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How to make a small business website

So you want to know how to make a small business website for your new venture, preferably for free? You've landed in the right place. We'll explain how to do just that, and don't worry, you don't need to be a technical wizard to create a professional-looking website to be proud of either.

What are the benefits of a website for small business?

There are a host of benefits of having a website for your small business. It gives you a platform for you to showcase your business and your services to potential customers.

Having a presence online allows potential customers to find your brand, find the information they need conveniently and contact you easily.

It helps you get additional customer insights, so you can better understand your customers’ needs. It also means you can tap into PPC as a new source of leads and revenue – find out more in our guide to PPC.

Here are a few more of the benefits:

A website can help you to reach a wider audience

A website helps to make your brand more visible, reaching a wide audience.

Always open for business

A website doesn’t have opening times – so even when you can’t be there to take a phone call or reply to an instant message, customers can find out about your services 24/7 and send an enquiry or email.

Websites are cost-effective

Unlike traditional marketing where you’d need to pay for repeated mailshots, expensive print runs, or appearance in local listings, a website doesn’t require many additional costs.

Apart from any website design costs and potential hosting fees, a website will be very affordable to run.

If you look after your website and invest in things like boosting your site’s SEO, chances are, it will pay for itself many times over.

Shows that you’re a legitimate business

When people are looking for a trustworthy trade business, having a well-made, quality website with good information and content matters.

It shows that you’re legitimate, and that your business matters to you – both good reasons for a customer to trust you with their home or business.

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Benefits of a website for small business

Decide who your small business website is aimed at

Your customers, of course! But who your customers are will influence the design and content of your website.

All business websites should provide certain information. This includes:

  • Your business name and logo
  • Your address and contact details
  • Information about the products/services you provide
  • The area you cover

For businesses targeting the homeowner market, you should also include helpful information about how your products/services will improve their lives.

Provide case studies with before and after pictures. Clearly advertise any promotions and offers. And give people an easy method to make direct contact.

For businesses working in the commercial or B2B sector, your website should clearly advertise this. Again, highlight what products and services you offer. Also mention any high-profile projects or clients you have previously worked with.

Once you know how you want your website to look and what information to include, it’s time to start building.

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What’s the best website builder for small businesses?

There are a number of options on the market.  We’ve compared the most popular website-building platforms for you:

Wix.com

  • The complete package, professional, and very simple to use
  • Choose from over 800 designer-made templates in the Wix library, or use the ‘drag and drop’ option to create your own
  • No coding or technical knowledge is required
  • Add animation, videos, photos, take bookings, or even sell products and take payments online
  • Easily bolt on extras such as search engine optimisation (SEO), email database creation, email sends, and even an online store

The free version does mean Wix.com will display its advertising on your website.

To avoid this, upgrade from the free version for as little as £3/month. Most people choose the £8.50/month option, which gives you everything you might need.

WordPress.com

  • Very well-known and well-established website builder and content management system (CMS)
  • Has a simple ‘drag and drop’ function to create your own professional-looking website
  • There are four packages to choose from, ranging from free to £20/month

As is the case with Wix.com, the free version will mean you’ll have WordPress.com advertising on your site. You’ll also have a WordPress.com subdomain rather than you’re own domain.

Only the top package (£20/month) allows Google Analytics integration.

This means that if you want to be able to track how visitors behave on your site, e.g. monitoring how many visitors your site gets and which pages they visit, you’ll need to opt for the top package, or use Wix.com.

Finally, some argue that, for a novice website builder, WordPress.com is not as easy to use as Wix.com.

Weebly.com

  • Great for novice website builders as it’s very quick and easy to use
  • Option to answer a series of questions before your website is automatically created for you
  • Use the standard editor if you want a DIY approach
  • Choose from hundreds of templates, which can be tailored to your needs
  • Built-in additional features such as live chat and a newsletter sign up, all for free

As with other free web builder platforms, you will need to use a domain with Weebly branding unless you’re willing to upgrade to a paid package.

About.me

  • Possibly the easiest website builder there is
  • However, you only get a single-page website
  • Sign up easily using your Facebook or Google account
  • Super speedy – you could be published and live within minutes

Again, the free option does mean that your domain will be about.me/yourname.

However, if you’re willing to pay, you can unlock extra features such as adding your customer testimonials for as little as £6.58/month.

Or, why not take advantage of the website traffic Checkatrade receives? Plus, 8/10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade over one that isn’t*.

So, you're making a business website?

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The cost of hosting a website for a small business

Every website has to be hosted somewhere. In a nutshell, web hosting is what makes the website you’ve built accessible on the internet.

So, how much does it cost to host a website? Well. website hosting can cost anywhere from £2 per month to more than £400 per month.

Shared versus dedicated hosting

The most cost-effective way is to opt for shared hosting. This involves sharing a server with other sites.

Dedicated hosting is more expensive but means that your website will be hosted on your own private server.

This will make it quicker and more responsive. It also won’t have to compete against other websites on the same server.

Some website builder platforms include hosting in their monthly packages. This is worth considering when starting out.

Free website hosting

Others may offer free website hosting. This, however, will mean that they will use adverts to make their money. Banner and pop-up ads may slow down your website and make it frustrating to use for your customers.

Some of the best hosting websites for small businesses include:

  • Bluehost
  • Hostgator
  • InMotion
  • Hostinger

The cost of hosting a website for a small business starts from as little as 99p/month. This is for the most inexpensive type of hosting – shared hosting.

How to buy a domain name

Without a domain name, there’s no website. It’s the URL or link that you’ll share with your customers and use on social media to direct people to your website.

Where possible, your domain name should be:

  • Concise
  • Easy to remember
  • Your business name

Avoid numbers, acronyms, and abbreviations as they may be confusing and easy to mistype.

Part of your domain name will include your TLD (Top Level Domain). This is the suffix at the end of the URL, and could be ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.org’.

Once you’ve chosen your domain name, you’ll have to check its availability and purchase it through a domain registrar. WordPress, Wix, and GoDaddy are popular domain registrars.

Buying a domain name usually costs between £7 and £12 per year.

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Website building FAQs

How much does it cost to make a small business website?

Building a website for a small business can cost anywhere from £100 to £10,000. The cost will depend on size and complexity of the site.

How much does it cost to run a website?

Website hosting can cost anywhere from £2 per month to more than £400 per month. If you use a website builder like Squarespace or Wix, you’ll also have a subscription fee to pay.

Exactly how much you’re charged will depend on the website builder you choose and the plan you pick, but you can expect to pay between around £5 and £50 per month.

Can I make a website for free on my own?

Yes. Most website builders offer a free option. This will limit the scope of your website, however, and free websites don’t usually look very professional.

How long does it take to create a business website?

A typical small business website could take between two to three months to build.

How do I get analytics for my website?

Some website builders offer data about how your website is performing as part of your package. However, Google Analytics is the most popular free web analytics tool out there.

To get it for your website, you first need to sign up for an account. You can then add it to your site using your Analytics Property ID.

How to get free images for a website?

If you’re looking for free images for your website, you can use free image sites such as Unsplash and Pixabay.

marketing tips for tradespeople

Quick summary

  • A website is a great way for your small business to be found online, reaching a wide audience, 24/7
  • There are a number of free website builder platforms available to build your own website
  • The free packages often mean you’ll have the website builders’ advertising on your site and often, you’ll have to use their subdomain as your web address
  • However, it’s quite cost-effective to upgrade your package to avoid this
  • You may also need to pay for web hosting, which starts from as little as 99p/month

So, you're making a business website?

Join the #1 trade directory and maximise your leads

Start our checks now

*Source: Deep Blue Thinking 2021 Trade Perception Survey

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