6 Best Tips How to Build a Website – from Hobby to Business
Making a website for your business is the first step towards career success. Without one it’s going to be next to impossible to reach your customer base – even if you have an active social media profile! You need to be able to sell safely as well as market, and build a one-stop-shop for all your customer needs. However, making a website is something few people know how to do, even in 2022.
It can be an involved process that involves a lot of back-end work, and that’s a tricky skill to learn even when you’re well versed in using technology. Indeed, if you don’t even know what HTML actually stands for, this might be the scariest idea in the world for you! So you may be wondering right now: can you even build a website for your business all by yourself?
The answer in short is yes! Thanks to the many website builders and ready-made hosting platforms there are out there, you can put together a perfectly serviceable ecommerce website by yourself, in a matter of days.
And without further ado, here’s how to get up and running with a business website that’ll really work for you, and help you turn your hobby into a business, or turn a business into an even better success story!
Photo by Matúš Gocman
How to Build a Website – 6 Top Tips Before You Start
1 – SEO Research
The first thing to do when building a website is not learn how to code or find a webmaster to build your platform for you. It’s delving deep into why you’re building a website and who you want it to appeal to. You’ll need these facts by your side to help shape the way your website ends up looking, and the design of your end product begins right here.
Namely, you’ll need to do some research into search engine optimization (SEO). You need to find out what the people you’re trying to sell to are searching for, and how your website’s structure can appeal to that.
You may need to do some of the ‘on-page’ variety here, which means organising the layout of your website to ensure that it makes sense to both a visitor and the search engine it’s listed on. This can mean changing the HTML code to ensure related URLs stack in order of importance, but more simply it means using correct title tags, apt meta descriptions, and creating good page content.
And while you can write and shape this content much later on down the line, doing research into it right now will help you plan out the resulting website you want to create. Get this out of the way early and you can focus on building the website in a quick and easy manner.
Photo by Vidhunnan Murugan
Choose Your Website Builder Carefully
Once your initial research is out of the way, now it’s time to choose your website builder! There are many good ones online to choose from, but be sure to compare them thoroughly before you sign up. Some have features others don’t, some are newer and aren’t as widely accepted, and some can be a little more complicated.
The latter includes options like WordPress, who are more of a content management system than a strict website builder. This means you have a lot more customisation options right down to the tiniest of HTML details, but it can also be hard to learn and sometimes more expensive to run – depending on the theme you’ve purchased and all the add-ons you’d like to include (from hosting security, to premium and ecommerce plugins) As someone who has no skills in website building and management, you may want to look elsewhere first.
And even when working with a website builder, you may want to consider purchasing separate hosting for it. In doing so you give yourself a lot more control over the way the website looks and functions. But you can always make this decision later on, when you’re more experienced in website building! For now you just need to get up and running as fast and efficiently as you can.
Photo by Emmanuel Edward
Get Your Domain Sorted
This is another area in which your SEO research will come in handy. You’ve probably already named your business, or have at least thought of a name for it, but you need to ensure this aligns with what you’re selling. How can you do this? It’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
First, your domain name needs to have a keyword or two put in there, such as the location you’re working in or the product you’re selling. Once you’ve decided on that, it should also sound like the brand you want to build. Something that feels like you as a business owner, and feels like the kind of online presence you want to maintain.
Brainstorm a few options back and forth before finally buying the domain. If you’ve got the budget to do so, try to buy a few related domains that sound similar as well. This will help you to keep charge over your IP in the future. Indeed, other companies may look to create a business similar to yours with a similar name, mostly by accident! But if you buy all the most crucial domains right now, there’s little chance customers will get confused about which site is the right place to shop.
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Install Useful Plugins
Once you’ve got the bare bones of your website up and running, it’s time to think about user experience. Of course, this informed a lot of your decisions about the initial webpages and the navigation system you decided to use, but installing plugins is where your customer focus really comes in. After all, one simple plugin could make the website 3x more satisfying to use for both sides of the screen.
Plugins aren’t complicated to use either. You just need to add them to your website, and the majority of those on the market are simple click-and-use varieties. Even when you use a website builder, or you’ve signed up to a separate website host, you can just add them in without a problem.
But what plugins should you decide on? First, look into the best live chat for small business and get it installed on your homepage. If a customer has a query, a live chat means they can come straight to you without leaving your website for a moment! This kind of convenience is what people are looking for in the digital age.
You should also think about plugins that reduce spam, especially if you have a blog attached, as well as ecommerce related customisation and anything that’s SEO focused.
Photo by Vidhunnan Murugan
Ensure Your Layout is Clear and Accessible
The fundamentals are out of the way. You’ve got your keywords, you’ve got your domain name, and you know what website builder you want to use. Now it’s time to put all of this together and make a basic website that’s sensible and accessible for all.
You can rely on the hundreds of different templates you find through your website builder to give you a leg-up here. After all, there’s a lot of customisation options available through them, such as changing font, colour, including images, and of course crafting your own copy. But as far as a layout goes, keep it as simple as you can.
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People need to be able to read by scanning, and to find the information they’re looking for in a matter of moments. Don’t be too image heavy, as this could cause the website to lag and load slowly. And a bit of open space doesn’t hurt anyone. In fact, it can help draw the eye to the most important places! Apply these principles on all the webpages you create – your Homepage, your About page, your Contact page, and your Shopping pages.
However, if you’re worried you won’t be able to stand out using this method, keep one thing in mind. That it’s easy to lose customers by making your layout too convoluted, and simple doesn’t have to mean boring.
Photo by Collabstr
Start Creating a Buzz
Once your website is live, it’s a good idea to start creating a buzz. If you’ve already got a social media profile, you can make posts about your new website and when it’s dropping. If you don’t, it’s time to create a cohesive brand across as many social platforms as you can!
Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and even Snapchat are all good places to get started. Have the same username for all, make sure your logo is prominent, and include business details in your ‘bio’. You can then think about purchasing Ads here and there, but you may want to beef out your website a little more before you do so.
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Remember, Your Website Can Change at Any Time
If you’re worried about what that means for you, remember that it’s a good thing! It means your online presence is evolving, and you’re getting better at meeting your customer needs and expectations.
The more you fiddle around with website design and code, the better you get at building and running websites that people enjoy using. This is a skill that goes far for the modern business owner; it guarantees self sufficiency and keeps you ahead of the curve when it comes to the online algorithm.
PIN: Turning a Hobby into a Business – How to Build a Website