Are you a non-technical small business owner thinking of building your own website? Maybe an experienced do-it-yourself-er who wants to make sure they know what’s involved in creating a website and all the different things to consider before you dive in head first? Would a checklist help?
I often meet people who know that building their own website is possible with WordPress, but aren’t quite sure just how to get started. Other times, it’s the exact opposite. They can be in such a hurry to get up and running that they miss critical steps during their planning that can cause problems down the road.
Why do you want a website?
To blog? Promote your brick and mortar store? An online business? Keep a digital record of your kids while they grow? Promote your consulting services? Run an e-Commerce store? Create a social community around a particular subject?
Why do you need a website?
Having a website used to be a choice for businesses or individuals wanting to promote themselves or their products. If you’re a legitimate business or professional in your field, having a website is now the standard.
It’s no longer a choice. It’s your digital business card, but it’s also a very powerful marketing tool, especially when you build in social media marketing and search engine optimization within your content.
Who is your audience?
This is different for every individual and it depends on the subject matter of your content, but please remember that your audience is comprised of your past, current, and future customers. Even if you’re blogging about Grandma Ethel’s giant black hairy back mole, you will have regular readers and new visitors who expect you to meet their needs with your content.
The point is this. Pick and niche and be the best. Don’t try to be an “all-in-one” with varied subject matter. It doesn’t work.
What is the main purpose of your website?
To entertain? Inform? Get leads? Have a goal. Know where you want your visitor to end up before they leave your site.
Maybe you want to sell a product, get an email address, or get freelance work. Pick the end goal for your visitors first. That will become the purpose of your site and then you can build your navigation and content around that purpose.
What software should I use to build it?
WordPress of course. Duh. 🙂
What domain name should I buy and where should I buy it?
Get a .com name, unless you’re an organization, then get a .org name. Keep it as short and memorable as possible. You could also get a .net name, but I would stay away from others. Of course that’s just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.
Remember that it doesn’t necessarily have to match your business or organization name. For instance, a solar panel company named Bob’s Solar Panels might choose a domain like solarpanelpro.com instead of bobssolarpanels.com.
What security measures can I take before and after installing WordPress?
- Use a great host with fast and knowledgeable support. There are many available but Synhosting.com is my preference and I use them for myself and my clients. Yes, that’s an affiliate link because I know they provide superior support. That’s important to me.
- Use STRONG naming techniques when creating your database names and users.
- Change the default database prefix when installing WordPress, and make it STRONG.
- Do not use the default “admin” username. Use a STRONG username and password for your admin account.
- Install and configure great security plugins for WordPress. (article coming soon)
What three things should every website home page have?
Take this advice from Rachel Baker. Simple and effective but you’d be surprised how many people miss these three simple rules on the main page of their sites.
- Tell me who you are – This is where you communicate your type of business (bank, law firm, non-profit, etc)
- Tell me why you are special – Now why should I care? What separates you from the other banks/law firms/non-profits?
- Call to action – Do you want me to purchase your product, subscribe to your newsletter, hire your services? This should be obvious and easy for your visitors to do.
- Let me contact you easily – I added this one. Do you want my contact or not? Don’t make me search through layers of navigation to get your contact details.
Above all else, remember “The Seven P’s of Life”
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
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