5 Steps to Building a Website
Posted in Business on Mar 13, 2015
Creating a website and building an online presence can be very overwhelming, for some people, but I have created a quick list of items to help you get your business online quickly and easily.
Step 1 - Finding a great Domain Name
The first thing that you need to do is choose a domain name. The domain name is the online address for your business and is one of the most important decisions you have to make. One of the main problems in choosing a domain name is that many names are no longer available. I recommend using a service like www.hover.com to search for your preferred name’s availability. Once you have found your domain name, you can register it through them or many other online services. One of my favourite reasons for using Hover is by default they keep your contact information private. Other providers, I have used, charge extra for that service. Hover.com also has excellent customer support. If you need help, they have phone support with a “no hold” policy.
Step 2 - Hosting
Once you have a domain name, you need a place for your website to live on the internet. The hosting provider stores the files that make up your website and then makes them accessible to the public. The hosting provider may provide email services for the domain name as well.
One thing to watch out for is overselling. While overselling is less of an issue with a simple HTML website, it is a huge problem with modern websites that use content management systems. If the server is oversold (too many sites running on one server), then web pages will load slowly.
Integral Creative offers hosting to our customers. My dedicated servers ensure my client’s websites run smoothly, and their files are backed-up regularly. If you wanted your own shared hosting account, we have had terrific success with companies such as www.site5.com and www.blacksun.ca.
Step 3 - The Website
Websites primarily come in two variations. HTML websites & Content Management Systems.
HTML websites are great for getting a few pages online quickly. The downside to them is you will need to contact your web designer each time you want to make a change.
I am a huge fan of Content Management Systems. They are software tools that run on a web server and enable people to manage their text, photos and videos on their website. We use two specific Content Management Systems, ExpressionEngine, and Wordpress. ExpressionEngine is an excellent fit for larger budget projects, where flexibility and customization are a necessity, but it is better left for a web developer to set up for you. Wordpress is a great tool for any budget range. It can be set up and installed yourself if you have a small amount of computer savvy.
Step 4 - Search Engines
If you build it, they will come. That’s not necessarily true. You have to let people know you have an online presence. This starts with registering your website with Search Engines like Google, DMOZ and Bing. Current, fresh and useful content is one of the main features Search Engines are looking for. Do not forget to stay on top of this. This is where a content management system’s usefulness shines. You can maintain the content without any ongoing out-of-pocket expense. Once you have content in your website, enter your URL (website address) into Hubspot’s free tool, Marketing Grader. Hubspot will give you some handy tips to make improvements to your website. Please bear in mind that any changes you make to your website to improve its place in search results can take weeks in some cases. It is a slow and patient process.
There is too much information on this topic to cover thoroughly in a short blog post. We will cover this more in the future.
Step 5 - Spread the word
Now that you have a website with some content, it is time to get the word out in any way possible, but don’t do so in a way that will annoy your customers.
Include links to your website in any email signatures, forum signatures, and any other online presence you have. Add your URL to any print material you produce, such as business cards, advertisements, brochures, billboards.
Social Media tools like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, are great tools, not only to draw interest to your website but also to interact with your customers. Just be sure to remember these are public places, and always respond to people in a positive light.
Link exchanges are useful if the links come from a similar industry. I would recommend making sure that you are linking to a good neighbourhood before accepting a backlink. If you accidentally create a link to a link farm, you can lower your value in Google’s eyes. You can check the status of a website before you link to them through the free tool at www.bad-neighborhood.com.
I am here to help you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I would be happy to help you with any of these areas, or Integral Creative can provide a turnkey service where you can take control of as much or as little of the process as you like.