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Read our quick and easy guide to learn how to make a small business website. We’ll walk you through important design considerations, helpful tools, and how to get your site live.

Your website is the most effective sales and marketing tool in your arsenal. In five steps, you can create a beautiful personal or business website that engages visitors and excites them to work with you. Here’s how to get started.

You can choose any name you want, but it’s best to have one that matches your business or professional name. Not only does this keep your branding consistent, but it can also significantly impact how you appear in search engine results. A good domain name may help you place higher in rankings, which can increase the number of people who click to access your site.

Once you’ve settled on a domain name, you’ll need to register it with a domain registrar. You can do this using a website like Domain.com or Network Solutions. Keep in mind that these providers simply register ownership of the domain for you, which may cost between $10 and $20 per year, depending on your TLD.

You’ll still need to find another provider to host the URL where you will build your website and potentially use another program to design it. To simplify things, you may choose to register your domain at a provider that offers registration, hosting and design capabilities.

If you don’t have much, or any, coding experience, you may want an all-in-one option like WordPress, Squarespace or Wix.

If you choose to use separate companies to manage your web hosting and designing, look for a hosting service that offers perks such as tech support, a free domain name or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.

You should highly weigh the SSL certificate as it’s a global standard security technology that enables a secure connection and protects your and your visitors’ data and sensitive information. Simply put, this security measure adds the S in HTTPS at the front of a website’s URL. Search engines and visitors look favorably upon it.

These features are more common with all-in-one providers, but there’s no guarantee, so be sure the one you choose offers them before you purchase a plan.

Popular web hosts with and without built-in design integrations are Bluehost, DreamHost, GoDaddy and InMotion.

If your web host doesn’t provide any integration features, some third-party design programs you might consider are Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. You can create designs on these platforms and embed them onto your website pages.

You have many options when it comes to how you organize your content about your business and its services.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of refining your business website so your pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), most notably Google. It’s what helps people find you.

As you build your website, keep these basic SEO practices in mind to increase your visibility and drive more traffic:

It’s great to have a beautifully designed business website, but search engines want to see more than that to establish your authority when they index it in their search results.

As you optimize your site for search, make sure you’re keeping your visitors in mind. You’ll want to choose easy navigation systems and build pages that enable fast load times. To accommodate a range of user abilities, follow Section 508 guidelines to make your site as accessible as possible.

Before you unleash your website into the real world, you’ll need to test it to make sure it works properly.

Once you’re ready, hit publish. To help drive traffic to your newly minted website, share it with friends, market it with clients and include it on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media profiles.

You aren’t done with your site the minute you hit publish. To remain high in search rankings and improve your visitors’ experience, you’ll need to consistently maintain your website. Consider adding the following to your webmaster to-do list:

As time goes on, you may want to foster relationships with other business sites to establish credibility and improve your SEO. When other important websites link to your website, search engines see your site as more credible and worthy of being ranked higher in the results.

Yes, every business really should have a website. Even if you’re not looking to sell online, a website is a vital component in marketing as it enables people to find out about you online, which can drive sales offline.

Websites for standard small businesses, personal use or portfolios can range from free to $20,000 upfront—or more, in some cases. Final and recurring costs are based on your web hosting package, add-ons, design, SEO and other customizations. For an average small business website, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000.

If you have a sizable budget and don’t want to handle any design or technical aspects yourself, it may make sense to hire a designer. Otherwise, you can create your own website using beginner-friendly platforms like WordPress, Wix or Squarespace.

Each company charges a different amount to upgrade a website. Generally, you will have to pay for a domain name, which can typically be purchased for $12 to $60 per year on a website like GoDaddy. The simpler and easier to remember the domain name, the more expensive you can expect it to be. Upgrading to Wix’s Pro plan will cost $23 per month (billed annually), while upgrading to Weebly’s Professional plan will cost $16 per month (or $12 per month if billed annually).

Yes, it is possible to build a website for free. Granted, most of the platforms that offer a site for free either use a subdomain or display third-party ads, both of which will make a business website quickly look unprofessional. However, they can be a great way to build a site without any upfront cost. Learn more about how to build a website for free.

A domain registrar service will let you quickly search for available domains. Once you’ve chosen one that you like, the service will walk you through the checkout process and offer guidance on how to connect your domain to your site.

Farrah Daniel has been writing professionally since 2016, covering sex education, health and wellness, personal finance, marketing, small business and entrepreneurship and much more. As a full-time freelance writer, Farrah also manages and creates content for small businesses and nonprofits. Check out more of her work at farrahdominique.com.

Adam Hardy is a former assistant editor at Forbes Advisor, where he covered small business and tech. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder, specializing in the gig economy and entrepreneurship. His work has appeared in the Asia Times, Business Insider, Creative Loafing, the Tampa Bay Times, Yahoo! Finance and other publications.

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