Having a website is virtually a requirement in today’s digital-driven world. Whether it’s to engage local customers or reaching out across the globe, a website is imperative. Luckily, setting up a website isn’t as difficult as it was back in 1998. In fact, the process of getting a website up and running is considerably easier.
In the days of old, setting up a website required programming knowledge and quite the bankroll to build something amazing. Today, all it takes are these seven, and ultimately simple, steps.
Step 1: Brainstorm the Purpose of the Site
The best way to start a website is having a plan for it. Without brainstorming the purpose of the website, it can affect development and design. Too many people simply throw random elements on a site without having a logical flow. This will affect how visitors see the site and may lead to poor performance.
A lot of developers will use online, mind-mapping apps such as Mindomo to map out the website strategy. Starting with the base site, this can easily help guide the development of everything from content to ad placement.
Having a clear plan for the site will guide content development, image use and overall layout. While it’s still possible to have some resemblance of success without a plan, it’s considerably more difficult.
Step 2: Get the Right Hosting
The right hosting plan is the foundation of any website. For instance, most personal blogs will have no problem using a shared server. However, popular eCommerce or other business websites may find VPS hosting and dedicated servers to be more efficient. This is because of the increase in storage space, bandwidth and overall capabilities.
If the plan for the site is to build the most powerful online store for selling goods, bandwidth and storage capacities are important. Backup plans, security features and even using a content delivery network may prove to be very beneficial as well. Weigh the options carefully and choose a hosting provider that will accommodate growth at a later date.
Step 3: A Name to Remember
One of the most difficult parts of developing any website is getting that perfect name. Since there are literally millions upon millions of websites on the Internet, finding that one absolute domain name is extremely hard. Here are a few things to try when the optimum name is already taken:
- Use a thesaurus to find like-minded words for the domain name.
- Consider using abbreviations or shorten the words in the name.
- Consider using “My” or “Your” to start the name. It also promotes a more personalized website experience.
- Use terms in the domain name relevant to the business or website plan.
Some developers will take weeks to find that perfect name. It’s an important part of the process that often leads to success or failure.
Step 4: Management Systems and Site Builders
Most hosting providers will have content management systems or site builders ready for clients to use. Many of them are simple to use, and anyone regardless of skill level has potential to create an amazing site. For instance, WordPress is one of the easiest and most-used platforms for website development on the Internet.
If the purpose of the site is to sell goods online, WordPress has plugins available. However, many website owners prefer precision eCommerce platforms like Magento. These kinds of software provide all the tools necessary to sell just about anything worldwide.
In reality, the type of system or site builder an owner chooses is often based on what kind of website is being developed. This is when planning from step one is very beneficial. For instance, someone wanting a blog wouldn’t use an eCommerce management system.
Step 5: Branding the Site
There are many parts to branding a website, and all of them play an equal role to engage an audience. This goes beyond advertisements or taglines, although either of these are important as well.
Branding also includes things like:
- Designing a logo for the site.
- Choice of color scheme.
- Registering trade names, especially if the site centers around business.
All of these will be a part of the online experience. After all, it’s the reputation of the brand that will contribute to the site’s success. Even overall design and layout of the pages can be a vital part of boosting the recognition of the brand. Think about a favorite website and consider what it would be like without one favorite aspect that attracts visitors.
Step 6: Connecting Social Media
Social media integration is very important to the growth and success of any website. Since most platforms are free to use, it only makes sense to include social engagement in marketing strategies. What kind of things should this include?
- Implement sharing buttons on site content, even products for sale in eCommerce.
- Regular posts to social hubs such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Engaging fans and followers by conversing with them on social sites.
- Integrating social feeds.
Studies show consumers are more trusting of a brand that is active on social media. This trust translates into more sales and increases attention for the website.
Step 7: Creating Content to Attract Visitors
Lastly, create amazing content. Instead of worrying about search engines, create pieces that are engaging for the target audience. Since engines like Google are focusing on quality content anyway, writing for the audience will simultaneously score well in search results.
How does one create amazing and high quality content?
- Make it easy to read. Using smaller words is easier to absorb by the average Internet user.
- Be informative. Visitors should walk away feeling like they have learned something new.
- Avoid large blocks of text. Paragraphs should be under 150 words.
- Use headers. It helps visitors read while improving SEO.
- Use relevant images sparingly. While graphics are pleasing, they can also promote slower site speed.
Content is perhaps the single most important part of the website. Learning how to develop this well can easily promote success.
Wrapping it Up…
Whether it’s on a shared server or has the power behind VPS hosting, a website is important in today’s society. From personal blogs to business platforms, it all starts with a base location in the cyber world. Get more out of the digital real estate and develop something people will visit regularly.