Creating your website can seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be! Follow these five simple steps to make your website that you can update as much as you like, which helps you grow your brand and business.
1 Use an intuitive platform
There are many platforms for creating your website, but if you’re new to developing websites and coding, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. That’s why we recommend choosing one of the more intuitive ones that make it easier for novices: WordPress (for beginners), Joomla (great interface), Wix (simple drag-and-drop) or Squarespace (beautiful templates). Once you’ve created your website, our advice is not to focus on making money with it immediately—instead, focus on creating engaging content. The best way to do that is by focusing on content first! Before all else, brainstorm topics you think would be exciting and relevant to your audience and go from there.
2. Pick your domain name.
Your domain name is your URL; ideally, it should tell your users exactly what they can expect from you. For example, if you run a photography business, creating an underscore _photography_ will help customers who are searching for your services find you more easily. Since .coms are too expensive, start looking for other options. Choose something relevant to your business and make sure it’s available! Be aware that you can use many country code domains; such as .ca (Canada), .au (Australia) or .uk (United Kingdom), and .ke(Kenya), for a variety of purposes – think about whether you might want to expand into other markets and consider how accessible those URLs would be from abroad.
3 Pick a design
There are dozens of design styles, from minimal and functional, to complex and beautiful. Which one is right for you? Design is subjective, and what looks significant to one person may not work for another. If you have no idea where to start, look at other people’s websites for inspiration (both in style and layout). Once you’ve found a general direction that appeals to you, look for online tools that can help build it. For example, WordPress has many different templates with unique designs but still provides drag-and-drop functionality, so it’s super user-friendly.
4 Get hosting
Get some web hosting. Sure, it costs money, but it’s also mandatory for every site. If you don’t know what hosting is, think of it as an apartment building where all your stuff lives on the Internet (i.e., anything uploaded to your website). You need a place to keep all that stuff — otherwise, people won’t be able to access it when they click through from Google or social media posts. There are many hosts, including GoDaddy and Blue host for smaller businesses; Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for larger projects; and Wix and Weebly if you want an easy-to-use drag-and-drop site builder.
5 Optimize it!
Optimizing can mean different things for different people, but SEO is essential for any business looking to drive targeted traffic from Google. Search engines use a combination of factors—keyword usage, content length and quality, links from other sites and social sharing—to determine rankings. If you’re not an SEO expert (and most business owners aren’t), it’s best to hire someone who understands these nuances. As your site takes shape, ask your web designer if they have experience optimizing websites for search engines (you can also search online) and ask questions about how they plan to ensure your site meets all requirements.