How To Start A Business Website: Your Complete Guide

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WWW URL on desktop monitor on business desk filled with documents, a coffee mug, reading glasses, and more.
Does your business desk look like this? Sounds like you’re ready to get your website launched!

Wondering how to start a website for your business? Look no further! We cover naming your business, securing a domain name, legal aspects such as incorporating and financial structuring, and branding elements such as logo design. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be ready to set up hosting, choose your website platform, and work on your design/layout. But first, we’ll help you choose and secure a domain name for your business.

Phase 1: Naming Your Business And Choosing a Domain Name

The name of your company will have a direct implication on the domain, or URL, that you choose for your new website. Unfortunately, the domain name space is a crowded marketplace and many popular names have already been registered. It’s for this reason that we recommend you ensure that a corresponding domain name is available for your business before incorporating your company under that name.

Note: If you already have a business name, then you may not have this luxury but hopefully you can find something that is memorable and makes sense for your company. There are likely some useful tips below if you do not already own your domain name.

First we’ll look at some basic tips for naming your business and how they will apply to your website, particularly in regard to SEO factors.

What’s In A Name? Startups: How To Name Your Business

Why did we choose the name We Rock Your Web for our website? We went back and forth for a long time between this name and many more creative possibilities (Wild Web Tamer anyone? Or Wild Web Wizard? 😉 ). And for those that don’t know, this website grew out of a web development outfit called Contract Web Development (yawn, that’s as boring and straightforward as it gets right?).

In our how to come up with your business name guide, we’ll show you there’s a place for both creative as well as straightforward names, depending on your niche.

Next, you’ll want to take your short list of potential names and see if corresponding domain names are available for registration. You’ll want to use a reliable domain name registrar. This is one of the most important decisions for your online business as it is literally the point of control for your entire company. In other words, if someone gets control over your domain name, they have control over your website. We conduct annual reviews and select the best domain registrars.

Best Domain Registrar: This Year’s Winners

Before you take a website live, you’ll need a domain name on which your site will “live.” Domain registration companies sell internet addresses (aka domains). Some registrars only focus on domains; others offer additional services such as web hosting. Which company is best for your site? Find out in our comprehensive comparison of the top domain registrars.

Now that you’ve secured your domain name, you are ready to begin working on your website. We recommend that you first address your logo and get your legal and financial documents in order, which we describe below. But, if you already have this covered and want to jump straight into choosing your website platform, setting up hosting, and the rest, you can head on over to our guide on building your website from scratch.

Phase 2: Creating a Logo and Brand Colors

Your logo is one of the most important branding elements of your business, so you should spend some time and money to get it right. When you work on your website layout, everything can be adjusted (including the colors) to match your brand color scheme. We rate the best logo makers to help you gain access to the resources necessary for designing a logo that is both professional and affordable.

Best Logo Maker: This Year’s Winners

Just think of how effective Target’s logo is – simple, yet easily recognizable, even without the company’s name. You don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar company (or have thousands of dollars) to create your own logo thanks to online logo makers. Find out which logo design service won our editor’s pick this year in our logo maker comparison.

Phase 3: Legal and Financial Must-Do’s

First, you’ll want to ensure that you are both legally and financially secure before proceeding with your website. This section covers incorporating your company, setting up a business bank account, and engaging the services of the necessary attorneys and accountants. Don’t worry, it’s simpler than you might think!

Step 1 – Form a Legal Entity

One option is to simply form a DBA (Doing Business As) with your city and work as a sole proprietor. We recommend incorporating (as an S-Corp, or as a LLC if you are small and just starting out) if you can afford it. Online legal services make this a breeze, and you can save a lot of money over hiring an attorney (which will typically cost you $800-$1,200). But, if your company has complicated operations, you may want to sit down face-to-face with a local attorney to make sure you get it right. After all, this is the legal basis of your company.

Best Online Legal Services: This Year’s Winners

As an entrepreneur, one of the first financial hurdles you hit is the cost of hiring a lawyer to set up your legal entity. This shouldn’t prevent you from being an entrepreneur!

Can you avoid paying hundreds of dollars per hour and having to deal with lawyers’ busy schedules by simply using one of these online legal services? We dive in to find out how legit these services are and closely examines the types of services they offer in our best online legal services comparison.

Step 2 – Banking

Open up a dedicated bank account for your company.

Step 3 – Filing System

Use a separate filing system for your business to save and track invoices, receipts, expenses, etc.

Scan Your Receipts, Save Paper & Time

Reduce paper clutter from all those receipts, business cards and other documents that pile up on your desk. Receipt scanners, a mobile phone receipt organizer app, or another receipt scanning service may be the answer not only to your clutter, but to your expense accounting needs.

Why use a receipt scanner? In addition to clearing out all that paper clutter, you’ll be able to find documents much easier – you can scan and store your papers and search for them later using keywords and categories like gas, groceries, credit cards or a contact’s name instead of searching through the filing drawer or old shoebox. It comes in handy for tax season because you can give your accountant direct access to the service and they can take over from there. We compare the top receipt scanning services and pick our winners for this year.

Step 4 – Accounting

Once your business is established you can consider paying a bookkeeper to do your books for you, thereby saving you time. But when you’re starting out, bookkeeping software will save you a lot of money. But there’s another advantage to doing your own books – you’ll naturally stay on top more of money that’s coming in and out and be acutely aware of overdue invoices or missing payments. Not to mention, the top services are very affordable.

Best Accounting Software For Small Business: This Year’s Winners

As a small business owner, accounting can be a dreaded task, but it doesn’t have to be. Investing in the right small business accounting software will save you a ton of time and money in the long run, and the best solution is likely more affordable than you think. We compare top providers including Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks and others in our accounting software comparison.

Step 5 – Taxes

Find a good accountant to do your taxes (or if you’re just starting out you might consider using an online service such as TurboTax).

Next Up: Building And Launching Your Website

Now that you’ve got your ducks in a row to launch your business, no matter the industry you’re in you’ll need a solid website. That means a website that looks good, loads quickly, and effectively represents your products and services. We’ve got you covered in our guide on how to build a quality website from scratch in less than a day.

What’s the largest hurdle you’re facing while starting your business? Let us know in the comments!

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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