There a lot of reasons (or excuses) you might come up with for not having an online presence. Perhaps you think building a website is a complicated process, will take too much time to build, be too time-consuming or will distract too much from your bricks and mortar business. Maybe it’s just that you have no idea where to begin.
Building a website doesn’t have to be any of these things and these days you don’t even need to know how to write code.
So why build a website? Take a look at the recent statistics for online businesses from Statista – 1.79 billion people shopped for goods and/or services online last year and Shopify, tell us that Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021.
To put that into perspective, in 2018 eCommerce pulled in only $517.26 billion. Do the math and you’ll see that the annual rate of growth works out to around 276%… that’s phenomenal! It becomes mind-blowing when you consider that only 62% of the world’s population is currently online, in other words, there is STILL room for growth.
You might also be shocked to know that according to Clutch, only 64% of small businesses have a website… which seems a bit crazy in this day and age. Especially when you consider that more and more people are shopping via their mobile device, how many people do you know with a mobile phone?
These days if you’re an entrepreneur of any kind, small business or otherwise you need to have a website. If you don’t have a presence on the internet you’re going to risk missing out on a ton of business.
I’ll walk you through six easy steps you can use to get you going on your first website. So where do you begin?
Step 1: Create a Site Map
Before you even think about buying a domain name or start to build a website you should take some time to plot out the components of your site. How many pages and posts will you have? what will they be called? What subjects will you cover and how will each post be connected? Will you have sidebars and/or widgets and where will they be in the post or page, what will they contain?
It can also be helpful to plot out the navigation and site menu options. Sketch out each post or page with each component you want on your site… this is what developers call a wireframe and forms the basis of what your final website will look like, at least the basics.
Spending some time now and doing a little groundwork will go a long way to getting the finished website you want for your business.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name
The next step when you build a website is to choose and register your domain name. If you’re not entirely sure what a domain name is its simply the address you would type into a browser to get to a website, for example, www.cheaphostingpro.com is the domain name for this website.
Choosing a domain name can be pretty easy if you have an existing business name, although having said that you may find your exact business name may already be taken.
There are 7 key components you need to consider when choosing your New Domain Name, especially if you’re choosing a name that’s NOT your current business name.
Once you’ve come up with a domain name you’ll want to check it’s available using a Domain Name Search Tool that can tell you if the name is already taken and if not will allow you to purchase it for a small cost.
While domain names are not expensive to purchase its always nice if you can land something with a discounted rate… right? So if you click on the banner below and use the code DOMAIN10 at check out I’ll give you 10% off your purchase.
Step 3: Find a Web Hosting Service
Once you have a domain name sorted the next step is to find a Web Hosting service. In some, if not all cases, you’re chosen web host will also be the provider you get your domain name with. This keeps things simple and you don’t have to worry about dealing with two different companies for different components of your site.
Without a web host, you have no website, essentially a hosting service or provider stores your website on their servers, its the place your website lives and grows.
If you’re not sure what Web Hosting is and why you need a good web hosting provider I have you covered. While there are a ton of web hosting companies out there you want to make sure you go with someone that offers you speed, quality of service and site security.
I recommend using SiteGround. As one of the most popular and highest rated web hosting providers in the WordPress community, SiteGround provides unique, in-house, WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible. SiteGround is one of only three hosting providers recommended by WordPress themselves and they have EVERYTHING you’ll ever need to create and maintain your online presence.
Step 4: Install WordPress
So far we have sketched out or website and have a pretty good idea what we want it to look like once we finish. We have used the Domain Name Search Tool to make sure our chosen domain name is available and have purchased that and some form of Web Hosting.
The next step when we build a website is to install WordPress.
There are a couple of different platforms you can use to build a website, one of the most used, clocking at a mare 75 million websites, is WordPress. As a beginner when it comes to building a website WordPress is recommended because pretty much all the hard work has been done for you by developers and web designers. All you have to do is start creating your content.
The other two options you have are Joomla and Drupal although these tend to be a bit more complicated to use and you can find yourself with a broken website for some time if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Step 5: Design your Website
One of the many great things about using WordPress is that you don’t need to know how to ‘code a website’ to have something that looks sleek or elegant. WordPress offers free website themes, which dictate the way your website will look, where menus sit or what advertising space is available.
Choosing a theme can be a bit of a process in and of its own, however, I have put together 10 things you should consider when you choose your WordPress theme. Something to remember is that if you start out with one theme and outgrow it or no longer like it you can always change it.
While there are a ton of free themes you can choose from they can be a little limiting and you’ll more than likely end up buying a premium theme to get access to more functionality. If you’re looking for a theme that’s tried and true I can recommend Blossom Themes, they have both free and premium themes available and have some of the most elegant looking themes on the market today.
I know this because I use a Blossom Theme for this website. They are Mobile friendly, SEO ready, Speed Optimized and come packed with a ton of features. To get a feel if these themes are for you, check out my Blossom Themes review
Step 6: Add your Content
The final step when you build a website is to start adding your content. In some cases that content will be products or services being added to your eCommerce site, in others it will be articles, in yet another case it could be a mix of both products and articles.
No matter what content you add to your site there are a number of things to consider. Is your content SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly, will Google find your content unique and helpful to others and rank your site? Do you have enough unique content to post on a regular basis? Is your content relevant to your target audience/niche?
At some point, you might find it helpful to engage the assistance of an expert or two to help you with your content or SEO, perhaps you want some research done so you can concentrate on writing you own content. Maybe you want someone to take the reigns completely and build a website for you from scratch. Anything is possible when you have the right people in your corner, how do you find those people and get them in your corner? You click the banner below that’s how!
As you can see there are some great statistics when it comes to the potential online audience you can access if you have a website. With the above step-by-step process to build a website, there’s also no reason you shouldn’t move your business online and create an online presence. You can follow the above process to start the journey yourself OR if you’re still scratching your head trying to figure it all out you could short circuit the process by finding an expert on Fiverr to do all the heavy lifting for you.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this, in the current COVID-19 climate the world finds itself in more people are shopping online, searching for reviews, testimonials and generally conducting their due diligence before buying anything than ever before. In fact, there are some businesses out there that survived quite well without a website of any description before COVID-19 that are now struggling because of the lack of customers to their bricks and mortar business.
Businesses that made the pivot and increased their level of web presence during these times are seeing EXPLOSIVE growth in online sales, in some cases upwards of 1000% increase! How can you afford to not have a website?