Great – you’ve decided that you need a website. If you are in business then I believe that having a website is a must, so I’m glad you’ve come to the same conclusion.
But problems arise when you rush into your site without knowing all of the options and the best way to go about getting your message out there.
So, I’ve listed the three first steps you should take after you’ve made the decision to get all creative…
Step 1 – Register Your Domain Name
Your domain name is simply the bit after the “www” and is an address for your website. It can be moved around, but it is important to choose the right domain name for your business. You really don’t need more than one, so it is important to get it right from the beginning.
Once you have decided on the perfect name, you need to register it. There are many options for registering but a cheap and easy option here in the UK is to use SiteGround (my favourite) or 123-Reg. Do this first so you own it and no-one else can nab it, but be prepared to move it if you need to as your web designer may recommend a different provider depending on how they are building your site.
Step 2 – STOP!!!!
In my experience this is where people trip over. They are in such a hurry to create a new site that they leave their logical brain at home! You really need to stop and think at this point and I recommend turning your PC off and doing a bit of old fashioned planning on paper – yes, paper!
Here’s what you need to get clear on first…
- What is the purpose of your website? Think about who your customers are, what you’re trying to achieve with the website and what you intend to do once it is up and running. Are you going to blog? Be honest and build a site that fits YOU – not what some techie has decided is the ‘norm’.
- Consider your Content Write out what you want to include on your site. The more of this you can do to begin with the better. This will help you keep costs down if hiring a designer and help you figure out the best structure for your site.
- Create a Structure What pages/sections does your website need? This can be changed later if you really have to, but taking some time to consider HOW you want your site to be laid out FIRST is a real time and money saver! Ask someone you trust to go through this with you as an independent eye can often pick up on things we don’t see ourselves.
- Do you want to/are you capable of designing it yourself?! It is important to realise that just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!! If it doesn’t interest you, then paying someone to design it for you while you work on other elements of your business would be a better investment than doing it yourself. You can always take over once the initial build is complete if you use a designer who encourages this (like me)!
Which brings me neatly on to Step 3…
Step 3 – Get some advice!!
If you’ve taken some time to think about what you want, make sure you talk to a few designers who will give you honest feedback and costs associated with your site. You should ask them about accessibility once the site is built (the biggest complaint I hear from new clients is that they have had little or very limited access to their sites in the past), ongoing costs and what happens when the platform they are using needs to be upgraded. They should also be able to advise you about building it yourself – without making you feel like you are doing something wrong.
If your designer can explain all of this to you and be honest about any limitations of their service, you’re on to a winner!
So, that’s it. My first steps to creating a website. Of course there is far more to it and I will get to some of that in future posts.
And, before you go – if you need some advice, why not give me a call – I will tell it like it is, whether you want to build it yourself or not…