Having your own website is a must these days. With much of the world online virtually 24/7, any individual or brand who wants to stay relevant needs a platform for reaching their potential customers effectively. Yet, how do you get started? First, you need to decide whether you will build your own website or if you will hire someone to do it for you. The former is great if you are comfortable with writing your own code and if you are fairly good at troubleshooting bugs. Otherwise, it would be best to opt for the latter. Regardless of which option you choose, there are about nine elements that you need for getting your website off the ground, namely:
Getting the right domain name is crucial, especially if you want the search engines to pick up on your website. It’s best if you do a bit of research on the sort of keywords that visitors or clients use to access information or access to the sort of content or business that your website showcases. If you already have a website that’s up and running, you can run an analytics service to figure out the sort of keywords that lead visitors over to your website. You should also choose the right suffix for your domain name. If you are catering to an audience or market in a specific country, it would be best to base your website there. A website targeting the UK market, for instance, would have a .uk suffix. This is not only a seeming formality, but it also helps the site to load faster when it’s being accessed by the target market in the base country.
Business Email Address
Maintaining constant interaction with your customers is important. For one thing, this allows you to respond to their concerns or inquiries much more quickly. One of the ways in which you can do that via your website is by setting up a business email address. You may already have a personal email address, but having a business email address gives your brand or business a more professional appeal. Getting organized through such also becomes easier since you are certain that all of the emails being sent there all pertain to your business or website. Fortunately, getting your own business email address is pretty straightforward. Most hosted domains allow you to create a free account with them once you sign up for a basic website. While these free accounts are rather minimalist and have limited storage space, they do provide you with an instant communication portal with your site’s visitors. And in any case, you can always upgrade to a different email server later on if your site draws in a lot more traffic.
Website Building Software
If you are already familiar with the nitty-gritty behind building a website, that’s good. However, majority of those building a website for the first time often require a bit more help. This is where the website builder application comes in. These apps make it easier for any novice (or any web design professional, for that matter) to build a website. To choose the right website builder for your needs, consider the following factors:
- Your website builder of choice should give you a reasonable or generous return on investment (ROI).
- Ease of use. Even without prior coding experience, it shouldn’t take much for you to learn your way around the builder.
- Capacity for customization. The chosen website builder should enable you to make your website’s feature as high-end or as straightforward as you need them to be.
- The website builder should preferably be flexible enough to allow you to transfer your site to another server without much trouble.
You also need to decide whether you will opt for a hosted e-commerce platform or a self-hosted one. The former involves building your website on a server provided by a host. In this scenario, the host takes care of the maintenance and behind-the-scenes coding required to keep a website up and running for a fixed fee. You would typically share a server with other clients or websites in this case and you would have no control over the host’s policies, but you would be spared the trouble of having to do the troubleshooting or debugging by yourself. If you choose to host your own website, you would need to write your own code and figure out how to solve any technical issues that may arise during the running of your website. It would, however, give you complete control over your site’s policies and operations.
Website Template Design
A web template design is basically a pre-designed layout that you can use by simply “plugging in” your own text and/or pictures. This design is the first thing that visitors see upon accessing your website, so it’s important to choose one that will give the right impression. There are many web template designs that you can purchase online to jumpstart the creation of your company website, so pick one that will suit your brand’s image while providing ease of use to your visitors. For instance, if your website is meant to represent a business consultancy firm, it would be wise to stick to a sleek, streamlined layout with sober colors. Links to the sort of consultancy services you have on offer should be readily displayed, preferably in a clear font of a good size.
Logos are a quick way to brand your service or product. When designed and marketed correctly, a logo can convey pretty much any quality that you want it to, whether it’s prestige, safety, comfort, or security. If you don’t have one yet, it would be a good idea to invest in quality logo design for an insignia for you to put on the website. A simple and straightforward logo design is often best for beginners, and you can even use its color scheme as a guide for the sort of colors you would use in building the website. Contrasting or complementing colors would help make your brand’s logo stand out on your website, making it easier for your visitors and/or customers to remember and recognize it.
Human beings, by nature, are visual creatures, so you can never go wrong with putting high-quality images on your website. Do make sure that whichever pictures you choose, they end up being relevant to your website or to the sort of industry that your business belongs to. You wouldn’t put a picture of a sports car on a catering website, for instance, unless it’s somehow related to a piece of news or a promo. It is also better to use original photos. Lifting photos off the Internet can sometimes result in copyright violations if you fail to get permission for using them. Either take your own product photos or hire a professional photographer to do the same.
Sometimes, a raw photo may need additional processing before it’s fit to be placed on your website. This is where image editors come in handy. They allow you to crop certain elements out of the photo, convert the color scheme into grayscale, or even adjust the warmth and saturation of the colors in it. A wide variety of image editors are available on the Internet, and a handful of them can even be embedded on your website for free. Be sure to pick the one that is not only useful, but is also quite easy for you to use.
The best websites are constantly being upgraded and tweaked to reflect the brand’s growing image and to serve the customer’s ever-changing needs. One of the most effective ways to make sure that you are making the right changes is by using Google Analytics, a complementary service that keeps track of important statistics relating to your site. Through Google Analytics, you can identify how much traffic your site is generating, what sort of keywords drives people over, and most importantly, how many of those visits end up as actual sales. With this sort of information at your fingertips, your efforts at manipulating all the other elements on this list to serve your customers and visitors better benefit from having a more defined direction.