The ‘One Man Band’s Guide to Creating a Website For Startups
In this day in age, there’s not a startups in the country that should be operating without a website. After all, what’s the first thing a customer will do if they’re just learning about your brand for the first time? They’ll Google it, of course. So, being able to influence the perception people have of your startups via your own website is an important thing indeed. Here’s how to create a website if you don’t have the money to pay a professional to do it for you.
Define your objective
Do you simply want to raise awareness of your brand, products and services? Or do you specifically want to use your website as a mechanism for selling your goods online? Whatever the case, outline your objectives at the beginning and let that be the guiding factor for the finer details later on in the process, such as visual design and functionality.
Buy the domain
Next, you’ll need to come up with a name for your website. This is the ‘www [dot]’ bit you type into the URL bar, and it’s a notoriously tricky thing to get right. Of course, your website name is likely to be determined by your startups name, but if it’s already taken or you want a slight variation of it, you’ll need to get your thinking cap on.
Bear in mind that shorter, punchier domain names are often more expensive, but they might to be more memorable. Whatever the case, make sure your domain name is catchy, relevant and correctly spelled (unless you’re choosing a deliberate misspelling, like Houzz.com), and give some thought to your extension name too – .co.uk and .com are best, even if other options are cheaper.
Find a host
Once you’ve found a domain, you’ll need a host for your startups website. Think of a ‘host’ like this: your website is a book, and one that you hope people will come and read. However, unless you put your book on a shelf, no-one will find it. That’s what a host is: it’s basically a shelf that supports your website and makes it available for people to access. You can get a good deal on startups web hosting if you shop around, but do make sure you sign up with a host that offers the following:
- Unlimited space and bandwidth
- Unlimited emails
- Unlimited websites and subdomains
- Dedicated IP address
- Dedicated secure certificate (SSL)
Choose a website building platform
Now you’ve secured your domain name and hosting, you can get on with creating the site itself. Lots of people choose to build and manage their website using WordPress (the most popular website building platform on the planet), and it’s very likely to be compatible with your hosting package if you’ve chosen a reputable host.
Using WordPress means you can install a pre-designed ‘theme’ for your website (i.e. the entire visual design of your website) without needing to know any complicated code. So, browse templates and weigh up what kind of design would suit you best. Be sure to check the reviews, number of downloads and availability of tutorials in case you need support installing or tweaking the template.
Fill your site with content
Once you’ve purchased your theme and uploaded it to your website, you’re ready to fill your site with content. The nature of your content will depend on the objective of your website, but expect to set some time aside to fill it with compelling text and images so that it looks the part and appeals to your customers.
Make sure your home page has some text about what it is your startups does, what you’re offering people, and ensure you create a main menu to direct readers to other important pages, such as your ‘About Us’ page and ‘Contact Us’ page too.
Finally, you should add some ‘plugins’ to your website to ensure you’re making the most of it. These are the basic ones you should start with:
- Google analytics – to track how many visitors you’re getting to your site, and what their behaviour is. You’ll find out lots about who your customers are this way, and also learn which pages they’re lingering on and which pages they’re leaving, giving you a clue about what they are (or aren’t) interested in buying from you.
- Contact forms – to increase conversions or make it easier for your customers to talk to you without needing to log in and out of their email accounts or find your contact details.
- Yoast SEO for Word Press– This plugin will improve your ‘search engine optimisation’ (i.e. how highly your website ranks on Google if a customer searches for something you sell), which could ultimately mean your website will attract more traffic and perhaps even make more money for your startups.
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