Starting a website today is nowhere near as complicated as it once was, which means that more people are getting their feet wet in the online arena. Here are six things you’ll need to get started with setting up a website.
A Website Name
It all begins with a name. Of course, if your website is for your existing business, this step is a little more than choosing an applicable domain name, taking your existing corporate identity elements, and getting them ready to be used online. If this is a new project, the name is an important first step because it should instantly tell your visitors what your website is about, as well as be catchy and offer the first glimpse into the personality of your brand. You’ll need a logo and color scheme too because you’re going to need them when you start to design your website.
A Hosting Provider
An internet hosting provider is where your website can be stored to make it accessible to the internet. If you’re just starting out, this can be quite a cheap expense and run you just a few dollars, but as you expand and need the capacity to have more visitors to your site at any one time, you’re going to need to expand. Choose a hosting provider that can grow with your website seamlessly, so you don’t need to perform complex migrations as you grow. If the webhost offers value added services like email hosting, SEO and SSL certificates, these can be useful too as you’ll likely need all of these at some point or another.
A Content Management System
Gone are the days where websites are statically coded pages with static images that require coding by hand and difficult edits of these source files for each change that needs to be made. These days, website content management systems (like WordPress, the world’s biggest CMS) make it easy to change, add and remove content from your website in a graphical user interface with no knowledge of code. Some website hosts will also offer their own CMS as part of the hosting package, so do some research and decide what option will be best for your specific needs.
Once you have a name, a hosting provider and a content management system, it’s time to start adding the meat and potatoes of your website – the content. This means writing some static pages that can serve to inform visitors about who you are (or what your company does), what the purpose of your website is, as well as any policies or FAQs that you might need to include on your website. The reason people will be visiting your website will be for the content, so make sure it’s of a high quality.
Once your website is up and running and its business as usual for your fledgling home on the internet, you’re going to want to be able to make informed decisions on which direction to take your content in. To do this, having a good understanding of how users are finding their way to your website, which articles or posts they spend the most time reading, or at which article they leave the website can be invaluable. This is the role of website analytics, for which there are a number of great providers. Your web host might have a rudimentary analytics platform, but something like Google Analytics will take this to the next level.
Offering something unique for your visitors can be challenging if you’re looking to start an online business, but don’t let that stop you from creating your own website and home on the internet if you have a great idea.