This is the 7th post of a series: “12 Steps to Begin Developing and Executing a Basic Digital Marketing Strategy.”
Creating a website for your business is fairly easy. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly have drag and drop templates with good support forums. Alternatively, you can hire someone to build a WordPress site. This will significantly increase your cost.
1. Secure a domain name
You need to secure a domain name. It should be your business name or something as close as possible. Some providers allow you create a domain name for free. The provider will slap branding all over your site and even in your domain name. I recommend spending a few dollars per month to get your own domain. You can find coupons for domain names by searching Google.
I like to keep it simple and use Google’s domain registry service. They partner with several site creation services such as Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. This makes it’s easy to integrate everything into one location. Google provides an optional custom email service as well (@yourdomain). Google Apps for Work includes helpful business tools to include video meetings, shared calendars, and online storage.
2. Create a logo
For some reason, a lot of people get hung up on logos. If you don’t already have one or want a new logo, I'll list out a few different options.
Free: You can use free software or sites like Canva to create your own logo for free.
Low Cost: Go to Fiverr search for logo design and have someone build one for you. Logo designs start at $5 and up. If you go this route, choose designers with outstanding reviews from other customers. It's an inexpensive option, but remember, you get what you pay for.
Medium Cost: You can use design contest sites. These are a little more expensive, but the quality should increase compared to Fiverr. Check out design contest site reviews on The Crowder.
High Cost: Hire a local or freelance graphic designer. I recommend this option. It’s the most expensive option, but you’ll be very happy with the results.
3. Pick a hosting service
I’m going to assume you’re using a do it yourself provider like Squarespace. If you want to build a WordPress site, I’d recommend hiring someone. The DIY sites are, for the most part, SEO and mobile friendly.
Picking a DIY provider will depend on your business, goals, and budget. I cannot recommend a specific provider for you, but I can provide a resource that will help you decide. Jeremy Wong at Website Builder Expert wrote an article that reviews several providers. He even has a comparison chart. First, read this article - “DIY Website Builder – Even You Can Build & Publish a Website.” Then, choose a provider that fits your goals.
I use Google’s Domain registry services, consider one of their partner providers.
4. Choose a DIY template
The DIY providers, like the ones I’ve listed above, provide easy to use templates. Pick a template based on your business. Most of the providers have recommended templates. There is no reason to over complicate your site. Keep it clean and simple. When you grow, you choose to pay for a more robust website design.
5. Create at least 4 sections for your site
There are tons of strategies on building the right website. Keeping it simple, I’d recommend 4 sections: About, Products / Services, Blog, and Contact.
Write each section, review it with friends, family, colleagues or a mentor. Edit, Edit, Edit. You want to avoid any spelling or grammar mistakes, it happens, but do your best to avoid those.
- About section: Provide basic introductory information in this section. Include company information, experience, basic product information, and why someone should buy your product or service. Since you're selling something, include a value proposition towards the top of this page.
- Products / Services section: Add more detailed information about your products and services. This is where you can add Customer Outcomes to market your products. You can also provide any relevant technical information.
- Blog section: This is your central location for owned content. We’ll discuss content strategy in a later post. Your blog will allow you to create and share content on your site and social media. Most DIY website providers have social sharing options built into the templates. Build an email opt-in form to collect email information from site visitors. Email opt-ins will be vital to your email and inbound marketing strategy.
- Contact section: Provide clear contact information - Name, Phone Number, Address, etc. Your website provider should have a built-in template to create a contact form. You might receive spam if you include your email address on your website. If you want to reduce spam and track emails, add a contact form. It’s your option.
5. Take advantage of your website footer
6. Add pictures to your site
Be creative. Add relevant and professional pictures to your site. You can search Google for “free stock photos” to find pictures that fit your business. At the most, they might ask you to provide credit for the photo. Don’t use copyrighted images without permission. Be careful you don’t overload your site with random and unorganized images. Most DIY templates will provide gallery options.
If you’re a photographer or someone that needs to add a lot of images, consider adding a Gallery as a separate section to your site.
7. Don’t write long paragraphs on your site
This is a best practice from content strategy, but it also applies to websites. Most visitors scan. Write short, digestible, and scannable paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs around 3 to 4 sentences max. Use other techniques such as bullets, numbers, or bolded key points.
8. Build something basic, get out there, learn, and grow
Try not to spend weeks building the most perfect and professional site. It’s more important you get the site up and running as quick as possible. That way you can start creating content and connecting with your audience. Do a little bit of research. Take a couple of days to build and edit your site. You can adapt your website to your expanding needs.
Next week I’ll discuss Creating Content. After that we’ll move into Social Media, Newsletter / Email Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization. Feel free to visit my site or sign up for my newsletter to receive each post in your email.