These days establishing an online presence for your business is much easier than it was 10 to 15 years ago, and a lot cheaper to. Whether you want to sell products, services or just want an online platform where you can maximise any hobbies you may have, a website is a must.
Let’s jump straight in and look at what you need to get started.
1. Domain Name
Before you do anything else you need a domain name, this is the website address that people will type in to access your website, such as techonthego.co.uk. Usually the name of your company is the first avenue to explore but if you find that the domain you require is already in use then you might need to get a bit more creative. Generally a co.uk domain will cost you just under £10 a year to register.
Now you have a domain name you need to find some hosting. Hosting is where all your website files go and it is needed for your website to be viewed on the interest. For a beginner it can be a minefield of different packages and terminology that can leave you, well, with a rather large headache.
Initially you need to ask yourself how big your website will be, is it a 5- 20 page site, or is it a full ecommerce setup? Do you envisage a lot of traffic or is it a hobby site where you may get a handful of visitors each day?
Hosting plans can range from a few pounds a month up to more expensive plans that a couple of hundred. For most beginners, whether its hobby based or individuals looking for a second income you probably don’t need to pay more than £10 per month.
3. Content Management System
You’ve got a domain, you’ve got hosting, you now need to figure out how you are going to manage and update your website. WordPress is by far the most popular system and is used by beginners, intermediates and even more advanced users. WordPress is free to use and you can install additional themes and plugins to help with functionality and look of your site. A lot of themes can be obtained free of charge and most plugins are also free.
The only tricky issue with setting up WordPress is that you need to create a database in CPanel so you may need some assistance on this.
Once installed you can create posts, pages and import media.
You’ve now got a website, but it’s just sitting there. The next step is to populate pages and posts. Posts are very important as continual fresh content will help build up your website. The more posts you have the more pages that have a chance of ranking in search engines such as Google where you can start to build up traffic to the site. Just remember, the content has to be quality so don’t just blog for the sake of blogging.
Click Consult have a brilliant guide that offers some ideas on how you can start blogging, from content calendars, topics to write about and some handy little tips and tricks that can get your blogging well on its way.
It’s also advisable at this stage to install some tracking on the site to help your measure where your visitors are coming from and then help you see what content works and what doesn’t. To do this, sign-up to Google Analytics which is a free program that will allow you to add your website, get a tracking code, and place it onto your website through the WordPress dashboard.
5. Social Media
Hopefully you are now writing some high quality blog posts and have a schedule setup. You may also see traffic starting to come through to the website from organic clicks (people searching on Google and finding your page).
There are other avenues that can help bring in traffic, one of those being social media which is a powerful marketing channel that can not only help generate more traffic to the site but it can also be a platform to engage with potential customers or clients. Social media can work as a customer response platform as well as helping to syndicate out your content and build up visitors to your website.
There are plenty more paths that you can venture down when creating, optimising and generating traffic to a website, but hopefully this starter guide will get you well on your way in the digital world.