How to Create a Website for Your Business in 2019
Let’s face it in 2019 there is no question anymore. Every business, both giant corporation and small barber shop, needs to create a website. This may have been different 10 years ago but now it is a sign of the time and our competitive world. A website marks your digital territory in this online age and ensures growth.
The most important part before buying a domain, getting hosting, or building pages is having a content plan. Websites run on content, and although we aren’t going to go over this part of this planning process, here is a great guide on how to build a website content plan. Having the content before building the page is always much easier than the other way around!
A business owner needs to know how to create a website that looks great and brings in customers. One can either choose to build a website themselves with coding knowledge or a website builder like wix.com or squarespace. Pros and cons exist for either and we can go into that in detail further in the guide.
Hosting: It shouldn’t cost you an arm and leg to create a website.
The website also needs a place to live and this is called a web host; there are thousands of different hosts out there but only a few known in the public eye (GoDaddy, I’m looking at you!). Web hosts are extremely competitive with each other and a new website with little bandwidth requirements shouldn’t need anything that costs more than $3-8 a month for self-hosting. There are even free website hosts out there that allow you to experiment and to build a web page, although many of these are ad-supported, slow, and potentially not as reliable.
- WordPress.com – Gives you a free WordPress installation and lets you have a subdomain yourname.wordpress.com. Don’t confuse this with WordPress.org, the official website from the developers. This site allows anyone to give the platform a try with far fewer unnecessary control panels. FREE
- Bluehost – A very popular hosting platform with legendary support. 1 click installation for many popular content management systems (CMS) and PHP web applications. Their support is especially known to be very responsive. Starting at $2.95/mo.
- Wix – Building a wix website is one of the most popular ways to get started. They offer a really easy page builder that is completely drag and drop. Wix is not WordPress but many people believe it is as powerful. Starts out free then has premium addons, hard to migrate out.
Of course there are hundreds to thousands of other *good* web hosting companies out there, Tempesta.us is one of them, but they all have to do one thing: host your website. It is hard to know which is the best website builder because that is a matter of personal opinion. However, once you have an online home the next step is actually start making your website, this is where are several options:
What About Domain Names? Should I buy one?
Domain names are purchased from a domain registrar and hosted on a dns server. Most of the time these are one and the same. There are numerous places on the Internet to register a domain name and the prices vary from place to place, sometimes drastically. A good web host will point you in the right direction or may even offer promotional benefits from buying with them.
Most domain registrars charge somewhere between $8-12 a year for .com domain registration.
Are free domain names a real thing?
Free domain name registrars do exist (see dot.tk) but most of them offer what is known as a subdomain, or a part of an existing domain; taking the form as: yourdomain.biggerdomain.com. The main downside to these free subdomains is that they do not have the same authority as a purely owned .com. Also subdomains sometimes exist on parent domains that host questionable content, get hacked, and are just not as professional looking as something like yoursite.com.
Here are a few good places to purchase a domain name:
- Namecheap – Solid registrar with a really clean purchasing UI and not alot of nag screens like some registrars (GoDaddy). Has promotions often and you should check for coupon codes before purchasing from here because most of the time I get at least 20% off after searching a bit. Has domain name privacy now free for most purchases. Great promotions, sometimes cheaper than wholesale.
- CloudFlare – Originally known as a CDN and firewall service for individual websites, they now offer domain registrations. They advertise that they do not charge anything extra beyond the wholesale + ICANN fees and show a reasonable chart. I personally have never used them but don’t look too bad. At-cost prices exactly at wholesale
- GoDaddy – Widely known across the world I don’t think there is a person who hasn’t seen Danica Patrick and the GoDaddy car at some point (I know she doesn’t do that anymore now). They sometime still have good deals although the amount of nag screens along the way is questionable. Meh, mentioning them for reference ?
There really isn’t much of a difference beyond yearly prices for domain registrars. There isn’t anything such as a “bad quality” registrar unless they are ripping you off, have site technicalities, etc. So try to do yourself a favor and find the cheapest deal possible. Once you have purchased a domain they will give you options to change the nameservers and/or DNS information which lets the internet know where your domain and website points to.
If you’re a nerd like me and want to know how this stuff works take a look over here:
How Domain Name Servers Work | HowStuffWorks
Once you have a web hosting account and a domain name we can start thinking about what is going to be sitting on it.
Why Should You Use a Content Management System? (WordPress)
A web page sits on a web site but a page just consists of a rendered HTML code, script, and images. One could technically write a web page if they knew all these codes by heart and wrote them down. Fortunately no one has to know any code to build a nice website. In the past developers used to (and still do) create websites using purely code. You can do this too, coding is awesome! But to save time and because you are a business owner we will go over the easiest way to make a website in 2019:
- It is the most popular and widely supported open source content platform system in the entire world.
- Allows someone with little to no coding knowledge to get a professional website up in a short amount of time.
- There are some very beautiful prebuilt themes (templates) out there that are responsive and ready to work with all mobile devices!
- Most of the time its very easy to find tutorials and documentation on in case you want to change something in the future.
Cons of WordPress
- Since many people use it it can be prone to security issues once a new update comes out. Often times the problem is quickly remediated by a simple update but once in a while a plugin may conflict with another or break the site. This is why its always a good idea to keep backups.
- Themes and plugins sometime go out of date and the author drops off the face of the earth. This happens because open source developers are often times volunteering their development time and effort. People sometimes no longer have time to keep their plugins up to date with the times. This is why..
- Maintenance is required once or twice a month to keep regular updates and site backups. An experienced fully managed web host can do this all for you.
The rest of this guide focuses on the WordPress content management system. I could go over how to build a html webpage from scratch but I don’t think that’s going to be helpful for a business owner. But if you really are interested in learning code and web development here is step 1: HTML Tutorial
But for everyone else..
WordPress is the world’s most popular open source content management system. People use it because it minimizes the amount of repetitive work involved in building web pages. One can easily choose a theme (design), the special features they want (plugins), and simply build the content (pages,posts,etc). Another big positive about it is you don’t have to know any code in order to build a great looking website.
Types of Websites
- Nameplate Website – A nameplate website makes is a simple 1 page site that includes the most pertinent business information: your name, phone number, and email address. It usually also contains a nice business photo or photos of the interior and exterior of your business. These websites sometime have interactive contact forms but always have at least the basic NAP information. Great for claiming a place on the net for yourself. These types of websites do not require much in way of hosting and should be very low priced to begin.
- Blog Website – Blog websites are for dynamic regular content that gets edited and published directly from the platform. This is what WordPress was originally built to do; allow people to make posts and publish those posts. In addition other users can have the ability to create guest posts on your site along with moderation options, notifications, and much more. If this sounds complicated to you, do not worry. One does not have to manually setup wordpress anymore and can usually setup a site with a few clicks. Creating a post takes only a few clicks but a lot of keystrokes to make quality content.
- E-Commerce Website – The purpose of an e-commerce website is to sell physical products. This is possible in most popular content management systems including WordPress. As one can imagine it takes a bit more effort to create these types of sites. There are more elements involved including product information, categories, payment processors, and different marketing techniques. A really good start to learning e-commerce on WordPress is WooCommerce, a plugin designed to turn any WordPress website into an online shopping cart.
Once you have chosen the type of website you want to build now its time to actually choose what it looks like.
WordPress Themes and Page Builders
Being the world’s most popular way to easily create a website, one has plenty of options when choosing how to begin building. Once your content plan is solid *done before this step* then you can use it as a backbone for your new website. You take your content plan and apply it to a theme of your choosing. There are many free WordPress themes out there but some of the best ones are premium. Here are some of my favorite themes and builder packages available:
- Flatsome – One of the best and easiest themes I have ever used. It comes with a revolutionary built in page builder that makes customization as close to drag and drop as one can get. It does have a one-time price tag but I think it’s surely worth it. The Flatsome theme actually powers this website! There are few designs it cannot do and I have to recommend it personally. Comes with a very powerful page builder.
- Divi – One of the latest themes from popular publisher ElegantThemes it also comes with a WYSIWYG styled page builder that makes the web site super easy to customize. This one is beautiful and does a pretty good job building websites for people with little to no experience. The Divi page builder is a separate WordPress plugin that can be used with any other theme. This is good if you already have a nice looking theme but want better content editing.
- WPBakery Page Builder – This is not a theme but a page building tool once you already have a theme. This is for the people who have a great looking site but want more flexibility while creating their content. This is often used when a developer custom builds a theme from scratch for someone. The theme is static but the content can be manipulated better with a tool like this. I’m suggesting this for the people who already have a nice looking website but perhaps want to learn how to modify it themselves.
What To Do After You Have Created a Few Pages
There are few important maintenance tasks that should be done after your happy with your new website. Backing up your site, doing SEO optimizations, and writing great content are only a few things responsible for a successful site.
- Backup Your Work! – Backing up is essential taking a copy of your all your site files, images, and database and putting it somewhere safe. Some people take physical copies, store a copy on google drive, or on the web server.
- Optimize your SEO – Anyone can build a website, that is the easy part and immediately gratifying! The hard part is attracting visitors to your new site. The best way for small business and website owners is to focus on content marketing. Content marketing is all about writing good articles (just like this one) that help your potential customers identify you as an authority of industry information. Write a good article and traffic will come.
I hope that something in this short guide was helpful to you and your business. Please check back to see more information on creating websites and marketing content for your business.