Thinking of starting your own website? Here are some important factors to think about before you start
1. DIY or Web Designer
Firstly, you need to decide how you want to build your site – do you want to do it yourself, or hire a web designer.
For DIY, there are plenty of options in the internet nowadays. Almost anyone can launch their own free blogs and upload simple pictures to start a blogshop. You might even know a bit more on html yourself to be able to do slightly more complicated things. In that case if you’re looking for a small startup site, doing the site yourself might be the cheapest option on the budget.
However if web design sounds out of this world to you, or if you’re looking for a very professional site design, then hiring a web designer might be a better option for you.
Of course for choice of web designers, there are web design companies, as well as freelance web designers. The former are established, experienced companies and you can be relatively assured of quality and support. Not to say that freelance web designers are not reliable, but perhaps there is a bigger range and you need to seek out the experienced ones.
In terms of pricing, there will be a range for both. There is also a difference in pricing and standards for web designers and web design companies from different countries. You might want to choose someone from your own locale, or look to overseas for a cheaper alternative.
2. E-commerce or CMS
Next you have to decide on what platform you want your site to be based on. Do you want an E-commerce platform that allows you to manage your product and inventory, or a simpler CMS platform that focuses on pictures and descriptions. Smaller businesses with only a few unchanging products may choose a CMS or static website with some checkout button links to showcase and sell their products. They choose then to focus specifically on the presentation of these few products with the static or CMS website.
Companies dealing with a large number of products and which are constantly adding new products will need an E-commerce platform.
3. Web Design and Style
This is something that has to be connected directly to your branding style and image. Very importantly your brand and style has to appeal to your target audience. Are your potential customers, for example young females for a online female apparel shop? Then you may be looking at pink themes or other feminine looks. Or are you a company that services businesses? Then strong and professional colours like blue and grey may appear more professional. Discuss this with your partners, web designer, and also seek feedback from your current/potential customers. (You might also want to check out your competition!)
4. Domain and Hosting
We should probably have mentioned this earlier, but if you don’t already have one, you need to register a domain name. Ideally this should contain your company name. Or it should relate closely to the product/services you are providing. It should also be easy to remember so that your customers can remember it and easily type it and reach your site. Some domain names with primary keywords will even be useful in SEO.
You also need to find a web host – do you want to set up your own server, or subscribe to a web hosting service. Then, do you want a shared hosting service or dedicated hosting? These plans will differ in terms of pricing and speed and other features. Again, discuss your needs with your web designer
5. Getting Traffic
After the hard work of setting up your great new website, now you’re tasked with the next important task of getting traffic, and ultimately customers, to your website. How do you plan to market your website? For online marketing there are primarily two methods – organic traffic and paid traffic. The former involves Search Engine Optimization where you try to optimize your site and build page rank so that you rank naturally on top of certain keywords in the major search machines. In the latter, you basically make use of available paid advertising channels to promote your site. You could pay in terms of clicks to your website, or impressions of your ads.
Setting up a website and an online business is no small feat and it will take proper planning. Hopefully the above list will get you started on your plan to start a website, and be helpful in your planning. Whatever the case, we wish you all the best and success in your online endeavour and a big welcome to the world wide web!