Before you start building your website, there are a few things you would need to do first. By doing these ten things, you will be able to build your very own website within a three-month time frame. Depending on the time you have, it may take a little shorter or longer to complete your website. This is why it would be good to set a deadline or a launch date when you want to go live with your website. A launch date can be very useful to your business and will draw in customers. When planning and building your website, you can share behind the scenes of what you are doing leading up to your launch date. You can even plan out an opening event or sale event on the day your website is live.
Before you set any dates for when you want your site to be ready for visitors, let’s get all of the planning ready for your website.
1) RESEARCH DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
These days, small business owners want to build their own website. This is completely fine and by doing that, you can and will have full control over the process from start to finish. If you rather have a web designer and/or developer deal with build your website, you can do that too. But you must do your research on the platform that would work best not only for your business but for you also.
If you would like to build your own website, you can take a look at a few site builders such as Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. If you would like someone else to build your website, then you would have to find a designer and/or developer that works on the platform you would like to use.
2) PURCHASE YOUR DOMAIN/HOSTING
I’ve said this a few times already, but you MUST have your domain name purchased before you start on any website you plan to have. Even if you’re not ready for a website just yet, it’s good to purchase your domain name to insure no one else buys it. If the .COM has been purchased, you can choose a different ending or you may want to think about re-branding your business. Once you’ve purchased your domain name, you can use it right away. You can forward your domain to anywhere on the internet. You can forward it to your Etsy Shop, Facebook page, Blog, etc. This would be good to do before you launch your website. It will allow your customers to find you easily. Once you are ready to publish your website, you can point your domain to your site.
The only time you would need to buy hosting is if you plan to use a shelf-hosted site such as Wordpress.org to build your website.
3) YOUR TARGET MARKET
Before we can move to branding your business and website, you must know who your target market is. Ask yourself these few questions. Who does my products appeal to? What issue does my product(s) solve for them?
Once you know who your target market is or do research on your ideal client, you will know how your branding should look in order to bring in your customers.
Branding is very important to your business. If you haven’t branded your business, you must do this first before you start planning and building your website. When I mean brand your business, I don’t mean go full out and purchase a bunch of marketing or packing material. If you are short on funds, you can hire a graphic designer who specializes in branding. There are a ton of designers who offer logo designs and branding packages for a very affordable price. If you rather create your own logo, research what you must do in order to create your own logo.
5) WEBSITE TYPE
When you are ready to start planning out your website, you need to decide what type of website you will have. Will your website be informational, a blog, or a store? No matter which one you go with, you can always add to it. If you start with an informational site, you can add a blog or store or both to it. Think about which type of website you would like to start off with first and then build off of that.
6) STUDY DIFFERENT WEBSITES
The one thing that starts your creativity is the tings around you. You would pull from what you see and make it into something that is all you. Or you may have an idea pop into your mind and sketch it out on paper. When it comes to designing and building a website, you would want to view and study sites that is similar to your business. This will help start the idea wheel and give you an idea of what you may or may not want. Since you’re mostly new to designing and building a website, this would be a great way to start
7) WEBSITE DESIGN
Once you’ve pulled inspiration from the different websites you’ve studied, think about the type of design you want for your own website. Use your branding colors for your site headers, banners, links, etc. You would want a website design that will speak to your customers and that will draw them in. This is why it’s important to have your branding set in stone before you start to design your website. See how branding is key to your business. If you don’t have branding, then you will not attract the customers that you need.
8) PLANNING YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT
Before you start to add text and images to your website, think about which pages you need at your site. I’m a big believer that a small business should have an about page. Your customers what to know who you are and why you’ve created your business. This will bring your customers in and make them feel as they are in connect with a person and not a robot. A few other pages you should have is a home page, contact page, and a help page. Once you have a list of all the pages you would like to have at your website, plan out what you want on each page. What type of content will be on each page? Will you have graphics, photos, text, video, etc.
9) APPEALING IMAGES AND GRAPHICS
Images and graphics are a big part of any website. These will be the key to draw in your customers and keep them at your website. If you plan to have a store at your website, you would want to utilize your home page to showcase new or featured products, sales, and announcements. You would also want to create appealing and call to action graphics to get your customers, visitors, or clients to click on them to keep them at your website. It would also be good to look into a newsletter sign up form for your website. You can choose to have a pop-up opt-in for your newsletter to get your visitors to sign up for your newsletter. You can also add your opt-in form in different places on your website to gain subscribers.
10) RESEARCH SEO AND KEYWORDS
Now that you’ve put in all of the research, study, designing, and planning into building your website you want to get found in the search engines. This is called Search Engine Optimizing. This is the really confusing thing that Google uses to rank your website. In order to rank higher in the search engines you need to have strong keywords and long tail keywords throughout your website, pages, categories, products, blog, and blog posts. Without adding SEO in the proper places in your website, you will not be found in the search engines.
The tools I use to help me out with SEO is the Analytics, Keyword Planner, Web Master, and Tag Manager. Google has some great resources that you can use to get your website out there. All you have to do is research them and learn what you can.