• >
  • Business>
  • How to Create a Website For Your Business

How to create a website for your business

Fact Checked

Every business needs a website, whether you’re looking to sell goods or services online or simply to showcase what you can offer a client. If you’re just starting out, we’ve got everything you need to get your site up and running, plus we reveal practical tips, techniques and tools to build a site that draws visitors in and keeps them returning for more.

Share this guide
Couple inside restaurant
A website is a vital marketing tool for small businesses. Make sure you get yours right.

Determine your website’s purpose

Don’t dive into building a website without first working out what its role is. Is it simply a way to show off your services, or do you want to go further and provide tools for customers to purchase (and pay for) services or products through an e-commerce or booking platform? Before going further, make sure the website aligns with your content strategy.

These unsecured and secured loans could help you grow your business, cover running costs or even fund a new company.

Choose your web designer

Next, decide how – and by whom – your website will be built. If you’re looking to tackle the job yourself or delegate it internally, consider the following options for building your site:

  • All-in-one packages that combine template-driven websites with domain registration and hosting, such as Wix or Wordpress.com.

  • Standalone web design packages that are more advanced and flexible than template-driven offerings. They can be expanded through plugins, like WooCommerce (online store) or Bookly (online booking system). Examples include the self-hosted version of WordPress or Joomla.

  • Dedicated web design suites that build your site offline, such as Canva or Website X5.

You might prefer to build a bespoke site using outside expertise, such as a web design agency or freelancer. This might be a simple one-off commission to build a website that you will manage yourself, or you might prefer to outsource the entire process, from domain registration and hosting to keeping the site updated going forward.

Choose a domain name

Whether built in-house or outsourced, your site needs a suitable domain name. This is the web address that customers and clients use to access your site. The domain name also provides your business with recognisable email addresses (such as support@yourdomain.com). Consider the following:

  • It needs to be both simple to remember and identifiable as your business – something that closely matches your business name is best.

  • Keep it as short as possible (15 characters or less)

  • Avoid abbreviations, numbers and symbols (including hyphens or underscores)

  • Include keywords relevant to your business to help boost its visibility on search engines

  • Pick a suitable TLD (Top Level Domain) – established and popular TLDs are .com and .co.uk, but it’s not uncommon to find these domains already taken. Purchasing an already registered domain from its owner can be very expensive, so consider newer TLDs like .net, .uk, .biz or .co as alternatives.

  • Avoid infringing copyright or protected names

Trouble coming up with a suitable name? Try a domain name generator like Nameboy or DomainWheel – just feed some relevant keywords into the generator and see what it suggests.

Register your domain

Once you’ve found a suitable – and available – domain name, you need to register it through a domain registrar. Most domain registrars also offer related services like web hosting and web design packages, but while it’s convenient to keep everything under one roof, you’re free to register a domain with one company and then host your website with another.

Choose the best domain registrar

Consider the following when comparing domain registrars:

  • Price: many domain registrars offer introductory discounts, but it’s wise to look beyond these to see how much it’s likely to cost on an annual basis going forward. Some TLDs are more expensive than others, so bear this in mind when choosing your domain name

  • Multi-year registration: the minimum period of registration is a single year, but you can often pay upfront for multiple years if you wish, fixing the price for that period even if no multi-year discount is on offer

  • Add-on services: ask what extras are offered, and whether they are included in the price. Compare domain registrars on features like WHOIS privacy, DDoS protection and SSL certificates

  • Support options: make sure you can get prompt answers or technical support if you need it

  • Reputation: check the company’s rating using established review sites like TrustPilot

Pick a hosting provider

This is the company that will ‘host’ your website for you, plus manage related services (such as email). Your website is stored on a central server – cheaper ‘shared’ options mean multiple websites reside on a single server, while ‘dedicated’ options offer a single machine dedicated to your website.

Other things to consider:

  • Cost: often, the more you pay, the better the package, but it’s not a guaranteed rule, so compare features carefully. If you can afford it, paying annually usually works out cheaper than being billed monthly

  • Webspace and traffic: ask how much storage is offered, and what limits, if any, are there on monthly traffic

  • Performance: choose dedicated over shared hosting if you can, and pick a provider that offers UK-based servers for faster site loading times

  • Web-building tools: consider whether the hosting provider offers design tools to help build your site, or if you can easily upload your own pages if that’s what you would prefer

  • Included extras: some packages supply free mailboxes for email. Others provide built-in e-commerce and booking systems. You may also wish to ask about SSL certificates for extra security if they’re not available through the domain registrar

Design your website

Before thinking about your site’s appearance, focus on its structure and content. Create a customer journey map to help determine what people want (and how to deliver it), then use a tool like Gloomap to translate this into a sitemap giving you a visual overview of your site’s structure and how its pages will link together.

When it comes to your site’s appearance, consider the following website design tips:

  • Check the competition: jot down what you like and dislike about your competitors’ websites

  • Less is more: choose a single, readable font, keep pages simple and uncluttered, and ensure text is legible and easy to follow

  • Get your UX (user experience) right: focus on making your site easy to navigate, and ensuring that it looks and works consistently across all devices

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel: if you already have a design and logo in place for other media, use it on your website to promote consistency and brand awareness

  • Choose simple, eye-catching graphics: keep things original, interesting and consistent by using a single illustrator and your own photos rather than stock images

Add content that’s useful and engaging

An attractive site will entice visitors, but your content is what keeps them coming back. Your website is your primary means of communicating in detail with your audience, whether it’s details of new products or offering practical help and advice. Therefore, it should be a central part of your overall content strategy and planning.

Start by getting the essentials right: a welcoming home page that invites visitors to explore further, a useful ‘About us’ page with plenty of useful information about your business and clearly visible contact details (use the site footer so they’re always present). Don’t forget to link your social media accounts, include ‘calls to action’ on every page to encourage your visitors to stay on the site, and include evergreen content like FAQs offering useful answers to questions your customers are likely to ask.

Check your site before publishing

Give your site a thorough test run before going live with it. Steps include:

  • Reading all text carefully for possible typos, spelling mistakes and other errors

  • Check that the navigation and all other links work

  • Make sure any dummy text from templates has been replaced or removed

  • Test your site across three major browser engines: Chromium (Chrome or Edge), Blink (Firefox), and WebKit (Safari)

  • Sign up to Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance 

How to optimise your site for search engines

Search engines play a key role in making your website visible to casual visitors and those actively searching for the products and services you offer. The following best practices will help boost your search ranking:

  • Use relevant keywords and phrases, but make sure they appear naturally and aren’t overused

  • Regularly publish relevant and valuable content

  • Faster websites are viewed favourably, so measure your website’s loading times using a tool like GTmetrix, then implement tools that speed up your site using caching and compression – for example, WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache plugins for WordPress users

  • Choose a website design that works across both mobile and desktop platforms

  • Make sure your website meets accessibility requirements – visit the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) website for tips and guidelines

Promote your website

In addition to focussing on your search engine ranking, look for other paid-for and organic ways to boost your site’s visibility. For example:

  • Encourage direct engagement through giveaways and product deals

  • Incorporate your website into your social media presence to drive traffic from other channels

  • Foster relationships with relevant parties, such as journalists and other websites

  • Consider paid-for content to boost your reach. This could be from PPC advertising or promoted social media posts from influencers with large followings

Keep your site updated going forward

Try to ensure there’s a steady flow of new and updated content being published to ensure your visitors get a relevant, up-to-date experience and help keep your search rankings high. Make sure you or your webmaster do the following:

  • Add a blog component to help you deliver new and fresh content on a regular basis based on your content strategy

  • Perform a monthly content audit of the site to run the same checks you made prior to first publishing. You can also use this as a way to ensure existing content remains relevant and up to date

  • Regularly monitor Google Analytics to see how your site is used by others, and what the best-performing and worst-performing areas are. Focus on metrics like bounce rates, click-through rates and average session duration – visit the Google Analytics Academy site to learn how these metrics work

  • Keep your About Us page updated with new hires, achievements and other relevant news


How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?

If you’re building the site in-house, then the costs are your time and whatever package you use to put the site together – if you’re using a hosting provider’s own packages, then the cost is already accounted for. 

If you pay a third party to build a site for you, then the costs will obviously depend on the size of your site and the elements you wish to include. As a rule of thumb, however, a freelance website designer costs around £25-50 per hour. According to Chameleon Studios, a web site typically costs at least £4,500.

How can I cut the cost of running a website?

Compare the price of getting everything from a single provider who may offer a discount versus using separate providers for domain registration, hosting and website building. Also, see if there are discounts for paying annually or taking out multi-year contracts.

How long does it take to make a website?

While it’s technically possible to build a simple website within a single day, a more realistic estimate for a small business website would be 8-10 days, covering planning, design and building.

Should I build my website myself or get someone else to build it?

That depends on your budget, requirements and available in-house expertise. It’s possible to build striking websites using existing tools, but if you want something complicated or bespoke, consider hiring outside help.

Can I buy a domain name permanently?

No. The longest domain lease lasts 10 years. This is limited by the rules set down by ICANN, the international governing body for domain name registration. However, you can keep renewing your domain with your current registrar for as long as it’s in business or offers the service, effectively keeping it yours until you’re done with it.

Choose the best business bank account for your company with features including no set up fees.

About Nick Peers

Nick Peers has been a professional writer for 30 years and has been published extensively both online and in print in the UK, US, Australia and Europe.

View Nick Peers's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.