Build The Strongest Website Possible For Your Small Business

Online sales are becoming the main source of income to small businesses. Therefore, they have become a crucial component of any marketing effort.

As often the first indicator of a company’s offerings and values, its website is a digital business card. To wade through the clutter in order to build a professional website on their own owners may struggle. Some guidelines from an expert may help.

Francesca Marano, WordPress Community and Partnerships Manager at SiteGround says “Choosing the right web host is crucial - look for a provider that works best for the business owner’s key considerations: important items to focus on include security and performance optimizations as well as support, in addition to storage, bandwidth, backups and domains.”

Adds Marano, when it comes to building a site, it’s best to start small. As a first step in design, choose a basic theme that can be expanded upon later and some standard plugins.

For example, a flower shop will want to make sure they have a gallery plugin to showcase the beauty of their offerings. A furniture store with multiple locations will want to ensure they have maps prominently displayed. The list goes on.

While creating a beautiful and functional site is essential, there are a few other elements that will determine a business’s success - security, performance, and accessibility.

Secure Website: Creating a secure site doesn’t have to be complicated. A reliable web hosting provider should offer security protections and free backups in case of a cyber attack. Setting up password-protected pages where appropriate (such as an e-commerce checkout page) is also key. Private information ideally should be encrypted, which is done by installing an SSL certificate and should be never shared with third parties. Keep in mind that a quality web hosting company should offer SSL certificates for free.Responsive Website: A site’s performance and load time play a big role in the experience customers have. That’s why it’s important to check the website speed optimizations that a website host offers. Looking for providers that have at least a built-in CDN (content delivery network) and customizable website caching or image optimization options will ensure optimal loading speed of website content.

Accessibility: Now that online platforms are the key method of communication and commerce, the services available on websites must also be accessible to everyone and compliant with guidelines such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Website Navigation: Some basic guidelines include the ability to navigate the menu bar with keyboard arrows, open dropdown functions with the enter key, and move to different screen elements with the tab key. Business owners should consider working within their web hosting platform to add additional features to increase accessibility from a web management standpoint, including high contrast themes, keyboard handling, and screen reader support.

Promote The Website: Once the site is in working order, promoting it to customers via social media and considering optimizing it for SEO purposes are great next steps.

Never Ending Growth: A website is never truly finished--there are always new features to explore and updates to make. But just as businesses evolve over time, so should their sites.

Francesca Marano is WordPress Community and Partnerships Manager at SiteGround, one of the three web hosting companies worldwide recommended by, the software powering 35% of all websites online.