I would love to give you a three sentence paragraph detailing on how to create a business website, but that wouldn’t help you at all, would it? There’s no simple way to create a website – a great website! It involves a bit of forethought. So let’s get right into it.
To build out a website for your business you’ll need a few things before you start, find the list below.
Domain Names are basically an address to your website; without an address how will the customer get to you?
First, you need to purchase a domain name from a web domain name registrar. I typically use Hover, they provide great customer service, free WHOIS privacy, and a simple DNS interface (DNS – Domain Name System is where you’ll be able to direct web traffic or emails and point your domain name to your web hosting).
Hosting for your website
Web hosting is a digital service that web hosting providers offer to house your website files.
Think of web hosting as a foundation for your home. The foundation’s job is to support your home. Will your home have a single floor, two or three floors. How many rooms or bathrooms will it have?
If your home will have a single floor and maybe two rooms, without the prospect of building additional rooms to it, then there isn’t that much needed but a simple slab of concrete. This type of home is a website that only needs to serve a few people. Basically, your website doesn’t have much traffic and it won’t increase with time. Also, the content of your website is pretty much just text and images. So hosting for this type of site shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary, couple of hosting sites that fit the bill are: Bluehost, Host Gator, and maybe, Godaddy. They are inexpensive and will do the job. But the caveat here is with inexpensive web hosting you’ll get what you pay for: could be lack of customer service, slow website speeds or not 99% website uptime – meaning your website will likely break because of the hosting infrastructure.
Extensive, Resource Hungry Website
If your home is a mansion or will grow into one, then you’ll need a web hosting that can deliver the speed, efficiency and uptime. If your website will be processing multiple scripts, functions or queries back to the database, consider upgrading your web hosting to one that can handle the load. Hosting companies like Pagely, Pantheon, Media Temple, are mid to high end web hosting companies; these hosting companies take care of your web hosting needs and can handle the rigor of heavy traffic and resource hungry applications. These companies monitor and help launch your site easily. They provide fast website speeds and great customer service, just in case your site breaks – but all this white-glove service is done with a price $$$.
While the above is true in regards to having little traffic and no need for a quality web hosting, you should take into consideration that people are impatient. People don’t like to wait for a site to load – impatience makes people bounce away and your beautiful website and product that you wanted to sell them will vanish before their eyes. A business owner should invest a bit more for fast hosting. The idea here is to be seen. Once you are seen you’ll be able to WOW them with your beautiful user-friendly website, and then, you’ll be able to tell them how awesome your company is.
9.6% of visitors bounce when page speed is 2 seconds. 32.3% of visitors bounce when page speed is 7 seconds – from section.io
There is also the option to DIY web hosting by using cloud services like Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services. There is a learning curve but if you can do this, then you’ll be able to reap the benefits of fast hosting at an inexpensive price – the only con is that you have to learn how to use the command line and a plethora of other complicated steps to launch a simple website.
We all write emails.
Email – electronic mail – is a digital letter. This is the primary form of communication between a website reader and a website business owner.
There are many email services out there. Godaddy, Google, Microsoft and many web hosting companies offer them. But not all are equal. I won’t get into the specifics on what makes one inferior to another but I can proudly say that all my clients use G Suite (Gmail to be specific) to send & receive email. G Suite also offers other services for $5/month like Spreadsheets, Calendar, and Drive (Cloud Storage). Google’s email system gmail is intuitive and mobile – very important nowadays. And don’t be confused about gmail free service, this type of email will use @gmail.com at end of email; G Suite offers you to have domain name branded email, meaning it’ll be @yourdomanname.com
While your website can be all text, think about how boring that would be. Your visitor hasn’t gone to your website to read a book. They want to be stimulated – visually. So, as you prepare to build out your website think of the photos or videos you’ll be using. Will you be using stock media or images you paid a photographer? Media makes 80% of your website – its what sets the mood and structure for your site.
If you aren’t paying a photographer or not buying stock media, consider using royalty free media, a good source is thestock.im
The image above is a testament on how people read – they don’t! They scan. It’s an image of eye-tracking, visitors want facts, quickly. image from CXL
When developing your script be mindful in the fact that people don’t really, truly want to read a history of your company (well, at least not in the home page, save that for About Us or Company History page). People absorb keypoints, quick one-liners or a brief paragraph. Don’t clutter your main pages with text – it’s a distraction and probably won’t be read!
The more heavy text should be saved for pages like About Us, History, Vision, etc. Light text should be on Home Page, Gallery, Contact Us, Product Category Pages, etc.
Brand your logo
A logo is a symbolic representation of your company. Think Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, these companies have iconic representations for their company.
Consider hiring a professional to to produce your logo, you can find many graphic designers online on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Dribble. Also, shop around local there are many designers in your area. If you do find one locally, this will be a valuable resource; you can rehire them relatively easier than online designers.
Platform To Build Your Website
We’ve come to that part of this article where the meat of the matter resides. What software to use to build your website.
Few of these softwares are: WordPress, Squarespace, Joomla, and Drupal.
Quick run down about these softwares.
WordPress is probably the most popular CMS platforms. 27% of internet realty is on WordPress platform. That’s mucho.
It’s popular because of it’s blogging system, versatility in plugins and templates, and ease of use. This software is written in PHP. One can build an ecommerce store, news portal, food delivery service, much much more real-world applications. Their blogging systems allows you to generate content and get ranked on search engines.
Squarespace is a ‘software as a service’ website builder – you pay a monthly fee to use it, but everything you need to build and maintain your site is provided as part of that: templates, a content management system, hosting, e-commerce, support and (depending on your requirements) a domain.
Difference between WordPress and Squarespace
Joomla is an open source, free CMS. Website applications: blogging, ecommerce, news portal. Joomla is written in PHP. It has been downloaded 97 million times, you are able to use plugin / extensions and templates, similar to WordPress. It is the second most used CMS software.
I have tried Joomla before but made the switch to WordPress.
Drupal is content management software. It’s used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day. Drupal has great standard features, like easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. But what sets it apart is its flexibility; modularity is one of its core principles. Its tools help you build the versatile, structured content that dynamic web experiences need.
Before choosing a platform you should visit their sites, read reviews and take them for a test-run before committing to a platform. Most of the sites I build are WordPress. I use Google Cloud hosting and WordPress ecosystem to create fast, user-friendly, practical and exciting websites.
Secure Your Website with SSL Certificate
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Below find a technical explanation about what SSL does.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers. – info.ssl.com
Why is SSL needed?
96% of Americans shop online. The world is online, and so are the criminals. SSL adds a layer of security to secure your business and customers. As well as security, SSL is now a factor for search ranking.
Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. Data analysis has shown that HTTPS websites have a higher advantage of ranking over HTTP links… – Dyno Mapper
When building your website, even if it’s not an ecommerce site, include SSL. There are many options to get an SSL. You can pay for one, or you can get a free from Let’s Encrypt – it’s a bit technical to use a free one, but it can be done, with a slight learning curve, that may take a day or two.
Once you’ve sorted all the technical components you’ll be wanting for your website, now it’s time to build it! Have fun and remember that patience is a virtue – if you don’t figure out something the first time around, move on to the next step then go back to what hasn’t been completed. You’ll find that you can easily get frustrated if you’re new to building websites. And if you don’t have time to figure out the nuisances of creating a website for your business, like the majority of small business owners, then hire a professional web designer to tackle the tech stuff.
Once your website is completed, the next step would be marketing your website.