Building and maintaining a website for your business is key to your success in the online world. Throughout this article, we will cover why creating a website is important to your business, look at the pros and cons of building your own website versus hiring a designer and give you a step-by-step process on how to build a website with the help of the Web.com team.
Creating a user-friendly, informative and visually appealing website is crucial for every business. The Internet and all of its connected devices have transformed how modern customers find and learn about businesses. Online reviews, for example, empower consumers to read about a company before spending their money with them. A professional website gives business owners the opportunity to be discovered and shape their customers' vision of their companies. But websites also serve practical functions for businesses like selling products online, hiring new staff and attracting new customers. When creating your website, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind.
Even if you have no coding experience, it’s easier than you think to build a website that makes a great first impression. But you still may be asking yourself whether making your own website is the right decision or if you should be opting for a professionally designed, custom-built website instead.
There are definitely pros and cons to each option. Hiring a designer obviously means that you’ll pay more but do less. While there is no substitute for high-quality website design, some would argue that making a website yourself has more benefits.
The answer is completely dependent on each business’s individual needs and situation. Some may intend to create a website for themselves, but realistically they have no time. Others may have complex needs that require a web development or design expert. More commonly, most business owners just don’t have the money for custom development — and that’s OK! Web.com now offers Professional Services where you can pick and choose which aspects of your website you want to build and which ones you want us to help with.
Step 1: Select a Website Builder
There are lot of website builders to choose from. Some claim to be free but in the end, you have to pay for your domain and hosting. Web.com offers an easy and affordable website builder, with a domain and hosting included for free. Since you’re hopefully going to maintain a website for years to come, choose the website builder that is right for you and sign up for it.
Choosing one with built-in hosting is going to really help you when it comes time to publish. Your website, at the end of the day, is a series of coded documents, images and videos (if applicable) that are stored on a server. Your host provides server space for your website and keeps that server up and running so your website is available for visitors at all times.
Step 2: Select a Template
When you start to look at website builder templates you’ll find a number of options — and this would be true for a custom site as well. Options are good in one sense because it ensures diversity across internet websites. In another sense, a wide selection of colors, layouts and design elements may be hard to choose from when you’re making a website.
If you have a logo, letterhead, brochures, business cards or ads, you’ve already done at least some visual branding for your business. If you like your logo and your brand messaging, you should choose a template that fits with what you’ve already created.
Step 3: Add Copy, Images and Your Logo
Once you select your template, you’ll go to a building page with an intuitive tutorial that guides you through every step of the website building process. Add a headline to your home page and write a brief description of the benefits of your business. Select photos from a gallery of over 200,000 professional high-resolution images that are ready for publishing, then add your logo to brand your site.
Step 4: Adjust On-Page Elements
Even though you used a template, you should still be able to customize many on-page elements of your website like font size or color scheme for example.
Colors: Do certain colors appeal to you or best represent your business? Use color combinations in ways that customers expect but that are also nice to look at and make your copy easy to read.
Fonts: Make sure your product pages have titles proper H1 or H2 formatting. Make use of no more than one or two fonts on each page and keep it consistent throughout the site.
Images: As humans, we process visual images much faster than text. Your website can help convey messages faster by including strong, relevant imagery. Whether you use real photography or animation, you can use imagery to better communicate messages and create a more engaging experience for your website visitors. Take screenshots of images to make them lighter if you’re having trouble with file sizes. Think about incorporating videos or GIFs too.
Layout: When you’re creating a website keep the navigation of the entire site simple. Then also keep the layout of each page simple and not too cluttered. You may want to resize certain elements of the page or move them around.
Step 5: Publish But Don’t Promote
Once you’ve given it all you’ve got, it’s time for feedback. You don’t necessarily want to give everyone you need feedback from access to your website, so that means you’ll have to publish it. But don’t worry, people won’t be clicking on it until you really start promoting it. So go live with it and then share it with key stakeholders or even just friends and family to get some feedback.
Publish your website under the domain name of your choice. In general, people choose www.yourbusinessname.com for businesses, www.yournonprofit.org for nonprofits or www.yourtechcompany.net for technology sites.
The organization in charge of domain names, ICANN, also allows other substitutions for .com, .org or .net. For example, if you run a pizza restaurant, you can choose www.yourrestaurantname.pizza, or for real estate, you could choose www.yourname.realtor.
Your domain name should match your business name as closely as possible or should be something distinctive that’s easy for customers to remember. In addition to having your domain name in your web address (URL), you’ll also use it in your email addresses, so make sure your domain name is in line with your brand’s image.
Typically the purchasing of a domain and hosting of a website is part of the website building experience. Once you’re live, ask for feedback, and make any necessary changes until you’re happy with the final product.
Step 6: Connect It With the World
Once you have a live website you love you can start connecting it to your other marketing materials. Include it on your business cards, on your social media pages, on your local business listings and any advertisements you have. You’ll be getting site visitors before you know it.
Learning how to build a website Is just the beginning. Once you've built a website, you need ongoing assistance to make sure it performs the way you envision it. To help you make the most of your online presence, the online marketing experts at Web.com are ready to guide you towards the online presence your business deserves.