Every business needs a website. If you don’t, chances are you won’t be successful. Nowadays, when people are looking for a service or product, the first thing they do is look on the internet. If you do not have an internet presence, they will purchase their service from someone who does.
Even if you offer premiere services in your industry, if you don’t have a website, you look like an amateur. Having said that, it’s not enough to have a website. Your website needs to be informative, engaging, and easy to navigate. Creating a website is not a short process but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a thorough breakdown that will help you on your way to creating your web presence.
Register Your Domain Name
Registering a domain name is easy and inexpensive—most around $15 for a year. Many domain registrars also offer discounts if you register your domain for multiple years. Here are three you need to consider when selecting your domain name:
- Unique—Never select a domain name that is merely the plural or misspelled version a current domain. You want to stand out, not be confused with someone else.
- Choose .com Domains—Most people still assume that .com domains are the only available domains. Sure, you can select .org, .net, or the plethora of others, but make sure you own the .com as well.
- Make it easy to remember—Your domain needs to as short as possible to make it easy to both remember and type. Also, do not use hyphens or numbers.
Find a Good Web Hosting Company
Nearly all web hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth, 99% uptime, and knowledgeable support staff. Let The High Tech Society help you cut through the marketing jargon:
- Customer Reviews—Read as many reviews as you can. Find out what former and current customers have to say. Pay particular attention to what customers say about their experiences with the support staff.
- Hardware—Ask potential web hosting companies what kind of servers they use to store website. Are they using top of the line computers or computers assembled from old parts?
- User Interface—Even the least internet-savvy person might need to tinker with their website once in a while. Does your potential web host offer a simple to use user interface?
- Content Management Systems—Good web hosts offer many different types of content management systems or CMS’s. These are particularly useful for bloggers who post regularly. A good CMS, such as those offered by Bluehost managed wordpress, offers great looking templates that allow webmasters to focus on their content.
Hire a Professional Web Developer
Even if you use a template to get you started, it can be intimidating when launching your website. It is always a good practice to hire someone who has been around the bases a few times. You still need to focus on your business and a web developer can take the pressure off. Hiring a professional doesn’t need to scary either:
- Proven Track Record—Look at examples of their work. If possible speak with former and current clients. Does it seem they have the knowledge to create what you need? Do they focus on your needs and not what they think you should do?
- Hire outside your circle—Sure, maybe your cousin can design you a great website, but what happens if you disagree with anything? Keep emotions out of business.
Keep Working on Your Site
Once you have your website up and running, your work is not yet complete. As a matter of fact, when it comes to your website, your work is never done. You need to promote your site and get it in front of your customers. When they get there, you need to keep them there and have them keeping back.
- Promotion—Having a website is one thing, but people still need to find it. Most webmasters use some combination of pay per click advertising and search engine optimization (Read about some debunked SEO myths here).
- Engaging Content—Your content needs to be engaging, informative, and entertaining. You also need to give a reason for your readers/customers to come back. Update your website regularly and keep it current. One good way to accomplish this is by starting a blog.
Accessible—More and more people use their phone to access your website, so make sure your website is responsive. Essentially, you need to ensure your web developer creates a website that allows your clients to easily read and navigate your website regardless of the device they use to access it.
Monetize Your Website
Once you have been able to develop a following of regular visitors, you should consider monetizing your site. Monetizing your site benefits you by creating active as opposed to passive income. The most successful bloggers, for instance, make money even when they are away from their website. How do they do that?
- Affiliate Programs—Some websites offer links to other companies that in turn give the website a commission if the client makes a purchase via a referral from the website.
- Banner Ads—Once you have a proven following, many companies will offer you cold hard cash for an ad on your website. The only thing you have to do is place the ad somewhere on your website.
The important thing to remember when monetizing your website is not to hide it from your readers. Leave room for monetization when your website is being designed. Do not just surprise your readers one day with obtrusive ads; it’s a huge turn-off.
Read also: MTV.com Redesign
Much thought and work needs to go into the creation of a great website. It’s more important that your website be exactly what you need it to be from the beginning. Yes, not everything is perfect, and you will need to make changes as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. However, a well thought out and professionally designed website will keep you in front of your customers and ahead of the competition.
Featured image credit: ShutterStock