Building a Small Business WebsiteWhether you are a small business or a large corporation, a website can be an important tool for posting contact details, products, news and other information about your business as well as gathering leads and bringing in new clients.
What to consider:
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- Website objectives. Why build a business website.
- How many pages, what are the functions? Create an outline.
- Do you plan to build a mobile or full website.
- Integrating social networking.
- Recommendations for types of pages to include.
- Check out competitor's websites.
- Photos and stock images.
- Using video to promote your product.
Creating Your Business WebsiteThe following is step by step instructions for setting up any type of website for professionals and getting it listed in search engines.
The Domain Name
A website domain name is the address or pointer that your website will reside in. It can be the name of your business or the name of your product, or it can be both, "bobco-shoes.com" for example. For a business site you will want a .com or .biz name. For a non-profit organization or information site .org or .net is best. Other domain extensions are available such as .info, .tv, .us and others. Search engines will use your domain name to index your website and if the domain includes some product or service specifications it can help a little with your SEO (search engine optimization). Check domain availability and optionally reserve it.
Order a Complete Website: We offer a selection of business website designs. Order a domain name, hosting package and a website template at one time by browsing our web site selection. Once you locate a design you like you can order right from the template page and select "order with hosting" on the checkout page. During the order process you can search for and select your domain name and hosting type.
Web hosting is disk space on a computer server that is linked to the Internet. This is the area where your domain name will be pointed to, and where you will upload your webpages and other website files. It is a monthly fee, and usually includes a control panel where you can setup or forward your emails, install scripts and applications, manage files, check your site stats, and other server functions.
Allwebco includes the popular cPanel control panel with all of our web site hosting packages. Built into our cPanel is the Softaculous script and applications package, plus free search engine submission to all major, plus many lesser known, search engines.
Webpages are HTML plain text documents that include code and "tags" to display content on your website. The HTML language includes pre-defined "tags" that allow for alignment of text and images and indicate where "css styles" should be used. Css styles are a second element of webpage design, usually setup in a global file for easy color and layout changes across the site.
There are a few different ways to create webpages. You can code your own pages using tips and videos from some of the many free HTML help sites, or optionally many wysiwyg editors include basic template designs you can use, or you can use a pre-made business website template.
With any of these options the HTML web pages are then uploaded using FTP (file transfer protocol).
"Allwebco small business pre-made websites are designed with the highest compatibility for PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone and other mobile devices."
Allwebco offers a variety of web template designs for all different types of products and services. Our designs are developer grade HTML sites and include step by step instructions and a searchable support center.
mobi-Hybrid® for BusinessIf you are planning to target mobile devices and tablet computers with your business, mobi-Hybrid® web templates offer a flexible responsive mobile solution.
Getting the Site On-line
Once all your pages, images and other website files are edited you can either use your hosting control panel for uploading, or you can use any FTP software to upload your site into your hosting login.
Our web templates are .zip file downloads. You can edit the files on your local computer hard drive then upload, or you can optionally upload the entire site then use HTML editing software to update the webpages on-line. All source files and stock images are included and are royalty free to use for your web project. Step-by-step instructions cover all aspects of your setup including search engine optimization and site submission.
When selecting a web template you will want to consider what options you want included with your site. See our features list for details. With any of our designs all colors can be edited, sizes for layout elements can be modified, all stock photos are web optimized standard .jpg .gif and .png images. You can do a search above on this page for any specific feature or small business type to see available designs.
Some available built-in features:
- Multi-field quotes & contact forms
- Social network integration
- Photo gallery / slideshow
- Integrated HTML5 video
- CSS drop down menus
- Shopping carts
- Site search
- PDF download page
- Responsive for mobile
- Easy change color themes
- Dynamic jQuery animation
Dynamic FeaturesMany of our HTML small business websites include interactive and/or animated elements. These applications use only plain text and standard .jpg images so you can modify them as your website project requires. Optionally, all animation can be easily switched off with a yes/no option in any design.
Search Engines, SEO & Promotion
Promoting your site is key for any product or service. Google is the #1 search engine, however, millions of searches are done each month at Bing, Yahoo! and Ask. You will want to have your site listed in these four major search engines. Lesser search sites will harvest your domain link from the big four and include it in their results. See the following SEO help in support: Google and Bing webmaster tools, as well as how to use a "robots.txt" file. All of our hosting accounts include Free search engine submission.
Because so many different computer types, laptops, PC and Mac, and device types, iPad, iPhone, Android and other smartphones are in use, and all these devices use their own proprietary browser software, you will want to make sure your webpages are error free and viewable on all of these devices. For more help see error checking in support.
Try to test your completed website on as many devices as are available.
Business Site Objectives
What do you plan for your website? Will it be so clients can contact you, locate your storefront, network with other businesses, to showcase your products or sell on-line? The type of web template you choose will need to take these ideas into consideration. Define your website's goals before you start and you can save time during your site development.
Tip: If your business is a physical location, targeting for local traffic during the SEO process can help limit the competition for your product and allow you to rank higher in search results.
Create a Site Outline
Before you begin the web development you may want to create a website draft or outline. Use software you are familiar with, like MS Word or by using PDF files. Decide on the framework and create a diagram of how your site should flow and link from page to page. What pages do you need? What information will the pages include? What types of images do you need? Gather ideas and input from others who have created websites in the past.
While writing your page text content you may want to include a few keywords for your product. Don't overuse any specific words, just a few will do. Search engines are savvy enough to know if you are trying to spam a specific keyword. Using different related words can be helpful for SEO.
Mobile and/or Full Website
Consider if the majority of users will be viewing your website on laptop and desktop computers, or if your business will develop more of a mobile viewing crowd, or if you want to target both equally. Your client base will help determine the type of site you want to create. Options for mobile include a dedicated mobile site specifically for mobile, a responsive design that conforms for all devices, or a mobile sub-site web template that targets desktop and mobile separately. To read about the advantages and disadvantages of these options see Responsive vs. Mobile.
Social networking websites are a great way to promote your business, gather leads and harvest new clients. They also can include news bits and link directly back to your website to help SEO. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are free to setup and help generate interest in your website.
What Pages Should Be Included?
Some pages a business or corporate site may want to include are:
- About page with details on your company history.
- PDF download links page for printable information. The PDF file format from Adobe is the most popular for distributing information.
- Contact page with a form to fill out.
- News, services and an image gallery may also be needed.
- SEO Tip: Creating informative, helpful articles can help your SEO.
- Our pre-built designs include many of the above. See features.
Check Your Competitor's Websites
Although it may seem underhanded, it is important to know what your competition is up to. Check out their websites and see who lists high in the search results. Browse their websites and look for what makes them successful. What types of images are they using, how professional or slick do they appear. Oftentimes they may have included ideas on their site that you had not considered.
All images used in Allwebco templates are included in the download and are 100% royalty free for website use with the purchased template. There are no hidden photo usage fees.
Using Video On Websites
Website video is a great tool for demonstrating products, detailed help or instructions and can really grab a viewers full attention. If you have videos available you can integrate them directly on HTML pages. The HTML5 <video> tag allows a webpage to display an embedded video, however video files do use up a large allotment of hosting disk space as well as a lot of bandwidth (the monthly download allotment) for the user downloads. Videos can range in size from 150 to 500 megs each. Even if your hosting company plan indicates that you have unlimited space and bandwidth, in most cases this is really not true and is just a sales pitch because most web hosting customers will never use anywhere near that amount of space.
Youtube offers free space and bandwidth for movies and allows you to directly embed video on your webpages using their code. For help with movies see Using YouTube Video in support.
Compatible Video TypesIf you will not be using Youtube for your video, you can instead upload any type of video file in your FTP hosting login. Video files can be "linked" using plain text or image links on any of your webpages.
Mp4 is the most popular and cross device complaint movie file type for websites. If you are directly embedding video on your webpages, you can use the HTML5 <video> tag. When creating your movies in mp4 format save them as mp4 (H.264) if this save option is available. The <video> tag can also render m4v, webm and ogv movie types on webpages. These alternate movie types are for display in browsers that have licensing restrictions for mp4.
Fallback video to use for older browsers like IE8 and lower can be wmv and mov formats. See also HTML5 video.
Search for "video" at the top of this page to view pre-made website templates that include video built-in.
Building Cross-Device CompatibilityWith the popularity of mobile web browsing, cross-device compliance is important, particularly for SEO. You'll want your website to be accessible on all mobile devices, smartphones as well as PC and Mac computers. The latest smartphones are being designed with larger screens due to this factor, and download speeds get faster each year. New websites can now be less mobile compatible and include more features and applications then they could in years past.
To browse some mobile optimized and responsive website designs that pass the Google mobile friendly test, see responsive web template designs.
The "HTML" stands for "HyperText Markup Language". HTML code includes pre-defined tags in plain text files. These tags are used to render the webpages in modern browsers to display text, photographs, hyperlinks, contact forms, video and more on a website thus allowing for a dynamic interactive user experience. The HTML and CSS code is interpreted by the web browser and does not need to be compiled like software. See also Wikipedia HTML or W3C.org.
If you are new to hosting and domains check getting started at hosting.