This is a short overview of a way to go about building your website. We will go over some of the basic things to keep in mind as you build your web presence.
A website needs to have a purpose before you start creating it. Is it going to support your existing business? Is it to be a part of your ecommerce plan? Is it a ego site that is designed to tell folks all about you? How about a family treasure trove of photos and comments on various family events?
Whatever your purpose, you need to make sure that it is clear in your mind before you start on your website.
Once you have determined what you want your website to do for you, it is then time to get a name for it. Typically, you would chose a name that is close to the business name that you already use, your family name, or whatever you have determined the site to reflect.
Keep in mind that near 20 million sites exist today and getting the exact name is going to be a challenge (sometimes). You can learn about how to get your domain name by visiting our website or many more sites on domain names.
Once you have your name, you need a hosting service that will display your web pages. This is something that you rent space on so that your site can be seen on the web. Again, you can get more details from our site and many others about hosting.
At a very minimum, you will want to have 5 pages for your website:
1- Main page or landing page. This needs to be available within 2 or 3 seconds from the time that someone puts in your web address.
2- About page – this is where you tell the world who you are.
3- Contact page – this is the page where you give your contact info.
5- Content page(s) – this is the meat of your website. It may be as little as one page or it can be a massive collection of pages.
When someone lands on your main page, you have less than 20 seconds to get them to see your content. You must have a combination of words and pictures that give the story, clearly and concisely.
Remember, most of the folks that reach your site (by the search engines, for example) have no clue who you are. So tell them, quickly.
A short paragraph that gets them to go onto your content is ideal. This can be teaser copy, a brief overview, a quick description of your main products/services. Remember for this page as well as all of your content pages, “Content Is King”.
And, your graphics/pictures are “Queen”. They should compliment your content and invite the user to continue.
Once the user has gone on to any “secondary” page in your site, you have the time to give them details. This includes your about, policy, and content pages.
We’ll take the example of the website acting as a sales support tool.
On your content page(s), you want to quickly satisfy the question: “What’s in here for me?” This is your time to sell your product/service with all the benefits, features, whistles, and bells that you have in your arsenal.
You may have a call to action like a buy it now button, or for more information click here, etc.
Each of your products (or product groups) should be together, then a different page or pages for a second one. In this way, you can keep your viewer focused and direct them to your desired action.
If your site starts to get a bit extensive, you ought to add an html sitemap page. This is usually just a bunch of text links to the various pages within your site. The hierarchy of your site can be shown here.
Another useful page is one that is only seen by the search engines. It is called sitemap.xml. The tool that we use to build our xml file is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.
This file should be built after you have most of your site setup and published on your hosting machine. It can be built a couple of months after you stabilized your site.
As mentioned in the beginning, this is a short overview of a way to go about building your website. You can vary your design as you wish. There is no wrong in this area. What you see is what you want it to look like and what you say is what you intended to say. That’s it.
As long as you have built your site to meet or exceed your original intent, you will have a very successful product when you finish.
Oh, there is no such thing as a completed website. It is always under construction and will be as long as you maintain an interest in it.