Dreaming of Starting a Website? Do this First!
(This is what I did with Canva, but if you follow the links you can see what a professional can come up with)
All right. You’ve decided it’s time. You’ve progressed far enough you’re ready to take the next step. You’re ready to start up a website. And it’s great! Making a website has never been easier.
Except…where do you start?
Do you begin by deciding which domain name you need?
Or do you start by choosing a web hosting company?
Maybe you need to begin by finding a web designer?
Which one comes First?!
There are numerous guides out there. A quick google search will bring up page after page, and a lot of them will be aiming to guide you towards a specific hosting company.
If you’re just looking to slap a website together, you can do that in a couple of hours. Pick a domain name, register it with a host, then begin creating your web pages and deciding what pages you need. It’s fast, easy, and honestly? You can get a pretty damn good looking website that way.
(BTW, if you’re going for a free site but you have a business, don’t. It’s way easier for your clients to find you if you have an actual domain name. This will cost you, but it pays off in the long run.)
BUT! If you have a business and you’re looking to use your website to catch and convert people, doing the above may leave you needing to go back to it again and again to make fixes. This can take a huge amount of time away from what you do best – serving your clients.
So, before you get into putting the website together, maybe it’s time to start with what, exactly, you need. The best place to begin is to figure out each element, like your business name, colors, and your budget.
I’ve got a checklist, created by web designer Alice Buswell at Alice Buswell | Nature’s Arrow, who has an artistic streak a mile wide. She’s also a damn fine planner, because her checklist will take you through each thing you should have planned out to make building your website as seamless as possible.
With a complete checklist like this, you figure out what you need ahead of time. Have all of those things ready so that when you start to build a website you can simply copy and paste it from your board into your site. The site will still be done quickly, but you won’t have to constantly go back in and tweak it.
Trust me, I did things the first way and I’m still finding stuff I need to do to optimize my site.
The important thing is to do the job and then move on. Don’t spend forever trying to create the perfect brand/image. Things will change. That’s the nature of life and business. Instead, create an image that works for now and revisit that in a year or two when you have a better idea of who you really are as a business.
Is that Really Everything?
But going over a good checklist will help you get 90% of it the first time around. Most of the rest of it is ensuring you’ve got the proper admin tasks completed.
Oh, and talk to a bookkeeper. They are essential, especially if you’re planning on taking online payments or working with freelancers.
There you have it. Fly!
If you have any other hints or tips, drop them in the comments. Let's educate, people!