It’s crucial to your small business’ success that you have a clear online presence. Most consumers get their product and service information on the internet, and if your business is not on the internet, you’re missing a huge customer base.
Previously, maintaining a website was expensive, as you had to hire a developer, and could not make changes on your own without your developer. But with the emergence of WordPress, and sites like it, you can now build and maintain your website, all DIY. Even though using WordPress is fairly easy, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here, we outline three simple starting points.
1. Choose Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your site (i.e. mybusiness.com), which instantly tells viewers what your business is about. Choosing a domain name is fairly straight forward, but there are several tips you should keep in mind:
- Make it unique – Your domain name should be unique to your business. Do a quick Google search of potential domain names that you’re thinking of using, to see if any of them exist. Do not use a domain name that already exists, or has a close relative. If you use a domain name that is very similar to another domain name, that could cause a lot of confusion for your customers.
- Think about keywords – Brainstorm a list of keywords that people might use when searching for your business (i.e. best car wash), and use those keywords in your domain name. By using keywords in your domain name, you have already set yourself on the path to ranking well in search results for those keywords.
- Keep it simple, short, and easy to remember – Nobody is going to remember the name of your site and refer their friends to it, if they can’t remember your domain name. Your domain name needs to be short (easy to type), and easy to remember in order to be successful by word of mouth.
The design of your website is very important to how your audience views your business. If you have a traditional business, don’t use a super trendy, nontraditional web design. Make sure your site matches the goals of your business and culture.
Choosing a design for your WordPress site can be a bit overwhelming, because there are over 1,500 free WordPress themes to choose from. While it might feel adventurous and exciting to pick an outlandish theme, keep in mind that you are promoting your business, and there are more business appropriate themes to choose from.
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Choosing plugins is also something you need to consider when designing your site. Plugins are features that can extend the usability of your site (i.e. Google maps, search bar, calculator, calendar), and can be great tools for you and your customers. There are several lists of business specific plugins that can help you grow your site. There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins, but don’t overdo it. Carefully choose which plugins will be most beneficial to you.
Hosting is a more technical aspect of having a website, but, with the right knowledge, it’s very approachable. Hosting, or a web hosting service, allows your website to be accessible on the internet. WordPress recommends three hosting services:
- Bluehost offers WordPress auto-install, which provides updates within 24-hours, unlimited disk storage, unlimited monthly data transfer, unlimited domains on one account, and one free domain name.
- Dreamhost offers one-click install, auto-updates, unlimited hosted domains, a free domain name, unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and email addresses.
- Laughing Squid is independently owned and operated service, which caters to artists, individuals, bloggers, non-profits, and small businesses.
- Many services offer one-click installation, like Dreamhost, which makes it easier and faster to install WordPress.
If you’re interested in using WordPress to get your business online, but need an in-depth guide to getting started, refer to the infographic guide below, created by Simply Business.
Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).