Did you know that 71% of all businesses have some kind of website?
This is a massive increase from around 50% just a few years ago. Small businesses around the world are embracing affordable website hosting to maximize their reach online.
While social media has allowed small businesses to thrive, pairing this with a well-designed website is the best way to showcase your brand to customers online.
If you’re looking for a high-level guide to getting a website, you’re in the right place. Here are the major pieces of the puzzle you need to know to get a website for your business.
Finding a Domain Name
The first thing you’ll want to do is secure a domain name. A “.com” is still preferred as most users still consider that the standard and assume your website will be at “companyname.com”. So try to register that.
If someone else owns it, you may be able to contact them and purchase it, but if they are not willing to sell it then you should consider going with something else but still using the “.com” extension. Something like “companynamecity.com” maybe, or you might consider adding your primary service. Get creative, but keep it as short and readable as possible.
The reason we recommend that, rather than using some other extension like “.net”, is because your customers will end up going to the other company’s website by accident because they assume yours will be “.com” when it’s not.
Once you do get a “.com” domain, we recommend registering the other popular extensions such as “.net” and “.org” as well so that you own them.
We recommend Google Domains for registering domains.
Once you decide you need a website and have your domain, you are going to want to look for a product or service that can help you take your business online quickly, easily, and affordably. There are two main costs of having a website, the first is designing the site while the second is hosting and maintaining it.
This is why it can be so helpful to partner with a platform that will allow you to design your website and host it in a single package. Having the same company help you design and host your website can help cut down on the costs while also keeping things simpler to manage.
Finding a platform that can also host a blog is a great way to help bring exposure to your brand as well.
Designing a Site for Your Business
Designing a website for your brand or business does not need to be expensive or time-consuming. Most modern platforms will offer some kind of website builder that you can use for free. This builder makes creating websites as easy as choosing a template and filling it in.
Be warned, however, that many of these platforms offer little flexibility and you may be disappointed when you attempt to customize something on your site. Plus, you do have to do it yourself.
If you do go this route, look for a platform that has great templates and use that to help you save time when building your site. Some sites may offer unique templates and website design ideas at an extra price, take this into consideration when choosing the platform you want to use.
Other platforms and services will design and build the website for you as part of their service. If you are a busy business owner that doesn’t want to waste time and values delegating tasks to maximize efficiency and results, we recommend going with a website platform that offers a done-for-you service like this.
If you use a website platform like described above, where you build the website on it and they host it, you don’t need a separate hosting service.
However, if you are not going to use a platform that lets you design and host the website with them, you will have to find a web host where the website files and database will live. In this case, you are probably using WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal and there are many hosting services out there that support them.
We recommend WordPress out of those three and WPEngine or Siteground for hosting.
When you sign up for either of those hosts, you will be able to create a WordPress website within your account and build it there.
We recommend WordPress because it is much more flexible and customizable than other DIY platforms. You can also move a WordPress website to a different web host if you need to, whereas the other DIY “website builder” platforms are proprietary and you are stuck if you don’t like their service.
If you are thinking about setting up a website for your business, security is something you need to think about too. While you may not think cybersecurity is an issue for your small business, keeping your website online and secure is an essential part of running a business.
If your website were to go offline for any reason, you could risk losing customers and even sales. Even if you don’t have an eCommerce store, potential customers would not be able to find you online. This means that going offline can actually cost your business money.
Most trustworthy website hosting services will offer some kind of security as part of the package, including a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. This is an essential part of having a website.
Customer support is an incredibly underrated service. If anything goes wrong or your site goes down for any reason, having rock-solid support can help you solve issues quickly to get your site back up. As we said before, having your website go down can end up costing you money, so having dedicated customer support is definitely worth it.
When looking for a hosting service or platform, check to see if they have dedicated support. This can help put your mind at ease as you’ll know you have someone to call if anything goes wrong.
Last but not least, pricing. While you may not want to admit it, the price for these services plays an important role in choosing the right platform. Especially if you are a startup or small business, you don’t want to have to pay too much to maintain your website.
Domain Name Cost
There are a few costs that you need to factor into your decision. The first is the cost of purchasing and renewing your domain name. Depending on the name, this can range from $10 to over $100 every year.
Website Design Cost
The second cost is designing the site. This will vary depending on the route you choose to take.
High-quality, one-off custom designs can cost $1000 and up depending on the size of the site and other factors. If you choose a custom design, you will likely need to hire a professional developer to build the website based on the design, as well, which can get costly.
Using a template on one of the described platforms above can drastically reduce this cost, but you end up with something that may not be unique to you. This does allow you to build the site yourself, though.
Other services offer a hybrid solution where they use bits and pieces from templates to create a custom design as they work and customize everything to make it unique to your business. We recommend this method as it is both affordable and unique, and you don’t have to do anything!
Web Hosting Cost
Website hosting packages can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per month for more complex, high-traffic sites. For a small business website, you can expect to pay $15-30 per month for a hosting package. Again, we recommend Siteground or WPEngine for this as they provide high-value additional services with your package that others do not.
Most platforms will have a wide range of pricing options for you to choose from based on your needs. This way you can select the perfect package for your current needs. You can typically start at a lower tier and upgrade as your business grows, as well.
Decisive Sites for Affordable Website Hosting
When you’re just beginning to look into getting a website, we know how overwhelming it can be to be bombarded with all of the options and services. Don’t let that stop you, though, because having a strong online presence for your business is guaranteed to increase brand awareness and help you grow.
And while it can certainly be expensive and time-consuming to build a website, Decisive Sites makes it easy and affordable with packages that include design, building, hosting, and maintenance for as little as $49 per month.
Each site we build is unique to you and our customer service is top-notch when you need changes!
Thinking of setting up a website for your business? You’re in the right place. If you want to learn more about what we have to offer, feel free to contact us for more information.