How can I create a free website for my small business in 2021
If your asking yourself, how can I create a free website for my small business in 2021? having information from a professional is a great place to start. You wouldn't ask a plumber to do a heart operation but you can buy tools for fixing your bath from B and Q! So the best place for you to find out how to create a website for your small business is to ask a website designer!
In this article I will give you advice on the following:
- What you need to know about creating a website
- What tools you may need to create a basic website
- What facilities you need to host your basic website
- How to apply basic optimisation to your website
- Where to show off your new website
What you need to know about creating a website
If your like me, you will tend to jump in with both feet first, so finding out what you need to know about creating a website will start with setting up accounts on some free sites and getting right battle with their website design tools!
This is the wrong way to go about it! (I would do that as well so don't feel bad about it!). The best way to get started with creating your own website is to do some pretty basic research about the facilities you will need on your website. For example if you are looking to have a website to sell your products, you will need an E-Commerce system with payment facilities built in. There are thousands of options for this that are ready made and easy to set up. A good example is Shopify. As it says right on the front page, anyone anywhere can start a business. This is true and shopify offers some great templates for you to get started. The issue I have found with these types of sites though is they lack some pretty basic yet major functions. As an example, one of my clients needed a post code filter as they were only able to deliver on specific days to specific post codes in the UK. This is a function that Shopify can not provide. As I provide custom builds for Ecommerce, I was able to build the ecommerce system to incorporate a live post code query system to ensure the customers knew when a product would be delivered and at what cost.
But what if you just need a basic couple of pages to show off your services? There are millions of options. The best known ones like WIX offer the user the ability to pick a template and populate it with their own content. This is a great option and appears at first sight to be the solution for all of your problems. You get a free website, you get a free domain name to get started and you get a cool template. It says right on the front page "The freedom to create the website you want". Allot of my customers have come to me from WIX with their head in their hands saying they hate websites and they are never going to be able to manage the site themselves. Wix is one of these sites that baffles people when it comes to doing the simplest thing. I let them see and use BluCMS and they are then asking me "why did I not try this in the first place? This is EASY!". BluCMS to the rescue.
BluCMS is simple to use at any level especially for creating a website for your small business. It allows you to take just the right amount of control over your content and also allows you to add unlimited pages in minutes. Yea yea your saying.. Ive heard that before. Please feel free to get in touch for a free demo of BluCMS; you will be amazed how easy it is to take control of your website.
What tools you may need to create a basic website?
So your ready to go and your asking what tools you may need to create a basic website?
I really like hand coding my customers websites but I know that it's not for everyone. Infact, allot of website designer dont even code any of there own websites. There are millions of people saying they are website designers these days yet most of them are using Wordpress to knock up premade sites and then selling them on as their own work. I prefer the bespoke path so that I can give my customers exactly what they need - I want to adapt my systems to suit the customer. I don't expect the customer to adapt their services to suit my system.
So if you want to make a small business website the tools you should really consider are a basic graphic design tool such as Gimp. Gimp is a great free tool that allows you to make your own graphics, manipulate images and optimise the images for the web. Gimp has a huge community of people ready to help with any issues you have and works on most PC systems.
Another tool you will need is for writing the HTML content - there are millions of them! I personally do mostly hand coding for all websites but as a beginner you would probably be better looking for a free WYSIWYG editor such as BlueGriffon. This is a good HTML and WYSIWYG editor but it has no FTP facilities (that I know of) plus its only good for 64bit machines but that is a minor problem if you have a modern PC or laptop.
Last but not least, in the list of tools you may need to create a basic website, is an FTP client. This is for sending your files to your server (more about servers below). I recommend WinSCP - it's easy to use and is a recognisable interface as it looks very similar to your windows folders on your PC.
Once you have all of these tools your ready to build your website!
What facilities you need to host your basic website?
So you've got a website built on your local PC and its looking GREAT! Now you need to host it someplace. Ok so now I'm going to tell you what facilities you need to host your basic website.
There are millions of website hosting companies out there to host your new website! But just like everything in life, there are the good, the bad and the ugly. For all of my clients, I use secured dedicated hosting on private servers, housed in a fire and bomb proof data centre in England. While this might not be what you need right now (in fact it won't be if you are just making a basic HTML site!), you should do a fair bit of research in to the the host of your websites location, support packages and backup facilities. Hosting your basic website is simple. When you find the right host for your site, you will register a domain name, point the domain name to your host and if the space is set up correctly (which it should be by them), when you type your domain name in the browsers address bar, your new website will appear like magic in front of your eyes. The first time you do this and see your new shiny website, you will smile and pat yourself right on the back. Congratulations, you are now a website designer!
How to apply basic optimisation to your website
Your sites looking great! Well done you. Now you need to get people to find it so I'm going to talk about how to apply basic optimisation to your website. Seems easy enough. Just send them your website address and your done. Put it on business cards, facebook, twitter, your van etc.. Ok but what if you want to be found for your business name or service on Google? This is where you need to apply basic website optimisation to your website.
Your pages all should have specific META Tags attached to them. This will tell Google and the rest what your business or page is about. As an example. I want to be found for website designers in Dundee so my page title contains that key phrase. I also put it in the description tag to back up the title tag and then add it to sections of my page content. This tells Google what I do. I am not going to go deeply in to SEO right here as it will take up thousands of words and you will quickly glaze over with boredom. What you need to know right now is:
- Add a page title to the page with around 9 words and include your main key phrase for the page
- Add a META Description to the page. This will but up to 30 words and will be a general description of the page and will include your keyphrase.
- Add your target Key Phrase to sections of your pages
Where to show off your website
So you have your new website live and ready to go! You've done a bit of basic SEO and now you want to show it off. The best place to start showing off your new website is through your social media accounts. If you have a Facebook business page, you can add your website address to it in your Facebook Business Page settings. I would also recommend adding a post to your general Facebook news feed to let your friends see the new website. While Facebook News Feed is not crawled by Google, if you show people your page and they have a website, they might link back to your site which will really help with SEO (Google loves links).
Also to get your site out there, it's a good idea to join business forums, either in your niche or general business forums. They will let you ask for a review of your site and mostly allow you to link to the site in your forums signature. This will let Google see the site as well and allot of the time will get you a good link back to your site.
So in conclusion, if your looking to build a small business website, you now know how to create a free website for my small business in 2021. If you would like any info about website best practices, please feel free to get in touch.