Checklist: Building a Website
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Are you interested in building a website with a .com domain name but you don’t know where to start? Follow this checklist for helpful tips.
Creating a Plan to Build Your Website:
Choose and register a .com domain name for your web address. Quick tip: Even if you decide not to build your website right away, a .com domain name still provides you with a memorable and consistent web address for your business.
Decide the purpose of your website (e.g., blog, e-commerce site, online brochure).
Decide if you want to build your website yourself using a website builder, or if you want to outsource it to a professional. Quick tip: Many website building tools are now made with small business owners in mind, helping you to easily create a great website with simple tools (such as “drag and drop” functionality). You may want to try website building out for yourself first before enlisting professional help.
Choose a hosting company. This is the company that will “display” and manage your website online to make it accessible and viewable to users.
When deciding on the right solution or company, it can be helpful to compare options: some website builders may include hosting, while hosting companies can also build your website or provide you with a do-it-yourself (DIY) website building tool. Consider asking a friend or colleague for recommendations.
Defining Website Requirements:
Develop a list of wants and needs for your website. For example:
- Structure of your website (what types of pages and how many pages you need)
- Amount of website storage (images and videos mean more storage space)
- Tools such as online forms, blogs, customer reviews, maps and slideshows
- Links to/integration with social media
- Video and/or audio player functionality
- E-commerce services (such as a shopping cart)
- Customer service resources, such as FAQ pages and a support email address
- Mobile device optimisation (so your website functions smoothly on mobile devices)
- Ability to update content easily (option to update content automatically)
- Analytics platform or tools to help you track monthly visitors or important traffic metrics
- Ensuring your website is accessible for all audiences (such as including navigation menus)
Determine what is most important to have on your website today, and what can be added later. Most websites evolve over time.
Determine what website content is essential and create it. What information will your visitors find interesting and valuable? At a minimum, make sure your website includes several ways for people to contact your company, such as your custom business email address and telephone number.
Promoting/Maintaining/Optimising Your Website:
Think about how visitors will find your website, and list your web address everywhere possible, including on business cards, packaging, printed materials, signage, social media, advertisements and online directories. Also, consider search engine advertising and a custom business email address as a way to strengthen brand recognition.
Understand how your website is performing and who is coming to your website by using tools to help analyse your website traffic. Your website builder or hosting company may offer website traffic analytics as part of your package.
Continually optimise your website and develop useful content for your visitors based on traffic data and user feedback. Make a monthly plan of things that need to be done regularly. Set a schedule and dedicate the time you want to invest. If your website and content are set up correctly, you may not need as much time as you think to maintain your website.
While this checklist can offer a good starting point in building your website, it’s important to understand that a website will require additional time and effort to maintain if you wish to grow your business.