If you operate a business and you don’t have a website yet, you should really consider building one.
Why should you create a business website?
The truth of the matter is that you can’t afford not to have one.
Your business website can help you generate more clients throughout all aspects of the customer acquisition cycle, such as when a prospective client:
- Performs a broad internet search for what sort of businesses can help with solving his/her problems – and discovers you;
- Wants to find out more information about specific businesses to see if he/she should inquire for more information;
- Retrieves your contact information to reach out to you either through email or the phone.
The situations on how you can benefit from having built a business website are endless.
Let’s face it, you probably use the internet to find out more information about various businesses too, right?
Gone are the days when you can only rely on having your business listed in the Yellow Pages or word-of-mouth. While these “old school” methods are still effective to a certain extent, creating a business website is complementary to other methods of attracting new customers.
If you’re wondering how to build a business website, just know that it’s not as hard as you think.
This guide will walk you through what you need and how to get started in building your first business website.
You probably have a million things on your To-Do list, and adding a website to your long list can be overwhelming.
This is why we created this ultimate guide to show you how you can build a professional business website all on your own.
You can create a business website easily and quickly using a website builder, such as Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. They allow your business site to be up and running in a matter of hours! And you don’t even need to know how to code!
If you have money to spend and other priorities to focus on, you should consider hiring someone to build your website for you. We and our friends over at Expert Market have carefully selected people with the skills to get a stunning site live fast.
However, if you don’t have much of a budget to work with, read on and we will guide you through how you can build a good looking business site yourself.
Here are the 5 simple steps to get you started on your way to creating a fantastic business website:
Anyone who ever used the internet knows you need to insert a website address to get to any website.
A domain name is the address of your website.
While it is very common for businesses to have domain names that are the same as their business names (such as walmart.com), you can pick a domain name to include any text phrase you want as long as it is not already taken.
For example, the domain name for our website is www.websitebuilderexpert.com. For businesses it’s important to think about how your domain will be relevant to what you do. It’s the first contact a lot of people will have with your site, so make it count.
There are two costs associated with getting your own domain name:
- Cost to buy a domain name; and
- Cost to keep your domain name registered every year.
A domain name typically costs around $10 to $12 to purchase, and the same price range for you to keep it registered in your name every year.
If someone already owns the domain name you want, you’ll need to select a different domain name or it is possible to reach out to the owner to buy it.
Here are some FAQs about domain names:
Q: Where can I buy a domain name?
Q: Where can I find more about domain names? For example, how to pick, purchase and register my domain name?
A: Here is our comprehensive beginners guide domain names. You’ll find everything you need to know about domain names in our guide.
Choose a website builder and make money online today
What type of site do you want to build?
To make your business look more professional and established, you’ll need a custom business email address.
You probably don’t want your prospective customers to see that you’re using a Gmail email address such as email@example.com.
They’ll probably perceive that your business is not as established. While this is pretty judgmental, it’s just human nature.
The most common business email addresses format actually uses your business domain name.
For example, our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
So yours can be email@example.com
Getting a custom business email address is fairly easy, fast and cheap. Our recommendation is to use G Suite which is powered by Google.
It’s basically Gmail for businesses except you have a personalized email address. You get the friendly user-interface, reliability, and security of Gmail.
It only costs $5 a month per email address, which in our view is a very reasonable price to pay to get your own customized email address and you can sit back and let Google manage everything else.
We also use G Suite ourselves and we’re very pleased with their services.
G Suite is fully integrated with some of our recommended website builders.
If you choose to use one of these website builders, they make it easy for you to setup your own personalized business email addresses. You won’t have to sign up to G Suite separately as you can get your email addresses all setup within the website builder control panel.
More about our recommended website builders below.
This is one of the most important steps when building your business website.
This is because if you choose the right website builder software based on your needs, building a business website can be as leisurely as a walk in the park versus climbing Mount Everest.
There are a lot of website builders out there and they all have their own sets of pros and cons. We’ve pretty much used most if not all of the website builders to create all sorts of different websites, so we want to share our recommendations with you.
When choosing a website builder, keep this in mind:
Never choose a website builder that is too complex and offers all sorts of features that you don’t need.
It so easy to get enticed by all the bells and whistles and make the mistake of falling for business website builders that offer the most tools. After all, our brains are naturally wired to believe that more is better.
Features are great only if you actually use them. Remember, the more features a website builder have, the more complex and difficult it may be to use. Try to keep things simple and it will make your life a bit easier. What does your business need for the site to be useful? What is likely to be useful in the future?
When choosing the right website builder, make sure you consider your technical and design skill levels, and what complex features you realistically need for your website.
There is no such thing as a perfect website builder for everyone. Some business website builders will work better for some people. As long as you don’t get side-tracked by fancy tools that you might potentially use 5 years down the road, you will be fine.
To help you through the selection process, here is a guide we wrote on how to choose the right website builder with 9 simple questions you can ask yourself.
Here are our recommended website builders for businesses and what they are best suited for:
Top 4 Business Website Builders
Detail Top 4 Website Builder Assessment
Best All-Around Drag & Drop Website Builder“
- Wix.com strikes a good balance between easy-to-use and flexible features. This drag & drop website builder can handle any websites from ecommerce stores to powering online reservations for hotels or classes. Its flexibility is excellent because it allows you to build websites for all sorts of businesses.
- You have access to some advanced design tools that are ridiculously simple to use, such as 500+ stylish template designs, parallax scrolling, video backgrounds, artificial intelligence website design assistance (called Wix ADI).
Who is Wix best for?
- If you need a lot of design help and guidance. Wix offers pre-populated template designs so you can easily swap in your own business images and content without having to design your own layouts. If you want Wix to build a website for you, you can use Wix ADI. It is an artificial intelligence design software that asks you what you like and takes your ideas and build a custom website design for you.
- If you need more flexible tools for a specialty business website. If you need an online booking / reservation app, music selling app, hotel booking app, restaurant / order take out app, or different apps that add more practical functions to your website, Wix is the one you should go with. They have massive App Market with 260+ apps you can choose from.
- Monthly Plans: Free Plan | Starter: $5.00 | Combo: $10.00 | Unlimited: $14.00 | E-Commerce: $17.00 | VIP: $25.00
- Template Designs: Extensive collection across a lot of business niches
- Hosting: Included
- Support: Includes phone, email, forum, help center
Best Design Oriented Drag & Drop Website Builder
- Squarespace is like the Apple of business website builders. They can help you create visually stunning, minimalistic business websites that can capture your visitors’ attention.
- Squarespace has the best looking designs amongst its competitors that can make your business stand apart from others. It also offers you an advanced template design customization tool that gives you the freedom to customize your website design without having to touch any codes. So they are very user-friendly for non-technical people.
Who is Squarespace best for?
- If you want to create a visually stunning website for businesses in industries such as photography, design, restaurants, ecommerce, etc. You can see some examples here.
- If you need the ability to highly customize your website design.
- Monthly Plans: 14-Days Free Trial | Personal Website: $12 | Business Website: $18 | Basic Commerce: $26 | Advanced Commerce: $40
- Template Designs: Smaller collection but very beautiful
- Hosting: Included
- Support: Includes 24/7 email, live chat, help center
Easiest-to-Use Drag & Drop Website Builder
- “Keep it simple” is part of Weebly’s DNA. A very low learning curve when it comes to building a business website with Weebly.
- Choose various pre-designed page layouts so you can quickly set up your pages and swap in your own text and images.
- Because Weebly is a dead simple to use, it doesn’t offer as many features as other website builders. If you only need to have a relatively straightforward website without any specialty functions (such as online reservation), exceptionally stunning designs, Weebly will probably be a good fit for you.
Who is Weebly best for?
- If you are very afraid of technology and need something that is extremely easy to use.
- If you just need a simple business website that requires little to no advanced functionalities.
- Monthly Plans: Free Plan | Starter: $8 | Pro: $12 | Business: $25 | Performance: $49
- Template Designs: Smaller collection – more basic looking
- Hosting: Included
- Support: Includes phone, email, live chat, help center
Most Flexible Website Builder
Not a drag & drop builder and requires you to subscribe to a separate hosting service, such as Bluehost
- WordPress is a powerful website builder that can create any type of website you can imagine. There are thousands of template designs and plugins to choose from to add more functions to your website.
- If you know how to code, or if you hired a capable coder, there are almost no limitations when it comes to what you can do with WordPress.
- Caution: In my opinion, WordPress is not something I will suggest for people with no or limited technology skills, or for those who have never owned a website before. Why? Because WordPress has a much steeper learning curve and setup costs than fully managed website builders like Wix, Squarespace or Weebly. WordPress also doesn’t offer you a dedicated support team so you’ll need to troubleshoot issues yourself (or hire someone).
Who is WordPress best for?
- If this is not your first website and you have some knowledge about web hosting and basic coding skills to be able to manage a WordPress business website on your own.
- If you need to heavily customize the design of your website or need a very customized tool / feature that drag & drop website builders can’t cater to.
- If you have time to learn how to use and manage a WordPress website or have sufficient budget to hire a professional to help you get started.
- Start Up Costs: $40 to $200
- Monthly Maintenance Cost: $5 to $250 (refer to the comparison below for more detail costs breakdown)
- Template Costs: $35 to $150+
- Hosting Costs: $5 to $99+
- Hired Support: $50 per hour to $150 per hour
We’ve created a handy table chart that compares costs and features of WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
A website template is a pre-made website design that you can just add to your website to instantly create a professional looking website without the need of hiring a website designer.
Think of templates as different variations or styles of clothes for websites.
It is the most simple, design-dummy proof and economical way of having a well-designed website and you don’t need to hire a professional designer to help you do this. Website builders try to provide templates that cater to as many business categories as possible.
Most business owners believe that their only option is to hire a designer to create a custom design for their business website. Well, I’m here to bust that myth.
A good website designer has lots of value to add. I know because I am a website designer.
If you have a few thousand dollars laying around and don’t want to bother with creating the website yourself, then hiring a website designer might be the way to go.
But if you have a limited budget or want to be smart about creating a functional business website that’s still professional looking, I would suggest to hold off on hiring a website designer if you’ve never built a business website before.
You need real data to create a user-friendly website that caters to your specific customers. Since this may be your first website (and potentially a new business), you will probably have no ideas how your customers actually experience your brand, what they are interested in, and how they interact with your website.
Without this crucial information, splurging on a custom design without fully understanding what your visitors are actually looking for and how they interact with your website can be a financial disaster.
We have firsthand experiences with building a custom website too early and that is why we recommend that you start with an inexpensive, pre-made website template to get started and understand what you really need for your website design.
This gives you a chance to better understand your website visitors, what they are looking for, and what is important / helpful to them.
After gathering and understanding this data, you can then consider investing in a custom website design that is built upon actual data of what works best for your business.
Keep in mind that you can always invest in custom-built design later once you figure out what you actually need, not what you think you need. It’s never too late for that.
How Do You Choose the Right Website Template Design for Your Business?
We’ve created a how-to guide that shows you 3 simple rules that you can follow to pick the right template design for your business website.
See Guide here: How to Choose Your Perfect Website Template Design
Where to find website templates?
- If you are using a self-hosted website builder such as WordPress, you can find good WordPress templates at WooThemes and Mojo Marketplace.
- If you are using a fully managed website builder (such as Wix, Squarespace or Weebly), they will provide you with free website template designs. Here is a summary of each website builder’s template design selections:
Now it comes to the fun part – inserting content and images into your website.
It’s important to remember that a business website is ultimately just a framework for whatever your goods and services are. It isn’t finished until you’ve populated it with content and information.
What that content is depends on what you do, but there’s a few things usually worth doing regardless. You’ll need ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages, as they’re the types Google look to to populate company knowledge graphs. Beyond that, there are things like homepage copy, blog posts (if you choose to incorporate one into your business website), product images, and production descriptions to think about.
This is the part where you will spend most of your time. Here are some resource guides that we put together that will make this process a lot easier and faster for you.
7 Essential Resources To Help You Create A Business Website:
- How to Design a Winning Home Page: See our guide on how to create an awesome, effective home page design layout. We have examples you can imitate & templates you can use.
- How to Make a Logo in 1 Minute – Without Any Design Skills: Learn how you can create professional logos without using fancy (and complicated) image editors like Photoshop.
- Where to Find High-Quality Images for Your Website on the Cheap: See which top 5 resources where you can find beautiful images to boost the professionalism of your website
- How to Edit Images Like a Pro All By Yourself – With an Online Photo Editor: Find which image editor are easy to use and require little to no technical at all.
- How to Choose a Good Color Scheme For Your Website: Picking the right color scheme for your website can help brand your business & influence your visitors’ psychology. See our guide on how to choose color.
- How to Pick the Perfect Font Style Design for your Website: Choosing the right font style design can hugely improve your overall website design & improve your visitors’ experiences. See how to pick the right font for your website here.
- How to Use Video Background On Your Website: Adding a video background to your website can make it look professional, trendy and “wow” your visitors. See how to add it, as well as do’s and don’ts.
Building your first business website or improving on an existing one doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
You can either approach it in a very complex way or keep things simpler by using the right tools with the right plan. A business website doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming to create.
Once you know what to do and which tools to use, building a business website can be a lot easier than you were led to believe.
With a good drag & drop website builder, you can build a professional looking and functional website in days or weeks while keeping your financial commitment under control, rather than spending months and thousands of dollars.
All the tools we’ve talked about in this guide offer you free plans or free trials. This allows you the option to test and see which one you prefer working with.
How can I create a website for my business for free?
Most website builders have free plans, or at least free trials, that mean you can create a business website for nothing! However, free plans do come with restrictions that can be limiting for your business, for example, displaying adverts for your website builder on your site. This doesn’t give off a very professional image, but you can get rid of them by upgrading to a paid plan for a modest monthly fee.
Wix has a free plan that you can use for as long as you want. So if you’re set on creating a business website for free, give Wix a whirl!
How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?
You can technically create a small business website for free using a website builder free plan. However, in order to make a really professional looking business website, with a personal domain and free of adverts, costs start from around $5 a month.
Which website builder is best for business websites?
We recommend Wix as the best business website builder. It has fantastic features and is a really flexible and easy to use platform.
Which website builder is easiest to use?
How long does it take to create a business website?
You can create a business website in a matter of hours if you really want to! Yes – it really is that quick and easy!
Using a website builder means your business can have a brand spanking new, and professional looking, website in no time at all. We recommend allowing a day or two to really get your site up and running to a level you’re happy with.
Which is the cheapest website builder?
Wix and Weebly have free plans that you can use for as long as you like. To upgrade to their cheapest monthly plans, Wix starts at $5 a month, and Weebly at $8 a month. Check out our guide on the cheapest website builders for more information.