How to create a business website
I've worked with lots of people looking to create a website for their business. In almost every case, I've found that clients have no idea of what is involved in creating a business website and are not sure what is required of them. Some expect you to do everything, register a domain name, set up hosting, and write their website text content!
Creating a website is not an impossible task, although developing a professional web presence involves many things. I believe clients should know the basics of how it's done.
Plan your web site
The very first step is to sit down with pad of paper and a pen and write a list what you want from your website. You don't need to be very detailed at this point but you do need to create a basic framework. Details can be be added as you move forward.
Visit different web sites
Spend some time visiting competitive websites, especially the ones of your competitors (or "prospective competitors"). See how their information has been presented and note the good and bad aspects of each site. Pay attention to those things that you liked as well as what turned you off. Doing your homework by going to other websites will provide you with plenty enough to get your brain going and will lead to your ability to come up with your own original ideas.
Get the content of all pages in place
Web pages consist of both text and multimedia content such as images, video, audio, etc. Creating the content of web pages is probably the most time consuming aspect of developing a website. This is, typically, your responsibility and NOT the responsibility of the web developer you hire. No one knows your business as well as you do. So do not cut a corner when it comes to creating content for your website! Your content can be created using MS Word. Make sure each page has a heading and a sub heading. Put yourself in the place of the reader and create text in easy to read paragraphs. If you have a lot of content, consider creating a bulleted or numbered lists so that your content isn't "text dense." This is like going back to school when you had to prepare a report on a topic. Use competitive websites for ideas, but do not copy content from other websites. Consider visual appeal and the placement of images and graphics. Be careful not to use images from the web because most will have copyrights.
Decide the design and layout of your website
This is where the services of the professional web developer comes in. Choose a design that represents your business. A very important note: You can choose a "custom web designer" or a web designer who provides you with template choices (which can have some color modifications made to it). A custome website will be considerably more expensive than a template-based website. Regardless of what you choose, do not become obsessed with trying to come up with the "best" design. I've had clients who kept making small change after small change to their design and it significantly delayed the process of getting their website online. Your website design and layout is important, but since design is highly subjective, what looks good to you might not appeal to another. As long as the design template and the layout are clean and easy to navigate, you don't need to become obsessed with every little detail like a slightly darker shade of green or increasing your logo by 5 pixels! Remember, web surfers are always in a hurry – they come to a website looking for information and if they become confused and find it difficult to find the information they came for, they will hit the back button and be gone.
Find a domain name
A professional online presence needs a domain name. Registering a domain name is inexpensive and simple, but coming up with a good one that fits your business can be frustrating because many of domain names are already taken and finding unique name is likely to prove difficult. This task will require patience and creativity.
Secure web hosting
In order for your website to be seen online, you will need to secure web hosting. Your website and its content needs to be located on a web server which is a dedicated computer connected to the internet 24/7. Web hosting is basically like renting hard disk space of a web server.
Get the website created
Assuming you have hired a web developer to create a website, you are now ready to go. Some web designers will expect that you secure hosting and a domain name on your own while other web designers will help you with this task. Once you've done a bit of work it is time to ask the developer to complete your website.
Uploading the website and making it public
Once the website developer creates your website, you will need to check it for the final time. Check and test all pages within your website! When you are satisfied and are sure that all information is correct, ask the developer to make the website public.