Building a website can be an overwhelming task, especially if you don’t know the first thing about web design. Like many people, web design may be a mystery to you- you can appreciate the final product but how the heck did it get there? You aren’t alone in your perplexity. Although building a website is becoming easier today with pre-coded themes, templates and drag and drop sites; these conveniences in some instances actually make it harder to accomplish your online goals in the long run.
So where do you start? It is important to ask yourself the following questions which will help determine your goals and the best direction for your website project.
- What will be the main purpose of my website? (Convert sales, make advertising revenue, brand awareness)
- How will people/ customers find it? (Social media, Search Engines, Yellow Pages)
- Do you have any online competition?
A business without a website is an anomaly these days. However a business with a well-built and properly optimized website is just as rare. That leaves a lot of middle of the road, poorly designed sites that are doing a heck of a lot of nothing out there in cyber space. A website is the first step to a presence on the internet, and an important anchor for the rest of your online efforts. For this reason, it is essential to build a website that will get you where you want to go- as quickly as possible.
Buy a Domain
This is the easiest step. You probably have some idea as to what you want your domain to be. It could be your business name www.mikesplumbing.com , a set of keywords describing your business, www.whistlermaintenanceplumbing.com or another combination of words that relate to your business, brand or product offering.
Once you have an idea of which domains you like, go ahead and register them on sites like www.godaddy.com or www.domain.com. You will need to select your extension (.ca, .com, etc.), and have a list of alternatives to avoid disappointed when your #1 choice is taken.
Domains are pretty cheap these days and you can expect to land one for $10 to $20 a year.
Host your Domain
Next you’ll need to arrange web hosting. This is essentially the server where you will park your domain. Besides providing a place for your website (and all of its contents) to reside, web hosts ensure the website is running smoothly, updated properly and that the bandwidth and data transfer are performing as they should. They will also provide customer support if you are experiencing technical difficulties. A poor web host will neglect your site which can result in it being offline or not operating effectively for periods of time, with no support when you need it.
You can expect to pay between $10 and $100 dollars a month for web-hosting depending on the nature of your site and the level of hosting you require.
The next step, Building Your Website, is the most costly and time consuming part of the process. With your website goals in mind, let’s move along.