Guide

Set up a small business website

Different options for building your website

There are many ways to build a website. Depending on your skills and budget restrictions, you can build it yourself, use templates or 'site builder' tools, or hire a web designer to build it for you.

Do-it-yourself website

Building a website from scratch is generally only an option if you have:

  • good technical knowledge, especially of HTML
  • a web-building application or software, such as Adobe Dreamweaver
  • staff in-house who have the skills and the expertise required

HTML is the foundation of building websites. Even if you rely on web-building tools, some degree of HTML knowledge will likely be necessary to help you carry out the project. Be realistic about the skills of those involved and seek advice from IT professionals if you need it.

Use templates or 'site builder' tools

There are many great options for using templates or online tools for building websites. This method usually allows you to:

  • create a website quickly and easily
  • choose from thousands of themes and designs
  • customise different elements, such as navigation and page layout
  • use plugins for added functionality or features of the site

All you need to do is choose your template and add your content, and your website is generally ready to go. Web design or web hosting companies typically offer different packages and template options at different prices. They are usually more affordable than commissioning a designer, and can include a one-off charge or monthly/annual payments.

Commission a web designer or an agency

You don't have to have a huge budget to be able to work with a web designer or an agency.

The expertise that they will bring to the project will likely be worth the extra cost, as they will be able to guide you through the whole process - from planning and idea generation to site implementation and launch.

To make sure you're happy with the results, brief the designer carefully and agree in advance on the key issues around the project. See how to choose and work with a designer.

Legal considerations

Whatever way you choose to build your website, make sure that you follow best practice in web design. Be aware of:

Your website's privacy notices, terms and conditions, subscription forms, other opt-ins and data capture processes must all comply with the GDPR rules. See GDPR compliance checklist .

Website documentation

Once you decide what way you want to build your site, you will need to:

  • develop key documentation for your site (eg terms and conditions, disclaimers, etc
  • disclose certain information about your company on your website

See business websites: legal requirements.

You can also use our sample IT policies, disclaimers and notices to find free templates for your business, including our GDPR compliant sample privacy notice.