Have you been putting off moving your business online because you’re worried you don’t have the time or resources to do it right? This is a common misconception among millions of start-ups. In this blog post, you will learn how to get a professional website for your business up and running in a week’s time –all in an affordable budget that is right for you.
Follow these simple steps to jumpstart your online presence:
Monday: First things first: choose and purchase your .biz domain name in a matter of minutes. Don’t take this decision lightly; your domain name will create a unique identity for your business and influence your website’s search engine optimization, or the ability for your customers to find your website from search engines. Click here for more information on how to choose the right domain name for your business. Finally, visit a registrar’s website to purchase your .biz domain name. Examples of registrars include GoDaddy, Network Solutions, eNom, Inc. and 1&1 Internet, among others.
Estimated time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Estimate cost: varies depending on registrar, usually less $20/month.
Tuesday: Next, you’ll need to select a web host to store your website. Your decision will depend on the size, speed, capabilities you would like for your website. Read this Squidoo blog post to learn how to select a web hosting service to fit your business’ needs. Some popular hosting providers are HostGator, InMotionHosting, Yahoo! Hosting and FatCow. After subscribing to a hosting provider, you’ll receive simple steps to set up an FTP address, login and password.
Estimate time: 20 minutes
Estimated cost: average of $5.00/month*
Wednesday: Now you can dive deep into the planning of your website. To help you determine what you want your website to look like, it might be helpful to research some websites in your industry as well as eye-catching websites outside your industry. In addition, you can build a site map (or wireframe) to gain an understanding of what pages your website will feature and how you will organize your content. http://creately.com offers a free tool to make your site mock-up easy and fast. For examples of effective wireframe, read speckyboy’s blog post featuring effective wireframe examples.
Estimated time: 1-2 hours
Estimated cost: Free (do it yourself!)
Thursday: There are two options we recommend to turn around your website within a tight time frame, without having to hire a professional.
Option 1 | Templates: Registrars offer a complete site builder kit when you reserve or purchase your domain name. There are also plenty of free template sites available. While templates are easy to use and affordable, they may not offer the same levels of customization. Examples of template providers include: intuit.com, webs.com, wix.com, yola.com
Option 2 | WordPress: Often stereotyped as a content management service just for blogs, WordPress is also a great resource to build and customize your website on. You can browse the most popular themes and the site does a good job of guiding you through the process. The pros to choosing this option are that it provides advanced features, professional appearance and online customer service. However, it can be more time intensive than other basic template options and you’ll need a basic knowledge of HTML code. Take a look at site themes on WordPress and view a tutorial here. Using your website wireframe and content plans as a guide, you can begin to build your website design and layout. Add images, titles and filler text as needed to get a basic framework and organization down.
Estimate time: 5-6 hours
Estimated cost: Free or one-time minimal fee
Friday: With your website skeleton ready, spend this final day drafting content for your website and tweaking your design as needed. Don’t reinvent the wheel; be resourceful: reuse and refine content from marketing materials you have already created. Keep in mind that writing for the web should differ from other mediums. Read a recent article on Site Pro News for tips on how to write effective web copy to drive engagement, conversions and SEO on your website. When your website is complete with content, load your files to your web host service and publish!
Estimate time: 6-8 hours
Estimated cost: Free
Now your business has a home on the web and you’re ready to ready it to the next level! Stay tuned for future blog posts on how to market your new .biz website and set your business apart from the internet noise