Regardless of the type or nature of your business, customers in this day and age expect you to have a website to learn more about your business and the services or products it offers, as well as reach out for support when they need it.
The good news is you can easily create a business website yourself. However, there's a catch: it won't be as shiny and user-friendly as a website that's custom-designed for a big multinational corp, for example.
Setting that aside, building your own website is a great way to get your business online quickly without investing a lot of money.
Can Anyone Create a Website?
The short answer is yes, any blogger or business owner can create a professional website these days, and the process won't likely take more than a few minutes. There are lots of website builders that make it easier for people with little to no experience in web design to create a website with a simple drag-and-drop user interface, in addition to prebuilt themes.
Plus, with a Content Management System (CMS), maintaining your website is no longer complicated. You can install plugins to make your website faster, utilize caching, add useful widgets or buttons, and many more things. A content management system also makes publishing content on your website a lot less complicated. All you have to do is write the content in a normal text editor, and the CMS will convert it into HTML code for you to make it publishable.
How to Choose a Website Builder
Website builders work in a similar way. They give you a drag-and-drop builder that you can use to design your website. However, depending on your business needs and goals, you might favor one builder over the other.
For example, some website builders are more suitable for e-commerce stores than blog websites. You should also consider things like:
- Reservation systems
- Social media features
- Photo galleries
- Contact forms
- Online store features
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features
If you need any of these features now or in the future, it'd be a good idea to make sure the website builder can help you add them. Most website builders offer free trials that give you a hands-on experience with the interface and features. We'd recommend trying out a few builders before committing to a particular one long-term.
How to Create a Website
To launch a new website, follow these steps:
1. Define Your Target Audience
Before thinking about a name for your website or designing it, you need to identify your target audience. Who are you selling to? What could make them interested in your products or services? What are their pain points, needs, and motives?
Here, you'd want to do market research and create a profile for your ideal target persona. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; even if a simple survey and a few personal interviews with prospective customers can make a huge difference here. This will help you design a website and choose a domain name that appeals to your audience.
2. Choose and Purchase a Domain Name
Pick a domain name for your website and check if it's available using any domain registrar, like namecheap.com or godaddy.com. Ideally, your custom domain name should reflect what your business does. If it's a website for an existing company, the domain name should exactly match your company's name.
On a side note, try to pick a domain name that's already available, as purchasing the domain name of an existing website can be more expensive.
3. Set Up Hosting
Next, you need to set up hosting for your website. Here, you have two options: shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is cheaper and is generally targeted at bloggers or small businesses. On the other hand, a dedicated web host provides much better performance, but it can be very costly for someone who's still starting out.
If you'll be using a website builder, you might be able to benefit from free web hosting. Some of the most popular hosting service providers include BlueHost, Hostgator, Hostinger, GoDaddy, and more.
4. Choose a Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system makes it easier to manage your website and publish content on it. There are various CMS providers to pick from, the most popular of which is Webflow. Other options include:
All of these content management systems serve the same purpose, but if this is your first website, we'd recommend sticking to a WordPress site as it's the easiest to use and you'll find lots of content on the web that teaches you how to use it.
5. Design Your Website
To design your website, you can either opt for a website builder to do it yourself or hire a web designer to build it for you. There are multiple website builders to pick from, including Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Shopify, Zyro, and many more. Some of them also free domain names or hosting for new users.
When you sign up for an account, you can start building your website by choosing a theme and customizing its look and structure with a drag-and-drop builder.
If you can't decide whether you should build your own DIY website or let a web designer build it for you, consider these factors:
Your Business Size and Budget
Do you run an established business? Or are you starting a new one from scratch? Is your website a personal blog or business-focused? If your business is still in its early stages, building your own website can be a good idea to cut down on costs. As your business grows and your sales increase, consider hiring a web designer to revamp your website for a more professional impression.
Website builders have lots of website templates that you can pick from and customize, to some extent at least. However, no matter how customizable a website template is, you'll never reach the same level of customization that you'd get if you hire a web designer.
This becomes even more relevant if you have an established business with a strong brand identity. In that case, using a template isn't the best route here. A web designer can help you build a website that exactly matches your brand identity.
How Critical the Website Is to Your Business
Not all businesses rely on their website for customer relationships and sales. If most of what you do is email-based, for example, you might consider cutting on the costs of building a professional website with the help of a web designer. However, if your website is an important asset that you rely on for online marketing improving customer relationships and boosting sales, the value of a professional website is unmatched.
1. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Your website is useless if no one is able to find it. For that reason, you need to make your website search engine friendly to boost its visibility in search engine result pages. Luckily, the process isn't as complicated as you might think. Here's a quick checklist that covers the essentials:
- Create and submit a sitemap
- Create a robots.txt file
- Set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager
- Use meta tags when publishing content
- Get an SSL certificate
- Optimize images and use website caching
- Optimize your website for mobile devices with a responsive design
For more about SEO, check out this guide.
Generate More Leads and Increase Sales With a Professionally-Designed Website
If your DIY website isn't delivering the results you seek, contact us now to discuss how we can help you design a website that supports the growth of your business.
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