How to create a business website

Creating a website for your business is cheaper and easier than ever. Find out how to make the most of a website builder, from sorting a domain to choosing a template

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There are three main ways to create a website for your business.

  • There's the quick and easy option of using a web builder to get online in minutes
  • Alternatively, you can work with an expert web designer to create the website of your dreams
  • Finally, there's the DIY approach of using your technical skills to create your site in WordPress

This quick guide will take you through all three options – explaining what you should look out for when using an elite web builder like Wix and Squarespace, how to work with a designer to create a dazzling online home for your business, and giving top tips on using WordPress to build your business website from scratch.

If you’re not sure where to start, then help is at hand. Just answer a few questions about your business, and our super-clever website quiz will help you work out which option is best for you and match you either our top-ranked web builders and or uber-talented web designers that can bring your vision to life.

Get matched to your perfect website builder Is this your first time building a business website?

How to create a website using a website builder

Web builders are are a great option for businesses that:

  • Are on a tight budget – you can use a great web builder for just a few pounds a month
  • Lack technical knowledge – intuitive drag-and-drop tools make it easy to set up a great-looking website or online store
  • Need to get online in a hurry – with tools, templates and stock images, you can create a website in a few hours (or even quicker with an ADI)

All this means that web builders are a great option for small businesses.

The key steps to creating a website with a web builder are:

  1. Choose a website builder
  2. Create your website builder account
  3. Choose a template and start editing
  4. Create an online store
  5. Publish your new website

1. Choose a website builder

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BEST FOR
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Price
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Wix

Squarespace

GoDaddy

Weebly

Zyro

Best all-round website builder for small businesses

Design flexibility & businesses looking to scale

Ease of use and simplicity

Value for money

Cheap builder

4.8
4.8
4.4
4.0
3.8

£6.50-£22 per month
£3.25-£11 until 26th of May

£10-£30 per month

Use code “STARTUPS10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans

£4.99-£13.99 per month (first term discounts available)

£0-£28 per month

£2.20-£11.90

Up to 71% discounted with code STARTUPS. Ends May 31st!

Finding the right web builder for your needs is really important; you want to make sure that it’s easy to use, has the features you need, and has good support for when you get stuck.

Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you and have conducted in-depth testing on the leading options to see exactly how they stack up.

After this extensive process, Wix came out on top as our top overall web builder for small businesses, just a hair ahead of Squarespace.

So, let’s take a quick look at these two.

Wix

Best web builders - Wix OWC

Wix is our top choice because it has:

  • An incredible number of templates
  • Huge range of features
  • First-class design tools
  • 24/7 customer support

To learn more, check out our comprehensive Wix web builder review.

4.8 out of 5
  • Website Features
    4.9
  • Design Functionality
    4.4
  • Value for money
    4
  • Help and support
    4.3
  • Customer Score
    4.6
  • Ease of Use
    4.4

Squarespace

Best web builders - Squarespace

Squarespace boasts:

  • Some of the most stylish templates around
  • Excellent support options
  • Powerful analytics and reporting features

For more info, head to our dedicated Squarespace web builder review.

To see exactly how the leading web builders compare, check out our guide to the best website builders for small businesses.

2. Create your website builder account

This is dead easy – you generally don’t even need to supply credit card details until you sign up for a paid plan.

3. Choose a template and start editing

Picking the right template is a crucial decision and you should have plenty to choose from – Wix has over 800 templates to suit practically every industry you could think of and Squarespace has over 100 design-focused templates to peruse.

Web builders make this process easy though, just select your industry and you’ll be presented with a selection of recommended templates.

Once you’ve picked one, you can start editing, using a web builder’s tools to move things around and add images, text, video, and anything else your website needs.

Wix ADI example

Or, if you’re really in a hurry, then some web builders (including Wix) let you create a site in minutes with an ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). Essentially, you just enter some key info, make a few design choices and, hey presto, you’ve got a website. You can then tweak it to your liking, or just get it live.

4. Create an online store

If you want to sell online, that’s easy too. You might need to upgrade to a plan that supports ecommerce (Wix has three to choose from for example), but then it’s just a matter of creating product pages, adding payment options, designing a checkout process, all of which any decent web builder will guide you through.

5. Publish your new website

To actually get your website online, you’ll need a domain name (i.e. the www.xxx.com bit). Many web builders give you a free domain name for the first year, and you’ll then need to pay a set fee per year to keep that domain. For lots more info on how the whole domain process works, take a look at our guide to buying a domain name.

As you can see, using a web builder is a quick, easy and affordable way to get your business online, making it a great fit for most small businesses.

To see how the top web builders stack up at a glance, check out our handy comparison page.

How to create a website with a web designer

How to create a business website - web designer

Using a web designer is the perfect option for your business if:

  • You want a bespoke, one of a kind website to truly wow your customers
  • You have complex technical needs that can’t be met with web builders
  • You want to outsource most of the work
  • You’ve got the budget to pay for it – this process can often cost thousands of pounds, plus more for ongoing maintenance

In short, it’s a complex, involved and lengthy process, but you can end up with something truly special.

But, to make it work, it’s crucial to approach things with the right mindset.

How to work with a web designer

When thinking about web design, you need to always remember that, whether you're creating from scratch or redesigning an existing site, this is a collaborative process.

You don’t just hire a company, tell them what to do, and then get a website a month later.

No, it’s more like working with an architect to design your dream house (with the key difference being your web design both designs and builds your site).

Choosing a web designer

This is a big decision, so make sure you take it seriously. You need to find a designer that has experience in your industry, has a track record building websites like the one you have in mind, and is easy to work with. Look at who designed competitor websites and try to contact previous clients if you can, to get a real idea of what they’re like to work with.

For loads more great tips, take a look at our guide to finding a web designer.

Or, if you need help finding high-quality web designers, our web design comparison tool will match you with top talent at great prices.

When you start

At the outset, your web designer needs to know:

  • What kind of site you want and what you need it to do
  • What you like about competitor sites
  • If you have any branding ideas or an existing colour scheme that needs to be reflected
  • What is the deadline
  • What is the budget

Before you sign anything, you need to make sure that there’s a shared vision for your website, and agreement on how long it will take and how much it will cost.

The contract

Like any contract, read your web design contract carefully.

It needs to set out exactly what you are (and aren’t) paying for. Quite simply, anything that you need doing that isn’t in the contract is going to cost you extra, so make sure you’re clear about what each stage of the process involves.

One crucial point is that you normally need to supply the website text yourself, everything from About Us to product descriptions. If you can’t or don’t want to produce this in-house, then consider hiring a freelancer to produce sparkling copy that’s perfect for SEO.

The design process

As your website is designed and built, it’s going to come back to you at various stages for feedback.

If it really doesn’t match what you had in mind, then make sure you say so, trying to endlessly tweak it is just going to cause lots of friction as time goes on.

But, and this is just as important, try not to nit-pick, moving elements around by a few inches is unlikely to make much difference to anyone and will simply annoy your designer.

Testing, testing, testing

Once your website is designed and built, then it’s time for testing. Every link, every form, every site pathway, everything a user could do on your website needs to be checked. Oh, and go through the text with a fine toothed comb to spot spelling and grammar errors too.

Working with a web designer can produce a truly spectacular website for your business. However, you need to be prepared to play an active role in what is a lengthy and expensive process.

Ready to get started? Our quick web design comparison tool will match you with top web designers in minutes

How to create a website with WordPress.org

You should consider using WordPress.org to create a website for your business if you:

  • Want complete freedom to change and customise your website
  • Have the time to design and build your website yourself
  • Have some level of technical website knowledge

If you tick these boxes, then you can create a bespoke site at a much lower cost than using a web designer, with the obvious downside that you’ll need to do (almost) all the heavy lifting.

There are six basic steps to creating a website with WordPress.org:

  1. Choose a domain name and hosting provider
  2. Install WordPress
  3. Choose your theme
  4. Install the plugins you need
  5. Complete your administrative pages
  6. Publish your WordPress.org site

1. Choose a domain name and hosting provider

As we discussed in the web builder section, every website needs a domain name – it’s the www.xxx.com bit that lets people find you online.

With a WordPress.org site, you’ll also need a hosting provider. This essentially buys your website space on the world wide web, if your domain name is your address, then the hosting provider gives you the plot of land you’re going to build on.

However, not all hosting providers are created equal. There are a variety of options out there, all with different price points, features, and levels of service.

Once again though, we’ve done the hard work for you – putting the leading providers through their paces and finding that Bluehost is the best overall web hosting provider for small businesses.

4.6 out of 5
  • Types of hosting
    4.5
  • Help and support
    5
  • Features
    4
  • Value for money
    4.4
  • Up time performance
    4

An affordable (plans start from just £2.57 per month for 12 months) provider that offers 24/7 customer support, Bluehost also boasts strong server reliability and has specific WordPress solutions.

All this makes Bluehost the perfect partner for your WordPress.org website.

To see how Bluehost's rivals compare, check out our guide to the best small business web hosting providers

2. Install WordPress

Once you’ve got your hosting and domain name sorted, just head to WordPress.org, download and install.

3. Choose your theme

Your theme will dictate the look and feel of your website, so this is a really important decision. There are thousands and thousands to choose from – with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars – so make sure you take the time to find a theme that really fits the site that you want to create. If you need help, there are loads of great resources online –like this WP Beginner guide to selecting the perfect WordPress theme.

4. Install the plugins you need

A theme will give you a basic WordPress.org website, but plugins will give you the bells and whistles that really bring it to life. There are plugins that cover almost anything from improving site speed and building web forms, to boosting SEO and adding live chat to your website. Using plugins is a vital part of creating a high-quality WordPress.org website, so make sure to research which are right for you.

5. Complete your administrative pages

One for the “dull but important” category now, as you need to fill out standard pages like About, Contact, privacy and disclaimer. These tell potential customers about your business and protect you and your site visitors.

6. Publish your WordPress.org site

Finally, it’s time to start adding content and get your site live.

Using WordPress.org to create your business site is definitely the DIY option. It’s perfect if you want (almost) complete creative control and have the technical expertise to pull it off. You’ll save money vs using a web designer and, with enough time, effort and skill, you could create the perfect online home for your business.

Verdict

When it comes to creating a business website, you have three main choices.

Using a website builder is a great option for most small businesses – it’s a quick, easy and affordable way to create your site, and top builders like Wix and Squarespace hold your hand through the whole process.

If you’ve got grander ambitions, then you might want to use a web designer. You’ll be able to create the site of your dreams, but this is generally a lengthy and expensive process so more suitable for larger SMEs.

Finally, business owners with the time and technical expertise should consider using WordPress.org to build their website. You can create a bespoke website that perfectly meets your needs, and save lots of money vs using a web designer. However, you’ll need to do almost all the work yourself, so this option definitely isn’t for everyone.

Struggling to work out which is the best right choice for you. Just take our quick website quiz to find out which strategy meets your needs, and be matched with top web builders and web designers.

Good luck!

How to create a business website - web designer
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Henry Williams headshot
Henry Williams Content Manager

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.

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