Creating your own website can be quite the undertaking especially if you have zero experience with web development. Whether you want to build a website for selling your services and products or showcasing your portfolio, following these 5 tips will help you create a functional and effective small business website.

Shop Around for a Desired Domain

Not all domain registrars have the same pricing. The cost will vary from each registrar. GoDaddy is a very popular domain registrar but tends to cost more than others like Google Domains.

After a quick search on pricing for davidshropshire.com, I found that Namecheap was the cheapest option, they better be for their namesake, costing a total of $8.88 a year. Google Domains and GoDaddy had the same cost for the domain, costing $12 a year but GoDaddy had many options for up-selling unnecessary services and other domains.

I also checked Squarespace domain pricing for davidshropshire.com and the price came out to more than double the Namecheap price at $20 a year. I prefer to use Google Domains since it is easily integrated with Google Cloud.

Purchasing a domain through a website like WordPress or another like Wix has its positives and negative. The positive is that your domain is already well integrated to the site but if you wanted to take your website and domain elsewhere then there could be issues.

Drag & Drop Editor

Most people are not web developers and don’t have the extra cash to hire one. If you are building a site yourself you’re going to want a web designing platform that is user-friendly and intuitive.

Many website building services like Wix and Squarespace have their own drag & drop editors integrated with their services. Without a drag and drop editor, you may be stuck with limiting themes offered for free by WordPress.

WordPress, on the other hand, has multiple to choose from via plugins but they are not created equally. Currently, the best drag and drop editor is called Divi, created by Elegant Themes. Divi is intuitive, simple and easy to use. Elegant Themes also offers many different types of website templates to start with.

Starting out with a pre-made template as a launching point will make a huge difference when designing a comprehensive business website, especially if you’re not an experienced web developer.

Call To Action

A call to action is a term used in marketing for a visual device that prompts viewers and readers to a response of stimuli. Simply put it encourages viewers to do what you want them to do on your website, whether that be making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

On all successful websites, there will be a call to action on just about every page. A call to action should be at the forefront of your landing page, distinct from the rest of the content on that page. Make sure your call to action has a clear motive for what you want it to accomplish.

You Get What You Pay For

Most of the time the better things in life cost more. Discerning how much should be spent on a website can be daunting at first but remember what you’re spending is an investment. My first mistake in building my own business website was not purchasing the correct tier for what I needed.

If you are going to be hosted by Wix, Squarespace or WordPress make sure to purchase the business tier since it will give you the most freedom and resources to create that website. Without a business plan on WordPress, you can’t install plugins and the themes offered are extremely limited.

Without plugins on WordPress, you wouldn’t be able to use any drag and drop editor or use any other type of plugin that enhances the ease of creating and managing a website. Sometimes paying more isn’t a necessity but when it comes to building a functional website it is better to pay more than scrimp on something you need.

Your Website is Not Just a Portfolio

Many freelancers think their website is just a portfolio to showcase their work but showcasing previous work is just one facet of a successful freelancer website. Your website should sell yourself to potential clients as a business offering services.

Simply showcasing your work in a portfolio won’t tell potential clients about the services you offer or why they should choose you over your competitors. To get the edge ahead of your competitors you’re going to need a modern looking website that showcases your skills, services, and your portfolio.

Another important feature of any freelancer website is a contact form. Having a contact form as an option makes it easy and inviting for potential clients to contact you without having to leave your website. Providing only your contact details opens up the potential for error when contacting you, i.e., misspelling your email address.

Following these 5 tips will bring you that much closer to having a functional and successful small business website.