As a web design company we deal with the nitty gritty choices required to get websites up and running so frequently it can be easy to forget how many steps are involved. Suffice it to say there are a lot.
Many of those choices absolutely require the client to make them because they go to the heart of their businesses identity: branding; trademarks; up-front costs vs. long-term costs.
This article is intended as an introduction for those who haven’t had a website before.
The first step should always be research: your market; your competitors; your needs; your budget; your customers; your brand. We can help with this but it should always be the first thing…it should also be ongoing or periodic.
- Pick a url (the letters and numbers people will type to see your website, ours is adaminfinitum.com.)
- Register that url with a dns registrar.
- Start small, initially perhaps just a single page website—the modern equivalent of a listing in the phone book.
- If you are beyond that point, focus on what you will realistically utilize so you don’t get overwhelmed or set up things that you dread doing.
- Shop around—both for service providers and to look at your competitors and what the successful companies in your market are doing.
- Get it built. Whether you hire a company or opt to do it yourself, get something functional online so that you can start seeing what works and what doesn’t, collecting analytics, and establishing yourself (credibility or authority, which includes how long your site has been in existence is a significant factor to search engines).
- Ask for help. Be it in the form of a survey to existing customers asking for input or to others (but probably not direct competitors) in your industry most people are willing to help and often a bit flattered that you asked. This will give you invaluable insight but it will also raise the awareness of your business.
- Start developing your content, or at least the ideas for it. What is your unique value propostion? Why should people come to you? What problem of theirs do you solve or assist with? [Note: Don’t overthink it, often the answer is convienence.]
- Proofread, double check, revise, and be genuine. Quality, effort and ‘passion’ are evident to users and increasingly to computers.
- Purchase hosting (if not included in services you hired or obtained previously) and uplaod your content so it is available to the world!