Building a website is a complicated process and requires a lot of thought. After being involved in building a website for our own business and building websites for our customers, I think I could write a book. It ain’t easy. First there is building a brand-new website. The second is revamping an old one. Both require lots of planning. Whether you are thinking about creating a website or want to update your existing one, I think this blog article will give you a few insights to help you have a better website building experience. Maybe even save you a few dollars.
Before you go to the expense and trouble of building your own or hiring someone, your first step is to determine why you need a website? Is it just to provide information or will it be a place for people to buy your products or services, which means it will require ecommerce integration. If you just need a page or two, you may want to just create an About.Me Page or purchase a do-it-yourself website builder like Weebly, Wix, or Square Space. If all you need is an ecommerce site, you may want to check out Shopify or BigCommerce. That may give you all you need.
If you decide you want a full-blown professional website using WordPress, you will need to choose a web hosting company like GoDaddy, Host Gator, or Bluehost. You will also need to buy a domain, which you will have to renew each year. While it’s not mandatory, it makes life easier if you buy your domain from your webhosting company. If you can get a discount when you purchase these products, you may want to buy a few years in advance. Next up is purchasing a WordPress Theme. While there are some free ones, they should avoided like the plague. Free Themes can have security issues and may not be current with the continuous WordPress updates. Our favorite WordPress Theme is Divi, which can be purchased from Elegant Themes. We highly suggest you purchase a SSL certificate to keep your website secure for your customer and give you better ranking in Google searches. Finally, a few extras that we also recommend purchasing from your webhost provider is a backup plan, security protection against hackers, and premium email accounts.
As you can see, expect to pay a few dollars right out of the gate. Some of these costs will need to be renewed every year, so keep that in mind. Don’t buy a website package unless you know your business is going to be around for a few years.
Bottom line, you will need to do some research. You want to be sure that you have a website that is modern and responsive for mobile devices, since most of your customers will be seeing your website from their phone or tablet.
Heads up, this is just as important! You need to pay a lot of attention to how you want your website to look. Here are a few things to consider:
- Audience – Know who you are building your website for. Do you have one ideal customer or several? Make sure your website answers the questions they will be asking when they visit your website.
- Colors and Fonts – It supports your brand identity and sets the tone of what your customers can expect from you. The rule of thumb for the color is one dominant color, one complimentary and one background. You may want to check out some color psychology articles to make sure you pick colors that will attract your desired audience. Font choices should be complimentary and limited to 2 or 3 max.
- Layout – How many pages do you want? How do you want the layout for each page? For example, a 4-page layout would have a Home page, About page, a Services or Product page, and a Contact page. A 5-page layout would also include a Blog page.
- Content – It is a good idea that even if you are hiring someone to write your content, that you write some basic information to give your content/web designer an idea of what you want to express to your customers. Otherwise they won’t know what you want, and you may not like what they write. Save everyone time, anguish, and money.
- Graphics – Go find the graphics and photos you want. Ask your web designer what size they should be, so you get the right size and make sure they are clear.
- Tag Line – Create a compelling tag line. It will surely be the first thing they see when they click your website. Wow them if you can.
- Email Subscribe Box – You need a call to action (email subscribe box) so that people who visit your site are willing to give you their contact information before they bounce. Our suggestion is offering some sort of free gift. Like a free eBook, white paper, or free consultation that they would like and has value. If they want it, they will have to surrender their email. That is your goal. Make sure you already have an email platform (ex. MailChimp) to store that email address. You can add a subscribe or sign up button on your website that links to your email program.
- Social Media – You can also add your social media links to your website like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
- SEO – you will want to do some research or work with your web designer to determine what are the right key words to have on your website. This helps optimize your website and blog for Google searches.
- Google Analytics – To track your website’s performance, you will need to have your website connected with Google’s web tools.
One of the biggest issues we have noticed in working with our customers when building their websites, is that some of them have not thought out what they really want in advance. They leave it to the web designer. It sets someone up for disappointment.
You may love it, or you may hate it. Do some research before you hire someone. Check out your competitors. What colors are they using? Do you like their choices or do you want a different look? The website you are building, or redoing represents you. Make sure you love it. It is the face of your business.
With this information, you will be better prepared to create the website you want and will be proud of. Most importantly, your website will attract your prospects and turn them into customers.
- Determine need of Website
- Web Hosting Company and fees
- Domain and fees
- Email Addresses
- Color (3) and Fonts (3)
- Number of Pages
- Call to Action
- Email Subscribe Button (have an email program)
- Social Media Buttons (at least 1 or 2 social media programs)
- SEO – keywords
- Blog Articles (optional)
P.S. One last thought. Think about who will maintain your website after its built? You can’t just set it and forget it. Websites need to be updated with content and and monitored for various software updates. Regardless of who is going to maintain your website I suggest you ask your web designer for the user id and password used to set up the website. This way you will still be in control and will never be held hostage. You can use that web designer, someone else, or yourself to do the additional updates that will absolutely be needed. But own your own website “keys”.