So you’re ready to build your website. Below I include my step by step guide to creating a website plus all my favorite products to use to power my websites.
1. Domain Name
The first step when building a website is to purchase your domain name. This is the url visitors will input into the web browser in order to visit your online home (aka your website ;)).
If you still don’t have a brand or name for your business, I recommend you read this post first so you can get an idea for your domain name before you purchase one that won’t have anything to do with your brand.
You need money to purchase your domain name. (This is actually one of the smallest expenses for your website.) You buy your domain from a domain marketplace.
I use GoDaddy to purchase all of my domains. I’ve had domains with them for about 10 years and counting. They are rather cheap for your first year and there’s always coupons! (I’m a coupon queen and I ALWAYS search for a coupon/promo code for EVERYTHING I buy.) Another popular domain marketplace is Namecheap.
(FYI, I recommend the above websites ONLY for purchasing domains. Continue reading for recommendations marketplaces for other purchases.)
The second step is choosing the CMS or content management system (platform) you want to use for setting up your website and/or posting content. You can choose a self-hosted platform or a third-party platform that includes hosting.
I will ALWAYS recommend self-hosted platforms like WordPress.org over third-party platforms with included hosting like Squarespace, WordPress.com, Blogger, and Wix. Even though it may be tempting to use these platforms because they get you on the web in minutes with their built-in templates and they offer everything packaged in one monthly price, they are not ideal for long-term web management and growth.
I recommend WordPress.org for the ease of use and the ability to customize. The most common complaint I get from clients who previously used third-party platforms, is the inability to customize the websites.
WordPress allows you to create incredible designs whether you’re a beginner or an expert in design.
The third step is to decide where you are going to host your website. Hosting means where your website will live. This is most likely going to be the largest expense for your website (unless you plan on outsourcing your web design, which can cost you a lot more money).
Hosting can be cheap, but that comes with compromises. I recommend getting a QUALITY hosting provider and a QUALITY hosting tier or package.
When trying to decide on a hosting provider, you want one that offers NON-SHARED plans. Shared hosting means that your website will be hosted (or live) on a shared server or hosting environment, with OTHER websites.
You do NOT want to host your website on a shared server because this will cause your website to load slower since other websites on the same server are also using server resources.
You do NOT want your website to load slowly. This will cause visitors to leave your website and search engines like Google devalue slow websites, which means you will rank lower in search results.
One of the top hosting providers right now is SiteGround. In my experience, websites load in under 2 seconds when hosted on SiteGround.
Google recommends that websites load in no more than 2 seconds. So if your website takes any less time to load then you’re in a great place.
SiteGround offers quick 1-step WordPress.org installation and the interface is very easy to use. They offer incredible features and all at extremely competitive prices. The prices go up at the time of the renewal but the features are way too good to pass up even then.
After experiencing several issues with 3 other popular hosting providers, I finally settled on SiteGround. And now that’s the ONLY one I use for all my clients’ website.
Branding is the combination of style elements that represent your business or your brand. It is comprised of your logo, colors, typography, graphics, icons, images, photography, etc.
A good brand consistently uses its branding elements and intertwines them with every communication channel, whether it’s social media, the website, print media, or advertising.
Once you narrow down on your niche, you can decide on the branding elements that your audience will best respond to. This will help you translate your brand to your website.
The next step is to decide on the website design. Your branding will be used to guide your website design.
If you use WordPress, then you need to upload a theme that will provide you with the functions to design your website.
My favorite WordPress theme by far is Divi by Elegant Themes. It is the most robust theme I have ever used.
It is extremely easy to use and you don’t need to know HTML or CSS to use it. Its built-in Divi Builder allows you to edit webpages using a drag and drop tool.
The theme is extremely customizable and if you do know code, you can do even more with it. The possibilities are truly endless.
I use Divi for ALL of mine and my clients’ websites. And best of all, they offer a one-time payment option that gives you LIFETIME access to all the Divi features and updates. PLUS, when you choose that lifetime option you have access to install Divi on an UNLIMITED number of websites.
YES, that means that if you decide to start other brands and create other websites, then you can install the same theme again and again. There is NO need to ever buy another theme again.
SEO is search engine optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your website so that search engines like Google will rank it higher in the search results.
Although SEO isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of marketing, a good marketer must know SEO.
Everyone wants to be on the first page of the search results. Even more so, everyone wants to be the FIRST LINK in the search results.
Although it’s very competitive, it’s doable to rank high in the search results. It takes learning some strategies and applying them correctly.
That will be a huge part of your marketing strategy and will translate throughout your whole website; from your home page to your blog posts.
Another important part of your marketing plan is how you’re going to actively drive traffic to your website. SEO is considered one type of organic traffic.
Other types of organic traffic come from your social media profiles and channels as well as other websites. This means that you need to create content on social media and link to your website as well as work with other brands (collaborations) to have them link to your website from theirs.
The other type of traffic is paid traffic, which refers to advertising. Some forms of paid traffic is Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, advertising on websites, and sponsored posts on other platforms/websites.
Paid traffic costs money but drives traffic quickly (if done correctly). Organic traffic is free but takes longer to build a steady stream of traffic. Both are great to use, it’s just a matter of choosing what’s best for you and your brand.
Building a website doesn’t have to be difficult. I outlined the 7 crucial steps for building your brand website.
Do you have any questions on building your website? Are you stuck on one of the steps? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know in the comments below!