You are probably very much right when you think you need a website.However, having a dedicated website for your business doesn’t mean people will find you in the digital space.
Here are 5 practical advise before you start your small business website
Your website must be optimized, so search engines can find it and it must have relevant, fresh content to rank.
Otherwise, you just have a nice page to show information about your business, if someone searches directly. It’s like you buys a nice dress to impress people around you, but you never wear it outside. People can see this dress only in your wardrobe…
If you want your business to benefit from the search traffic and visitors (users) and you want to acquire new clients with your site, read below my simple guide to having your first very own business site.
(Small Biz alert!)
1. Know the basics: Practice with WordPress and learn the basics of SEO (free!)
To learn how a website works in the world of search you need training and practice. It is OK if you never wanted to pursue to be an SEO expert, but you must know the basics. Practice with WordPress and see how many steps you have to do to launch a content that will rank in search or will convert (conversion here means any action you require from your potential audience).
Start with learning how your SEO content should be written and structured. Learn about Headings, HTML tags, meta titles and meta descriptions. This might sound way too hard, However WordPress platform helps to put your content into their respective HTML tags (something that the search engines can read).
I think one of the best resource to start your website journey is the YOAST SEO tool and plug-in. YOAST is a company which works with WordPress for more than a decade now to help WordPress users create the best user experience ont heir sites.
The YOAST plug-in will help you to set up the SEO basics right for a page or a post: keywords density and introduction, related keywords, internal linking suggestion and many other SEO related requirements.
YOAST offers free SEO training. I found this article a quite comprehensive article on basic SEO.
To practice start with wordpress.com – which doesn’t require a big investment. For the premium package pay as low as 8 euros/ month, and you can even have your domain free for 1 year.
Make sure you understand the difference though between a self-hosted site (that wordpress.org offers) and a site that is hosted by wordpress.com.
Here is a very comprehensive explanation between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
2. Take a WordPress course
I suggest taking a course on Udemy. In around 5 hours you can learn the basics how WordPress works, so you can admin your own site later on.
With this WordPress for beginners’ course you will learn how to create posts, pages, menus. You will understand what the widgets and plug-ins are, and what you can do with those tools. (Important note: you will be able to install plug-ins only with a wordpress.com business plan or with a wordpress.org self hosted site. These will require a little more investment paid for a year in advance. I still suggest starting with a course and the lowest priced WordPress premium package to practice).
3. Hosting: where your website will “live”
Once you know how a website structure works, how you want your website to look like and what content you can manage without any coding experience, I suggest creating a website with the self-hosted wordpress.org platform.
Remember the explanation from the video, shared above: the hosting is where your website lives. If you have a self-hosted site, it is like owning the house, so you can do anything with this house.
The best thing is you can move your website to wordpress.org any time. To do this WordPress even offers free migration service.
Generally, WordPress has genius free web tutorials, blog posts that are short and easy to understand.
This post on the WordPress beginner site explains simply why and how to migrate a beginners wordpress.com site to the self-hosted wordpress.org platform. The post also gives practical advice and example on hosting companies.
If you have your self-hosted site, you will surely enjoy getting familiar with the admin panel and see all the customization possibilities wordpress.com offers.
4. My “go to” plug-ins:
For SEO: YOAST SEO plug in.
This will help you to set up keywords you think are important in your content and will help you to practice SEO by highlighting some basic SEO needs.
WP Auto terms
Public Post Preview
With this you can send a link to any draft post of yours to anyone to review and comment.
If you happen to be a food-blogger: Recipe Card Blocks by WPZOOM.
You can create beautiful printable, Pinterest-ready, SEO optimized recipe cards.
Final note when planning a website for your business: most probably you will hire a web developer and SEO expert. Here is some practical advice when choosing someone to help to build your site.
Make sure you ask one million questions before you chose the right one. Whatever they send in an offer always google it if you don’t understand.
Make sure you own the passcodes to both the hosting platform and your WordPress admin. It is best if you chose the hosting provider.
Always brief the developer very detailed: what future plans you have with your website? Maybe you want to have a “member only “area in the future? Let him know- to be able to assess the needs from the beginning.
I always ask to connect the site with basic tools like google search console and google analytics. You can also do it later with the help of plug-ins, however if you don’t plan to spend your time just ask. This should have no extra costs.
Many times, developers will also offer to train you for few hours how to use your WordPress admin. Ask for it.
Important! Reminder: a website only works if the content is good, optimized and resonates with the target group.
Consider hiring an expert who will take care of all SEO needs (and all the technicalities of building your site). Check out my services and references here. If you think that SEO services and building a technically perfect website are expensive, you are probably wrong. If you don’t have time to create new content, refresh old content and keep optimising, your website will not be generating much traffic and probably won’t serve your business. And having no traffic and business come with the highest costs.