You no longer have to be an expert or a “techy” to build a website, nor do business owners have to reach deep into their pockets to hire these folks. Today, building a business website from scratch is an option for the layman, without much assistance, thanks to free, user-friendly website building platforms available on the internet. Here are four steps to get you started on your own website today.
Step 1: Select a platform and build the site
There are many user-friendly, free website-building platforms available today for the do-it-yourselfer to choose from. SITE123 is an easy-to-use platform with many templates available to get you started. Or, you might value WordPress plugins for a business website depending on your site’s overall purpose. Read reviews online to help you choose a platform and sign-up. Getting started can be the trickiest part, so it’s best to dive right in and just give it a try. If a platform is difficult to use, you can always try another. When you’re ready to build, choose a template and start plugging in the content and photographs you’ve already prepared. You must be willing to endure some trial and error at this point, but it gets easier as you go. Your website is not live to the public at this point and it’s okay to make mistakes!
Step 2: Decide on the look and feel
If the website is your business’s virtual storefront, what do you want it to say to the world? A good place to start developing your vision for your website is by thinking of a few other businesses in your field that you admire and visiting their websites. Make notes on what you like and don’t like about the sites. Are they busy or simple? Elegant or outlandish? Is the website easy to navigate? What is featured on the homepage? Make a list of the parts you like best about these sites and plan to incorporate them into your own.
Step 3: Choose images
The images on the website are an important part of the story you’re telling. Go through the photographs you have of your business. Are they of a quality that represents the overall quality of your business? Blurry or grainy photos give the impression that the business has a low-budget. On the other hand, professional photographs say that your business is professional and detail-oriented. You have a few options here to make sure you’re representing yourself well in photographs. First, you can use quality photos that you already have. Second, you can hire a professional photographer to take new pictures. Or, you can find free or low-cost stock photos online that represent your business as accurately as possible. Once you decide which route to take, begin putting together a collection of photographs that you can pull from when you start building a website.
Step 4: Develop content
Quality content is essential for an effective website. The “about” section is a good place to start. Most websites have a section like this where online visitors can click to learn more about the business. It might include your business’s mission or purpose and history. If you were greeting someone in your physical store, what would you tell them about who you are and what you do? That’s the kind of information to include on the “about” page. This part of your website helps the potential customer make a personal connection and may determine whether or not they choose to do business with you. Take another look at your competitor’s websites. What content do they include? Make a list of any sections you see that you think would be important for your’s to have. Leave off anything that seems unnecessary.
Developing the content is the most time-consuming part of the process. Therefore, having plenty of it cued up when you start building your business website will make it easier in the long run.
Before you launch, it’s important to have many people look over the website to make sure it will represent your business well. Ask reviewers to look for typos and grammatical errors and to check all the links to make sure they work properly. Gather as much feedback as you can so that you’re putting your best proverbial foot forward on the worldwide web. As they say, you only get one shot at a first impression.