Three steps to building your website

Everything you need to know for quickly and easily setting up your business website.

It’s important for any business to have a strong digital presence – and a website is your digital shopfront. It’s your way of telling the world that you’re open for business.

Of course, the needs of each business are different. Some simply need to provide a contact number and a page to showcase their services, while others will need a full ecommerce site complete with beautiful content and payment functionality.

Your objectives, budget, and the functionality you need are specific to you – and these factors should be decided on first, so that you can effectively plan the size and scope of your site.

While creating a site from scratch may seem intimidating, it can be done quite easily, and without specialist expertise.

You can compare it to building a house. You need to:

  • Lay the foundation

  • Build the house

  • Decorate the interior

In fact, let’s put that metaphor into action by exploring what each of these steps entail.

Lay the foundation

First things first, you need a web host. Think of choosing your host as setting the foundations for where you’ll build your website: it’s the physical place where it’ll be stored. There are a number of hosts to choose from, each of whom have different packages and pricing options. Bluehost is a popular choice, but feel free to browse and choose an option that’s right for your business.

Also, this is often where you’ll have to choose your domain name. This should be something that’s not just easy to remember, but also fits with your brand. It can be a huge pain to change your domain name once you’ve chosen it (can you imagine changing the foundation of a house after it’s been built?) so be sure to plan carefully.

Build the house

Now you have your foundation, it’s time to build your house.

Nowadays, the best way to set up your website is through something called a Content Management System (CMS). Think of these like prefabricated apartments; Instead of laying down each individual brick yourself, using a CMS gives you a premade shell of a website, which you can change and customise as much as you like.

The depth and breadth of that customisation depends on the CMS system you choose. For example, Wordpress is incredibly flexible, but a newcomer may be intimated by the amount of options available. Wix, on the other hand, sacrifices flexibility for a much more user-friendly experience.


Now you have your website up and running, it’s time to make it look the part.

There’s plenty to think about:

  • Branding: Think about your logos and colour scheme, as well as photography and illustrations. If you need help, you can use services like Shutterstock to source pictures, or even hire a freelancer.

  • Website design and user experience: What message do you want to convey? How do you want visitors to feel? What pages will you need? How will you link them to together?

  • Content: Don’t spread yourself too thin – concentrate on designing a few really effective landing pages, with well-written copy and attractive media.

  • Call to action (CTA): What do you want people to do once they’ve reached your site? And perhaps even more importantly, how do you want them to do it? Website forms are a small business’ preferred CTA, but customers can worry how quickly they’ll receive a response. You may want to consider social media, live chat, and direct email as valid options too.

Once you have your objectives and branding defined, building a website can take as little as 10 minutes. Once you have the first iteration done, you can fine-tune it and add more advanced functionality as you need it.

Next steps

Getting started with a new website for your small business can feel like a big task. If you’re in the process of building your webite, even have a website already, knowing what information should be on there can make the process more straightforward and help you make full use of it.

Here are 5 things to include to make sure you’re getting the most from your website:

An ‘About’ page

The ‘About’ page is often one of the most visited pages on a website. This is your opportunity to introduce the business and share your story. It can be an effective way to humanise your brand and build the trust and credibility that will help turn browsers into paying customers.

It’s also a great place to highlight your values and other bits of information that make you stand out - like something you do differently to your competitors, or a particular cause you stand for.

Tip: Start this page with a sentence or two about your audience’s challenges or goals. This makes readers feel understood and shows you care about their needs.

Products & services details

If you sell products, each product should have its own page, and include a description, price and specifications such as materials and dimensions. Adding customer reviews is a powerful way to increase the confidence of potential buyers, and the reviews themselves can answer questions people might have about the items.

Including clear information about delivery times and costs helps people understand what to expect. If you offer free delivery or next day options, make a point of highlighting these helpful features.

Tip: Write unique descriptions for each product, rather than copy-and-paste. This not only gives users a better experience on your site, it’s beneficial for SEO too.

For service-based businesses, use this page to describe your services in a way that’s clear and easy for your readers to understand. Start by summarising them, then explain each one concisely. If you offer lots of services, it’s often worthwhile having a main page with links to each individual service where people can read about them in more detail.

Tip: Sometimes readers won’t know what service might be best for them. To help remove this barrier, let them know they can get in touch with you so you can work out the best option.

Team page

Website visitors like to know about who they’re buying from just as much as what they’re buying. A team page gives you the chance to let the people in your business shine. It can be used to capture the personalities as well as the professional expertise behind the scenes.

Tip: You can use headshots of each team member or even use an avatar or icon that reflects each person’s character or role.

Contact & location details

Here’s where people can get in touch with you. Add your business phone number, email address, location address, social media links and live chat (if you have one). You can also include a map to illustrate where people can find your business.

A built-in contact form makes it easy to capture website visitors’ details such as their name, email address and a short message about their reason for reaching out. It’s a good idea to think about the type of information that would help you respond to enquiries most efficiently, but don’t ask for details that aren’t necessary - keep your form simple.

Listing your working hours helps set expectations. If you have a physical store, people will be more likely to visit if they’re sure you’re open. Remember to include holiday opening times and update them when needed - your customers will appreciate being able to find this information easily.

Tip: Consider using a contact form with CAPTCHA, which prevents spam bots from contacting you.

FAQ page

An FAQ (frequently asked questions) page is a space to answer the queries you receive most often. Readers can visit this page to find the information they’re looking for, and it will save you the time of responding to the same questions individually. This could be to do with things like shipping and returns, payments or how you source your materials.

Tip: Write out the questions from your customer’s point of view. This makes things clearer for the reader and is better for SEO purposes as it’s more likely to match what is typed into search engines. For example: “Can I buy a gift card?” rather than “Can you buy a gift card?”

Your website is a chance to engage with your audience, so being thoughtful in the way you provide information can have a positive impact on the experience you give them.

Make your website responsive

Once up and running, it's essential to make exploring your website easy for customers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re at home on a desktop computer, or on the go on your mobile or iPad, a website that doesn’t work well isn’t acceptable anymore. That's where website responsiveness comes in, that means making sure your website works properly across all devices, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, iPhone, Samsung, Kindle or something else.

Since nearly 8 in 10 customers are likely to stop scrolling through your website if it doesn’t display well, websites that don’t look great across all devices will lose you customers.

Sound complex? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Read on for some top tips on how to go about testing your website and making sure customers leave your site happy.

How to test your website's responsiveness

You might be asking yourself; how can I find out if my website works well and looks good? Or how can I test my website on a device I don’t have?

It’s not practical to buy all the handheld devices (e.g. different makes of smartphones or tablets) that your customers might use. The good news is there are free tools out there that can put your website to the test – for example, BrowserStack, LambdaTest and WebsitePlanet.

All you have to do is enter your website URL (your website address) and choose which device you want to test. Then the site will show you how your website looks.

What can affect a website’s responsiveness?

Some of the things that result in a website having a poor responsive rate (which most free tools will highlight) are:

  • Small and/or difficult-to-read text

  • Having to zoom in to fill out a form

  • A small search bar that’s difficult to click

  • Photos that are out of position, the wrong proportion or pixelated (low quality images)

  • You can’t scroll through the page, or it doesn’t scroll smoothly

  • Links or pop-ups not working

  • Too many high-resolution pictures, which makes your page load slowly

Is it worth using pre-designed themes and layouts?

If you aren’t a designer by nature, you might need help making your site look good – so you may be interested to know that help is available, for free!

Websites like WordPress or Wix let you use a theme or a pre-designed layout to make things easier – some of the most responsive WordPress themes are Divi, SeedProd and Astra. All you'll have to do is update the colours, branding, and information to your liking. We suggest matching them to your business’s colour scheme (if you have one).

Testing your website’s responsiveness is an important step that helps make sure your site is up and running in the best way possible. It might seem complicated, but if you want to give your customers a great experience that your competition will envy, don’t skip it.

You may have already spoken to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisers, but if not and you're looking for more support you can get in touch here. Our Knowledge Centre is also packed with information and tips to help you on your digital journey.

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