Since this site is dedicated to helping small businesses with their Online Marketing initiatives I’ve decided to write an article on where to get started! Below I’ve given you an ordered list of what steps you need to take to get the ball rolling! This post simply for getting a website up and running. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A LIVE WEBSITE SKIP THIS POST
First you must ask yourself why do you even want or need a website? Are you wanting to increase potential sales with new customers that come to your website? Grow your direct mailing list, or start an Email mailing list?You must realize why you even want a website before you start building one.
Secondly do you want your site built out using a blog ( WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, etc) or a Content Management System ( CMS) (Drupal, Joomla). These are somewhat technical terms, a simple definition for both of these is “a already constructed website architecture that you can plug information into that gives you a ready to go website” thats how I describe these technologies to new clients.Each of these options have their individual pros and cons. However in the end they are the simplest ways to get a website up and running in no time.
Now that we have answered those questions we can continue on to the Where to Start List!
Get your pens and paper out and lets go!
1. Step 1 -Buy your domain name-
This is always the first step! If you don’t have a domain name that links to your business then how are customers ever going to remember to come back? Buying a domain name is very simple. Go to GoDaddy do a search on the domain that you want. I don’t suggest buying all the extra names that GoDaddy offers unless they seem to make sense. For this site I bought www.sizmarketing.com and www.sizmmarketing.com because most of the time visitors will forget the second M in the domain name so it made sense to buy both. Once you have found the domain name that you like and have went through the checkout process you are done with Step 1.
2. Step 2- Get Your Site Hosted –
There are thousands of businesses that will offer you hosting. If you have decided to make your site using blogging software or a CMS program then you will need a hosting company that offers a technology called MySql! Since you are just starting out with your our online presence you won’t be driving very much traffic. Therefore you don’t need to buy the Rolls Royce of website hosting. Here are a few of my suggested hosting companies for a start up website:
Currently this site is hosted on Powweb. I like Powweb’s user control panel and their Tech Support is fairly quick to respond. Personally I have experience with Blue Host and I liked it. They had a good support team and everything was very smoothly operated from my experience. I’ve heard wonderful things from Host Gator as well. All of these companies charge for a year contract. It’s usually $50-80 per year to host which is a great deal. I would suggest any of those three for your newly minted site.
3. Step-3- Install your blogging or CMS software
Using these website building programs make life so much easier for a first time site builder! Even for seasoned web developers these programs make their lives easier. My blog is run on the WordPress software and I think that is by far the easiest blog/CMS software to use. Most hosting companies will have an install service to where all you have to do is fill in a couple of forms and they will instantly install your blog/CMS software. However it would be wise on your part to learn how to do it.
4. Step -4 – Start Writing a Ton of Content
Content, Content, Content, if you want to be noticed on the web and if you want visitors coming back to your site ( and we all want that!) then you have to offer them something of value. With a ton of content you have to be able to organize it into a useable/findable hierarchy. Make sure all the content that you have, has a purpose for your site visitor. I wouldn’t write stories about my dog on this site. Because it would have no value to you, because your are looking for information about internet marketing. Stick with content that applies to your customer and make sure you have a lot of it!
5. Step -5- Start telling people about your site
In this day and age you have to be your own best advertiser. If you operate a brick and mortar business start putting your website address on everything. Everywhere you have a logo you need to have your url. Every email that you send out you should have your URL in your signature. Tell everyone about your site thats the first way to get people to start coming to your site. Those are 5 simple steps to get your website up and running. After you have accomplished these 5 steps then we can dive into some more extensive projects such as Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click advertising to really start driving traffic to your website!