Before you even get to the point of actually building your website, you need to do a few things. We’ll talk about that prep work in this post.
Please note that some of the links are to programs for which we are affiliates, which means we’ll get some money if you purchase from them.
1. Get a domain name.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. Make it as short and memorable as you possibly can, and try to avoid using dashes. You can register a domain name at any registrar, but we usually use GoDaddy. I usually register the .com, .net, and .org variations of my domain names. It’s totally up to you if you want to register other extensions.
2. Set up email
If your “business” email address includes gmail.com, hotmail.com, or yahoo.com, you really need to fix that ASAP. After you purchase your domain name, you can set up an email account that uses that domain name. We use G Suite from Google, which starts at only $6 per user. If you need help getting your account set up, contact us.
3. Decide on a Content Management System (CMS)
I’m not gonna lie, but I think WordPress is the only CMS you should consider. We’ve been using it for many years, and it’s the most flexible CMS for a small business. It’s relatively easy to get started with it. Plus it’s very scalable, so you can start small, but it will support you when you grow large.
Other systems to consider include Wix and Weebly. I’ll write another blog post that compares and contrasts Wix, Weebly, and WordPress.
4. Think about hosting.
If your domain name is the address of your website, you can think of hosting as the actual land upon which the website is built. Where you host the site will depend on which content management system you decide to use. If you go with Wix or Weebly, you really only get one choice for hosting: the CMS provider. WordPress gives you a lot more options! If you registered your domain name with GoDaddy, you could simply host it there to get started. We tend to direct our clients to a WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine, because they have some features that we find especially useful during development and ongoing maintenance of the site.
5. Work on your content
You don’t need to wait for your website to be built to start working on your content. Think about your amazing “About Us” page now. Start gathering testimonials from your customers. Write a few blog posts. Collect high-quality, professional pictures that you can use on your website.
After you do all of the things listed above, you can actually start building your website. Stay tuned for some more posts, and workshops, covering that. If you need help in the meantime, contact us.