Have you been considering building your website, but you’re not quite sure you have the skillset to do it? Then let’s discuss how to build a website.
The best piece of advice I can give you (or one of them 😉).
Is to lay the right foundations.
My theory is that you can build on that with the right foundations.
I see so many small businesses start on website platforms that won’t grow and expand with their business. And then they’ve got to move platforms which means it’s a new website build which means more $$$ and time (and time is money, remember).
Whereas if you lay the right foundations to start with, your website will grow and expand with your business.
How to get started with building a website from scratch
When building your website, the most important thing to consider is choosing the right platform. See below for a bit more on the platforms available and what I’d recommend.
But when building your website, it starts with choosing your domain name and your website hosting.
Domain name and hosting is where business owners can get a little lost.
In a nutshell, your domain name needs to point to your hosting. There are a lot of self-help articles out there, but I know if you purchase your domain name and hosting both from Siteground, they’ll take care of pointing them to each other. So, that’s one less thing to worry about. Other providers may be the same.
Be aware of having your domain and hosting with the same company. I usually recommend having them separate, and then the one company doesn’t have control over everything. Just in case you have problems with them, you haven’t got all your eggs in one basket.
Website platforms that make it easy to build your website
There are so many website platforms out there but the better known ones are:
- WordPress – great for service and eCommerce websites, but you do need to run updates regularly to keep things in tip-top shape
- Shopify – great for eCommerce websites, especially if you have limited tech skills
- Squarespace – is gaining popularity, but I haven’t used it, so I can’t comment
- Wix – this platform seems to attract those just starting out or with limited tech skills as it’s easy to DIY from what I hear. I can’t speak about that personally, as my experience with Wix has been when I’ve worked with it to move clients to WordPress as they’ve outgrown Wix. So, keep that in mind.
WordPress is a versatile web design platform
WordPress is my preferred website platform, given the flexibility and SEO functions on offer.
If you choose WordPress, you generally need a theme that varies in price from free to $100-$200 per year for a license. But there are some great website builders that can make designing your business website easier too.
Once you have your them, you will need plugins to do certain things like:
- Search engine optimisation
- Image compression
- Forms – possibly depending on your theme of choice and the functionality you need
You can generally build a WordPress website with free plugins depending on what functionality you need.
If you choose WordPress, you need to be prepared to put time aside regularly to keep the plugins, theme, and WordPress platform up to date.
Keeping everything up to date keeps your website running smoothly and working and gives hackers one less opportunity. Not running the updates can also cause issues with display and functionality. And you don’t want that. You can always outsource with a website maintenance plan if you don’t have time.
The Shopify platform makes website design easier
If you need an online store, then the Shopify eCommerce platform can be a good choice to create a website
I’ve heard many small business owners say that Shopify has less of a learning curve.
But you will still need a theme and apps depending on what functionality you need. Like WordPress, some are free, and some come with a cost.
One great positive you don’t need to worry about is running updates as Shopify takes care of all that. You also don’t need hosting, but Shopify does charge a monthly fee. And by the time you convert their pricing to AUD, it’s a lot more expensive than a really good hosting plan IMO.
Paying a monthly fee has never sat well with me when I had my own eCommerce business. I’m not sure. Whether it’s because I want all the money from my sales 😉, but I always preferred to invest more upfront.
If you’d like to read more about WordPress and Shopify, read our article – How to design a rocking website.
What makes the best website design?
Once you’ve gotten through choosing your domain, hosting and platform then it’s time to think about your website design:
- navigation menu
- user experience (UX)
- visual appeal
- calls to action
- linking to your social media
- what to include on your contact page
A website that is easy to navigate and has an intuitive design will go a long way to making for a successful website.
You want a website that will convert your website traffic as there’s no point in having a website that isn’t going to have you run off your feet with orders and bookings.
And don’t forget your legal pages too. A lot of small business owners forget about these:
- terms and conditions
If you’re an online store you’ll also need to plan your:
- refund policy
- postage terms
Website design ideas
If you’re a bit stumped regarding your website design then check out other websites that you like for inspiration. Or even check out Google or Pinterest.
Where to find help if you need assistance with your website build and design
If you decide to DIY your website, you can always reach out if you get stuck. And there are many other WordPress experts, too, and web design companies.
But if you want to ensure you’re laying the right foundations, have support on hand and make it as stress-free as you can. Then you might like to discuss our DIY website option where we set up all your foundations right on WordPress, can connect your hosting and domain, and you get 1 hour of free support on hand if you get stuck. And I even give you a search engine optimisation cheat sheet so you can get that going too. It’s the best of both worlds, on a budget, really.