Previously we looked at the design of your first ever website. Creating a design before you sit down to create a website will help reduce stress and feelings of overwhelm, keep you focused on your outcome (sales or leads) and streamline the process. Today we look at the next steps after you have your design to create your website.
What do I need first?
You will need to select a host (think of this as the land your website is built on), and a platform (the bricks your house is built with). Sometimes, these are combined, which can reduce the number of decisions you need to make. Examples of these are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Google Sites. Other services such as MailChimp and MailerLite also offer landing pages or sites, so check what you are already paying for and see if any of them offer these services.
If you have budget, and are experienced enough to know you need more, you can also purchase hosting and then install your own website platform. This can be WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, or many others. If this is your first website, we recommend making it as easy, and affordable, as possible on you.
Most Website Platforms will have Templates you can use for free!
Templates are a great starting place. You can change the colours, images and design through customisation pages easily, and most offer a drag-and-drop style of web design. This can very easily lead to many hours of playing with your website, so remember, you’re here to build a site to generate leads or sales. Get it finished as quickly as possible, and then come back later to tweak.
You can also add extra bits and pieces to your site.
Most editors will have blocks, which is a section that has already been developed for you to use. You can add extra sections, delete sections, or even start your website with a completely blank slate and then add the blocks to create your site. If you decide to create from a blank page, you may wish to draw up a wireframe so you can work out locations and elements.
A wireframe is a line drawing of a website. If you find three websites you think have a great design, you can take elements from each for your own website. You would draw this on a page, or in software, so you could see in advance if you can fit everything in, or how the customer’s eye would track when they visit. A wireframe is useful when you have a team working on your site, or to sort out possible problems before you start work. You can create one in just a few seconds with pen and paper.
Do I have to write words now?
Yes, I’m sorry, you will need to write your copy. The text on webpages is called copy, and you can always hire a copywriter if you really don’t like writing your copy. (We do it for you if we develop your website.) Copy can be educational, persuasive or conversational. As this is your first website, and you are new to all of this, just write what you think your customer needs to hear. We’ll go into this in more depth in later posts. Remember to post a Call to Action at the bottom of each page, or if your pages are long, after sections. A Call to Action can be “Book us Here!”, “Buy now!” or even “Contact Us Today!“
Now you get to hit Publish!
Your website will be in Draft status until you finalise everything, and hit Publish. What happens next is that the site is now available online for your customers, and bots, to find you. If you have set up Google Analytics, you will be able to get information on how many visits you are getting over time. Visits to your site will happen due to a lot of very different factors, from how well you have written your product descriptions through to how much fun your website is to play with. You can also submit your site to search engines, and use SEO to try and catch the attention of people and then direct them to your site.
Are we done now?
A website is a living document. Static webpages that never get refreshed will quickly grow stale. You don’t need to update your website all the time, but every month or so would be a good for a check up. You designed your website to do one function, so you need to check and see if the website is performing the way it should. If it is not, then it’s time to start researching why it’s not.
Or, you know, you could outsource to experts. We also specialise in website crisis care, so if your previously awesome webpage suddenly stops giving you leads or sales, we’re here to listen and help.