Whether you want to start a website to sell sock monsters or to showcase your handy photography skills, the process you go through to start your website should be the same. By the end of this post you will realise how simple & straight forward it can be getting your website online in an affordable & efficient way.
As with pretty much everything on the internet, information becomes dated over time so I felt that it was time for some new relevant & straight forward information to help you get your website up and running!
Put your wallet away
Before you even think about getting your bankcard out and buy a domain or hosting you need to have a clear picture in your head (ideally on paper as well) of what you want or expect your new website to do for you. ‘Make me money!’ I hear you cry, but more specific than that – how?! Will you be selling a product through your website or will you be offering a unique service only you can provide?
Jot it down
Create a document & call it ‘my new website’ every time you think of a good idea or come across a website you like the look of place it in the notes section – no idea is irrelevant until you explore it first. Another handy tool that I like to use is Pocket. It works as a cross platform bookmark – you can save all the websites you come across & want to keep note of in one place – so if you’re on your laptop you can bookmark the website & have a closer look later on the train whilst browsing on your smart phone – very handy!
In your ‘new website’ document decide how many pages you want and what you want to call them – For example if you were a gardener you might want to title your webpages by the services you provide as well as a gallery of the work you have done. If you’re a small company you are the unique selling point or your company, many businesses fall at the first hurdle by not ‘selling’ themselves. Think of your new website as your shop window, you have one opportunity to give a good first impression, make sure it’s a good personal one that is relevant to the passerbys.
Once you’re happy & got a clearer idea with your new websites structure, you need to decide who is going to write the text to go on your website. The content on your website is a key ingredient to catalyse business to your website, if you’re confident & got the time doing it yourself would be the cheapest (free) option, otherwise you can outsource the work to write website content .
On your level
OK so you’ve got a fair idea how your website to be laid out & the text & images to load up to your website now all you need is someone to help put it all together.
The quickest and easiest way to find out within 10 secs whether the website company you’re thinking of going with is worth its weight is to ask this simple question. “Will my website get to the first page of the search engines”. If they answer “YES” run a mile, if they answer “Your website can get to page one for certain keywords, but it won’t happen magically over night, we can point you in the right direction” Then you know you’re in safe hands.
From experience I would recommend getting your website built on a well known content management system (CMS) like, for example, WordPress. The reason for this is that if you leave yourself with options if you decide it’s time to move on. If you get your website built on a homemade CMS that only your web developer and his mate knows how to use, you have immediately placed yourself into a monopoly. I’ve heard many horror stories where developers charge £100’s for small changes that they could have done themselves with a decent popular content management system.
Get training if you can, good reliable website developers should, as part of the project build, show you how to add pages content & images to the website – if they don’t ask how much they charge. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a website that you cannot change when you get a new telephone number.
- Put pen to paper and structure your website, a simple word document will be fine.
- If you are promised a website that will make you a first page cash-printing wizard, run away faster…
- Get your website build on a well known CMS like WordPress
- There are good developers out there, if yours doesn’t sound transparent your probably not talking to one of them
Because I’m feeling nice I’ve put together an example of how you could structure your website using Goalscape – a tool we and or members find very useful to use.