Starting a Website, 5 Helpful Tips for Beginners
Starting a Website - Tips for Beginners
When starting a website you have many avenues you can take to get it accomplished. You can hire a freelancer web designer, hire a web design firm, or design it yourself. If you've already come to the conclusion that building one yourself is your best option, take a look at these tips that can help you design your website correctly, from the start. If you still aren't sure whether you should build a website yourself, check back soon for a helpful article aimed at helping you figure out if you need to Hire a Web Designer.
As for now, below I've compiled a few of my best starting a website tips to help you get your website up and running without pulling out all of your hair.
Tip #1: Don't spend all your time on your domain name
Domain name's can be hard to settle on, and finding one you like, that is also available to purchase (without spending thousands of dollars), can be even more frustrating. And while you may be tempted to search around for days, or weeks mulling over options, you probably shouldn't. Domain names with different extensions (i.e., .com, .biz, .info, .us, etc) are becoming more and more standard now, and people aren't as hesitant to click on these types of domain names now. If using a different domain extension isn't appealing you to, try some long-tail keywords that fit your region or market. Starting a website is hard enough, don't try to over complicate seemingly little things.
I'm of the belief that whatever domain you pick will only be as good as the content and marketing work you put into the business. I may get scolded for this by some huge SEO buffs, but I personally don't think that a domain name is going to make a huge difference in your SEO presence. It could be a helping factor, of course, but if your website isn't being marketed correctly and your content is lacking, your website is not going to do well in search engine's anyway.
Do yourself a favor and pick something you like, don't take all the time in the world on it, and devote that extra time to marketing or content.
Tip #2: Have a content plan
Whatever the size of your company, whether big or small, you will need to have a content plan in place. All static content, such as About Me pages, service pages and contact information should be written before you start your website. It's also important to have a list of other content that you will eventually need added to your website. Having dummy content helps a designer when they are first starting a website build.
It's very easy to get engulfed in the design and functionality of your website. But once you hit the step where you want to add content, the last thing you will want to do is shift your focus to writing these pages. Take an hour or two to write up your basic needs for each page and start looking at keyword research. Keep this information handy so you can more easily pull it together when you are building your site.
Missing content is one of the biggest hang ups when you are starting a website. It's difficult to know when you are starting a website what's needed and where. Content spacing and narrowing down the relevant information for visitors takes time, but it's time you need to spend. If you start writing your ideas early, you can avoid having content hang-ups. Remember, content can always be edited at a later time, and probably should be, to keep the search engines crawling your site more frequently.
Tip #3: Have targeted keywords picked out before you design
You will want to know what words and phrases you need to add to your site for SEO purposes. You should keep an updated list of keywords at all times, frequently adding and modifying your list as your website grows.
I like to keep a decent sized list of good keywords on hand for each site I build right off the bat. I'll generally take a look at the stats and compare lists of thousands of keywords in the appropriate market for my site and then write content around these keywords. I use KeywordSpy.com for a lot of my research, but will use Google's Keyword Tool as well.
When looking for good keywords I typically check out a few different statistics:
- The monthly search traffic
- The competition
- The average click costs
Tip #4: Use Wordpress for Starting a Website
If you don't have any design or development experience you will want to go with the most user friendly platform on the market. Without argue, this platform is Wordpress. It is the go-to standard for most websites, and the platform is completely free. All types of sites will benefit from Wordpress, from small service companies to large e-commerce sites to blogs. You really can create anything with Wordpress. In addition, the ability to download and install pre-made templates makes the designing a snap. Their are also free and premium plug-ins that will allow the addition of custom features. Customization can be tricky if you don't know your way around the platform or don't have any programming skills. But with so many online resources for Wordpress and other CMS, you can always find help.
Tip #5: Developing Relationships and Creating Resources
Developing resources and relationships is a huge part of starting a website. Log on to some Wordpress forums and start reading discussions. Not only will you start to learn more about Wordpress, you will get to know other designers. A lot of people frequent these forums and you can get to know some of them if you are a regular as well. Establishing relationships with web designers allows you to more readily find knowledgeable help and quickly.
Forums can be time consuming, services like freelancer.com or upwork.com can connect you with web designers on the fly. You can hire this type of help for relatively cheaply per hour. It may seem like a hassle at first when you don't have any issues, but when you do, you will want answers quickly. Developing relationships with designers can help when you are in a bind and need that help ASAP.
Bonus Tip #6: Enjoy the process
My last tip is really short, just have fun with it. Starting a website should also be fun, it should represent your companies personality and you should enjoy the process. Take is as a learning experience and be patient. Before long you will wonder how you got such amazing web design skills :)