Many people think their website is nothing more than a marketing tool to bring in customers. And while that may be true, these people are missing the point. A website is the digital form of your business. Since you can’t be present to tell these potential customers what you do and how you can help service their needs, your content and design need to tell the story for you. But where do you even begin? How can you get a website up and running within a short amount of time? Well, you can always listen to the television commercials and go to one of those website builder sites. But the problem with those sites is you’re limited in your creativity and trying to optimize your site for SEO purposes is easier said than done. You want a website that is user friendly, easy to navigate, and will be optimized for SEO. And that’s why you need to create it yourself.

But where to start? That’s the hardest part about starting any project, especially if you have no knowledge of website design. But that’s ok, we’re here to help! Here are the five steps you need to follow to get a website up and running:

Step 1 – Get a domain name. Pretty obvious, right? Without a domain name, you have no website. When picking a domain name, you need keep in mind how you want people to find you. The name of your business is always a winner. Sometimes, you might want to put important keywords in the title like “bestnycfurniturestore.com.” This is probably your most crucial step because once you have a domain, it’s best to stick with it. Do a little research ahead of time — see what your competitors are using. Then make a list of possible names. Once you got the list, head on over to a domain name registrar like GoDaddy. A name will cost you between $3 and $20 a year and it’s always best to buy it for a multiple amount of years. We always suggest to our clients at least five years.

Step 2 – Get hosting. So you have your domain name but when you type it into your browser, you get a “coming soon” message or a blank screen. What gives? Well, you need to buy hosting. Think of it as renting online office space — you need a place to house your website. This step is crucial and it may cost a pretty penny. At the same time, it can be extremely confusing, especially if you don’t understand any tech lingo like “SQL hosting” and “PHP.” All you really need to know is how stable the hosting servers are, how much space do you need for your website, and how quickly your website loads. We suggest you do a little research and see what the best hosting companies are out there. And then give them a call — they will point you in the right direction.

Step 3 – Building a site. So you got the domain and you got the host. Now what? Not it’s time to start building. This is the part we usually tell people to call in the experts. But if you are determined to do it on your own, we find using a content management system (CMS) is the best bet. Our websites are primarily designed on WordPress. It’s one of the most popular systems out there. It’s easy to install, has a great support system, and thousands upon thousands of beautiful templates you can use for your website. Many of the templates come with easy-to-follow instructions and you can choose a different color scheme or photos. And the best part — WordPress is an open source program which means it’s free!

Step 4 – Get content. You found a template and picked out your colors and photos. Now it’s time to build out this puppy! These days, websites are not only judged on their design appeal but on their content. Again, it’s best to do some research at this point. What does your competitor have on their site? Should you have the similar content? This is also a good time to decide whether you may be selling products on your website. Things to remember when building out your content:

  • Don’t jam too many keywords into your content. That’s called keyword stuffing and Google frowns upon that.
  • Photos are important. Make sure all your photos are in focus and clearly represents the content on the page.
  • Videos are also good to have on your site. People tend to learn more visually than reading long lines of text.
  • Don’t copy and paste someone else’s work and call it your own. All websites are under the copyright of the person who ones the site, which means you’re plagiarizing!
  • Don’t write too short. A minimum of 300 words is what your aiming for. At the same time, don’t write too much because people won’t read it!

Step 5 – Go live. You got your design in place. Your domain and hosting is up and running. Your content is as optimized as can be. Now it’s time to go live to the world!

If this seems a little too complicated to you, then you may want to hire a professional to handle your website design.

 

This article originally appeared in ENX2 Marketing.
This article was written by Nicole Farber from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.