Today, getting online is easier than ever before. In fact, anyone can make a basic website, regardless of their technical skill level. It might seem like a daunting task at first, but there’s a wide variety of tools specifically made to make the whole process a breeze. This article is a walk through of the quickest and best way for a startup to launch a new website.
There are many different way for making websites, but there are two main options: using WordPress or using a website builder. Website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are generally the easiest to use, though they lack in depth customizability and have limited scalability.
On the other hand, WordPress is the most popular route for most people, for a number of reasons:
- Website builders are expensive and often quite limited. They’re usually good for one-page sites, not more.
- WordPress allows creation of a complex website in a few hours or days without the need for any skills in CSS and HTML.
- WordPress is much more user friendlier in comparison to alternatives like Drupal and Joomla.
For the purposes of this story, I’m only going to look at how to build a startup website using WordPress.
Step 1. Register a Domain Name
Before anything else, the name or title for the website must be decided. As part of that step is to get a .com, .net, .co.uk, etc domain. A domain name is the title and address of the site, such as Example.com. The name should ideally be descriptive of what the website is all about, for instance, codeacademy.com is a good name for an online academy that teaches people how to code.
A .com domain is usually the most preferable, simply because it’s the most popular and easiest for visitors to remember. Also, try to keep the name as short and memorable as possible. It is advisable to try building a list of domain name options, because they may already be taken by someone else. To see if the preferred names are available, enter them, one at a time into the domain search tool on a domain registrar such as Namecheap.com. Namecheap are recommended mainly because they are the favorite company to work with for many people. They offer great products and services at reasonable rates. Do some research and try others such as GoDaddy.com or BlueHost.com.
Some of the best practices when choosing a domain name include:
- Add relevant search keywords: consider using or including words or phrases that people might use when searching for the business, product, or services.
- Use location keywords: if the desired names are taken, consider adding the city or area name to the domain.
- Avoid punctuation or symbols: a domain name should be easy to remember and pronounce. Avoid using punctuation like dashes or hyphens.
If a good name is available, register the domain as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that the domain is one of the most crucial things to get right. The cost of the domain varies by domain registrar, between $10 to $30, but there is no need to pay more than $10.
Step 2. Host the Website
The next step is finding a server to host the website. To do this, rent some server space for around $5 a month. The WordPress Hosting on Namecheap.com is recommended for a quality, seamless service. With WordPress hosting, comes the Quick Install feature, which allows WordPress installation in just one simple click.
Now with both a domain name and hosting, they need to be formally connected together. This is done using Nameservers. Go to Manage on the domain dashboard, and choose the Namecheap Web Hosting DNS option on the Nameservers settings.
Step 3. Setup The Website
At this point, the website should be able to display a basic, pre-installed WordPress site, based on which free theme WordPress was set as default. Fortunately, WordPress has hundreds of thousands of custom blog designs to choose from. Some are free and others come at a cost.
On the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance, Themes, and click on Add New. Choose and download a theme and activate it. With all good themes, there will be a custom dashboard to customize the look and feel of the theme.
Here are a few pointers to ensure that the design is up to par:
- Include the name of the business on the homepage: along with the location, and a simple pitch about the products/service and what makes it unique.
- Have a clear navigation – make it easy for visitors to navigate the site, making it easy to access the “About Us” page, learn more about the product and service, make a purchase, find pricing, contact someone, etc.
- About us: give a company background and even list partners, employees, and organizational memberships.
- Testimonials: consider including customer testimonials to help build more credibility and trust with visitors.
- Blog: set up an editorial calendar to establish the kind of content and when it will be published, to keep the startup’s community engaged.
- Social media Links: don’t forget to include links to social media profiles
If the design process is giving you a headache, consider leveraging WordPress site builders, DIY design tools, or outsourcing the work to freelance platforms or agencies.
All done? Congratulations! the site is now ready to go. But don’t for a second think the work is over. A good website is never finished. The web is always evolving, and the website should too. There are so many plugins, designs, and content types to try. Good luck!