You can launch a basic website within hours.
With the Internet now such an important part of our lives, it can seem inconceivable that any company still does not have a website. Some 10 years ago this was still a fair common occurrence, but today virtually every business small or large has a significant presence online. Still, if you are a hobbyist and want to expand your reach beyond Facebook friends or Twitter followers, then putting up even a simple website is important. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to launch your new website within just hours.
1. Secure a domain name — Don’t host your site at Blogspot or WordPress.com. You want to control your material, avoiding being at the mercy of another company. This also means securing a *com domain name and choosing a name that is as close to your business’ name as possible. For example, if you run Jane’s Haberdashery, you would first attempt to secure janeshaberdashery.com from a domain provider. Visit GoDaddy.com to check your name availability.
2. Choose web hosting — No, this isn’t a paid ad for GoDaddy. Rather, I’m telling you where most of my domains are registered and where my websites are hosted. You can also find web hosting for about $5 per month. Choose Linux hosting because you’ll download WordPress to use as your content management system. GoDaddy and other important web hosting providers typically offer detailed instructions on how to launch a website. Follow those instructions to get your site ready.
3. Design your site — What should you have on your website? Several pages of information including a welcome page. That welcome page is also your landing page or the first page on your site that someone will find when they look for your business online. To get ideas and I mean ideas only, visit your competitors’ websites to see how they set up their pages. You’ll want to explain to visitors what you do and what you’re about, in enough words to get them hooked, but in as little words as possible to keep their attention and wanting more.
4. Choose your inner pages — There are several pages you’ll want to include here. Assuming that you aren’t running an e-commerce site, you’ll want an About page, a Contact form, and perhaps a few pages describing your products. The Contact form you’ll create by choosing a WordPress plug-in. Download your WordPress from your web host and upload it to your files. You’ll be able to access plug-ins which help your site run smoother. I like the Fast Secure Contact Form developed by Mike Challis. Include a phone number and an email address to make it easy for people to contact you. As far as an e-commerce site goes, don’t put one together yourself — you’ll need help from someone who is experienced in this area.
5. Upload and begin — With your pages completed and your site ready to go, upload everything to activate your site. What you should have loaded are five to six pages of information about your company and your products with one or more ways for people to contact you. You’ll be adding pages, changing verbiage and eventually uploading photos and maybe a logo later on. For a quick launch concentrate on the basics first.
Did I make building a website sound too simple? Perhaps. But, there will be no end to tweaking and site improvement as you get your name out there. This means that as your business grows you’ll want to turn the responsibilities of website design and management to someone else, either to a knowledgeable employee or to a competent vendor. In any case, you now have a website that you can call your own with more people starting to find you online than ever before.
See Also — Is Your Website Working For You?