Building Your Online Presence: Tips for Creating Your First Website
Online presence is the key to success. Today, it’s a foregone conclusion that those who own a business, need to establish a business website. If you’re not accessible via the internet, then your company may as well not exist, as you’re limiting your potential audience reach by thousands, if not millions of customers. Of course, simply getting your name out there into the social sphere is not enough. You need to design the right online presence – and this is where things can become a little complicated.
Formulating the ideal website, that meets your unique business model and marketing needs, will require some planning. For example, you’ll need to start off by considering what you want your website to do for you. One of the biggest mistakes that companies and individuals make when they start to create their first website, is getting too far ahead of themselves. Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, it drives great content, and pushes you to achieve more, but when you get over-enthusiastic, problems can arise.
People who are too excited forget to do the necessary checks and time-consuming parts of website building that can benefit them in the future. The solution? Plan ahead, get certain aspects of your website ready, and be prepared to make decisions before you even start building. Think of your website like a recipe – forgetting to add an ingredient, or using the wrong one, can result in a disaster that you’re just going to end up throwing into the trash.
Step 1: Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the foundation of your website, the chicken for your chicken chasseur – without it, you can’t even get started. The domain name is the first thing you’re going to have to decide on and buy, and you should make sure that you select a name that’s easy to remember, short, and directly relevant to your business.
Generally, a good approach is to select a domain name that reflects your business name, and try to stick to a dot-com domain if possible. You’ll also need someone to host your website, and there are several solutions available for this. When choosing a web hosting service, it will be down to you to decide which plate is the right one to support your dish.
Step 2: Focus on the Architecture of your Website
Once you have a domain name, it will be time to start focusing on the body of your website. In regards to the chicken chasseur analogy, this would be the ingredients that add body to the sauce. The layout and color of your website are the aspects that will combine to form the backbone of your finished design. If you want to do it right, then you’ll need to think about your users, and map out how they’re going to use your site.
Remember, your aim should be to make the user’s experience as comfortable and engaging as possible. You can start by designing the skeleton for the main pages of your website, and this will begin to inform the general layout for the rest, allowing you to make important decisions on typography and color.
Step 3: Add the Content
The content of the website is the flavor that will keep your user coming back for more. Content doesn’t have to be text-based only, you can also use videos, images, and various other forms of media to keep your audience interested. Some of your content will only need serious consideration within the initial stages of your build, whereas the rest you will have to focus on for literally the entire time your website is running.
Step 4: Serve up the Marketing Plan
When it comes to getting your website out there and ensuring that your target audience gets a taste they’re going to remember, the methods you plan to use in marketing are going to make a huge difference. Draw up a marketing plan before you even start designing your website if possible, including some of the following schemes:
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- SEO strategy
- Offline marketing strategy
- Online Marketing strategy
Remember, it can be tempting to jump head-first into your website design, especially if you think you have an idea that’s going to change the world. However, taking things slow and thinking about your process before you get started is the best way to plan for success.