Before you begin any website, you should think about who your target audience is and what you wish the website to do for you and/or your company. (if you need help with this, see 11 Reasons that Websites are Vital to Your Business.) Remember this: when beginning a website you will need to know who you want to visit and what it is that you are going to sell and how.
To help you understand who your target market is, you should understand what keywords they are using to find you. When you (or a credible webmaster group like avwebmaster.com) uncover what keywords and keyword phrases people are using, you might be amazed at what you will learn about their search habits–and THAT will change your web page content and ultimately determine even the name of your website.
So here’s your steps to begin a new website
1. Evaluate (with the use of a keywords analysis) who your target market is. Record your keywords for constant review and blueprint. Google provides numerical data important in this step through the use of their adwords keyword tool. For example, if you sell honey online, you would not use “bees” as part of your keywords as people are looking for your honey, not your bees.
2. Decide (based on the keyword numbers you’ve discovered) what will be the domain name.
3. Purchase both the domain and the website plan (you get the domain for free when you buy the webhosting) from one of the major Internet Service Providers (my favorites are Godaddy and Bluehost). Consider saving money and buying 3 years instead of one year.
4. Seriously consider using a website development program like WordPress to help you quickly build your website. You’ll need help from your webmaster but once the website is built it will be much easier to modify by anyone.
5. Collect your page content, photos, graphics, videos, and articles that together will help you design your navigation scheme. Typical simple schemes include Home, Services, Products, About Us, Contact Us, and Blog but these can expand quickly and dramatically on your site as you think of more ideas to attract people.
6. Work with your webmaster to pull all the pieces together–a good webmaster has the creativity, vitality, and experience to help navigate you with layout, depth of pages, colors, fonts, outbound links and a virtual treasure trove of ideas for your blog (you’ll be amazed at how a blog will enhance the number of visitors to your site).
7. Build your social media and use it. Simple baseline links include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus 1.
8. Announce your site to your existing email list. Write (or have someone in marketing or copywriting) compulsory content that makes your list want to visit you.
9. Start thinking of ways to KEEP your visitor to return to your site. Use blog entries, RSS feeds, followup emails, etc. The more you can ‘touch’ your visitor, the more the odds go up that they will become a client that trusts and follows you.
10. Consider a maintenance plan with your webmaster. They should be responsible for helping you manage your comments, version upgrades, uptime, email issues and more. Plans should be anywhere from $15 to $50/mo depending on what’s in your plan.
Above all, know that these steps are where to begin. As you work with the webmaster, you’ll suddenly start seeing new things to add to your site:
- Shopping cart
- Email lead collection (Optin)
- Outbound links and resources
- Embedded videos
- Adword campaigns
- Google Places
- Google Analytics to track your visitors and their buying habits
- Search add-in (when your site gets big enough)
- External advertisers who pay you for your real estate
- Landing Pages (for specific item sales)
We are just now entering a world of technology where imagination is limitless and so is what you can do on your website.
But don’t try to do it alone UNLESS you want to become a webmaster yourself, but be aware that takes years of diligent effort.
Where to go from here: Contact us and we will have a complimentary discussion with you about your next website.