The U.S. eCommerce market was worth $1,034.1 billion in 2022, an increase of 7.7% from 2021. Retail sales, meanwhile, topped $8,000 billion.
A great business website helps companies capture both online and in-store sales. Well-designed sites can improve customer engagement, encourage online purchasing, and facilitate research before buyers visit retail stores.
In this piece, we’ll break down how to set up a business website, from the first steps of getting up and running, to the technology and content that can help your site stand out from the crowd.
While no two sites are exactly the same, these tips on creating a website for a business can help lay the foundation for online success.
First on our list of website design tips for small business is choosing and registering a domain name. Your domain name is a unique web address for your site and typically contains a website name and domain name extension. For example, in our domain name — Clover.com — “Clover” is the website name and “.com” is the domain name extension.
Good domain names are simple and easy to remember. They may be related to your business name, the products you sell, or the services you offer. To search for and purchase domain names, use a domain name registrar.
Next on the road to setting up a business website is choosing a hosting provider. Hosting providers supply the tools and technologies needed for your site to be visible and accessible online. Common services include data storage, website security, and bandwidth provisioning.
Hosting providers typically charge a set amount per month for their services and may offer multiple pricing levels for different use cases. Some domain name providers also offer hosting services, so it’s worth comparing several options to see which hosting company best meets your needs.
READ: How to create a restaurant website
Once you have a domain name and hosting plan, you’re ready to start building your website. The first step in this process is selecting your style and design.
When it comes to creating a business website, several options are common. First are content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Wix, or eCommerce solutions like BigCommerce or WooCommerce. You can also choose to design and build the site in-house or contract out the work to a professional design service. Choosing to build a business site yourself can save money up-front, but it may be more costly over the long term as your company grows and new features or functions are required.
The style you select also depends on your business type. For example, a professional services firm may rely on its website to offer basic brand information but serve primarily as a contact point for clients. Online retailers, meanwhile, require eCommerce solutions that make it possible for customers to view and purchase products.
The type of pages you include, along with how these pages are structured on your website, directly inform the customer experience. Common page types include:
Content matters. Meaningful and useful content on your website encourages customers to stick around and can help boost your site in search rankings.
Good content is relevant, specific, and gets to the point. It also differs based on what you’re trying to communicate. Consider product pages. Content on these pages should include high-quality images of the product from multiple angles, production specifications such as dimensions and weight, materials used, practical applications, and pricing information.
Service pages should specify what the service entails, how much it costs, and how customers can access the service, such as by booking online or calling your company directly. Blog content can focus on areas of interest to your business, but it shouldn’t be a sales pitch. Instead, use blogs to offer customers new information or actionable insight.
It’s also worth considering your content schedule. New and refreshed content helps keep customers interested. For blogs, this might mean adding a new post every week or every second week. Product and service pages, meanwhile, may benefit from a monthly or quarterly review.
If you’re running an eCommerce website, you need a way to charge customers online. This means integrating a POS system capable of processing common payment types such as credit and debit cards quickly and securely.
Ideally, you want a POS solution that can offer multiple payment options, making it easy for customers to pay where and how they prefer.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your site more visible to search engines, which in turn raises your overall search ranking. Common factors in search engine rankings include the use of keywords related to your business, page loading speeds, mobile device support, and high-quality content.
Ways to improve website SEO include choosing specific, long-tail keywords rather than their generic counterparts. This means that if you run a coffee shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, you may see better SEO results with a keyword like “best coffee shop in Charlotte, NC,” than “great coffee shop,” since you’re competing with fewer businesses for the keyword.
Other SEO tips include making your content shareable on social media, registering your business with services such as Google Maps and Yelp, and ensuring that your site offers the same experience across both desktop and mobile devices.
If you’re setting up a business website, analytics can help. Analytics focus on the examination of data to discover trends or patterns. For example, tools such as Google Analytics can help pinpoint where your website traffic is coming from — are customers finding your site via search engines? Are they being referred by paid ads, or are they typing in your domain name directly? By examining traffic sources over a set period, you can see where visitor volumes are increasing or decreasing.
Other customer analytics insights include how long customers stay on your website, which pages get the most views, and what demographics you can learn about visitors, such as age and gender.
Promotion is also a priority when you set up a website for small business. While organic recommendations and word-of-mouth can help boost your brand profile, it’s also worth taking the time to directly promote your digital presence.
Common examples include sharing website and URL information across both digital and physical marketing materials, such as brochures and email newsletters, and making regular posts on social media that contain relevant keywords and hashtags.
Creating a business website is critical to growing your digital presence, getting your company noticed, and increasing your customer base.
But not all sites are created equally. Standing out from the crowd means taking the time to find best-fit domain names and hosting providers, choosing a style that suits your brand, creating a solid structure, developing great content, and integrating POS solutions. When it comes to growing your online presence, opt for solid SEO, actionable analytics, and targeted promotion.
Clover offers a wide range of business solutions to help retailers, restaurants, and services deliver on their digital potential. Ready to get started? Contact a Clover Business Consultant today.CONTACT SALES