How to Start a Killer Website from Scratch
If there’s anything we’ve learned in 2020, it’s this: now more than ever, businesses need a website.
Whether you’re creating a website for your business or hobby, investing in the right tools and resources from the get-go can save time and money.
Strategy’s marketing experts are here to help you break down the website building process step-by-step!
Step 1: Define Your Website’s Purpose
To create a website, you must first have a clear vision for your online presence. What are the goals you are hoping to achieve with your site?
Are you looking to attract more business to your company office or residence? Are you wanting to streamline your sales for your customers with an online store? Are you hoping to create a home base for your community that provides resources and easy ways to connect to your organization?
With the advancement of the internet, programming, and technology, websites now have more power than ever. Knowing exactly what you want from your website will help ensure your project starts off on the right foot.
Step 2: Plan Your Website’s Layout and Content
The next step in your website preparation is to consider what assets you may need to gather and provide for your site.
To determine what pages you need, think about the website structure. Your website needs easy navigation for users. If your website has a poor user experience, it’s likely they won’t engage with it.
Most website pages have a structure that may include:
Once you determine your website’s structure, start to audit the content you have, what you need to create, or what needs to be edited.
Don’t forget to include photos or videos in your planning process. Both assets can really add character to your website. Photos are especially important if you’re looking to sell products, while videos are helpful if you need to educate your target audience.
Step 3: How to Select a Website Domain
Now that you have your website’s blueprints, it’s time to select and purchase a domain—or name—for your website!
A website domain is the website address you put into your browser. It comes after “www.” in a website address.
Tips for Selecting the Best Website Domain
Your domain should be concise and clearly state the name of your business or organization. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make your website domain short and to the point.
- It should be easy to pronounce and type on a keyboard.
- Avoid hyphens in the website domain.
- Use a common domain name extension such as .com or .org.
The difficult part is choosing a good domain name that represents your website but hasn’t already been registered.
Buy a Website Domain
To purchase a domain, you need to find a trusted domain registrar.
A domain registrar, also known as a DNS registrar (short for domain name server), is a platform that sells domain names and handles the business of registering them.
Costs for purchasing the domain depend on the domain registrar and the popularity of the website address. We’ve seen domains range from $12/a year to $1,500/a year.
While there are many domain registrars available, one of our favorites is Google Domains.
Not only do they offer domains, but they offer free email forwarding or a paid professional email option.
Step 4: How to Select a Web Hosting Provider
The next big step is choosing a website hosting provider. Every website needs a trusted web host provider. Their job is to host the servers that store and fuel your website’s information.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting a host provider for your website:
- Level of Support: Consider how much help you’ll need – some service providers offer 24-hour phone support, and some have non-managed service.
- Technical Support: Does the site meet all your necessary requirements?
- Website Updates: Who will oversee site updates? Do you need help with upkeep and maintenance of your plugins and integrations?
To make it easier to build your website, we recommend using a service that combines hosting and the website builder into one cost.
Consider Managed Website Hosting
A managed website hosting provider can offer you peace of mind while protecting your investment. While you’re busy running your business, your website needs a secure, optimal environment. Here are the helpful things a managed hosting provider can do:
- Trouble shooting
- Server monitoring
- On-call maintenance
- Upgrading on hardware and software
- Backup services
- Security auditing
- And more
Step 5: How to Choose the Best Website Builder
Now it’s time to put it all together! The final step in the process is to choose the best website builder for your needs.
Let’s keep in mind the notes you took when reviewing the purpose of your site. Each website builder offers different functions and toolkits, so some might have the building blocks you need, while others don’t.
When considering the functionality of your website, try to put yourself into the mindset of one of your clients. What do they need access to, what would they like to see, and what would make their experience with your business the best it can be?
Features such as a photo gallery, contact forms, live chat, and a shopping cart are all special functions that you may be looking for in a website builder. There are also several options available that make your site easy to design with drag-and-drop features.
Another thing to consider is the scalability of your website builder. Your needs and preferences are likely to change over time. While websites like Squarespace and Wix are loved for their ease of use, they’re equally hated for their lack of flexibility in integration.
At our agency, we often recommend WordPress. Or you could consider building a custom website. What better way to ensure that a website can meet the needs of your business?
A custom website can check off all the items on your wish list, and perhaps some new ones, too. Check out our website development services to learn more.
Bonus: Build Your Website with a Team of Experts
Need more help? Take the hassle out of creating your website by partnering with a whole team of marketing professionals. At Strategy, we can handle your web design, web development, hosting needs, and more. Get in touch and tell us about your web project; we’d love to hear it!
Published in Web Development