You want to start an online business, which means you’ll first to create a solid website. Sounds simple enough until you start looking into all the technicalities involved with creating a website. Where do you even begin?
With hundreds of articles dedicated to this topic, we’ve narrowed down the basics of what you need to know to take those first steps. This slimmed-down guide is for any online entrepreneur who is ready to seize the opportunities before them, but is having trouble understanding how.
Before designing the website you’ve dreamed about, you first need to choose a web host. This will be where your site resides. This is basically what allows your site to be accessed by others on the Internet. The scope of your site and the features you require will determine which web hosting plan and platform is best for you.
There are three general types of hosting which can be compared to living in an apartment complex, town home or single-family home. Shared web hosting is similar to living in an apartment complex. The complex, or server, houses many different residents, or websites, but you all benefit from lower prices. Or you could upgrade to a town home (similar to a Virtual Private Server) or your own home (similar to a Dedicated Server). You have more control with these other options, but at a higher cost. For small online businesses, it’s best to start with shared web hosting.
Most of the web hosting servers offer the same features, with a few differences here and there. To verify which of the servers are the best suited for you, read their reviews. See what common glitches or problems other people have encountered, or if the process is relatively smooth. Check out some of the popular shared web hosting providers as you are making your decision.
You will also need to buy a domain name before launching your online business. Your domain name is the url address used to view your site, so yourbusiness.com, for example. The domain name you choose, though, should be short and simple, and something that clearly shows your audience who you are.
The trick is picking a domain name that no one else has used. The most popular place to buy domain names is GoDaddy with its relatively low prices and helpful extra features. Even if you change your hosting site, your GoDaddy domain name goes with you, keeping you from having to worry about losing customers in transition.
Now you’re onto the fun part! How you design the look and layout of your website will determine the type of aesthetic your brand emulates. A clean and easy-to-navigate layout will also affect how many visitors stay on your site long enough to check out what you have to offer. Like with your domain name, keep your design simple and let it show your audience the type of company you are.
Various design templates can help you pick that perfect layout, especially if you’ve never had design experience in the past. Companies like WordPress not only have templates and themes to browse through, but offer other features to take your website to another level. WordPress continues to be one of the most popular website design platforms, but do your research to find the platform mort suited to your business.
When considering design, make sure you include visually appealing elements. Items such as slideshow features or a background video can help engage your audience or better promote a product.
With your well-designed website ready to roll, how are you going to draw in visitors? Understanding the in’s and out’s of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to be key in building your website. For instance, incorporating keywords into your content and headlines helps your site appear more when people search for related content. But also having a strong social media presence, effective advertising and more can boost your site viewers and increase revenue. You just need to know how to play the field. Helpful tools like a SEO checklist can help you get started.
A Final Note
Starting an online business is quite the ordeal. This article could go on and on about what plugins you should include on your site, website security features, how to make a prominent call-to-action, logo creation, designing a site that is mobile-friendly, etc.
The list of helpful information you need to create a website goes on and on. Don’t panic, though! You’ve got this. If you have the basics down, you’re right where you need to be. You’ll learn the rest along the way. That’s what makes this an adventure.