It is so easy to create a website and have it up in running without spending anything that many people do it as casually as turning on television on a slow day. This is perfectly fine if all you want is an online venue to publish stuff that interests you. However, if you want your website to become popular, you use it for your business, or it is your business, then you have to give it a little more thought. There are important things to consider before creating a website, and you can use the following questions to guide you.
The first thing you need to determine when creating a website is its purpose. Why are you creating a website? A website is useful for many things, but it is important to focus on the main reason for its existence. Is it to provide information? Is it for branding? Is it to display your products or services? Is it where you intend to sell your products and services? Is it to complement a physical location?
When you are able to answer that question, you can more easily make decisions on everything else. The purpose of your website determines your target market, the form your website will take, the look it should have, the features it requires, and the future of its development.
The second consideration is your target market. Who do you want to visit your website? The demographics of your target market will determine the look and design of your website. Are you targeting young mothers? Teenagers? Senior citizens? DIYers? Your website has to be in keeping with the profile of your prospective clients or customers. It would make sense to choose a pink and white theme if you are promoting a line of beauty products, not so much if you are selling custom wheels. Do your market research to understand who your desired audience is, and what they are likely to find attractive in a website.
Next in line are the functions you need for your website. Whatever they are, you always have to keep in mind that you want your website to be lightweight and mobile friendly. Slow loading and mobile- restricted sites are the top two reasons for a high bounce rate.
If you are selling online, you definitely need a shopping cart and a merchant account. If you are hosting a forum or blog site, you want registration and comment capabilities. It is usually easy enough to customize basic templates with these features, but you need to make a list so that you can get only plugins and apps you need. Some are free, and some are paid, but all have an impact on your load time.
You now have to choose where you will create and host your website. If you are creating a commercial site with online checkout, then you want a website platform geared towards commercial sites, and allow you to self-host. This makes it easy to migrate and expand when the time comes. If you are creating a forum website, then you need a platform geared for blog sites, and self-hosting is not too much of a problem. Many web platforms such as WordPress and Blogger offer free web templates you can customize, but there are some limitations, most notably storage. If it is a forum, that is fine, but for commercial sites, you should pay for a unique web design and domain name.
Timing is also an important factor to consider when planning your website. Make a schedule for uploading content, managing your comments, handling inquiries, managing sales, fulfilling orders, and doing regular site maintenance. You may need a little help with many of these things, so think about what kind of work force you need and when you should onboard them.
Finally, you need to plan how you are going to get people to come to your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the easiest to do it, because most people use search engines to find what they need on the Internet. Content and links are the key components of an effective SEO plan, so you have to consider how you are going to provide relevant, organic content and links to make your website searchable. You can also consider other methods of marketing your website and brand through print ads, flyers, outdoor advertising, and email marketing.
Learning to create a website is very easy. However, creating a website that is effective, flexible, and purposeful is another ball of wax. Plan what you will need in the long-term to now avoid costly mistakes in the future.