Before You Start Your First Website

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Years ago, one could simply purchase a domain name, set up a basic site, and watch as traffic rolled in. There was little to no effort on the host’s part, and getting a solid stream of visitors was not a difficult feat. However, times have changed, and as the internet evolves, so has the process of starting a website. While in many ways it has become easier, you’ll still need some know-how to not only survive, but to thrive – such as social media integration, and specially-crafted search engine optimization. However, despite these challenges, starting a website is still perfectly doable. We’re here to help! All it takes is a bit of time, skill, planning, and a few tips.

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Traditional old type of website

1) Define your Website Objective

It can be easy to take your website in a dozen different directions at once. With the huge amount of possibilities and potential which exist nowadays, your website may easily detract from its primary purpose. Know what that purpose is, and don’t stray far from it! If your website exists simply to support your business, don’t plaster it with ads. Likewise, if you’re aiming for an e-commerce or advertising platform, keep that profit-driven focus. Keeping your website focused is essential if you hope to keep it in line with its purpose.

2) Brand your Website

Whether you’re a new internet start-up or simply looking to showcase your existing business, you are going to need things to identify your company and website. Elements such as logos, slogans and themed graphics will help visitors and customers easily remember and keep track of your services, and they will fit nicely as filler on any document or webpage. However, keep a professional and consistent tone while doing this, as branding goes a long way in helping your customers form their first impression of your business. Make sure your website is easily remembered, as retaining existing visitors is perhaps even more important than finding new ones.

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3) Choose a Proper Domain Name

Choosing a solid domain name is one of the most important parts of starting up your website. The domain name should title the site, and give a description of what lies within. So, for example, if your domain name is an acronym, that is perfectly acceptable. For existing businesses, the naming process is simple: just use your business name like e-alchemists.com or an acronym. However, if you’re starting a standalone website, you should carefully consider your title with care. Perhaps make a list of potential names, analyzing them for ease of pronunciation, spelling, whether it resembles anything already out there, and if it could be mistaken for some other entity etc. – anything to help you consider it carefully! This is the most important step when starting your first website.

4) Make Sure you Choose a Good Web Host

You should never be cheap when picking a web host, because when it comes to hosting, it’s an instance where you get what you pay for. Any site which advertises ridiculously low rates such as $1/ month should be avoided, because although they may host your site, it might be slower, or customer service might not be as prompt or attentive.

Of course, you always have the option of buying a physical server and hosting your site there. This will be much more expensive, but you get all the benefits that having a personal server entails. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before undertaking this. At E-Alchemist, we offer Hosting Services. Reliability is really important to us, and we believe in offering great value at a great price!

5) Make Use of Good Web Design

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To keep visitors on your site, and to keep them coming back, having solid web design is a must. Picking up standard HTML and CSS could be useful, and so is learning coding languages such as JavaScript and PHP is a good idea. If you have no skills (or interest!) in any of these languages, the best way of starting your first website is to use platforms such as WordPress or Weebly, which allow for you to construct a website with no coding whatsoever. However, if you truly feel that you need outside assistance, don’t be afraid to hire an expert like us for web development and design. We provide an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that will help you to avoid any coding headaches when you want to make amendments. You will be able to easily manage the CMS by yourself, for example, when you want to create a new page to display more information as well as to attract more traffic. As your business grows, so does your site – but without extra cost.

6) Testing your Website

Your website is almost certainly not ready to function right away. You will most likely need many rounds of testing, to check for bugs, search engine optimization, mobile compatibility, and many other factors. Again, don’t be afraid to hire outside help: many companies offer paid usability studies, employing real people to test your website’s functionality. Many large companies drop big bucks on these studies, but they can be had for a relatively small price at websites such as UserTesting.

7) Get your Site Noticed

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Once you feel that it is ready for the public, it’s time to get your website known. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Professionals will take your website and optimize it to be viewed and clicked on from Google and other search engines as much as possible. Additionally, you will want to advertise, both physically in posters and flyers, and in website ads. You might also want to start a blog, to connect with your visitors. You can also add in additional SEO in the blog posts, meaning more visitors to the site. This is perhaps the most crucial step in the whole process, and will ultimately determine your website’s success.

8) Track your Performance

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Once your website is off the ground, well, the work has only begun! You’re going to need to keep track of its growth, and make sure that it is performing well. After all, why put in all the effort to start the site, only to abandon it later? There are many tools available, such as Google Web Master and Google Analytics, which make keeping track of your site easy. Make sure that you utilize these tools, and stay on top of your website as it lives.

If you follow these steps, your website will be up and running well in no time. If you dedicate yourself to it, your website will grow and prosper, regardless of its purpose or function. Just keep your head in the game, your site on Google, and watch as your masterpiece grows.

We hope you find this guide to starting your first website useful!