These days, it seems like everyone has a website. If you think that sounds like an exaggeration, keep in mind that the number of sites that are live at any given moment exceeds 1.25 billion, and around five new sites are added every second.
If you want to find something, the internet has quickly become the place to look. In fact, one commentator put forward the idea that if it exists, you can find it online using the inexact science of searching for a picture of a zebra wearing a fez.
If you don’t have a website of your own, you are probably feeling a little left out. A personal site or blog is a fun way to share your views and talk about the things that are important to you, but if you are running a small business, it has nothing to do with fun and everything to do with survival.
Whether it is for business or pleasure, the idea of creating your own website might seem daunting, but look at it this way: If 1.25 billion people can do it, the chances are good that you can, too.The following tips will help make the task easier.
Choosing your platform
Way back when the internet was young and the dinosaurs roamed free, building a website meant sitting in a darkened room for hours on end typing thousands of lines of code. It was like something from a Dan Brown novel for the digital age.
Of course, that is not what the 1.25 billion people we have been discussing do. Most of them use a simple platform like WordPress or Wix, which allows anyone to build a site, even if they don’t know an FTP from an HTML.
In fact, most of them use WordPress. It powers more than a quarter of all the sites on the internet, which gives an idea of its versatility. It is full of themes, plugins and other toys that you can use to make your site look great and be a welcoming place for people to visit, and it is completely free.
Hosting and domains
To get started on your WordPress site, you are going to need to purchase a domain and then host it somewhere. The domain is the name of the site. Looking at our friend’s example from earlier, if you plan to launch a site about zebras and their choice of hats, you might want something like www.zebrasinhats.com.
Sites such asGo Daddy will let you know what is available.In fact, if you go to their site and type in the above example, you will find it is there for the taking and can be bought with a single mouse click.
Next, you need to arrange hosting. Again, a Google search will provide numerous options, and it is simplya case of seeing who is offering the best deal that suits your needs.
Great design ideas
Now that you have your site, your hosting and your platform worked out, all that remains is to create some awesome content that will bring in visitors in droves.
You will hear all sorts of things about SEO, digital marketing and conversion rates, but there are two key factors you need to remember above all else. The first is content and the second is user experience. Get those right, and the battle is 80 percent won; then you can think about those other details.
Content is fundamental. If you want to attract visitors to your site, you need to have something interesting to tell them or show them. It also has to be relevant and highly original. Google is not a fan of people who duplicate the content of other websites, so don’t be tempted.
Of course, it is not all about what you say; it is also how you say it, and that’s where user experience comes in. If the site looks like a mess, takes ages to load and is hard to navigate, that great content will go unread. Think carefully about layout, and use the vast array of free images at your disposal to make your website a place that people will want to visit and that will ensure it is a cut above the rest.
The sky’s the limit
Setting up a site is just the beginning when it comes to establishing an online presence. With yours in place, you can then look to attract more visitors through social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. From there, the sky is the limit!