What you need to build a website - checklist?
Building a website may sound like a daunting task, especially if you have no prior experience - but it is actually easier than you think, and you can do it all yourself, without hired help. In this article, we will look at what you need to start a website.
Things you need to get a website up and running
check_circleGet a domain
The first step to building your website is to choose how you are going to have it hosted. There are a number of different options to choose from. For example, you can simply create a free blog on free sub-domain with WordPress.com or you can have a self-hosted site with an actual domain name, not a sub-domain.
It is no doubt a lot more impressive to have an actual domain name (and not a sub-domain). While a free sub-domain is free, it is not always good, especially if you want to build credibility, professionalism and a unique branding for your website and business.
Read more about domain names on our article, Getting a free custom domain for your website.
check_circleGet a domain email address
Another benefit of using a custom domain name is the ability to create custom domain email addresses (ie. email@example.com). A custom domain email addresses reinforces the credibility and professionalism your website needs. Many people will not want to do business with a company that doesn’t even have its own domain email address.
Say you’re in the market for legal services, which firm would you most likely contact, ABCLaw@ABCLawPractices.com or ABCLaw@hotmail.com.
You, and many other people, will mostly likely contact ABCLaw@ABCLawPractices.com because by using a custom domain email address, the law firm looks more professional, credible and trust-worthy.
check_circleChoose a website building application or platform
Once you have decided on a domain name, it’s time to think about your website. There are many website building applications and platforms available on the market. While some people like to code up a website from scratch and some swear by WordPress, many others prefer the simplicity and user-friendliness of online drag-and- drop website builders.
There are many drag-and- drop website builders in the market and it is not easy to say exactly which one is the best. While each has its own set of pros and cons, essentially they all do the same thing – allowing anyone, beginners to experienced designers, to create an entire website using a drag-and- drop editor, no coding knowledge or experience needed.
Some of the drag-and- drop website builders available include Wix, Website.com, Weebly, and Squarespace.
check_circleCreate and customize your website with a design template
It’s not a good feeling staring at a white blank page and not knowing where to start. That is why most website builders come with a library of website design templates that you can use as a starting point.
A website design template is a pre-made website design that allows you to have a professional-looking website without the need of hiring a website designer, and without the need of any coding or design experience.
Note that not all design templates are created equal. Some templates are simple, offering just the basics, while others are monstrous creations with extra bells and whistles. Often, templates are designed for specific types of sites and industries, like restaurants and blogs.
Once you selected a template design and the desired page layouts, you can begin customizing the design – you can change the site color scheme, font style, page background, etc. All these are done right from the editor and there is no codes to tweak or write. Some website builders even let you customize the template at the code level, but not that you will need at least a certain level of technical knowledge and experience for that.
check_circleAdd visual elements: logos and images
Using visual elements is an effective way to enhance user experience, increase conversion, help with branding and improve visual appeal of your website. Using no imagery makes your website boring and dull. But like any other component of a website, using images should be done with careful thought and consideration.
The rule of thumb is to use high quality, unique images.
When it comes to logo design, there are a few ways you can create a logo for your business and/or website. You can hire a graphic designer, use a logo generator or you even design one yourself.
If you are going to use images on your website, you need to use high quality graphics and photography. Fuzzy images and fake stock photos will cheapen even the most beautifully designed website and have a negative impact on how your viewers feel about your site and your business. The best option is to hire a photographer to shoot images for your website. If you have the time and ability to create the image you’re looking for with relative ease, then why not? But if you have a limited budget and/or photography, then stock images is another great option.
Luckily, there is no shortage of professional, high-quality stock images on the Internet, free or paid.
- Unsplash – free
- Pixabay – free
- Shutterstock.com – paid
- GettyImages.com – paid
- Dreamstime - paid
check_circleGet website hosting
Now that you have created your website, it’s time to get it up and running on the Internet so that people can view it from their device. A web host is a service provider that lets you store your website on their servers. When people look up your website on the Internet, their browser will then fetch your website content from your web host.
There are many types of web hosting and how you choose depends on the level of security you want, the number of visitors you have coming to your website, etc. But typically, shared hosting is the best option to start with, not only is it economical, it is relatively easy to manage as everything technical is taken care of by the service provider.
If you are using a website builder like Wix or Website.com, then good news is you don’t have to worry about web hosting – it is provided and managed by the website builder service provider.
check_circleSign up for Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a website analytics tool that let you understand how your visitors are interacting with your website.
For example, you can find out how many people visited your website, when they visit your website, which page was visited the most, where did they arrive on your website from, and much more. All these data can then help you understand your visitors better and also know what area/pages of your website you need to improve.
Most website builders support Google Analytics. All you need to do is create a Google Analytics account and then copy-and- paste the Google-generated tracking ID on to your website builder control panel.
Note that some website builders come with a built-in website statistics tool. If you don’t want to use Google Analytics, you always use the built-in web statistics tool instead.
If you are going to be selling products or services or if you want to accept donations on your website, you will need some way to collect payment information.
PayPal® is a great payment solution for accepting payments online. It is supported by most website builders – all you need is a PayPal® business account.