Online Prep Essentials: How to Build a Website for Your Business

In the process of starting your business, you probably had a lot of things on your plate. Taking care of finances, setting up shop and establishing relationships with your local community all no doubt took up most of your energy. But now that you’ve established yourself and your company a bit, it’s time to start thinking further about details like your marketing strategy and how to reach your intended audience.

A major part of that is establishing and maintaining a company website. If you don’t have one yet, there’s no better time to start than today. The following are a few basic steps for the beginner who has little to no experience setting up an online presence.

Domain name

First thing’s first: you must decide on a domain name for your site. Try to make it as close to your company name as possible. Check out the InterNIC’s Whois registry to find out if your preferred domain is already claimed; if it is, head back to the drawing board. Consider alternatives to .com suffixes, such as .biz or .net, and also toy around with variations on the spelling of your company name to come up with a unique URL. Once you’ve settled on a choice, you can register it through a reputable domain registration site; this will probably incur a once-yearly fee of roughly $10.

Web hosting decisions

Once your domain is registered, you’ll need to decide on a Web hosting service. The site through which you did your domain registration isn’t necessarily the best choice, so do a bit of research before you decide. Providers such as eNom or GoDaddy might offer better options for your website than a free service could. If you decide to go with a separate service, expect to pay a small monthly fee, or you should be able to pay a yearly fee if you so choose.

Web design

The next decision is how to get your site designed so that it can get up and running. If you or another employee at your company has Web design skills, you might well be able to do it yourself. Even total rookies with a bit of tech knowledge might be able to swing putting together a simple site; plenty of online tutorials and classes are available to help aspiring Web designers learn the tricks of the trade.

Whether you choose to hire a professional or tackle the job yourself, make sure you hit the right criteria once your design is complete. Ensure your site is SEO-ready by doing some keyword research before you craft your content; knowing what people are searching for will make it easier to answer their questions about—and thus attract business to—your site.

These are just the basic steps you’ll need to take to get your company website up and running. Do your research and don’t jump into any decisions to save time; doing so might cause you more frustrations in the long run. Taking your time in the process of creating your site will be well worth it in terms of the returns—financial and otherwise—you’ll see in the end.

Originally posted on July 18, 2013 @ 9:36 pm


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