With the internet booming, around 63% of the global population (amounting to five billion) are internet users as of April 2022. Hence, launching your website makes perfect sense as it is your reliable 24/7 sales agent for your business and an effective way to promote your brand.
A website is essential for your business success as a significant portion of buyers hardly consider buying a product or service from a company with no online presence. Today’s buyers want to know more and more about a product/service before making buying/subscribing decisions.
In the past, launching a website was not that easy. You must be tech-savvy to code your way up when building your website. However, you do not need mad tech skills to create your website now because, with the right tools and platforms, you can have your website up and running within hours. No kidding, it is that easy!
Caption: Global digital population as of April 2022 (Source: Statista)
However, Before We Get Into Business, There Are A Few Considerations:
01. Planning Phase
Like in anything you set out to do, strategize and draft a plan. Take some time to lay the groundwork; this forms the foundation to help get things to move faster, especially during the website customization phase.
A Website Sticks With You So Take Some Time To Develop The Planning For Your Website:
01. Define Your Website’s Goals and Layout
The first thing you need to identify is the objective and purpose of your website; it must align with your business goals. You must be clear on your website’s goals as they steer the design, layout, content strategy, and roadmap. So, sit back and visualize how you want your website to be.
Think about the web pages and how your audience will navigate your website. The logic of your website must be sound. You can try the sitemap tools to help you with this task. Your goal is to have an overall view of all the pages. Look into any possible redundancies and gaps you need to fill in.
02. Define Your Audience
Knowing who you are targeting is essential to drive your website’s design and craft a vision that is unique to your website and appeals to your ideal customer profile. You can target your customers with the right content by understanding them well. Ultimately, your audience must feel confident and assured while navigating your website.
Your website must be well-designed and planned as a one-stop place for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Remember, securing a solid foundation of fundamentals will help you in your business and boost your brand as you grow with your customers.
03. Research Your Competition
Knowing about your competition helps to set the expectations of the battle arena your website will face. The simple task of identifying the strengths of your competitors’ websites can do wonders for you. The same applies to locating their weaknesses, as this is where you can focus on doing better.
For example, some competitors’ websites are not adaptive to different devices. Therefore, your website has to be responsive so that your audience will face no issues at all viewing your website across all devices.
04. Lay The Website Design Groundwork
Assuming you have sorted out your branding and logo, you will have an idea of the theme and colors you’ll use for your website. Ensure that your style, theme, and colors harmonize across the pages. Never deploy different styles and fonts for each page; you’ll only confuse your audience. Also, there’s no standardization and cohesive user experience.
More Tips When Designing Your Website:
- White Space – Don’t overload your pages with content; allow your audience to breathe a little with some white space.
- Simple Navigation – The number of menu items should be minimal and never cause doubts in your audience.
- Media – Humans are visual so break up your text with quality images and videos.
- Homepage – The first page your audience lands on, ensure you get this page right by delivering the correct pitch (first impressions matter, and they stick)
- About Page – Introduces your business and the team. Also, include images of your team members.
- Contact Page – Put in all your communication channels and ensure they are legitimate.
05. Content Strategy
As cliché as it sounds, this is worth repeating – a website is useless without content. You can churn out a gorgeous website with all the fancy buttons and functions, but if the pages are empty, your website is worthless. Hence, create a content strategy aligned with your business goals and audience.
You can opt for a short-term content strategy but supplement it with a longer-term one. After all, it’s about your website’s longevity and relevance. Your content must fill a need, resolve problems, and be ongoing. You want your audience to be excited and keep looking forward to your content. You want them to return.
As such, publish a diverse range of content. However, ensure the content is relevant and updated to meet the needs of all who interact with your brand.
02. Choose A Domain Name
Caption: Many web hosting companies also sell domain names.
All websites need a unique domain name; this is your digital address on the Internet. You will have to purchase it from a domain registrar or purchase a web hosting solution with a domain. But before you do so, figure out the domain name you want.
How to Choose?
There Are A Few Considerations (Among Others) When Deciding On Your Domain Name:
- Choose something catchy that sticks to people’s hearts – short and punchy
- Never make it complicated to remember
- Relate to your brand and business
- Do not be too specific, as you need to give your website room to grow
- Avoid negative connotations
- You have to like it
Domain extensions such as .org, .com, and .net are common. However, other options are available (party, song, and others); these may sound jazzy and cool, but people’s perceptions of domain names have stuck with the older ones. They see them as the more authentic and genuine domain extensions. Hence, they have good impressions of them.
Unless you have a solid reason to opt for the latter, you should stick with the more common extensions. If you need help with a domain name, there are domain name generators that can help get you started, such as Wordoid. Remember, your website and the domain name must look professional and belong to you.
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03. Settle On A Web Host
Caption: Shared hosting is best suited for blogs and small websites.
Your website must be available online for people to access; this is where web hosting comes in. A web host is typically a web hosting provider that provides the infrastructure with the necessary hardware and software to get your website online.
What to Look Out For in a Web Host?
There are many web hosts in the market. However, you have to do your due diligence to settle on a trusted and reliable web host, as the quality of your hosting service determines the survival of your website. You always want blazing speeds and high uptime for your website. Nobody wants to visit or buy from a website that registers snail speeds and frequent downtimes.
Nowadays, web hosts offer bundled packages together with their hosting solutions. They often come together with website builders, domain names, SSL, emails, and others. Hence, you don’t need to go shopping everywhere to get what you need separately.
The Following Are Several Types Of Web Hosting Solutions:
- Shared Hosting – Your resources and server are shared with others (suited for personal blogs and small websites)
- VPS Hosting – You share the same server as others but not your resources (best for websites that will scale up soon)
- Dedicated Hosting – Server and resources belong to you alone (great for big websites with a high demand of resources)
- Cloud Hosting – Your website is on the Cloud, and you can scale up and down as and when the need arises
Also, look into the web host’s uptime guarantee, support quality, user-friendliness, fees, and technology; these factors matter to ensure you have a seamless web hosting experience.
04. Build Your Website
There are several ways you can undertake to build your website:
- Use a CMS like WordPress.
- Use a website builder like Weebly, WiX.
For this article, I shall use UltaHost as my web hosting provider, cPanel as the control panel, and WordPress to show you how to create your website. Most web hosting services feature a quick installer for installing WordPress.
Install WordPress In Your Web Hosting Panel
Log in to your web hosting account and look for the WordPress installer. Follow through the steps to complete WordPress installation.
Look for your domain and log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Select The Theme
It is time to choose the theme that will shape your website’s looks and feel (this is influenced by your initial planning above). Or you can peruse through other themes in the WordPress directory and install them.
Customize and Publish
Once you have selected the theme, you can input the necessary information to customize your website accordingly. The customization part is where you spend most of your time, as all you have planned earlier, including your logo design, and content, will be incorporated here. Once done, check through and then click ‘Published.’
Your Website Is Up and Running
Your website is published to your domain. Yes, it is that easy.
05. Validating Your Website
Most web hosts provide a staging environment where you can run your website ‘live’ and validate your website. You’ll need to run several tests, such as functional and user acceptance tests, to ensure your website is operating correctly.
For example, check if your website is adaptive (how it looks across devices) or if it runs fine and the same (as it should) in popular browsers. If you have a shopping cart on your website, confirm if all calculations, including the shipping fees, are computed accurately.
06. Monitor and Improve
Congratulations, your website has been launched! The job is far from over as there are many matters that you have to consider to ensure your website is successful. After all, you want your audience to keep returning for more and enjoy increased traffic.
As Such, Keep Tabs On Your Website So You Can Reap Valuable Insights To Improve Your Website:
01. Website Speed and Performance
Since speed is a ranking signal, you must pay attention to your website speed to ensure you rank high in search engines for greater visibility. Also, ensure that your website is always up, as nobody will trust a website that is frequently down.
Hence, keep tabs on your website speed and uptime to ensure things are running like clockwork. You have to know what is working and what isn’t so you’ll know where to make improvements. Try Google Analytics to help you check your website’s health and performance. If there’s anything amiss, discuss it with your web host immediately.
02. Pay Attention To SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to growing your website. Of course, the ultimate goal of every website owner is to appear top on Page One in the search engines; that’s online prime real estate.
But ultimately, you want to drive more traffic, increase leads, and boost your brand. To do so, you need to make your website SEO-friendly.
One of the things you can do is perform a keyword search; this means you search for keywords you can rank for and trending ones. Optimize the keywords in your website – titles, headings, and body of your content.
Be careful not to stuff too many of them everywhere on your website. Google will penalize you if you do so. Hence, be careful and use the keywords wisely.
03. Leverage Multiple Marketing Channels
Continuous effort is required to help extend your reach. Hence, create a suitable marketing strategy and deploy it across various channels such as social media, email marketing campaigns, affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and paid ads. For example, if your business relies heavily on images, it makes sense to grow your business via Instagram.
Also, use your website to gather feedback from your audience and improve accordingly. Consistently analyze your marketing strategy and fine-tune where needed for optimum results.
04. Run Diagnostic Tools and Constantly Improve
Aside from SEO tools that help with your SEO effort for your website, consider website audit tools. They take the load off you by removing the labor-intensive effort of checking through each web page. In addition, such tools help identify broken links, duplicate pages, missed redirects and pages, and other errors.
Do not underestimate the impact of such errors on your pages; these are turn-offs and can drive your traffic down almost instantly.
Learning to create and launch a website does not have to be mind-boggling. The step-by-step guide above may look complicated, but in reality, once you get started, you’ll find that it is not that difficult. A website can have multiple facets to look at, but at the end of the day, your acquired knowledge and skills prove useful when your website is launched and successful, especially when you start to enjoy the fruits of your labor.