April through May at IT Arsenal is all about Website Setup for Online Entrepreneurs and we’re kicking things off by building context around 4 steps everyone makes to start a website and how to make the best ones.
Once you have a site in place, all the tips and tricks for driving traffic, tools for selling, using social media, writing headlines and so on will start to make sense. A world of business and action literally opens up once you jump over the first few hurdles, which fortunately don’t take a technical degree to wrap your brain around.
Experienced or beginner, you have to make these decisions, you might as well be informed.
These two things are the basic foundations of a website, a company or service handles these for you, and grants you access to change them.
- Domain – The “name” of a website, generally around $10 a year for the name only. www.EXAMPLE.com
- Hosting – Where your website files live. Depending on your platform, you may or may not have access to these raw files. You might use a website to build your website, or various tools to change the files on your hosting, or even a combination of both. Alternatively, you have a “web guy” handle all this.
*There are several different companies for both domains and hosting to choose from. Worried about needing a dedicated server?
I use GoDaddy for my domains and Hostgator or WPEngine for my hosting.
Blogger.com, Tumblr, Posterous, Zanga, TypePad, Homestead, Yahoo Site Builder, WordPress, Raw HTML
These are examples of platforms. Some give you full control, some give you very limited control. The more the platform “walks” you through the process, the more limited control you likely have. Unless you are positive that the platform offers exactly what you want, do yourself a favor and get really clear about it beforehand. Moving content from platform to platform isn’t easy. For a business, you’ll likely want WordPress, which combines capability for an end user who knows nothing, and a web developer to set up the perfect site.
WordPress the application, (not to be confused with wordpress.com which is a watered down version of WordPress the application) is a platform that sits on your web hosting. In my opinion, it’s the only platform worth putting your effort into. It’s free, you have absolute control over the files, the ease of use is unparallelled, the flexibility you have in pre-made themes, customization, and web developers just isn’t found anywhere else. A custom web design with WordPress expert can guide and help you create a better one.
Close runner up, Joomla.
This site runs on WordPress.
Type of Site
This is a personal decision. Your platform may try to dictate a certain type of site, but you ultimately pick why type of site you’re going to have. Each will lead you down a different path.
- Static – Compare to a brochure.
- Dynamic – A blog or website with fresh news that promotes engagement or subscription. Very flexible.
- E-Commerce – Sell products, and that’s pretty much it.
- Web App – Provide a service, gain users. Twitter and Facebook are web apps.
This site is dynamic, has news, services, products…probably too much.
Hire or Do it Yourself
Starting a website means executing on the 3 steps above. Each part has it’s own area’s to investigate. I’ve seen posts try to sum it all up, usually in efforts to sell you something, but to be honest it’s overwhelming. To avoid getting overwhelmed by all of these tasks, you may hire a couple of staff members who have the necessary skills and experience.
This Inc. article did a good job, (How to Start a Website) but I was sad to find the comments littered with people selling low quality junk service.
Each step has it’s companies to choose from and decisions to make. You can jump over most of these steps by getting educated, have ultimate control and be the designer yourself or refer to expert opinion by hiring a web developer from react service to perfectly and completely set these things up with you. Each has it’s own cost in money and time like when you buy traffic, but the result you’ll get is amazing.
Stick around, over the next two months I’ll cover tactics for making your website better with the best tools possible. Have questions about your own site? Send me an e-mail.