Having an active presence online is an important element of your business – whether through a website, facebook page or twitter profile.

If your business does not have an online presence, you are losing valuable business opportunities as well as customers. When thinking of how to approach building a new website, there are a few questions to ask.

  • Who is the website for?
  • What is the subject matter?
  • Do you have a brand?
  • Are you wanting to establish a brand?
  • What is your budget?
  • Who will be managing the site?

Once you have answered the questions above, you will then be able to determine the route to take – either an agency or do it yourself.  If the website is for you and you do not want to hire someone to build and maintain your site, there are a few online services to help with this. My website is built off of the WordPress because of it’s security features and versatility.

Although there are many online options, this post will show you how to build a website off of the WordPress platform.

How to Begin

Building a website can be done is eight easy steps.  Like anything, the more prepared you are the smoother the process will go. Although the steps may seem overwhelming, a new website can be built within 2 hrs.

  1. Hosting
  2. Domain Name
  3. Website Blueprint
  4. Install Framework
  5. Implement Design
  6. Publish
  7. Promote
  8. Maintain

By following the guideline set below, no matter your level of technical knowledge, you will be able to build your own website.

1. Hosting

The first thing you will need to do is find a hosting company that will house your website.  I have used many providers and tend to recommend smaller shops to get a better customer service experience. Bluehost was an absolute disaster and caused WAY more headaches than solutions.

2. Domain Name

Once you have selected a hosting provider, you then need to reserve your domain name.

What’s in a Name

When selecting a name, think of what would best represent your brand. This stage is extremely important in the visibility of your company. Many business owners and Internet entrepreneurs rush into registering a domain without doing enough research. While the domain name isn’t the most important factor in the success of your business’ online presence, it is important enough that you should look into it and optimize the name to suit your business.

There are a few tips to consider when selecting your name.  First off, consider choosing a domain name based on keywords.  By doing this, you will have the immediate privilege of ranking high with the term selected.  Secondly, make sure to choose a unique name.  Do a search to see if anyone else is using a similar name.  Originality is extremely important.  Make sure to also keep the name short and simple.  This will help people remember your URL.  Lastly, I highly recommend purchasing multiple extensions (.com/.ca/.net/etc) so there is no confusion when people enter the first URL.  On many occasions, when I have tried to search for specific sites that aren’t unique, I land on the wrong webpage.

How To Proceed

  • Research the keywords of the niche and choose a few that would go well.
  • Buy multiple extension names.
  • Make your domain name as short and simple as possible. If you are building a brand, go for something original.

Things To Avoid

  • Never use long domain names.
  • Do not include the letters q, z, x, p or w unless necessary as these are the letters people most commonly type incorrectly.
  • Never use slang in your domain name.
  • Avoid numbers and special characters. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use these to build a brand.

3. Website Blueprint

Before you start the design stage of your website (searching for a ‘look’), you will want to break down your website blueprint.  Effective websites employ a strategy for long-term success by basing their design on the model below:

  • Intuitive Navigation
  • Aesthetic Appeal
  • A Strong Message
  • Clean and Consistent Design
  • Quality and Consistent Content

This blueprint should also have some specific pages to aid the viewer while on your website.  Within this blueprint, you should also breakdown the content that will be focused on with your site.  Determine how you are going to deliver this content to your viewer.

  • About page
  • Contact page
  • TOS page
  • Privacy Policy page
  • Sitemap / Archives

4. Install Framework

Once you have developed the blueprint for your site, you will then need to install the framework so you can start building the pages. Whether through WordPress or Squarespace, there are many great resources online.

5. Implement Design

Settling on the design is one of the hardest parts of the process.  There are a lot of good templates available but finding one that best suits your business is a challenge.  I have had tremendous luck with Themeforest.

6. Publish

Before publishing, you will want to run through the checklist below to ensure you have included all the essential elements.

  • Key pages (About, Contact, TOS, Privacy Policy, Archives/Site Map)
  • Copy-write proofread
  • Consistent design
  • Quality Content

7. Promote

Half the battle of developing a website is promotions.  It is key that you maintain an active online presence when trying to promote your website.  The key element that will attract people to your website is quality content.

8. Maintain

The amount of effort that goes into maintaining your website always depends on the style of content.  If you are not constantly adding new content, you will want to simply keep up on updates.  However, if you are adding new content on a regular basis, you will want to ensure that you do so on a consistent basis.

Once you have developed your website, the next thing you will need to do is BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE.