The good news for businesses, bloggers and anyone looking to launch their own website, is that doing so no longer means spending huge sums of money on hiring the services of a professional designer, nor slaving away at the computer for hours, hacking your way through complicated code.
With an abundance of online website builders on the market, most of them offering free, or at least low cost, packages, anyone with just a few hours to spare and even the most basic of technical knowledge can create a stunning website with all the features and functionality their visitors expect.
You’ve already chosen the right site builder to suit your needs, and after logging on for the first time, you’re presented with a whole wealth of tools to play with. With so much to do, to change and to experiment with, it can be a little overwhelming knowing exactly where to start.
That’s why it’s helpful to plan ahead before you get stuck in to creating your site. After all, you’ve already learned about the benefits of planning when starting a business, so there’s no reason you won’t get the same results when starting your new website.
Here’s a few things you might want to think about when putting your website plan of action together.
What kind of site do I want?
The best online website builders come with tools and tutorials to help create just about any kind of site you need, though it pays to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve before you begin.
If you’re building an online store, you’ll obviously need lots of good quality images of your products, a site builder that supports eCommerce functions and the appropriate payment methods.
If you’re creating a site to advertise your business, do you have a logo in place? How about a way for customers to contact you?
Are you setting up a blog or personal website? If so, what’s the theme? Will you need to add any extra tools to make it work the way you like?
How will visitors find me?
The easiest answer to this question is ‘by typing in your website address.’ Many premium plans offered by the leading online website creators come with a free domain name (mywebsite.com for example), but if yours doesn’t, you’d be best served by purchasing one from an external company and directing it to your website.
If this sounds like it might be a touch too technical, don’t worry, the companies behind both your website builder and your new domain name should be able to help.
Colour scheme and design features
Here comes the fun part. Your site builder should provide lots of pre-designed templates that you modify as much as you wish. Change the colours, the fonts, the layout, anything you like. Yet with so many options available, it’s easy to find yourself getting carried away, spending countless hours experimenting with all the different features.
Needless to say, that defeats one of the main reasons you chose to use a web builder in the first place: You want it done quickly and effortlessly.
To avoid losing yourself in a world of wonderful design features, give a little thought before you start to exactly how you’d like your site to look.
What about my content?
Ask any expert on websites and chances are they’ll tell you a similar thing: No matter how great your site looks, without great content, your customers won’t stick around.
To make sure they do, it helps to plan out your content in advance, gather together your images and any video content (make sure you’re allowed to use these – simply stealing from Google Images is seldom a good idea) and write the kind of website copy that will not only attract visitors in the first place, but keep them coming back for more.