You got your business in place and now you’re ready to take it online. Congrats!
When you’re ready to establish your online presence, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Whether you try to do it all yourself or hire someone to do it for you, you should keep the following in mind:
1. What are my online goals?
– do you want your website to be an “online brochure” that shows clients and prospects how to reach you?- do you plan on selling anything online (either your own products or someone else’s)?
– will you have a portfolio to display?
– your webmaster will be able to make recommendations based on your goals
2. What will my color scheme be?
– color plays a big part in your branding
– for instance, do you want a fun/exciting look? Or a business/corporate look?
– if you need help finding the right color scheme for your website, check out these four resources:
3. Have I thought about my other branding elements?
– fonts (see https://inkbotdesign.com/font-combinations/ for more guidance)
– video intro
– a good webmaster will be able to assist you with these elements
Before you hire someone to build your website (or begin doing it yourself), ideally you’ll want to make sure you tackled these three questions.
Website Creation Steps
When you’re ready to move forward, you’ll then follow these 10 steps to begin building your website:
1. Purchase your domain
– this is the name of your website (www.mywebsitename.com)
– you’ll want to make yours short and memorable
– personally I recommend Namecheap to all my clients
– here’s a video demonstration on getting your own domain
2. Purchase your hosting
– this is the virtual landlord that provides (or “hosts”) online space for your website
– NEVER use free hosting (all those ads will turn off your online visitors)
– my #1 choice is SiteGround
– here’s a video demonstration on getting your own hosting
3. Connect your domain and hosting accounts
4. Install the latest version of WordPress onto your domain
– I love WordPress websites because you can update your website without having to touch any lines of code
– visit wordpress.org to find out more about the benefits of WordPress
5. Install your theme
– this refers to the look and layout of your site
– there are at least 100 WordPress themes out there (free and paid)
– personally I enjoy the Divi theme by Elegant Themes; it has a really cool drag & drop editor that lets you update your website and see changes in real time
6. Install your plugins
– these are like the apps on your smartphone; they add functionality to your website
– for instance, you have plugins for cybersecurity, for compressing images, for combatting spam, and many others
7. Create your web page titles
– depending on the type of website you’ll have, these are the most common web pages: Home, About Me, Services, Contact Me, and Blog
– if you’ll be involved in affiliate marketing, then you’ll add an FTC Disclosure to your website (you can get an in depth explanation here)
8. Come up with content for your web pages
– whether you invest in a webmaster or do everything yourself, you’ll want to take time to come up with content for your Home page, About Me page, etc.
– a good webmaster can take care of the legal mumbo jumbo pages for you
– be sure to think about any media items (photos, videos, etc.) that you’ll use on your website as well
9. Set up a gmail account that will only be used with your website
– for instance, if your domain is www.projex.com, then this gmail account could be firstname.lastname@example.org
– just as you would keep your personal finances and business finances separate, it’s good practice to keep your personal email separate from business email
– this will also be used for setting up Google Analytics for your website
– in case you hire someone to build your website and/or set up your Google Analytics, you don’t have to worry about anyone getting into your personal gmail
– a good webmaster will be able to create a business email address tied in to your business gmail (for instance, being able to set up email@example.com, having it redirect to firstname.lastname@example.org, and also being able to send out email as email@example.com from business gmail account)
10. After your website is finished, do a quality assurance check
– make sure all your links work and go to the right place
– proofread for any spelling or grammatical errors
– view your website from both a desktop and mobile device to ensure everything looks good (a good webmaster will ensure responsive web design)
There is obviously much more that goes into creating a WordPress. But this is a great overview of what’s involved.
If you’re ready to begin the first step of establishing your online presence, then scroll down to get your free website planning worksheet …