Small business website design for UK business

Introduction     

When you set up your own company or, you have been running your own company for a while, should you have your own business website? This is something you might like to consider as it may help you find some potential clients.

Many startups and small businesses will begin trading without a website in place. This will include contractors and freelancers, however this is something to look into, once your business is in place. In turn, this could help generate new income in the future and the website will also give your business a professional online look.

Therefore, let’s consider how do you set up a business website. There is lots to think about here and plenty of options available when you when you contemplate small business website design. We will learn here how to create your own website and what to consider for website hosting costs in the UK.

As a UK contractor, you may choose to create your own website. A website can have benefits for both you and your company in several ways.

Small business website design -considerations   

Create your own website UK -the benefits

Nowadays, when you create your own website in the UK, there is a low cost of entry. There are many websites out there that help you build a website with a free plan or a free trial. Initially, you will be looking for an affordable website, therefore if you can do this for free or for a low cost initially this is a good place to start. Due to a low initial cost, there is also no excuse not to consider setting a website up for your business.

Once your business website is in place, you could upgrade to a paid plan in the future and this will more than likely help you improve the website overall. An example of this is the site that you are reading now as traffic multiplied ten times after the site was professionally redesigned.

What’s more, when you have your personalised website, it is a great way to promote your business. There can be many other benefits of an online presence too:

  • You can showcase your professional services. As part of this, you can also give examples of your past work and completed projects.
  • You may receive direct inquiries for your services as a result of being visible on the world wide web. Please note, to increase the chance of this happening, you must make sure that your website is visible. Your new website should be easy to find therefore you should promote your site on social media and look into SEO (see later in this article). It is also essential to make sure you write your pages and posts well with plenty of keywords.
  • If you show your CV on your website, you may be found by recruiters who search the web regularly for potential new candidates.
  • when you have your own business website, you could use it as part of your defence, should HMRC come with their disguised employment argument. It is also a pointer towards being an actual business in terms of IR35.

When you create your own website in the UK, this is a task that you can do yourself. However, some of the work required may not fall within your remit.  If this is so, there is help out there to make sure that you succeed.

Small business website -initial costs   

First of all, you will need to purchase a business domain for your business website. The cost of this is around £30 per year. The name of your website will probably be your company name and therefore you will want to protect this. As a result you will need to make sure that no one else can use the same name and for this reason it would be advisable to purchase the .com and .co.uk and other variants.

You may also need to pay for annual hosting costs. Initially this could cost you no more than £50 per year however if your traffic picks up in the future you may need to pay more.

Other things to think about when you have your own business website

You might decide to set up an email address with the same website name. This will give a good look for you as a professional in your industry and your company. You will also then have the option to do some email marketing to help promote your business.

Once your website is in place, you should be able to access this immediately. If you plan to include a lot of content on your website, you may decide to use a Content Management System (CMS). The CMS will make the site quicker to load, and there are other benefits here too.

WordPress is one of the leading website software packages out there by far. Many contractors and freelancers choose this for their business website, as it has thousands of potential templates when you compare this to many of its rivals. This website was originally developed using the Divi theme however when it was professionally redeveloped, the design team used Avada. This is a much more lightweight theme with lots of great possibilities for future improvements.

Many hosting and domain providers also offer WordPress as part of their service. Therefore, it is fairly simple to commence the website building process once you have a domain and hosting in place.

As part of building your website, you will need to ensure that it is mobile friendly. This is a key factor today as lots of traffic comes from mobile devices.

Once your site is up and running, you could also employ some SEO tools. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and when you improve your site in terms of SEO, it will help you rank higher on the search engines. We are now using SEM Rush to help with this, as they are one of the leaders out there when it comes to SEO and making your site more visible on the internet.

Initial steps

The three initial things to think about and undertake, when you decide to set up your own website are:

  • Please pick a good web host when you look at UK website hosting costs. This is absolutely key and a lot of comparison charts on the internet including on many UK sites that show website hosting costs UK mean absolutely nothing. There are lots of hosting plans available and Siteground are one of the best ones out there in terms of website hosting costs in the UK. This is especially true for someone who does not have a big business and has very high demand on their site. If you do have high demand, Siteground offer higher plans and you can also look for other advanced cloud type providers like Cloudways or some of the higher end UK ones.
  • Pick a platform to build your business website on. WordPress is very in-depth and has lots of choice for themes and plugins compared to its rivals. If you are to run your website yourself WordPress does take some getting used to due to all of the options available. There are also now lots of free website templates and website builders out there. These offer a free site builder and they make it easier to design your site yourself without hiring an actual web designer.
  • Choose a good caching plugin / option. Siteground’s caching plugin (SG Optimiser) is good however there should be caching options available via your web host too.

Further steps 

Some further things to consider, as part of your new website, will include:

  • If you are not using a developer, use quality plugins that the developers update regularly.
  • Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for your business website.
  • Ensure that you have a backup service (Siteground is free), use the latest PHP version and get a good lightweight theme. We also use Yoast for help with writing (do not use passive voice!!!) and Grammarly for checking although some markers are USA therefore us Brit’s can dismiss some of those words that have s in and Grammarly think it should be z!
  • Test your site on GTMetrix.com to check for loading issues. This can help a great deal as well. There is also lots of excellent advice from Onlinemediamasters.com, if you are designing your new site yourself.

Employing a developer

Initially, when you choose to set up a website, you could employ a developer from the start. Alternatively, you could bring a developer in further down the line, if you decide you would like your site to look more professional.

A professional developer will offer design services which will help your site stand out. As part of your site’s journey the design and development will be key and it will also help your site climb the search engine pages.

You could search for a developer who could work directly for you (there are many out there on Upwork and Fiverr) or choose a design agency, however please make sure you get a quote from them upfront for the work involved. You will need to think about the colour palettes and what to show on your main landing page. You can also think about what design work will need to be completed and advise your developer accordingly.

A professional look website that is of high quality will add to the user experience. You can also think about adding some call to actions buttons to help steer your audience to the parts of your website that you would like them to read.

Further considerations

Some further considerations are:

  • If you will be selling any goods to your visitors, you could also look to creating an online store. There are many applications available online that will help you set this up, if you will be selling any products in the future.
  • Security -you need to have adequate security for your business website, and your hosting provider will guide you here. Regular backups are essential, and today https (not http) is the norm. There are also attackers out there, and one thing to do is make sure you do not have inactive plugins on your site.
  • Marketing -you can market your business website on social media. It will include LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and more. The search engines will index your site, and once this is up and running, you can submit your site map to Google, Bing, and others.

Please have a read of our article that covers tax tips for contractors for handy tips and advice that you should know, when you have your own business.

As mentioned, WordPress is one of the leading website providers out there. There are also so many choices for themes and modules, it is hard to know where to start.

Final thoughts

We chose to create this site on WordPress, and it has been quite a journey so far. We now use Siteground for hosting as they are great and very helpful if you are not an expert in website maintenance and functionality. After this site launched in late 2019, we employed a developer in early 2021 and after the site was redeveloped on an efficient theme that enables coding, things have improved greatly.

Therefore, many will not choose to employ a developer from the outset, however it may be the much better option sometime in the near future.

Link to Contractor Advice UK group on

LinkedIn    https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4660081/

Published On: March 17th, 2021 / Categories: Expenses Guides, First timer guide, Running Your Own Company /

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