Is creating a website a daunting task for you? Are you putting off creating a website for your company, non-profit, or portfolio because it appears to be too much work? If learning to code, finding photographs, and figuring out how to create forms sounds daunting, I have good news for you.
You don’t need to know any of that to create a basic website.
The days of hiring a high-priced designer or web developer to create a simple website are long gone. Today, all you need is an afternoon and between $20 and $100 (depending on the tools you use).
And here’s the thing: if you want to start and grow a successful business, you need a website.
97% of people search the internet when they are looking for a local business.
So in this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to do to set up a basic website:
Define your site’s purpose
Choose a website hosting company
Choose your site builder
Outline your web pages
Optimize your website
Set up a payment processor
Let’s get started.
1. Define your site’s purpose
Before you begin designing your website, you must first determine its purpose.
Understanding how your website works will help you decide which tools to use.
Before you begin, consider the following questions about your website:
What is the primary goal of your website?
Are you looking to increase foot traffic, sell products online, share a weekly menu, accept online orders, or do something completely different? The answer to this question will influence your choice of host, site builder, and every other decision you make.
How are you currently marketing your company? The tools you require will be influenced by your marketing strategy. For example, if email marketing is important to your company, you’ll need to include an email sign-up form. If Instagram drives a lot of traffic to your site, you should think about embedding your Instagram feed on it.
What features does your website require?
Do you sell products on the internet? You must select an eCommerce-specific site builder and host. How about digital goods? You must be able to send files automatically. Do you want to direct customers to your store’s physical location? Make a list of the features and functions that you require. This list will be useful as you decide which web host or site builder to use.
Where do you see your company in the coming years? What features or marketing strategies are you interested in investigating? If you intend to use paid advertisements, for example, you may want to make sure the host you choose can support a large increase in traffic and the easy creation of landing pages.
Select a web hosting company.
A website requires three main components to be set up: a host (which stores your website files and delivers them when users request them), a domain name (which serves as a site’s online address), and a site builder (which is the tool used to create pages, add copy, upload images, and so forth).
These three features are frequently included in all-in-one packages from web hosts like GoDaddy, BlueHost, and SiteGround. There are dozens of web hosts, and each offers a different set of packages, making it difficult to choose one.
Here’s how to pick the best web host for your website:
Determine the type of hosting you require: shared or cloud hosting is less expensive and sufficient for most small business websites. Dedicated or VPS hosting should be considered for high traffic or large eCommerce brands.
Pay attention to uptime: If your site is down, you will lose money. Choose a web host that guarantees at least 99.9% uptime and will refund a portion of your fees if they fail to meet their guarantee.
Think about security: Hosts are responsible for keeping your web files secure, so you want a host who is concerned about security. Look for features like an SSL certificate, a firewall, and malware protection.
Consider the future: If your site is primarily for informational purposes, a low-cost shared hosting plan may suffice. However, consider whether your company’s traffic will skyrocket as it expands, and look for a hosting provider with plans that will scale with you.
Consider the following characteristics: Other products that hosts frequently provide include site builders, SSL certificates (which give your site the HTTPS prefix), free domain names, marketing credits, and email hosting. Choose a host that provides what you require, rather than a more expensive plan with “free” features you will never use.
Pay close attention to pricing details: Many hosts offer first-year discounts or a “free” domain name that renews at a much higher rate. Check the renewal price for your second year of hosting service before you buy.
Finally, before making a purchase, read reviews of each hosting platform. Moving hosts isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult. Reading reviews can assist you in avoiding the hassle. Hosting Facts and Who Is Hosting This both publish in-depth reviews that compare and contrast the most popular hosting options.
Select a website builder.
Creating a website used to be a time-consuming process that could take weeks. With the help of templates and drag-and-drop site builders, you can now create a functional website in a matter of minutes
Your first step should be to look into what your host has to offer. With your hosting plan, many hosting providers include a proprietary site builder or access to a third-party builder.
Siteground, for example, includes free Weebly or WordPress hosting with every hosting plan.
Here’s a quick rundown of the market’s most popular website builders.
You’ve probably heard of WordPress, the most popular content management system on the internet.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are the two options. WordPress.com is a paid service that provides hosting and aids in the security of your website. WordPress.org refers to the free files that you can get from your hosting provider.
WordPress can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be, and there are numerous themes to choose from. WordPress is an excellent choice if you intend to grow your site.
Squarespace is a website builder with a template-based interface and an all-in-one platform. They provide hosting, domains, a website builder, and even eCommerce capabilities.
Squarespace sites are quite flexible, but their options are somewhat limited when compared to WordPress.
Sites for restaurants, portfolios, events, weddings, bands, and online stores are among the template options.
If you don’t want to mess around with building your Squarespace site, you can hire a Squarespace designer to do it for you.
Weebly is a template-based site builder with drag-and-drop functionality.
Adding features and even a store is a breeze; however, Weebly limits your ability to customize. However, for a simple site, limited customization may be sufficient.
If you haven’t already done so, Weebly also sells domain names.
Weebly is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among small businesses that do not require a site with complex functionality. It is a cost-effective option, but growing businesses will quickly outgrow Weebly.
Create an outline for your website’s pages.
Once you’ve chosen a host and a site builder, it’s time to start writing and designing your website’s pages. While the number of pages on your website will vary greatly depending on your industry, there are a few pages that every website should have.
Remember that users should not have to dig for information. If a page is critical, include a link to it in the main navigation bar or the footer.
Here are a few key website pages that every site should have:
This is your elevator pitch, your first impression, on your home page. Explain your company’s identity and values. Include a call to action (CTA) to other pages, such as contact us and products or services. Go here for homepage inspiration.
Pages devoted to services or products: Include one page for each major service or product line that your company provides. A bakery, for example, might have separate pages for cakes, pies, and catering. Here are some suggestions for product descriptions.
Page about us: This is a look at your company’s history and the people who work there. What is your company’s origin story? What background information would you like to share? Do you have a family, are you a veteran, a former police officer?
Page of Contact: How can site visitors get in touch with you? Your contact page could include an online form, phone number, address, hours, and a Google map embedded.
Statement of Privacy: This is the page where you explain how you collect information from site visitors and what you do with it.
Make a point of including a call to action, or CTA, on each page. For example, there is a form for getting started at the bottom of every LOCALiQ page:
Depending on your business model, the CTA could be used to direct site visitors to your email list, contact page, or the product page.
Improve your website’s performance.
How will users find your website once it is live?
The majority of users find the information they require by typing (or speaking) a search into Google. A family looking for a children’s clothing store, for example, might type in “kids clothing near me.”
Google considers over 200 ranking factors when deciding which site to display, and optimizing your site will increase its chances of ranking well in your industry and location. The tools you use to optimize your site will vary depending on the site builder and host you use. Here are a few examples:
Download the Yoast SEO plugin if you use WordPress.
If you use WordPress.org, download JetPack and follow their SEO guide to optimize your site.
Users of Squarespace can make use of the checklist they provide.
Learn more about Weebly’s SEO features here.
Furthermore, this SEO basics guide contains more information on how to optimize your site to rank higher on Google.
Install a payment processor (if needed)
If you intend to sell products online or accept online orders, your website will require a payment system. PayPal, Stripe, and Square are popular payment processors, but there are numerous other options. Your chosen host may also offer an eCommerce option.
Here is a quick rundown of three of the most popular payment processor options:
Stripe is an online payment API that works well for e-commerce companies. Collect for Stripe will also allow you to accept in-person payments.
PayPal is one of the most popular online payment processors. They offer online checkout, invoicing, and payments that work well for most eCommerce businesses.
Square offers a variety of POS systems, online checkout, and invoicing that work well for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses.
Consider how your target audience prefers to pay as well as how much each processor charges when choosing a payment processor.
Stick to the fundamentals.
If you own a small business, you’ve probably heard how important it is to have at least a simple, basic website, but actually creating a website can feel overwhelming. With the variety of tools and solutions available today, getting your business online no longer necessitates knowing how to code or spending thousands of dollars.
In just an afternoon, your company can be ready to connect with the 4.33 billion internet users by using the tools and walkthrough outlined above.