Two of the most common complaints about having a business website are the cost of hiring a web developer, and the fact that you can’t maintain your site without your web developer. Many small business owners see no other option, however, because they don’t know how to build a website.
Fortunately, with the emergence of services like WordPress, the need for much technical knowledge is done away with. But even though WordPress makes it entirely possible to build and maintain your own business website, it can still be difficult to know where to start. Here, we outline three beginning steps when setting up a WordPress site for your business.
1. Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your website (i.e. mybusiness.com), and communicates important information about your business. Choosing the right domain name is fairly straight forward, but there are several key tips you should keep in mind:
- Brainstorm keywords - Think of a list of keywords people will use in their search for a business like yours. Are people likely to search for “local contractor,” or “construction management?” Use what you think will be the top five keywords to brainstorm several domain names. By using those keywords in your domain name, you will already be on the path to better search result rankings for those keywords (i.e. if someone is searching for “Bay area contractor” and your domain name is “baycontracting.com,” you will rank high in that person’s search result, making it more likely that person will click on your website).
- Aim for dot-com domains -As a general rule of thumb, .com domains receive more type-in traffic and better branding. Most Internet users will assume your website is a .com domain, and if it’s not, you risk losing potential viewers, as they will not be able to find your site.
- Make it self-explanatory - Domain names that are self-explanatory (like dictionary.reference.com) receive more website traffic because viewers know what products/services to expect from those sites. Domain names that are less specific (like Zappos.com) require much more branding and promotion, because they are not specific about the service/product.
2. Choose a Hosting Service
Choosing a web hosting service is one of the more technical decisions you will have to make when using WordPress, but don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
A hosting service “hosts” your site, making it available on the internet by providing space on a server. WordPress has basic requirements for hosting services they work with, but there are thousands that meet those requirements, making choosing one a chore. This getting starting guide to choosing a host is a great starting point.
3. Choose a Theme
The design, or theme, of your business website is very important to how your customers view your business. You want your design to match the culture and feel of your business; if your business is non-traditional, fresh, and contemporary, then use a theme that matches that tone. Likewise, if your business is fairly traditional, use a classic theme.
Your website design is not the time to experiment with crazy colors and designs. There are over 1,500 free WordPress themes to choose from, but keep in mind that there are more business appropriate themes you should use. Look at great examples of business landing pages for design inspiration.
You should also consider what types of plugins to use in on your site as well. Plugins are features that can extend the usability of your site (subscribe to comments, search bar, calendar, or site analytics), and there are many business-specific plugins that can be of great use to you and your customers.
These steps are intended to get you started, but if you need a thorough guide for every step of the WordPress process, refer to the guide below, created by Simply Business.
Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).