12 Jul Website Wonders
Ever wonder how you get a website started? As I’ve discussed in my previous blog posts, a website is a must have for any new or existing business. Your website will explain your products or services, you’re your story, promote offers, give people a way to contact you, and most importantly sell your product. There are several ways to build and design a website in today’s modern world, but every website owner needs to take into consideration a few factors of starting a website. Here are a few essential steps in getting your website set up, designed, and coded.
Research what domain names are available that you can purchase for your business. Keep it as short as possible so people can easily enter the url without misspelling or forgetting the name. I use GoDaddy.com for domain search, purchasing, and web hosting.
After you have a domain name you will need to purchase a hosting plan. Your hosting service is where all of you website files live. Basically, your hosting is your website, pointed at your domain name. Some common hosting services are GoDaddy, WP Engine (used with wordpress), Media Temple, DreamHost, and SiteGround.
Content management system is a platform that publishes website content. This is really an optional step in the website process, but can make your life a lot easier. If you are not using a CMS to manage your website, you will need to have your website developed by a web developer and they will need to update and publish your site for you, if you are not familiar with html. A few common CMS platform are WordPress, Drupal, Sharepoint, and Joomla!.
Your website design should reflect your visual brand, be user-friendly, and responsive. Regardless of the design method you chose to pursue, the first step to any good website design is wire framing and developing your content. You can use Visio, pen and paper, or any kind of software that works for you, but the idea is that you map out the navigation and flow of your website. How do users get from the home page to wherever they may need to go? This process will make your life and the life of your designer much easier when the design and development phase begins. Once you have the user experience designed, you can hire a designer to create a design for your website or you can purchase design themes. There are several WordPress themes out there that you can purchase (some are free too) and use on your site. However, if you aren’t familiar with WordPress or other CMS, or if you want a more unique look and feel, you may want a customer built site. If this is the case you should hire a designer and developer, or someone who can carry out both tasks.
You should keep your site up-to-date the best you can. Some agencies will do this for you if you hired them to create your website, or if you have a CMS it is fairly easy to self-manage your site. Structuring and designing the site may be difficult, but once it is in place content management systems like WordPress make it easy for you to post new content to your website and edit copy easily. Make sure you have security settings and that you monitor your discussions on your site. Lastly, use website tracking and analytics like Google Analytics to measure the progress of your website and website traffic. This will ensure your website is working properly and is easy to navigate.