Designing a Small Business Web Site

How to Start A Small Business Website

Knowing how to start a small business website is only the first part of the puzzle. Understanding why your small business is creating and designing the website is as important.

When is comes to website design a lot of people get stuck in thinking that its all about making money. Yes it is, but that's only part of the puzzle, its not the complete puzzle.


Having a website is a big concern for a lot of Small Businesses, as many have come to realize that they could be missing out on profit, but many do not know how to start.

It sounds strange in the 21st Century for anyone to be asking simple questions, but the two most important fundamental pre design questions everyone should be asking are:

- Why do I need a website ?
- What is my website going to be used for ?



Are you going to be using your website to make online sales or are you simply out to provide an additional source of reference.


To the majority of Small businesses a web page should not be looked at as a resource of additional sales, as in most cases you will not make sales from the website unless that is the nature of your business.

For example, if you are a carpenter you will most likely never need a website for sales, but you should be looking for a web presence. This means that a web address can appear on your business cards and flyers, where potential clients can go to view additional information.

Because a business card is limited in space you can provide more information about yourself and your services on the website.


Its not about being found on search engines.

Designing a great looking website and being listed on Google (for example) should not be the priority of Small Businesses, unless you are involved entirely with online selling as the main purpose of the website.

Think about this for a moment; If you go to google and search for a Painter you will be presented with 1000's of links and pages. What are the chances of you appearing on the first few pages.

Yes people will find you from search results and its great when they do, but please do not rely upon the internet as a magical source of sales, especially if income is primarily produced offline, such as using your hands as a painter etc..


You may from time to time obtain clients because they found you on the net, but this will be a by product of existing on the net, by simply having a web presence.

For the majority of Small Businesses starting out it is more advantageous to have a logical and pleasing looking site that offers the clients the additional information that your Business Card or Flyer does not tell them..


But I want to make money from the net ?

Everyone wants to make money from the internet, and you can and will, but unless your website or business identity is only web orientated you cannot expect to begin generating money from your website.

Even if you designed a website which offers information and products for sale, there is more involved then simply placing a page on the internet. After 15 years involvement I am still learning.


If you are a Small Business who offers services then use a website to provide more information about your services. If you are a Builder (for example) then the smartest thing for you to do is to also provide images of projects undertaken.

Your website is a promotional tool, but if your website looks and feels like a dog then you will promote the wrong image, so remember to make it look and feel the way you want. It must above all grab attention from the instant someone comes to your site.


Then you can offer a link here and there to a product or some other topic that may help generate some online sales.

For example, you may be a Carpenter who generates 99% of your income from housing and construction, but you also create and sell Doll Houses. So your first priority is to ensure you promote your site so it looks and feels accordingly (remembering that most people will be coming to your site from your business card or flyer) and then dedicate a page or two, or a complete section to your love of Doll Houses.

Then at the same time get yourself known around the net in as many locations as you can where people look for Dolls and Doll Houses.



The 3 Biggest Mistakes people make with WebSite's


Thinking that money and sales will be generated overnight from the instant moment that the website appears on the net.

This is not the case, if it was I would be a millionaire many times over by now. Yes we can all make millions from the net, it is a level playing field, but it will not happen automatically overnight.

mistake number 1

Yes I too have seen advertisements by people who claim that they will get you to the top of google overnight for your keywords. But if this was the case then how can 100 carpenters get on the first page of google for the search term "carpenter" ?

I know I am stretching it a little, and yes there are tricks that can help and they do work, but in the end for the majority of small businesses its is still going to come down to time and effort on your part by getting yourself known.




Put your ego on the shelf, If your web page looks and feels like a dog, and barks like a dog, then it's a dog.

How many sites have you gone to and then reversed out of as fast as you could because they were unpleasing to the eye.

Some even use a different color for each word, or a different font for each letter, or the site just didn't flow clearly and you simply end up getting lost at every click.

Too many of us love our own sites so much and even though its looks and runs like a dog, we think its a BMW. I have personally had to put my ego on the shelf on many occasions and listen to what others have said.

No-one wants to have their ego bruised, we all want to be right, we all want people to tell us that we did a great job, rather than being told that our site sucks.

Having people being turned of the moment they get to your site is a big killer. You would be better of not having a site and just sticking to your business card




Your web page's are coming in to slow.

Don't fall into the trap of wanting your site to be full of images and flash and gif's and all the other stuff.

Yes it is necessary to have images as they can be a great aid in design and appearance, and as we all know a picture can tell a thousand words.

But too many individuals think that its all about having graphics and flash content. However the more images and flash you use the longer your pages will take to load into your clients browser.

Many times I have hit the back button because the web page I was attempting to load was taking way to long.

Remember I am not talking about pages designed specifically for images. For example, if you are a builder and you say; "click here to see some of the photos of my latest projects" then anyone clicking this expects it to take some time to load. Its when they don't expect it to occur that annoys people in today's instant society.

The most important page to consider is the index page. If you have too many images or dedicate the whole page to flash that cannot be skipped then people can become annoyed even before they get to the first page (yes you need to ensure that if you do have a flash starter page that a link appears enabling anyone to skip the flash).

Of course everyone is different, so if your site for some reason has to have the images and flash that it does, then so be it. But remember I have a back button and so do many others. Its all about finding a happy medium, find a good balance and it will be fine.



More Information about Creating your Business Website