How Should You Plan Your Website?
So, you've got a great idea for a website. Maybe it's an online business you have in mind, or maybe an online community hub for a hobby or pastime that you enjoy. Whatever you're thinking of, it's absolutely great that you are thinking of taking the plunge into the world of website creation.
However, the prospect of creating a website from scratch can be quite intimidating – but it needn't be if you take your time to plan in advance, and do a bit of research. We're here to help, and this guide to planning a website should ensure that you start off on the right foot. Let's go!
Decide On Your Domain Name
First things first, you need to decide on a domain name and get it registered. You can consider your domain name probably the main identifier of your website after any business brand name, so it's important that you get it right. Doing a bit of research here is likely to pay dividends. We'd suggest brainstorming a list of between 10 and 15 domain names, and then ask some potential customers what they think of them.
Past experience tells us that there will usually be one name that is significantly more popular than the rest, and it won't necessarily be the one that you expected. So, get out there and get researching! Also, ensure that all the potential domains are available and in your price range before pitching them to customers.
Get A Host
This is where your website will be stored, and then transmitted to the end user's computer when they visit your site. There are lots of free hosting services available, and there's a reasonable chance that your website builder includes some hosting in your deal. This can sound tempting, and if your intention is to create a site for a few of your friends and family to use, it's an ideal solution. However, if you are looking to create something that a significant volume of the general public will visit, paying for a host is worth every single penny. A paid host will handle all the technical side of managing the server that stores your site, and your site will load quickly and reliably. There's nothing worse than building a site, and then it crashing whenever more than a few people at once try to visit.
Choose Your Tools
Thankfully, the days are gone when website creation was exclusively the preserve of brainy computer nerds. Nowadays, there's a wide range of Web Builders available that require no technical skills whatsoever. If this is your first foray into the world of web design, we'd strongly suggest that you use a Website Builder to create your site.
Design Your Site
You've got a domain, a host and a website building tool; now is the time to design your website and create the content to go on it. This is probably the part of the process that is the most fun, as you'll be seeing your idea turn into reality!
Test Your Site
Once your site is finished, you'll probably be chomping at the bit to get it out there so that people can use and enjoy it. However, the prudent web designer takes time to thoroughly test their creation before releasing it for general use. It's so much easier to troubleshoot and solve problems at this stage, rather than by receiving angry feedback from customers about errors. You can do a lot of damage to your brand's reputation by releasing a shoddy site, so take the time here to diligently iron out as many creases as possible in advance of the public launch.
Now you've done all the hard work, it's time to launch your site so that the general public can use and (hopefully) enjoy it. In reality, lots of the work will be just beginning. However thoroughly you test, the general public will find an error or issue that you didn't expect, so be ready to react swiftly to solve any problems that occur. Also, once your site is launched and running smoothly, it's time to start thinking about improving it and, more importantly, maximising traffic. However, those are challenges for another day. For now, take a moment to sit back and congratulate yourself on planning and creating your first website!