I need a website now! What to do?
If you are starting a new business or need a website for an existing activity / organization / company / for any reason in the world, here is a quick guide. If you don’t have any knowledge of HTML or other internet programming languages, it is best to use a system that will let you design your website visually, pretty much like using Word or Powerpoint.
Take a look at the list of website builders we prepared and visit their websites to learn more and in most cases try the systems for free. Once you settle on a system, look at established websites that are related to your business/project and try to decide on your website’s different sections. Some popular pages are the home page, of course, as well as about us, products / services pages, photo galleries, and contact us (can contain address, phone number, email address, map, directions). The website builder will also host your website’s files on their server, so ou don’t need to pay for this service separately.
When you have your future website’s structure in mind, start using the website builder you chose to create the different pages and the navigation that will allow visitors to easily find what they are looking for. Try to use top navigation (as on http://www.godaddy.com/) rather than a left-side navigation (as on http://www.cambrianhouse.com/) that often limits your ability to grow the website by adding more pages.
Home Page & Important Considerations
You should try to have somewhere around the top part of the page your phone number (if you are interested in using the site as a lead generation tool) or a contact us button. If you have nice/active profiles in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twiter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest etc – consider having a button that links to them in a visible part of the home page and possible all other pages. If this website is for a physical location, have the address either on top or in large font at the bottom. Have a link to Google Maps to allow people to easily find you.
The home page is like the front window of your business – anything you put there has the highest chance to be seen by visitors, therefore think carefully about the layout you choose and the content you see as most important. The top are of the page, before users need to scroll down, is called “above the fold”. 80% of the users will never scroll down so put your best marketing messages and materials on top. Remember that many visitors will come from tablets and mobile devices and find a template that will adjust for different screen sizes.
When you work on other pages / sections of the site, try to use nice large photos (either use your own photos or buy cheap ones from iStockPhoto – don’t grab photos from the internet since you don’t have the rights for them and you may get in trouble) to decorate the pages. Many visitors will prefer photos and videos over text so make sure you have your content embedded in photos – you can add captions and text within photos – and in videos. YouTube lets you upload a video and add little notes that are displayed as the video is played. You can “embed” a box on the page that will play the video from YouTube and will look as if it is a part of your website.
In order to establish your website as a reliable, stable source of information or if it represents an actual business, you should think about buying a domain name so that your web address will look like “www.mybusiness.com” rather than “mybusiness.wix.com”. All top website builders allow you to buy a domain name and they will also set it up for you.
You should be ready now to start sharing your website with family, friends, clients, and the rest of the world.
How to get people who don’t know you to find your website? SEO, social media and PPC – more on that later.