Interested in getting a Website but don't know where to start?Here's a simple guide to help you through the process.
Getting a domain name
Where to start?
The good news is if you’re reading this, you already have. If you have a business in place or chosen a business name you’re also on your way. If not, don’t panic – one step at a time.
Getting a Domain Name
First off, you need a domain name. This is the address that people type in to find you, usually with www. in front of it. The domain name for this business is www.mhodesign.com – choosing a good domain name can make a big difference. If you are lucky, you can find a domain name that matches your business name.
What if I can’t get the domain name I want?
Then it’s time to get creative and find a domain that still communicates your business name in a memorable and effective way: Joe’s Diner.com might become www.joesdinervancouver.ca – it doesn’t affect what your actual business is called, it’s just the address for your website.
Do I need a .ca or a .com address and what’s the difference?
Getting both would be ideal but you don’t have to. The .CA tells search engines (like Google or Bing) that you are a Canadian website while the .COM address is not necessarily country specific. If you are a local or Canadian business then getting .CA is just fine. Getting the .COM is handy because sometimes people type in .COM by accident or worse, a competitor gets the .COM version and takes away your business. It’s relatively cheap to get both so if you can, do it.
I don’t have time for any of this…
Then hire me. I am happy to come in at any stage and help you figure out what to do next.
Letting the competition help you
Research and planning
Bring it all together
Hopefully the domain name you’ve chosen will compliment your business idea and give people an idea of what you do. If you’re still stuck then check out MOZ.COM for a great article that has stood the test of time.
Everything you do should try and link together in terms of tone, messaging and look. For example, having a really goofy name like Google is okay – the company was all about being a fun upstart at one time. If your company or organization is looking for a more serious tone then your name and your domain name should reflect that.
Your company name + Your domain name + Your website = Your brand.
Think of the one thing you absolutely need your site to do
It really helps to have a clear goal of what you want your website to do. Don’t get too ambitious at first. A plan always helps. To start with make a list of your key services, your key products and the most important thing you would like people to know about your business. These points will help you plan out your basic site navigation. Everything you do with your site should clarify what your business does and how people can interact with it.
Where, When, What, Who and depending on your organization, why.
Checking out the competition for ideas
If you’re not sure then check out other sites to see what they are doing. This is when the competition can really help you out. See who they are aiming they’re message to – is it a certain age or demographic? Young or old, male or female? See who advertises on their site or do they have no ads. You should be able to see who’s doing what and if they’re doing it well. If you see something that you think works, take note. Best case scenario is that your competition isn’t doing very well online and there is an opportunity for you to lead the way. If everyone is doing the same thing it’s probably for a good reason but it can also be a chance to you to stand out.
What it all comes down to:
Budget – Timeline – Functionality – Design – Results
What do you want your website to do?
Is it a promotional site for your services, your organization or your business – does it allow people to interact with it or is it just informational? Your choice. If in doubt, start small and add features at a later date.
Who is going to visit your site?
Are they potential customers or stakeholders – are they young or old and what kind of information do you think they will come looking for? You need to answer these questions and then think about how your website will help you and your audience in the best way possible.
It might actually be fun…
If you put in the time up front then creating a new website is exciting and even fun. It’s a chance to tell the world who you are and what you can do. You get to inform customers, connect with like minded people and share knowledge. Good things can come from all that.