You’re new to the online world, and you want to make your business a success. You know you should know how to set up a website, but you don’t. You’re a little embarrassed to ask for help. It’s okay, because here are some strategies to tame your learning curve and kick your online venture into high gear.
Purchase a Website Domain
If you haven’t purchased a website domain name yet, this is where you should start.
Think of your web domain as the street address for your virtual company, or better stated, the virtual version of your company.
Domain sellers like Namecheap and Godaddy are good places to start looking. Just type your desired website name into the domain seller’s search engine and it will check to see if the name is available.
If it’s available, it will make an offer to sell it to you. On average, you’ll pay anywhere between $4 and $10 for a domain. Some domains cost $15 or more though, so shop around. It’s like any other business – not everyone offers the same deal.
Take plenty of time to think of an appropriate website domain name, after all, it’s the first thing your potential customers see – you want to make a great first impression, which will engage and attract business.
Build Your Website
Once you’ve got the domain name purchased, it’s time to buy hosting.
Think of hosting as the virtual land that your home, which is the website domain name, will reside on. You need both a name and a place to put it. Hosting is that place.
Like domain name sellers, hosting companies will charge you different fees based on what level of service you want. Remember, not all hosting companies charge the same rate. Shop around. Find a company that offers full website management. If you’re running a company that will collect customer information, you’ll also want a hosting provider with a decent security system to safeguard that information.
Once you’re done, it’s time to build the site.
Hire a good web developer or plunge in and learn how to use a platform like WordPress. WordPress is a content management platform. It’s where you will add and manage your content. It also serves as the face of your website. When you go to CNN.com, for example, what you see is the result of the content management system. WordPress is good for beginners and advanced users alike, because it allows you to use easily customizable templates to build exactly what you want and add specialization, like plug-ins, for example.
Photo Credit: The Daring Librarian
Keep Your Website Up to Date
Don’t think for a minute that you can design a website once and then just let it sit there. Websites are a type of virtual real estate. If you don’t periodically freshen them up a bit, they start to look old and stale.
Think of the design concepts that were popular in the 1990s that are no popular today. It’s easy for today’s perceptive Internet users to spot an outdated website. Outdated sites look abandoned – almost as if you’re not even in business anymore.
A stale website tells potential customers that you don’t really care about impressing them, and this is not the message you want to send out to increase your web presence. A website with fresh, relevant content will engage visitors and encourage them to share, making them brand evangelists on the web for your company.
Reach Out To Customers
Marketing companies like Yodle can help you reach out to customers easily. What you’re looking for is a company that specializes in both local organic search optimization, as well as regional and national optimization.
Finally, you want a company that can help you reach out to your potential customers via social networking sites, through press releases, and through traditional methods of advertising like pay-per-click. By combining current marketing methods with traditional, tried and true methods, you’ll reach out to as many potential customers as possible, while building your web presence.
- Build Backlinks to Your Site
Building backlinks to your site is important.
Links are signals to search engines about how popular your site is on the web, relatively speaking. Building links is a long and labor-intensive process. You might want the help of a professional link building company or an online marketing firm, but they are worth the time, money and effort for creating a large and long lasting web presence.
Backlinks help search engines index and follow your website, which helps web users find you quick and easily.
- Backup Everything
After hours of hard work, the last thing you want to have happen is to lose your website.
Backup everything using your hosting provider’s built-in backup and recovery protocol. If your hosting provider doesn’t have one, consider switching hosting companies or hire a third-party company to manage your backup. There is nothing worse than losing all your information and content with a computer crash or server problem. This is the most important step of all for building a web presence that will carry your business to the next successful level.
Amber Davis is passionate about web marketing. She often writes about innovative methods for business marketing online.
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