We’re at the height of the digital age, and having a website is a must for any startup. For many small business, your online presence is as, if not more, important than your physical space. Are you building a website for your small business? Check out this overview for an understanding of the steps required to get your site online.
Know Your Goal and Options
Creating a bad website can be even worse than not having one at all. Before you get started, take time to plan your approach. What is the goal of your website? How will it look? How will you design your website to best portray your brand identity? What will the sitemap look like? Try to focus on providing a rewarding, easy-to-navigate experience for your visitors.
Find a Reliable Web Host
Your web host is your digital landlord – you pay your web host in exchange for your website’s space on the internet. There are many options for web hosting, ranging from high-end hosting with rich features to free web hosting with limited functionality. Be careful of free options which may restrict your server space, bandwidth, and content options. Most professional business websites opt for paid hosting. Pick an option that fits your needs and can accommodate your website as you add more content.
Pick a Domain Name
Your domain name should ideally be the same as your business name, but if your ideal name has been taken, you can try using an acronym or adding a dash between words. Just make sure the name is easy to remember and accurately represents your business. You can purchase and register domain names through a variety of different sites. If you use a paid web hosting service, it will most likely provide domain name registration. But beware of shady websites that charge hundreds for domain registration – most domain names cost less than $50 per year.
Design and Structure Your Website
The design of your website determines its form and function. Web design practices are constantly evolving, but generally involve the following steps:
Pick a Theme that Resonates with Your Brand
Choose colors, fonts, and spacing to create an aesthetically pleasing design consistent with your brand. Analyze your favorite websites and explore sample themes to get a better idea of what works for you.
Code Your Website with HTML
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the basis of any web page. HTML code includes code that directs text size, image alignment, video embedding, and links certain elements to other web pages. The basics can be easy to learn and are useful in maintaining your site, but you may consider hiring a professional web developer who can help you write the initial code for your site.
Make Sure Your Website Displays Properly
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a language that determines the look of your site. It can be used to format content for various screen sizes, print, and mobile mediums. Mastering CSS will help you optimize the presentation of your website.
Done Building a Website? It’s Time to Go Live
Most web hosts provide an integrated tool that allows you to upload your website to the internet. You can either use your web host’s built-in tools or upload your site manually using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application. When it finishes uploading, your website will be online for all to see.
Add Valuable Content and Links
Your website should provide value to visitors while staying in line with the goal you defined in the planning stage. Expand on your Home, About Us, and Contact pages. The rest of the content depends on the nature of your site. A product catalog might have video demonstrations and customer testimonials. A resource site should have plenty of well-written articles and tutorials. Link to your blog, social media pages, partner sites, and resource sites.
The quality of your website speaks volumes about the quality of your brand. Take time to iron out the details to present your business in the best light. After your website goes live, keep adding valuable content to maximize its exposure and build trust with your audience.