While top digital agencies offer costly custom solutions there are cases when you simply don’t need one (or can’t afford.) Maybe your startup is in an early stage and every dollar counts.
In such case, you will start looking into ready-to-use solutions and free platforms like WordPress to help you out. Having your own website is easy and we will see why.
Why do I need my own website
Having your own website is one of the most essential parts of any business. Either you offer products and services online or have established an offline business. You need a website that will help you bring new customers and provide information to existing ones.
The Internet has become the leading resource for finding relevant information. It serves as a first step in making a purchase or finding an information. If you are not presented on the Internet you simply don’t exist.'If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.' - Bill Gates Click To Tweet
A website serves as a bridge between your business and customers. You have to be sure that this “bridge” has everything to lead your customer to your business.
Where should I start
Building a website can be tricky on your own. Today, there are many web design tutorials and multiple tools available online to use.
In order to start creating your website, you should determine the purpose and align it with your business strategy. There are several goals you can focus on:
- Sell products and services;
- Generate leads;
- Build an audience;
- Provide information and support.
It doesn’t mean that you should focus on one goal only, just take into account that multiple goals will require more effort in building an architecture of your website. In fact, usually, you will try to focus on at least 2 goals.
Once you are done with the defining purpose of your website start building architecture – define pages and sitemap of your upcoming site.
One of the most important parts of your website is homepage as it will be the first page your customer will see. It has to include basic information and lead your customer towards goals you have set for your website.
In most cases, you will also require pages that describe your company, services or products and also contacts. Depending on your involvement and ability to manage a website on the regular basis you may also consider including blog section or gallery showcase as well.
After building your sitemap you are good to go into the investigation of tools and platforms that you will use to create your website.
How to choose the right tools for my website
If you are planning to make your own website without spending thousands of dollars you will need tools that can help you in this process.
First, you must evaluate the market and see which are the options that fit your needs, wants and scale. Keep in mind your potential growth.
You can also consider building your own custom solution, but this will significantly increase your expenses and time-to-market. I guess you don’t want to get into a pitfall of support for your own solution instead of running a business, right?
There are plenty of free website platforms available which are supported by thousands of web developers. For example, WordPress which is considered as a leader among websites powered by CMS. In fact, 80% of all websites with CMS are running on WordPress.
WordPress offers a huge amount of WordPress themes that define the design of your website and plugins that extend standard capabilities. You can easily care of the content management, cache, SEO, etc.
An existing platform like WordPress is a perfect solution if you don not want to deal with website design. Also, there will be plenty of good quality WordPress themes with customization options available to choose from.
How to choose a website design
WordPress offers a huge amount of WordPress themes – both free and premium. The free theme can save you few bucks, while premium themes offer more options and customization.
When choosing a specific WordPress theme you should look into 3 things:
- Overall website design: make sure that chosen theme is aligned with your business. Otherwise, you can end up having serious corporate business with a playful website;
- Number of options: what you can customize yourself using WordPress Dashboard without hiring a web developer for this job;
- Theme size: you do not want to have a theme full of options you do not use, trust me! It will affect your website performance and SEO.
Sometimes it is a good plan to start with a simple starter theme, like Visual Composer Starter, and if necessary, switch to a more advanced solution over time. Yes, WordPress is very friendly in terms of changing WordPress themes so you can always change your theme later on.
What about WordPress plugins
If you want to have a professional website you won’t get far with just a theme.
WordPress plugins will help you make your own website and support it later on. They will add extra functionality you can use to create or maintain your site.
For the plugins, you have to be ready to spend a few dollars, but trust me – it will get back to you as you will be able to save tons of time.
There several types of WordPress plugin you should consider adding to your website:
- SEO plugin to handle everything related to Google Search and other search engines;
- Social plugin to share your unique content;
- Website Builder plugin not to deal with coding and use drag and drop interface to create and manage content;
- Security plugin to make sure your website is safe against hacks and spam;
- Analytics plugin for tracking your visitors and getting insights;
- Slideshow plugin as this will make your homepage stand out and attract more customers.
Depending on your goals, there are more plugins you may require so don’t hesitate to dig into WordPress community and commercial markets for additional extensions (ex. e-commerce, payments, etc.)
In addition, you may want to check a shortlist of the free must-have plugins as well.
How to choose hosting and domain
It is about time to choose a hosting company that will host your website on their servers so everyone can access it at any time.
There are plenty of WordPress hosting options available on the market so it is not hard to find an alternative that suits your needs. Some of them may even offer you a free domain if you choose their hosting plans (if you still don’t have one already).
Whenever you are looking into hosting there are few important things to look:
- Amount of storage and traffic as you don’t want to run out of space or exceed your traffic;
- Online support so there is always help by your side;
- Uptime guarantee so you know that your site will be online 24/7;
- Location of servers depending on your audience geography;
- Pricing – avoid cheap solutions and don’t run into companies that will charge you for every breath of yours.
If you are aiming for the top quality and already saved on WordPress and development, it is a good idea to check WPEngine, as one of the leading hosting solutions for WordPress.
Now you have everything to create a website
With hosting ready, WordPress theme and plugins installed you are good to go with building a website of your dreams.
Thanks to the popularity of WordPress there are tons of materials including video tutorials available online on how to operate with pages to create your website structure. If you are using WordPress website builder like Visual Composer you are also among happy ones to check on video tutorials on how to make your own website within minutes. Other popular plugins, like Yoast SEO, will also offer you documentation and guides to get you started.
Now you have to think about the content and what is the perfect balance between textual information and images. You will need to have both of them on your website in order to attract visitors.
If we look into images there are sometimes problems to discover images that fit your needs. You can always refer to image stock sites to get premium or free images of high-quality. The images you can use on your website completely free of charge.
Once you have a website with all the content you are ready to launch. It is also about the time to use a power of social media and make sure your website is getting promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and other resources to attract more visitors.
Now that you have your website online it could look so that your job is done. Don’t get misled.
In order to keep your website alive, you will need to work with it by performing content management on the regular basis. Add articles, change images and iteratively improve your website based on analytical data and SEO.
Now it is about time to make your own website – are you ready?