You’ll now have to enter the license key that you purchased. Enter it and click save settings.

2017-05-08_1322.png


Once you do that, you’ll see the included web pages that you can use.

This is a website that I built using Optimzepress for a small business niche I wanted to test as well as the website layout. It ended up working really well so I’ll walk you through how I built it. If you follow along, you’ll get a real feel how to use Optimizepress to build your site to look like most anything out there you find.
The website is FurnitureAssemblyHelp.com which is for people looking for help with Ikea knock down style furniture.

As soon as I ran some ads to this site, I started getting calls, so I know it works. For service businesses like this and others such as A/C, Plumbing, Carpet Cleaning,Trash Hauling, Handyman, Painting, Window Cleaning....etc.

The main thing you need is an attractive site that looks professional and your phone number front and center. Since over half your visitors will be from mobile phones, the number should be set up for “click to call”. In other words if they click the phone number it’ll pull up the dial app on your phone with the number already filled in. (easy to do)

Click Here to Download the Optimizepress Webpage I built. You’ll learn how I built it so you can change it to fit your business.

This will install into Optimizepress as a pre-made template which you can edit however you want.

Download It Here

Here is the full website if you’d like to look at it. http://furnitureassemblyhelp.com

2017-05-09_1241.png

So the first step in building this was to do a little spying on my competitors to see what they’re sites looked like.

Here are a couple screenshots of sites I looked at so you can get an idea how I came up with the design for my site.

2017-05-09_1156.png

2017-05-09_1238.png

If you’ll notice in both cases they use the Ikea blue and yellow colors and their contact information is front and center as well as a link to “get a quote” which takes you to an email form.

I liked the idea that both of them emphasized that they don’t “just do Ikea” because there are many companies that sell knock down furniture.

Having logos for these companies adds credibility to your site almost giving it an appearance of “official installer”.

If you are an A/C technician having logos of the units you work on gives you that factor and also without having to think the customer immediately sees that you work on say Rheem or Trane units a painter could use paint company logos like Behr etc…

It positions your company with the products people know and trust which helps to get your phone to ring.

If you scroll down on my webpage you’ll also see subtle sales copy and images as well as letting someone know that no matter what it is they need assembled, we can do it.

I this case the subtle sales message is “you know this is not easy and you may end up with furniture parts all over the place along with a lot of confusion” Call us to take care of it for you.

Homework

Using Google to search for words that someone else would use to find a business in your niche look at a few local to you sites that come up at the top of the results and note down what they are using that you’d also like to have you your site.

To get your search local to you just use “near me” or put in your city along with the main word for your business niche like plumber near me.

(The way the near me search works is that your ip address for your router in your house or business is specific to the area it’s located. Google uses that IP address location to determine where you are and what to show you)

Install the Template you downloaded
If you didn’t download it yet, here’s the link. Do that now.
Download Template Link

Go to the WordPress dashboard and click on Optimizepress
You’ll then want to upload the content template you downloaded from here  and click install when prompted.
2017-05-09_1307.png

Scroll down until you find it then click on it to load the template. Name the page, home will do so you can find it easy. Once done we’ll set it as the real home page someone will land on when typing or clicking to your domain.

You’re now in the editor and can change the template however you want. For this example I’m going to do a site for a fictional painting company using this template as a guide.

Step 1. Make a list of stuff from competitors sites I want to include.

I typed in painting company near me into Google and I only want local businesses, not lead generation companies like homeadvisor or angieslist.

The first place to look is the “local listings” section at the top of the results. In another post I’ll show you how to get in there.

The first listing is for Certapro which is actually a franchise and not what we want.

Next is partnership painting. They have what I pointed out earlier, contact info and quote request as the first thing that catches your eye.

2017-05-09_1342.png

Next up detail painting. They have a great looking site but the contact info is nowhere on the page. Big flunk. I really like the design though. Bright colors

2017-05-09_1341.png

For me the next one wins the prize for the best in what a small business site should have. Professional, CONTACT INFORMATION front and center and credibility factors such as the BBB logo. The contact information in the center is actually a slideshow which leads into pictures of past projects.
(Note: if you have a business like painting, construction etc..where you want to use past project photos, be professional about it and either buy a good camera and lens or hire a photographer. Blurry cell phone pictures make you look like an amatuer.

The whole point of this site is to get you to do one thing only...pick up your phone and call them.

Your site is just like a yellow pages ad before the internet took over. Contact information is probably the most important thing you should have on your site.

Again the ONLY thing your site is for if you’re a small service business...get the visitor to your site to pick up their phone and call you!

2017-05-09_1344.png

Step 1. Bright colors and BIG contact info. Add credibility logos
Step 2.