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?
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.
Nowadays, when you have your own business website, there is a low cost of entry. Due to this, there is no excuse not to consider setting one up.
What’s more, when you have your website, it is a great way to promote your business. There can be many other benefits 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. It should also be easy to find. 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 for potential new candidates.
- when you have your own business website, this 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 business website, 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.
First of all, you need to purchase a business domain for your business website. The cost of this is around £30 per year. So that no one else can use the same name, it would be advisable to purchase the .com and .co.uk and other variants.
You may also need to pay for annual hosting costs, and again this could cost you no more than £50 per year.
Other things to think about when you have your own business website
You might also decide to set up an email address with the same website name. It will give a good look for you as a professional in your industry and your company.
Once your business 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 software 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.
Many hosting and domain providers also offer WordPress as part of their service. Therefore, it is simple to commence the process when you set up your own business website.
My personal tips
I have spent many hours building this website myself. I am an accountant not a computer coder or WordPress developer! On my journey I have learnt some valuable tips to pass on if you create your own site.
- Pick a good webhost. This is absolutely key and a lot of these comparison charts on the internet including on UK sites mean absolutely nothing. Siteground are by far the best one going. This is especially true for someone who does not have a big business and very high demand on their site. If you do you have high demand you can look for a more advanced cloud type one like Cloudways or some of the higher end UK ones.
- Pick a platform to build your business website on. I used WordPress as this 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.
- Get a good caching plugin. I use Siteground’s caching plugin (SG Optimiser as this is the best one out there, I think). However, WP Rocket in my opinion are brilliant and have solved lots of issues for me.
- Use quality plugins that the developers update regularly.
- Consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for your business website. I signed up to Cloudflare which is free (via Siteground) and I connected WP Rocket to do this. I have also now taken out Rocket’s CDN for even faster serving of images and pages etc. This site loads superfast now and this is due to a combination of using Cloudflare and a CDN. Stack Path are also another good choice for a CDN although I opted for Rocket’s new CDN service after seeing how good they are.
- Other tips -ensure that you have a backup service (Siteground is free), use the latest PHP version and get a good lightweight theme. I use Divi for my theme which has lots of options but another good one I have heard of is Oxygen. I 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 has helped me a great deal as well as lots of excellent advice from Onlinemediamasters.com.
A helpful comment from one of my group members on LI also made the point that you should consider:
- 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 my article covering tax tips for contractors for handy tips you should know when you have your own business (this is a member only article and you can read it if you sign up as a member)
WordPress is the leading one out there. There are also so many choices for themes and modules, and it is hard to know where to start. I chose to create this site on WordPress, and it has been a journey so far. I now use Siteground for my hosting as they are great and I would highly recommend them as they are very efficient if you need help if you are not an expert in website maintenance and functionality.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on