Whether it is a small startup, a brick-and-mortar store or an enterprise, a website can be the best representation of your business. Having a website makes you appear professional by providing credibility and an excellent digital presence. What’s more? Websites are no longer expensive and time-consuming to create.
Here’s how to start a website and run it now.
What is a Website?
Technically, a website is a compilation of web pages, content such as images/videos and other elements linked together to form a larger structure accessible on the internet. To a business, a website can be a digital catalog of products, services and contact information available for anyone to see online.
A website represents a business on the internet, allowing customers to interact with the business at any time. The company can display its products and services online allowing their customers to have easy access to information. It enables the business to reach more customers and expand their reach, ensuring growth and success in the long run.
How Does a Website Work?
After you have created the website, you will have to store all of the data in a webserver to make it accessible to all online. The location of this server will be a string of numbers that is difficult to memorize. So, you will have to use a domain name. A domain name replaces this string with a human-understandable address.
You can search for your website using a web browser like Safari, Firefox and Chrome. When you type the website’s address in the browser, the server will respond with the web page and the browser will load the website for you to see.
Steps for Starting a Website
The technicalities of a website can be daunting, but just because it’s all codes doesn’t mean you need expertise in the field to start a website.
Here are the 6 steps on how to start a website.
Step 1: Establish your Goals
When you start a website, it is essential that you first define the purpose of your site. Why do you want your website? What do you want it to do? Do you want to have an e-commerce business or a simple blog? Or do you only want to display your products and services?
Answering these questions will help you make sure that your website represents your business and you. Setting the purpose of your site also helps define your audience.
If your website is a blog about cryptocurrency, then your audience will be crypto-enthusiasts. An e-commerce site for PC parts will attract similar customers. Defining your target audience also helps you design your website to meet their needs.
Step 2: Choose a Website Building Platform
Next, pick a platform to build your website.
Even without any coding knowledge or experience, the website building platform lets you create a website quickly. The platform handles all the codes and databases for you. They are user-friendly and use a drag and drop interface so that you can focus on managing your content and design without worrying about coding.
These platforms come with beautiful templates, plugins for additional functionality and easy content management space. WordPress, for instance, is the most popular website platform and runs nearly half of the websites on the internet. Other popular platforms include Wix, Squarespace and Drupal.
Step 3: Pick a Domain Name
A domain name uniquely identifies your website. It’s your website’s name and address.
There are almost two billion websites, so finding the perfect one may be difficult. Choose a domain name that relates to your business. It can be as simple as your business name or the products or services you provide. For example, a website that sells PC parts could be simply pcparts.com.
Make sure to conduct some research too. Try to include keywords that incorporate the product/services you offer. It’s a good idea to list out options and check for availability.
You can check the domain name availability and purchase it using a domain name registrar like Domain.com, Godaddy.com and Namecheap.com.
Pro-tip: It’s a good idea to explore domain extensions other than the ones ending in .com. Some industry-specific domain extensions, such as .org, or .shop, can help you acquire a perfect domain name.
Step 4: Pick a Web Host
After choosing the domain name, you must find a place to store all the website files.
Web hosts provide you the space to host your website. Depending on your budget and needs, you will choose either shared hosting or dedicated hosting.
Shared hosting is when you share a server with other sites. It can slow your website and offer limited space. Dedicated hosting offers you a private server that is faster and has more space, though it can be expensive. There are also free web hosts, but they offer minimal features and are not very fast or secure.
If you have established your goals, choosing a web host and a plan gets easier as you will know what features to select. Some popular web hosts are BlueHost, A2 Hosting and SiteGround.
Once you own your web host, point the hosting space to your new domain name. Routing your domain to your hosting space can take up to 24 hours. You might also want to put up a dummy image suggesting that you are setting up your website so that your visitors can anticipate a new website experience.
Step 5: Configure SSL
Another crucial component on your website is a security layer that will protect your website from security/data breaches, hacks, malware and such.
By using an SSL certificate with your website, you ensure that your visitors’ data are safe and also enhance the trust and image of your website. It is also one of the most important factors that affect your search engine ranking.
Many web hosts provide free SSL on their hosting plans. But paying for it is also worth every penny — research what additional security measures your web host offers before committing to them.
Step 6: Design your website
You can either try to build your website on your own or get web design professionals to do it for you. Though web design companies do a remarkable job of designing and maintaining your website, setting up and designing a website has never been easier.
Here are the steps you need to follow to design your website now.
- First, set up your website by installing the website building platform of your choice. You will have to install the platform on the web hosting space. If you’re using WordPress, any good web host will have a one-click installation for WordPress. After choosing a web host, choose a plan and set up your account. Enter your domain name, and then you will be able to install WordPress.
- Once you install a website builder platform, choose from a vast array of themes that best defines your website, business or purpose. These themes can be both free and paid. Paid themes usually offer better control over functionality and aesthetics.
- Start creating web pages by filling them with content. Content can be information about your business or product. If you are creating a website for blogging, your content will be your blog posts. Most of the websites have Home, About and Contact pages. You can always add or remove pages according to your need.
- Structure your content and website. Make sure each page supports the website/business’ primary goal, includes call-to-action, has enough information and has clear menus and categories. Always use your business logo wherever possible and ensure the color of your website is consistent with the logo color.
- If you need an e-commerce store or additional functionality like analytics, payment integration and widgets, check if the website builder platform offers plugins for these purposes. If you are not using a website builder platform, consider professional help with setting these up as these features require substantial coding.
- Finally, become ready to launch your website. Check all aspects to make sure that your website is performing the way it should. Proofread all your content. If everything looks good, launch the website for public viewing.
Create a Website Now to Build Your Online Presence
Creating a website is not an easy process. Even after launching your website, you must be ready to make necessary changes from time to time.
You must maintain it so that it is always online and serves your visitors. Don’t hesitate to experiment and keep your website relevant.