I Need a Website: How to Get Started

Have you ever looked for a business or service online and been shocked there’s no website to visit? You can’t find the information you need, so what do you do? You move onto another website to find what you need. Imagine that your company doesn’t have a website or doesn’t have a digital footprint. How will potential customers find you online? They won’t. But they sure are finding your competition. Here’s why you need a website and how to get started with one.

Do You Need a Website for Your Business?

If you’re still wondering if your business needs a website, consider these statistics for a moment:

If you’re not being found online and your competition is, no wonder you’re missing out on potential customers. You’re not online for them to find you in the first place.

I Need a Website: Where to Start

Unless you have a marketing department or know an experienced web developer, chances are you’ll want to choose a digital agency to build your website. Here are the basic steps that an agency will take and work with you on to develop a powerful, authoritative, and conversion-friendly website.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

A website build will start in the thousands depending on the size and scope of the project. If you have a simple, five-page website, you’re going to spend much less depending on who builds it compared to a large e-commerce website with hundreds of products. Agency pricing on websites fluctuate so much. It’s hard to give a good range you can expect without sitting down and going over the details.

A reputable digital marketing agency will sit down with you and go over the scope of the project and what your website needs to beat the competition. From there, they’ll put together a proposal that outlines what needs to happen before the build starts, what happens during it, and anything additional that’s required to complete the website. This will include the overall cost of the project. Extra fees may be needed, such as graphic design, logo development, a branding guide, or content.

A good rule of thumb is if the pricing seems too good to be true and the turnaround time is quick, it may be a sign that your website won’t be what you need to succeed online.

Set Website Goals for Your Business

Before a website build even begins, your agency will sit down with you and go over your business goals online. Understanding what you want your website to do is key to building a website that meets those goals. It could be as simple as people filling out your contact form or giving you a call. It could be as broad as building your brand authority as an informational source in your niche.

Choosing a Platform for Your Website to Be Built On

Once your goals are cemented, choosing a platform to host your website on will come next. There are many content management systems out there, including WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and Wix. Many web hosting companies even have basic platforms to build simple websites. The functionality you need will determine the best platform your website should be built on for future updates and growth.

Securing a Domain and Hosting for Your Website

Every website needs a domain. Most businesses nowadays snag their brand name as a domain when they get started. Sometimes they go with a catchy domain to get people’s attention. If you don’t already have a domain, your marketing agency will help secure that for you. If you can get your business name or use your brand name, do it. Brand recognition online is crucial for success. Leverage a .com domain whenever possible, stay away from .biz and other kitschy top-level domains (TLDs) like .business or country-based ones unless you’re in that country.

Domain.com, Namecheap, and Name.com are a few examples of where you can register a domain. Some domain registrars double as hosting companies, too.

Find a Hosting Company for Your Website

Your website needs to have a “home” on the web, and that’s what hosting does. Hosting comes in many shapes and sizes depending on how big your website is and how many resources it takes to run. Your agency will make recommendations based on the above to give you the most reliable and affordable solution to keep your website up and running. Companies like GoDaddy, WPEngine, Bluehost, and Host Gator are some examples of hosting companies you can use.

Hosting can be expensive. Most companies offer a cheap option where you’re on what’s called a shared server. A shared server is stuffed with as many websites as possible. The problem with this is that if one website gets a lot of traffic, it slows down the speed of every other website on a server. If your website is too slow or doesn’t load, potential customers will be turned off and look for an alternative.

Take the time to examine the different hosting options and pricing. Your agency can help you figure out what’s right for your website that doesn’t put it at risk of not being available when customers are looking for your service or product.

Get Creative with Your Website’s Design

If you’re building a website yourself, you can use pre-made templates and themes to get the look and feel you want. If you’re going with an agency for the build, they’ll sit with you and go over what you want the website to look like. From there, they may use a theme or build out a custom design to meet your vision. Then, they’ll work with you side-by-side to continue to tweak it until it’s perfect. When working with a digital agency in this capacity, they’ll be able to integrate web design best practices to increase conversion rates.

It helps to know what type of websites you already like and why. If there are competitor websites you like, that’s a good starting point, too. The more direction or context you can give your agency, the easier it will be to design a website you’re proud to call your own.

Launch Your Website

Once you’re happy with your website, you’ll want to work with the agency or designer to make sure it functions before launch. The quality assurance (QA) process is essential to make sure your website is ready. Once all issues are addressed, your agency will work with your web hosting company and domain registrar to get your website online. Make sure to share the news on any digital channels you’re leveraging, like email marketing, social media, or video.

When you launch your website, it’s time to celebrate! Consider having a small get together at your office to unveil the new website. It’s a big step to invest in a website or get started with a new design that will change how you do business and how you grow online.

If you’re still scratching your head wondering where to start with your website, reach out to Altitude Agency today. Our goal is to help potential customers find your website and become fans of what you do. Don’t waste time pulling the trigger on getting found online – your competition is already there, and they’re already stealing your customers. Don’t let the competition beat you at what you do best. Build a website that crushes them online with us.

9 Questions to Answer Before Building Any Website

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. That mantra rings true for any industry and website creation is no different. Before you sit down to craft a client for yourself or others, you need to be sure you’ve got the right building blocks in place. Read more to learn about nine crucial factors for website success.

Think About These 9 Things Before Building a Website

What to Name the Domain

A domain name is one of the first steps in branding your website so think carefully. You don’t want a domain name to be too long or hard to remember like www.jasonsbeagleemporiumwarehouseandboatstorage.com. You want the domain name to show the customer what you do right away and be easy to remember. www.jasonsdogstore.com works much better and can draw in more customers.

What Do You or Your Customers Want to Do?

Before putting any files or images in place or choosing templates, think about what you or your customers want to do with the website. Is it an online store? Is it an image gallery for someone’s artwork? Knowing exactly what the website is intended for and what customers can do with it is first and foremost. Deciding this will allow the other processes to run much more naturally.

Balance the Budget

If you could, you’d buy the best template on the market with premium software and plugins. Any smart website designer knows it isn’t about the money dumped into the website but the balance of budget and options. Be patient in your approach, set a budget, and put the money towards the best possible choices.

Call in the Pros

Can you design, create, and implement the website you want on your own or do you need professional help? If you’re setting up a simple website for your neighborhood, you might get away with taking care of business by yourself but if you need a website that’s going to wow potential customers and get the traffic you want, you may need to call in the pros. Let professional services take care of what you can’t including design, the underbelly of the website, hosting, search engine optimization, and more. If you need your website to be professional, generate leads, and grow your business – you need Altitude Agency.

Your Sitemap

The sitemap is your site’s skeleton or the blueprint for your website. You wouldn’t trust a confusing blueprint for your home so why would you want to put in place a wonky sitemap on your website? The sitemap helps properly direct the flow of traffic through your website and allows customers to navigate to what they need quickly and will let search engine crawlers know how to rank your site. A proper site architecture will keep clients on your website longer, which keeps your business churning.

Layout and Content Design

Matching the layout and content design to your purposes is a tough process but is essential to a great website. Before you start dropping articles and images randomly across pages sit down and design your site in your mind or on paper. The last thing you want is for your website to look likes it designed by a 7-year old. You also want the layout and design to match the type of business or website you’re creating. A formal website won’t do well with cartoony fonts, and a kid’s site won’t do well with rigid, formal, site design. Luckily many content management systems offer free templates and ideas to start you on the right foot.

Search Engine Optimization and Digital Marketing

How will you set your website up for search engine optimization (SEO) and other forms of online marketing? SEO strategy pushes your website up in search engine rankings for more views, clicks, and business. You can use third-party plugins to assist with SEO and use online resources for SEO beginners. If you’re serious about your website and want it on the first page of Google, you will need to hire SEO professionals. Also, consider your other marketing strategies like social media outreach and link building strategy.

Now, We Wait

Your last task before launching your site is patience and testing. Allow yourself and others to test the website on multiple platforms and allow any search engine optimizations strategies to start aging before launch. This can be tough, but it’s a critical step.

Before you begin pumping money and effort into a website, carefully think over these nine factors. A website is a lot of work but using these nine factors will help your website start out optimized, laid-out, and ready for any potential customers. Consult professionals when you need to and always be patient with new websites. With patience and effort, you can get the website you or your clients deserve.