Millions of new websites and blogs are created every day. Creating a website today is much easier than it was several years ago. For example, if you wanted to create a site today all it would take is registering a domain name, hosting and installing WordPress. You also have the option to join a free site builder service where you are given a drag-and-drop platform to work with. In previous years, if you wanted to create a site of your own, you would need to learn HTML coding, upload your files through FTP and maybe even higher a designer to help you out with the process.
The key takeaway here is that it’s alot easier to create a site today, than it was in previous years. For this reason, this is simply no better time for you to start a site of your own. In this article we are going to take a look at some of the best options to consider before starting your site and how to best approach them.
Choosing the Right Domain for Your Site
Before going live with your website, you will first need to decide on a domain name. The domain name is what people will type in to find your site. For example, my name is “Zac Johnson” and I was able to secure ZacJohnson.com as the domain name for my site several years ago. Unfortunately most generic domain names are already registered, and once a domain is secured it’s usually very hard to acquire.
With this in mind, it’s important for you to check for an exact match of your domain name first. Type in your brand or business name in any domain registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy and it will let you know if the name is available. If it is, grab it! If not, see if the .net or .org version of the name is available. If not again, try to come up with a unique name, but also keep it simple and easy to remember and spell.
Decide on a Free or Premium Site Builder
After choosing a domain name for your site, you will then need to setup hosting or get connected with a site builder. In previous years you would need to connect a domain name to a host, upload files through FTP and design all of your content within another software program. Now you can simply join a recommended site builder and develop your site within their platform — which means no messy coding or uploading of files.
Weebly, Wix and Webs were all voted three of the top website builders for small businesses. The benefits of using a site builder like these, is that they have drag-and-drop platforms in place that make it easy for anyone to create a site, without the need to know programming or advanced web design. Many of these providers also offer premium services like ecommerce, custom design, SEO management and more.
If you want to have total control and customization over your site, WordPress might be a better option for you. WordPress is a free software content management system that allows you to create content for your site, while also using their easy platform to add, remove and edit all aspects of your site. To setup WordPress with your own domain, you will need to get setup with a web hosting company and install the software on your server. Most hosting solutions now provide easy one-click install of te software, since it’s so commonly used today.
Making Sure Your Site Looks Great on All Platforms
It’s not enough to simply get your site live and having it on the internet, you also need to make sure it looks great on all viewable devices as well. While many people are still using desktops and laptops to view websites, the amount of people using mobile devices and tablets is growing at a rapid pace as well. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your site is being viewed correctly across all devices.
The good news is that most sites running off WordPress or any of the recommended platforms in the previous section are covered, as the site design will be responsive and should automatically reformat itself to view correctly on each device or browser. A great tool for testing how your site looks across different platforms and browsers is browsershots.org. If your site will contain multiple technical aspects, research and invest in some test management tools to ensure everything is working smoothly.
Getting Active on Social Media
Getting your business online and ranking in the search results should be a top priority, but social media is also one area that you shouldn’t overlook as well. With over a billion users on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, it would be a huge mistake for you to not have an active business profile on these sites as well.
Like many of the options already mentioned in this article, getting setup with a social media profile is easy and free. Create a new profile for your business (if you already have one for your personal name), then setup social profile and social sharing buttons on your site. This way it will be easy for people accessing your site to find your social profiles, while also making it easy for them to share your content with others as well.
To see live examples of how top sites online are using social media and sharing buttons on their sites to increase traffic, be sure to check out this article from Wordstream.
How to Make Money with Your Site
When it comes to making money with your site, you have a lot of options. For example, if you are already a local business or have a service in place, then this would be your core method of monetization for the site. However, if you wanted to start a business site and use methods such as affiliate marketing or selling reviews and paid placement advertising, this is another option. To best understand what type of monetization works with your site, you will need to understand your audience, why they are at your site and how you can provide value to them — while also making money in the process.
All of these topics and more are covered in this make money blogging guide which also includes a 9-step infographic to walk you through the process.
It’s Now Time to Go Live with Your Site!
Now that we’ve covered all of the basics and foundation for your site should be, it’s time to put them all together and go live with a site of your own. No matter if you are building a site for your business or trying to scale out with a site on a new venture, all of these same rules apply. Always put your audience first and make sure the content is worth their time.