Your small business will benefit from a dedicated website. People may prefer buying via e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada, but a website will still boost your small business’s credibility. If your customers can find you on Google, they’ll be more assured that your business is legitimate, thus safe to transact with.
However, as a small business typically runs on a limited budget, you may not afford to enlist a web development company yet. Professional web developers are the exact people for the job, with their extensive skill set and experience in creating streamlined, high-quality business websites. But don’t worry; you can still create your small business’s website without a background in tech.
Free web hosting tools are available for you. You may build your website using any of them until your budget allows you to hire a web developer.
Why Is a Business Website Important?
Besides establishing your legitimacy, a business website boosts your online presence and brand. It exhibits professionalism, letting your customers know that the business is more than a casual seller but a fully-functioning company. As a result, you can build trust between yourself and your customers and reach out to an audience outside your geographical location.
More importantly, your business website will get listed on search engines. People can find you on Google, Bing, or MSN using relevant keywords. You may then utilize those keywords by creating content like blogs, infographics, videos, and social media posts. It will help optimize your site and improve your rankings.
Moreover, your website offers your customers a more convenient way of contacting you than e-commerce platforms. They can send you an e-mail instead of instant messaging you via Lazada or Shopee. While e-commerce platforms are more accessible, some customers prefer a more formal method of communication, especially if it’s about product issues.
A website also allows you to determine your customers’ interests, buying patterns, and behaviors. It will help you engage with them better and tailor your content according to their wants and needs. You wouldn’t get this benefit if you only used social media.
Thankfully, your business can reap these benefits even with a novice website. Let’s get started on how to build one.
Creating Your Small Business’s Website: Free Web Hosting Platforms
Without a background in web development, the easiest way to build a website is to use a free web hosting platform. Your top options are:
Wix’s user-friendly interface makes a top pick among small business owners. It also offers hundreds of free design templates, so you’d indeed find one that fits your brand. Wix can also offer a template that caters specifically to your needs. For example, Wix will provide the template for product catalogs and check-out pages if you’re selling products.
Webs boasts an unrivaled level of SEO functionality. It has built-in search indicators that can help you optimize your website and drive organic traffic. You can also choose well-designed themes and instantly modify your website’s layout.
Squarespace is your platform if you’re in the creative industry. The site offers numerous high-caliber themes perfect for artists, photographers, musicians, and writers. The templates are visual-based, emphasizing your creativity. However, they’re not as customizable as the templates on Webs and Wix. Still, Squarespace allows you to create one of the cleanest and most streamlined web designs.
Despite the emergence of new web hosting platforms, WordPress is still entrepreneurs’ favorite. It’s one of the easiest platforms to use with countless free themes and templates. It also offers free analytics that allows you to monitor the number of visits to your site daily.
Note, however, that free web hosting platforms may offer limited perks. The paid versions, which let you buy a domain, will unlock all the benefits. Hence, make it a goal to buy a domain one day to optimize your website to the highest level.
What Is a Domain?
The domain is your website’s name without the web hosting platform on its URL. For example, if your business is called “Lavender’s Candle Shop,” its domain can be “lavenderscandleshop.com.” Your customers will easily remember that domain and use it to visit your website without making a Google search beforehand.
Web hosting platforms make buying domains easier. However, millions or perhaps even billions of domains could already be taken. Hence, you may be forced to tweak your domain slightly to make it unique. For example, instead of using “lavenderscandleshop.com,” you may use “lavenders-candle.com.”
A paid domain boosts your SEO, allows you to create a personalized e-mail address (e.g., email@example.com), and builds up your business’s persona. It would no longer be just another seller on Shopee or Lazada but a legitimate, local company.
Create your website in small steps until your business stabilizes enough to afford a domain and web developers. That’s the best investment you’ll make in the age of e-commerce.