How to create a website in 5 steps
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In this digital age, having your own website is essential for most small businesses. They can strengthen your brand, help you connect with old customers and reach new customers.
In fact, the lack of a website can make your business look archaic and outdated.
The good news is that building your online presence is easier than ever. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating a new website.
How to create a website in 5 steps – tutorial
Here is a quick beginner’s guide on how to create a website.
1. Determine the purpose of your website
First, decide what you want to achieve digitally.
Some use cases for websites are:
- Build brand awareness by showcasing your products or services
- Collect emails via a subscription form
- Selling products or services through your website
- Handling customer service requests
- Blog about your company and industry and announce new products
- Providing a forum for customers in your industry and/or community to network
- Referring customers to retail locations or social media platforms that sell your products
It is important to set your goals as the cost of creating a website can vary depending on your needs. For example, you might be able to use a free service if your only goal is to collect email.
2. Choose a platform
Next, choose a website builder or platform. These services allow you to build your website using drag-and-drop interfaces, which means you don’t have to code anything yourself. Just create an account and then start customizing the look and feel of your website.
Here are some of the best website providers.
- Shopify — Built for online stores and ecommerce businesses of all sizes, Shopify takes care of all your payment processing needs. Their user-friendly interface also makes it easy to create beautiful product pages that will make your business look professional right away. The pricing adapts to your company.
- Wix.com — Great for any type of business. Known for its user experience, Wix is one of the most customizable platforms with features for every industry. Whether you’re building an ecommerce website or just a landing page, they make it easy to build and scale stunning websites.
- Go Daddy – As a one-stop shop for domains and website building, GoDaddy offers a platform to customize your website like Shopify and Wix. They also have a service that handles the entire design process for you.
- MailChimp — Designed for landing pages with opt-ins and signup forms, Mailchimp is primarily an email marketing automation tool for email lists. But they also offer a website design feature that’s perfect if your only goal is to collect contact information.
- Place — Great for any type of business. Squarespace is a close competitor to Wix and offers similar features, including the ability to build beautiful websites quickly and effortlessly.
- WooCommerce — WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that integrates with your WordPress dashboard and is perfect for eCommerce stores and online businesses looking for elegant homepages and reliable payment processing.
- WordPress — WordPress was built for businesses and bloggers who want even more customization than the above solutions. WordPress is a free, open-source platform that’s an ideal choice if search engine optimization (SEO) is important to your business. It’s also the content management system of choice for some of the largest websites in the world and can be great for personal websites.
And of course, there’s always the option of coding your own website from scratch or hiring a web developer.
3. Get a custom domain name
After you’ve decided on a platform, block a domain name for your website. Domain names are the addresses that users enter to get to your website, such as nav.com or wikipedia.org.
Most website providers now offer the option to buy a domain name within the platform, but you can also search domain registrars like namecheap.com and domains.google if you’d rather get yours through a third party. Note that domains no longer have to end in .com or .org. There is an extensive list of other options, including .co, .finance, .us, and .biz. To view the full list of options available, simply enter a keyword on your domain provider’s website.
Domain names can range from as little as $12 a year to seven figures. Longer domains tend to be cheaper, while one-word ideas are often much more expensive.
4. Get web hosting
“Hosting” is a technical term that translates to “rent storage space for your website’s files”. Your website needs a place to store its data, and web hosting providers provide the digital real estate.
Popular hosting companies include Bluehost, HostGator, and Hostinger. Pricing for a basic hosting plan can start as low as $2.75 per month and scale according to your needs.
You only need to follow this step if you are building your website on WordPress or coding your own. Other platforms have integrated hosting services.
5. Check everything on this list
If you’ve made it to this step, you’re ready to start designing your website and attracting visitors. When designing, make sure you consider these important features.
- Analysis Plugins — At some point you want the ability to analyze user behavior, including where your visitors come from and how they interact with your website. With free solutions like Google Analytics, there’s no reason not to track this from day one.
- SEO Plugins — If you plan to increase traffic from Google and other search engines, make sure your website uses Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For WordPress users, Yoast is one of the best plugins.
- SSL and Security Measures — If your site runs on WordPress.org, you may need to install an SSL certificate as well as other security plugins to keep your site secure. Other platforms like Shopify and Wix often have built-in security features.
- Make sure your website loads fast — Don’t spend hours beautifying your website only to find that it takes forever to load. Check the speed of your website regularly – especially on mobile devices.
- Add an email opt-in or contact form — Email is one of the most powerful ways to convert visitors into customers. Make sure you give visitors the option to enter their contact information anywhere on your site. You can also include a popup that gives away a freebie in exchange for an email signup.
Can you create a website for free?
There are some free website builders that you can use to create a fully functional business website for free.
If you’re looking for a standard website with basic features like the ability to host a homepage, contact page, navigation menu, and blog, consider using WordPress. There are two versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The .com version is as plug and play as it gets and is a good choice when designing your first website. Create a free account and start building right away. The .org version has a slightly higher learning curve. It requires setting up a hosting and a domain name before you can start building. If your goals include SEO optimization and HTML and CSS customizability, go for the .org option.
If you need an ecommerce website with features like payment processing and product page creation with shopping cart functionality, you either need to buy paid WordPress themes and apps, code your own WordPress website, or hire a website designer.
Another platform you can use to build a free website is Mailchimp. Mailchimp’s landing pages are great when your sole purpose is to collect email addresses or other contact information. Note that the free plan only supports Mailchimp-branded domains. To create a freestanding website with your own domain, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Finally, most platforms allow you to build the basics of your website for free. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to make your site live, but Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and other similar sites are free to poke around and do a rough draft.
How to Find the Best Website Builder
Online business has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years, and website providers have grown with the industry. There is no shortage of choices when it comes to website providers, which can be overwhelming.
One way to find the best platform for you is to use Nav. Our platform curates the leading website building services and regularly updates our selection as new options become available.
With that in mind, here are a few quality options that we recommend. This short list is optimized for reliability, customizability, and affordability. Some of the world’s largest companies use these websites, and their longstanding reputation makes them trustworthy.
Merchants use Shopify as their commerce solution because we give merchants everything they need to learn more
Need a website? Choose from hundreds of designer templates and do it yourself. It’s easy Learn more
Create the world you want with GoDaddy’s website builder today. Start your free trial Learn more
Nav can also help you find the best loans, credit cards, business bank accounts and more, all based on your business details. Create a free account to compare your options with confidence.
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