Websites for small businesses

I have over a decade of experience creating websites for small businesses. If you need a website for your small business then hopefully this page will answer some of the many questions you no doubt have. Questions like: What sort of site do I need? What is web hosting? Can I build it myself on Wix or WordPress? How do I take payments on my website? Grab a cuppa and in 5 minutes I’ll hopefully have answered many of your questions.

Can I build a website myself?

There are many “drag and drop” website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace and WordPress. In principle these are a great idea – upload your content, choose a layout or create your own by dragging and dropping elements into place and voila! you’ve built a website. The reality is often an overflowing swear jar as their user friendly interface proves to be anything but. The demo sites that people like Wix and GoDaddy show you use professional photography, that most small businesses do not  have and don’t have the budget to commission. These demo sites also usually have minimal wording. This is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, you are paying for a website so want to tell potential customers all the things that are going to bring to your door. Secondly, you want to tell Google (and  other search engines) the same things only in a specific format that will help you climb the search engine results page so people find you more easily.

Greener Waste Technology website website for small business

What type of website do I need?

Website can be divided into static sites, where you have to change the code to change the content, and content management systems (CMS) where you login to a back office and can make changes yourself. The most popular content management system is WordPress. It powers over 800 million websites and is supported by a network of developers across the world. If you are planning to sell directly from your website you will need some form of e-commerce platform. WordPress uses WooCommerce, a system that accepts all major credit and debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay. WooCommerce charges a small percentage of each transaction but doesn’t charge a monthly subscription fee.

Shopify is an out-and-out e-Commerce platform aimed at selling, rather than offering websites that simply tell you about a business. It charges a monthly fee plus transaction charges. Having built web stores with both WooCommerce and Shopify I have found business owners tend to prefer Shopify over WooCommerce. Neither is a bad system and if you’d like to discuss which may be best for your business please get in touch.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means constructing your website in a way that makes it as easy as possible for search engines to find relevant information. Put simply, if someone is searching for “Brass Widgets” then key parts of your website needs to contain information relevant to “brass widgets”. This is not a case of adding the phrase multiple times to every page. (That will actually harm your search engine ranking.) With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) search engines are becoming very sophisticated at determining what is relevaant content and what is filller.

Many companies will charge you extra for ‘optimising’ your website. I believe SEO is as key a part of your website as the content and visual look. To find out more get in touch today.

Pilgrim Hope Solicitors website
Champion Forkllifts website

What else do I need to get my business online?

You’ll need a domain name and you’ll need web hosting (somewhere for your websites files to live). It isn’t critical where you buy your domain name but there are some things to consider when choosing a hosting provider. For me the key consideration is what level of support you will receive if something goes wrong. For example, GoDaddy only offer telephone support. If you aren’t technically minded you’ll have no idea what they’re telling you. Another important consideration is whether your site will be sharing a server (the computer that serves the website to visitors), have its own server, or have its own dedicated quota of server resources. Beware cheap hosting packages that will have your website sharing a server with numerous others, resulting in a slow and unreliable site.

Check out the reviews of any potential hosting companies. I use SiteGround or recommend a colleague who offers high quality, relaible WordPress hosting at a great price. To find out more get in touch today.

Why use a freelancer instead of an agency?

The short answer is you’ll get the same standard of work for a lot less money. Some people like being taken to lunch and visiting swanky offices but at the end of the day you – the client – are paying for those offices. Big companies like to use big agencies.  If you’re the person responsible for balancing the books at the end of each month, then let’s talk.

Big & Red Storage small business website

What types of small businesses do you build websites for?

I have built websites for a multitude of businesses including online retailers, independent garages, franchised motor dealerships, a flight experience operator, multiple forklift truck dealers, solicitors, physiotherapists, recruitment agencies, kiln dried log suppliers, a parish council, flooring contractors, restaurants, an eye clinic, a plastering school, a water cooler supplier, and an industrial process control business. To find out more please get in touch today.