I’m surprised I’ve never done one of these, but when building a new website, it is important to have a few standard tasks checked off your list. Since I’m constantly building new websites, it is easy to overlook some of these details, so here is a simple checklist for every new website owner:
Of course, you want to shop around for the best domain for you. There is no rule for this. You can keep it simple for SEO purposes and have your domain name contain the keywords your targeting (for example, lasvegaswebdesign.com). Otherwise, businesses generally use their business name. Regardless, you can purchase your domain from registrars like Godaddy, 1and1, etc.
The domain is just the beginning. When you’re ready to build your website, you’ll need a web server to host your website. This basically means where you will have your web files saved and accessible to web visitors. If your domain and hosting is with the same service provider then the process is more straight forward, but if you get your domain from GoDaddy but then have hosting somewhere else (i.e., hostforweb, hostgator, etc.), then you need to make sure to point your DNS settings to the proper location.
3. Content Management System or Custom Design
Now that you have your domain and hosting, you’ll have to make a decision on how you will have your website built. You can opt to have a custom design made, however, this is usually more expensive and requires more maintenance. The alternative is to use a popular content management system (CMS), like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. These systems have themes/designs that are readily available, powered by a system that allows simple maintenance and flexibility. Modern hosting providers actually offer to install the CMS systems now. With a simple push of a button, the CMS can be instantaneously set up on your server.
A third option is to use one of many beginner-level web design services out there like Squarespace or Wix.
Now that you have your design, time to come up with a content strategy. Insert text as needed. Most people come up with landing page, about, products/services, and contact copy. But it’s up to your specific needs to decide what your visitors need to see.
5. Setting up email
If you want people to take you seriously, get a branded email address (not JohnDoe@yahoo.com). You can set up your email through your web host through pop or imap to be received on third-party software like Microsoft Outlook on your desktop or Apple Mail on your phone. Some hosting even offer access through some sort of webmail online. Personally, I like to set up all my email aliases (because I manage multiple websites) to be accessible through Gmail. That way I can send and receive in one place without having to sing into multiple places.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in business is that people think that you build a website and that’s it. “If you build it, they will come” mentality is not true. It is not the Field of Dreams. Just like when you build a brick and mortar, it doesn’t mean everyone will stop by and come into your shop. You need to drive traffic. Here are some of the basics:
Submit to Search Engines
One of the first steps is to make sure the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) know that you’re existent. Submit your website to search engines, so you get found when people are searching.
This is a huge topic, but there are teams of people dedicated to SEO efforts (search engine optimization). SEO includes everything from generating content, reaching out to other websites and getting links. Won’t be able to explain everything here, but do your research and invest in at least some of the basics like on-optimization.
For some industries it may not make sense, but for most, it is good to manage some key social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
There are so many marketing tactics out there. Others include Advertising (i.e. Google, Yelp, etc.), Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and more. Also, don’t forget more traditional forms of marketing. A lot of my fellow industry mates forget, but the internet is really only a virtual extension of us humans. Being a real live human is powerful so reach out to people personally and spread the news that way. It goes a long way.
7. Analytics / Webmaster Tools
Make sure to set up analytics and webmaster tools. This will help you to maintain your website, while having access to analyze stats. For example, you can see how many visitiors you’re getting, how they found you and why they’re interested in your website.
A final note is to have a back up of your website. It’s like preparing for the worst. If your server crashes and all your data is wiped out, at least you’ll have a backup so you don’t have to start all over.
Hope these tips help and good luck!