75% of consumers admit that they make judgments on a company’s credibility based on its web design. So you can only imagine what happens if you don’t have a website at all.
Today, the vast majority of people will either shop online or at least research the brands online, which is why having a central hub where you can tell your story and make yourself more credible is absolutely essential.
But figuring out how much a website costs or where to get started can be tricky. Web design and development is a complicated process for someone who’s never done it, so it’s good to at least have a simple action plan that you can work with.
To help you with that, let’s look at five key steps that will get you from having no website at all to having a functioning site that will be well on track to achieving success online.
Choose a Domain
The domain name is the first thing you’ll need to figure out when starting a website. It’s what people will type in when wanting to reach your site, and it’s also something that will play a key role in your branding efforts.
Therefore, before committing to a domain name, it’s essential to carefully think about what your business is about, what’s the service you provide, and what your audience might associate with your company.
If you already have an offline brand and some customers, you can consider using your current business name as a basis for the domain as well.
However, if you’re starting from scratch, think about the brand you want to position yourself as and try to find a catchy and easy name to type in the search. Don’t overthink this step too long, though, as having any name is better than wasting weeks or months stuck in place.
The good news is that at least the technical side of buying a domain is not difficult at all. There are plenty of affordable domain name providers, many of which also offer hosting services. Read some reviews to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company, and you can have your domain bought and ready in a matter of minutes.
Find the Right Hosting Solution
After you get a domain name for your site, you need to find website hosting that will host all the information your site contains and allow visitors to access it from anywhere in the world.
The good news is that finding a cheap website hosting provider isn’t difficult. Most of the time, you won’t have to pay more than $10-15 per month for a reliable, fast, and consistent hosting service that will be more than enough for your needs.
Some website hosting solutions even offer website builders that can help you avoid coding and put together your site in a user-friendly environment. This is very helpful for those with no programming experience and who don’t want to deal with code or anything else with a steep learning curve.
You can also usually get an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol from your hosting or domain provider, as it’s an integral part of providing a safe environment for your visitors and being accepted on Google search results.
Customize the Design
Once you have a domain and hosting set up, you are ready to start building your actual site. And that’s the exciting part, so good news!
First, you’ll need to figure out what platform you want to use. WordPress is still the most popular website platform, as it offers a unique combination of robust features, advanced customization options, and simplicity of use.
However, even though WordPress is relatively simple to figure out, there can be a bit of a learning curve if you aren’t familiar with it, so you might want to consider the available alternatives.
Today, numerous website builders are designed for small businesses that just want to get their business online set up without having to worry about technical details. Some platforms use proven templates that are easy to set up and convenient to use.
You won’t have to worry about usability, UX (User Experience), or being mobile-friendly, as all of these key features will already be integrated into your platform, and you’ll just have to pick a theme, set up navigation, and add branding elements. `
However, if you have specific features in mind, you may find some of the platforms a bit limiting. The same holds true if you want to make your brand experience more unique, as many of the templates can be quite similar.
Figure Out a Marketing Strategy
Many novice entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they’ll figure out the marketing strategy once the website is launched. However, what ends up happening is that the site goes live and then sits for months without anyone seeing it besides the owner.
Therefore, it’s essential to use various lead generation tools and strategies, planning and executing them in advance so that they’re ready to go once your site is launched.
But what strategies make the most sense?
Well, the answer to that question will depend on the type of business you are running, the audience you want to attract, and the budget you can allocate to marketing and promotional strategies.
But the good news is that no matter your budget, you can find effective strategies that will consistently bring in new leads for your business.
As you start out, it’s a good idea to start with paid ads on Facebook and Google. That way, you can start getting traffic to your site from day one, seeing what’s working and what isn’t, and optimizing accordingly.
You should also aim to have a presence on social media, especially on platforms that your audience likes to spend time on. You can partner up with influencer marketers in your niche to boost engagement and drive sales.
Finally, you should optimize your site for SEO so that, over time, you can start getting free traffic from targeted queries on Google or other search engines.
Tweak and Adjust as You Go
When your website is launched and you start getting more visitors to your site, you should begin to notice trends of what’s working and what isn’t. But for that to happen, you need to be able to track performance and see the specific aspects of your site that need improvement.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help you with that, from mouse pointer tracking solutions to various analytics tools that can help you track the KPIs.
You should also make sure to listen to your actual audience. On-site polls, surveys, and interviews will help you better understand what’s working and gain an advantage over the competition.
Setting up a website is the first step in achieving success online. And even though the process may seem complicated, it can actually be broken down into actionable steps that even someone without experience can handle.
If you find a good domain and hosting provider, build a site that reflects your brand, use various marketing approaches, and track performance, you will be well on your way to establishing a presence online and gaining access to thousands of targeted prospects.