If you’re wondering whether to start a website or not, you should know that there are people looking for services or products your business offers, right now!
If you’re running a business in 2019, having a website is not just an option anymore. It’s a necessity, much like having a smartphone or a computer. Google is increasingly becoming the homepage for local businesses and you need to make sure that your business website shows up when your potential customers search for it.
Without a website you’ll be missing out on so much untapped potential. Not to mention losing out to your competitors who do have a website.
Now that we have the why covered, let’s get started with the what and how.
“71% of small businesses have a website. Of the small businesses that do have a website, only 79% say their website is mobile friendly.”Clutch.co, 2017 Website Survey
Here are 4 bare essentials you absolutely need to start a website:
1. Domain Name
A domain name is what you type in the browser to get to a website – eg. google.com, facebook.com, salmanravoof.com, etc.
Likewise, your website needs a simple, easy-to-remember domain name that the users can type in their browser to access it.
There are different types of domain names – eg. .com, .net, .org, .edu, .blog, .site, .co.uk, etc. They’re called TLDs, short for Top Level Domains.
Unless you’re an organisation or an educational institution, I suggest you to try to get a .com domain as much as possible, as it’s the most used TLD and looks more professional for businesses.
Domain names need to be purchased at a suitable domain registrar. I recommend either GoDaddy, Namecheap or Google Domains. Some web hosts also offer a free domain name if you register for an annual web hosting package, so do check that out beforehand.
2. Web Hosting
While a domain name is like an address, a web host is akin to a home where your website resides. It stores all the files necessary to display the website to the user.
A reliable web host provides you with enough storage and resources to serve your website quickly to the users. For basic websites who don’t expect a lot of traffic, a simple shared web hosting package would do.
For websites that are more complex (e-commerce, dynamic, high-traffic sites), you need to go for higher tier web hosting packages.
The web hosts I personally recommend are SiteGround, DreamHost and FastComet. They’re all reliable, fast and have an excellent customer support team. Also, all of these web hosts provide you with free SSL certificates for your domain(s) hosted with them (the padlock / secure icon — 🔒 — beside the URL in your browser).
3. Website Content
What’s a website without any engaging content? Content is at the heart of any website. The basic web content includes text/copy and images. To make it more fun and attractive to users, you can also include icons, graphics, videos, etc. Basically, you need to increase the variety of content on your website to keep it interesting for the users.
No matter what type of website you’re planning to have, it should have 4 must-have pages/sections in it:
- About Us
It’s always recommended to get the basic website content ready before building a website.
If you don’t have any professional images, you can go for free stock images.
4. Website Builder / Web Developer
If you’re an individual or a small business with not enough budget to hire a web developer to build your website, website builders are the perfect solution for you. If you know how to learn quickly and experiment, these do-it-yourself builders can get you started right away.
However, finding the right website builder for your needs can be quite tricky. Here are some of the top recommended do-it-yourself website builders:
If you want to customize your website in a unique way or have it built just the way you’ve imagined, there’s no better alternative than hiring a web developer (hint: I’m one too 😉 ). An experienced professional web developer understands what it takes to build a reliable site and achieve its goals.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to start a website, go create!