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You’d be hard-pressed these days to find a small business owner who didn’t know the value of having a presence online. After all, the proportion of customers discovering small businesses online now rivals those finding businesses through word-of-mouth. So why don’t all small business owners have a website for their business?
One of the biggest reasons people hesitate to create small business websites is the feeling that they just don’t know where to start, and they don’t know what all they need to have on hand to get from start to publish in one sitting. Which is important, considering that the only thing more limited than a small business owner’s budget is their time.
In this guide, we will outline the five things you will need to successfully start (and finish!) a viable website in just one sitting. When you start prepared and use the right tools along the way, there’s no reason you can’t have a website ready to publish in about an hour.
5 things you’ll need to start a small business website:
1. A domain name.
While a custom domain name isn’t mandatory, it’s certainly a best practice for search, marketing and branding. If you Vistaprint Website Builder, it’s easy to claim your custom domain right when you set up your new website. We recommend choosing a domain that reflects your business name as closely as possible, and maybe incorporates your local area if you have a physical shop (i.e., if your business in named Sweet Treats and you sell in Auckland, see if SweetTreatsAuckland.co.nz is available).
2. Your business logo.
Whether it’s a symbol, or simply your business name in a particular font and colour, you’ll want to have the imagery you use to represent your business in digital form when you sit down to work on your site. If someone created it for you, ask to have your logo in .jpg, .png, and .gif formats if possible. As a designer will know, these last two types allow you to put your logo on any background without having a white box around it. If you don’t have it, not to worry, you just won’t have quite as much flexibility.
3. A business tagline.
A slogan or tagline is a one-line description of what you do and how you do it that not only helps establish your brand, it also lets people know if they’ve come to the right place within seconds of arriving at your site. Using our bakery example, your tagline might be something like “Offering delectable desserts to Auckland for over 20 years.” Right away this lets your visitors know what you sell, where you sell it and something that makes your business unique. Many of our responsive website template designs feature space for taglines front-and-centre.
4. Photo of products and more.
While the Vistaprint Digital website builder has a huge library of free images, you will still want to have some select images that reflect your space and your products. These can be used in headers, in galleries, or if you’re planning to have an ecommerce website. Having these all downloaded to your computer and ready to upload can be a huge time saver.
5. Staff bios and pictures.
A great way to put a friendly face on your business and establish trust right away is to have nice photos and bios of your owners and staff. It makes your business look more professional and legitimate, which is especially important for a new business just starting out. If you have a service business like a spa, knowing who they’ll be meeting when they arrive will put customers instantly at ease. Reach out in advance to request these things from your staff before you sit down to work on your site.
Starting a website for your business can seem intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you’re prepared with everything you need when you sit down to work, you can have a working website in less than an hour. Remember, you can always come back later and add more sections, images and content; the important thing is to get your web presence live online so your potential customers can start finding you.