There’s a lot to consider when building a new website that can seem daunting and overwhelming. You have to make decisions on branding, logos, color schemes, fonts, graphics, analytics tools, marketing, website optimizations, and advertisement. Before you make these decisions, there are three things that should be your first step in building your next website.
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Get Your Domain Name Secured
Every website needs an address, in the form of a domain name. Some services allow you to build free websites using their domain names, but most exist on their unique address. Domain names are how others are going to access your website and play a huge role in the branding of a website. Having a domain name that matches fits your brand is helpful on multiple levels, especially when it comes to brand recognition, visibility, and SEO. For instance, if you had the domain “whatthefreakisthis.com” but you sold pet supplies, people may not associate your domain name with its intended purpose.
I highly recommend getting a domain name as the first step to building any website. Even if you don’t use it immediately acquiring your domain name early ensures that the name you intend to use has been secured for future use. Additionally, other services (such as e-mail or an online workspace) can be used with the new domain before the website is finalized.
There are many places where you can purchase a domain name, one of my favorites is Namecheap. Not only do I highly recommend them, but they are one of my preferred domain registrars. For a more information read my article that provides in-depth information about what you need to know about domain names.
What Is The Function Of Your Website
Every website has a purpose and the type of website you want will determine how it will be built. Having a clear idea about the function of your website is important to establish early in the process. For example, the tools and platforms needed to run an e-commerce store are very different from a site that sells services. While both sites may list products that are available for purchase, display prices, and process orders, one site may sell products directly through a website and another may act as a portal to secure services and payments are processed elsewhere. Both of these websites, while they seem the same, often use a different set of tools and run on different platforms.
Defining the functions of your website is important in outlining which tools, platforms, and services are used in building your website that best fits your needs. It could be the difference between building your website once, versus rebuilding it several times over many platforms until you find the right solution.
Which Platform And Tools Do You Need
This step is the culmination of the previous two. There is a wide arrange of web development platforms and tools that perform similar tasks. Some are better for very specific needs, others are easier to manage and navigate for those performing a websites’ day-to-day management, and others provide flexibility for a wide range of needs. While everyone has a preference on a platform (for instance, many people prefer creating a website using WordPress), it’s important to choose the proper solution that’s able to match your goals.
There are some questions to ask before making this decision are: do you want to build the website yourself? Are you using a pre-built template or system? Do you need an online store? Are you also a blog? What are your e-commerce options? How are you going to incorporate payments? How are you able to incorporate your CRM, marking or customer service platforms with your website? Do clients need a live chat channel to interact with you?
By answering questions like these, it helps to refine the solutions that are best suited for your website. In addition, I recommend performing a few web searches to help answer the questions you have. For instance, both Shopify and WooCommerce are great e-commerce options but one may be better based on the answers to questions like those above.
Having these three basic things in place, you have completed the most important step of your website, and have a foundation to build upon it. Now, you’re able to find solutions that are specific to your needs and be built for future success.