It’s not surprising for a physical store or business to have an outdated website with a bad interface. This is especially true for small businesses or start-ups where everything is being done by the business owner. This isn’t a dig or an insult, it’s something that I think is understandable. As a business owner, you don’t need to be good at website building to sell donuts or fix cars. If 100% of your services are done in-store, you might not even see the point in having a well-made website. On the other hand, you just might not have the time.
However, that’s not something that has to be the case. In fact, it’s really easy to build a website that you can use regardless of your cost or time challenges. As the mobile world takes over, it shouldn’t be surprising that many new clients will look you up and find you on the internet first. Spending just a little time and money on your internet based appearance is something that any business owner will have to take time on eventually.
What do I need?
When you look into getting a website upgrade, many times it’s best to start fresh. This is especially true if your website is more than 5 to 10 years old. Looking at the basics, you’ll need to find a website host and choose a website builder. In most cases, that’s really where the money spending will end. After that, you’ll just need the time to put everything together.
Should you have more time than money, this can be when you hire someone to build the actual website. You can find people at most budgets from interns looking to get experience to professionals that charge $1000 or more a page. If you are looking for a consultation or some added help, you can always reach out to Helianthus Advising for a free two-hour consultation where we will go over what’s best for you whether that means me or not.
Five Steps for a Great Base Website:
1. Choose a theme
As an obvious base, you need to choose the layout. The way you do this will vary depending on the website builder or host you chose. Wix offers an AI that can build your website for you. WordPress has both free and paid themes that can require lots of work or little. Other builders like Squarespace have themes that can be installed and customized in little to no time at all.
It’s important to remember that Wix, Squarespace, and many more are all drag and drop website builders. These are great for making a quick website but can lack in SEO and blog post ability. On the other hand, WordPress usually requires a lot more time but will offer you better results for growing later on. To make WordPress more compatible, themes like Divi use drag and drop.
If you are in no way concerned with growth or SEO, I would look into Wix’s AI-powered builder. It’s almost like having a professional website builder build a nice looking website for you. Over time, it will cost more to host than other options but the simplicity may be worth it. On the other hand, if you are looking for the best price and best for growth option, WordPress with the Divi or Avada theme is perfect. Hosting options are websites like Bluehost or HostGator as well as many others.
2. Edit or Create the Home Page
No matter if an AI made your whole website or if you’re starting from scratch, you need to fix up the homepage first. The best way to start is to look at as many of your competition’s websites as possible. If you need more, take a look at similar industries. Seeing how they are doing things should give you an idea of what you like and what you need.
In general, your home page should have:
- Headline: what your site is all about
- Subheadline: a brief description that elaborates on the headline
- Call-to-action: something that tells them what your goal for them is.
- Supporting Image: A photo that serves as a banner. Something that stands out and supports your message. Maybe a photo of your store or product.
- Navigation: Obviously any page needs a menu to get around the site.
Of course, there are other things that a homepage will need but those are dependent on your business. This is where looking at your competition will come in. If all of your competition has professional photos of their products, perhaps that something you need to.
3. Create a Services or Products Page
This is something that will also be heavily influenced by your competitors and the business you do. In some cases, you will be able to list each item and open your business to the online world. Other times you can get appointments through a services portal. In any case, you should at least have a page with representative photos if not the real thing as well as descriptions and details. This will let people know what they can expect at your business whether that be food, products, or services.
4. Create a Contact Us Page
Perhaps the simplest page of them all, you need to give a way for people on your website to get in contact with you. This should have a map and address to your location as well as phone number, email, and anything else they might need. If you are interested in making things simple, you can add a contact form to the page. This can allow a page visitor to add all the information they or you need to get their answer.
5. Launch the Website
Once you have a contact page, home page, and services page it’s time to launch the site. While it may not be perfect to begin, it will be something. Perhaps this would be a good time to ask a few friends to look at your site. They’ll give you feedback and you can improve your site or add new pages as times goes on.
Should you desire online growth, you’ll even be able to hire a website designer that can help you. They’ll be able to fix your website with more pages and page edits to work on SEO and style. Another important tip, if you have social media, make sure you connect them and tell your group that you’ve updated your page!
As an in-person business, your physical location can mean that you don’t 100% need a website. Due to this, you may have an outdated website if you have one at all. It’s something that’s very common among small businesses. Many business owners face a lack of time as well as a lack of money. I myself have worked in the past on websites for small businesses that have just never had the time before.
If you don’t have the money to hire someone, there’s always the ability to do it yourself. If your website is very old, it may be best to start from scratch. No matter the case, you should look into the websites of your competition. Looking into their websites will give you ideas and options for what you can do with your own.
When you get down to it, you’ll need a website creator and website host. These can be the same place as with Wix or Squarespace or separate as with as done of WordPress with a host like Bluehost or HostGator.
Once you have all that ready to go, all you need is a home page, a services page, and a contact us page. It’s useful to look at your competition when creating these. Don’t forget to add any of the major points as talked about above. Yet, remember it won’t be perfect and it will get better with time.