A professional looking website that works on all mobile devices is now an essential element of being in business. Whether you are someone starting a business for the first time, or you have already built a business, there’s no hiding from the need to have a website.
You might think that all is fine if you have a current website, but if it is more than three years old, chances are it won’t be mobile friendly. You can check if it is mobile friendly using this Google Mobile Friendly Test. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are almost certainly better off starting afresh with a new website.
The best process to build your own website
Below are the simple steps for building your website.
1 – Your marketing strategy
Your website needs to be a part of your marketing strategy. You need to consider what are your opportunities and expectations from the website. For example:
- Do you want your website to demonstrate your expertise just like an old fashioned company brochure would have done a few years ago?
- Do you want your website to generate referrals for your business?
- Will it become the hub for all communications?
- Is the website going to be your new shopfront that will sell goods directly to your website visitors?
- Do you intend to make money as a blogger and sell advertising space?
Your strategy will almost certainly include more than one of the points listed above. They key is is to make sure you fully understand what you want from the website and it is integrated into your business.
Hot tip – Make sure you make it easy for people to contact you on every page. It is amazing how some people have great looking websites with very poor contact points
2 – The design
Most people jump to straight to the design which can be a big mistake. It is a mistake as they become focussed on colors, fonts and ‘shiny things’ that move. You need to consider your client base and your prospects for the design. For example:
- If your are an artist, it makes sense to impress with great designs that match your art
- If you are selling goods, the design needs to focus upon making it easy for people to view and buy goods with a limited number of clicks
- If you want to prove your technical expertise, your focus will be upon the blog post content. These are regular posts focusing upon problems people may have and how you can create a solution for these problems.
The design stage can take time, so take a look at key competitor websites. Look for ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ of all the websites and focus upon what you need (what you decided upon when building a strategy)
Hot tip – Most websites are now built from ‘WordPress’ and the design will come from a template (often referred to as a WordPress theme). When viewing competitor websites, you can check if they are WordPress and what theme they are by visiting WordPress Theme Search
3 – Hosting Your Website
Now that you have a strategy and a template (theme), you need a website host. This is the company that will stage your website and manage all the traffic to and from it. Finding the right host for your website is very important. There are many to choose from. The most important aspects you are looking for include:
- Speed of the host – nobody likes a slow website
- Reliability – People expect websites to be up 24/7
- Support for you – You’ll need help from time to time so having someone available online is vital
- Domain names (your website name e.g. mywebsite.com) – Can you use an existing domain name, can you buy one from the host?
As mentioned there are many hosts to choose from. Bluehost regularly get rated very highly by their users and should be the first place to visit. Bluehost offer a specific service for WordPress sites with an emphasis on speed and ease of use. As you can see, their fees are very competitive:
Hot Tip – Don’t compromise on quality and support from your host
4 – Downloading your WordPress website and your theme
We recommend that you follow the simple process as shown by Bluehost for setting up your WordPress site.
Once you have the WordPress site up and running via Bluehost, getting the your selected theme downloaded is quite easy. Where you buy the theme from will include instructions. In most instances it is a matter of downloading a file to your PC and uploading it through your new WordPress site.
Hot Tip – If you have any problems, simply search ‘YouTube How to install a WordPress theme’ – Plenty of help at YouTube, the WordPress community is vey active and willing to help.
5 – Applying text and images to your site.
For most websites, you will have the following 3 elements
- The Home Page – This will be the place people come to and it needs to have your key messages on it
- Other pages – These are static pages an will include details about things that don’t change that often. For example, the About Us page, How To Contact Us and so on
- The Blog Posts – Whenever you publish a blog post, the latest post will be visible. This is important as they are different to standard pages that are static. Think of the blog posts as being on a never ending roll.
The most important aspect with websites is the content. Get your ‘copy’ (the text) checked for grammar and make sure it is written in the tone that you wish to present yourself/business. If you are not confident at writing, you can seek professionals at competitive rates using Upwork or other similar freelancer websites. just Google – ‘Freelance Copy Writers’
Images – The most important thing to remember with images is the size. Make sure images are resized to suit your theme. Your theme will come with image size recommendations – follow them religiously
Hot Tip – You need to be careful with using other peoples images as they could be subject to a royalty. Our recommendation is to buy images or take your own. Purchasing images has become quite cheap. A good option is Canva. Not only can you buy images, you can also resize and use their custom templates for blog posts, Facebook posts and much more.
6 – Launch your new website
Make sure you have done some testing, especially on the various links and any contact points. The best way to test your website is to launch it! Ask people to take a look and report any issues along with ideas they have for improvement. The great thing about a website is that it can always be modified and upgraded.
Hot Tip – Expect some criticism and work with it. Fine tune your website and check for updates.