I Want to Build a Website, How Do I Get Stared?
Why Do I Need a Website?
- Connect with potential new customers.
- Reach people who search online for the products or services you provide.
- Stay in touch and with your existing customers twenty-four-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year.
- Express the character of your company and brand to your target audience in ways no other medium can.
- Control and spread your message, about your brand… even while you sleep.
If you’ve been thinking about building a website for yourself or your business and you’re not sure how to get the ball rolling, fear not. Follow along as we run through the basic steps necessary for jump starting your website:
Building a Website from Scratch: Let’s Get Started
Step One – Buy a Domain Name
Before you build a house, you need a plot of land on which to build. Likewise, before you can build a website, you need a domain name where your site can be found.
This is your real estate, the “YourWebSiteFromScratch.com” part, and it should clearly communicate to the casual web surfer who you are and the product or service you provide.
To buy your domain, you need to visit a domain name provider. There are many options from which to choose from, here are a few:
Using the domain provider, you can search for a domain that fits your business or business idea. While you don’t need a “.com” extension for your domain name in order to be taken seriously these days, the “.com” extension should be your first choice. If “.com” is not available, consider finding the most appropriate domain name, ending in the “.net” extension.
Note: There are some hosting companies such as Bluehost.com that will give you a free domain name if you host your website with them. The advantage to this is that it can save you a few bucks usually between $10 and $20 dollars, but also when it’s time to update or renew your account(s), having it all in one place is very convenient.
Step Two – Choose a Website Hosting Company
Once you have purchased your property (A.K.A. bought your domain name), it’s time to build your site. In order to have a place to put the materials that go into building a site, you need to find a hosting service, a place to store all your web pages, images, videos, and other information.
Usually, the domain name provider you have chosen will offer you the option of hosting your site directly with them. On the other hand, you can find an independent hosting service, which gives your future site more flexibility and features, and expansive options. Consider using one of the following:
- Blue Host
- Host Gator
- Site Ground
Step Three – Direct Your Domain Name Servers to Your Hosting Service
If you purchase hosting services directly from your domain name provider, you won’t need to do this. If you go the independent hosting route, you will need to connect your real estate, the domain name you purchased, with the site’s building materials, your hosting service.
To do this, you need to log into your domain name provider, like Bluehost.com and look for the “DNS,” or “Domain Name Servers” link. Once there, you will enter in the unique server address of your hosting service. For example, with Blue Host, the DNS is ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com. This will link up your domain name to all the files that will make up your site.
Step Four – Choosing a Content Management System
Now that we have the real estate and the materials for our site in place and connected to one another, it’s time to start building. A Content Management System (A.K.A. a CMS) will help you do just that with little to no web design skills needed. A commonly used and easy to work with example is WordPress.
Step Five – Growing and Engaging with a Captive Audience
The old adage, “If you build it, they will come,” is unfortunately not the case, when it comes to the Internet. It’s estimated that, there are almost 1.5 Billion active websites on the Internet today, and this number is rising rapidly. This doesn’t have to mean that you are destined for insignificance, instead it is an indication of just how much competition is out there.
Once you’ve built your site, the true task is rising above the noise, proving your worth and your value to people, and learning to adapt and grow based on the needs and wants of your audience.
This ties back directly to the foundation your site is built on, the niche/business you are getting in to or other differentiators that set you apart. If this step was properly considered, the next steps will be much easier, though will still require work and creativity. Some simple tips are:
- Produce valuable content on a regular basis
- Give readers and customers a reason to come back
- Build trust with your audience
- Engage with thought-leaders and experts in your field
- Think about creating lists – the most shareable form of content
Note: The best way to fastest way to promote your site is through the use of Social Media and SEO. People use social media or search engines to communicate and learn about products and services. Early on the easiest way to attract customers through social media. Never has it been so easy to connect and engage with people than in this day and age, using tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, just to name a few.
SEO, is short for search engine optimization. SEO is the process of making on-page and off-page changes to your website that allow it to rank better in the search engines. SEO isn’t easy but can really help save on advertising costs. It is by far the cheapest way to get customers to your site, because SEO helps you get traffic to your website for free.
Final Word on Website Success – Patience, Promise, Progress
The time and effort it takes to build a solid online presence may seem daunting at the beginning, but in the end will more than pay for itself, in your ability to establish your expertise, learn from the input of your customers, and engage with other “thought leaders” in your field.
If you carefully navigate and follow the steps above, you will be well on your way to building a website from scratch and achieving website success.