During my mentoring sessions with mentees from the Mentoring Women in Business Platform of Cherie Blair Foundation, we often get asked about launching a new website.
Here is a guideline to go about it:
The main things you need for launching a website is a domain name and a web hosting service. For example my business website’s domain name is gillconsulting.nl and my web hosting service is tranip.nl. I feel it is more practical if you look for options that are available locally, although it does not matter much in this day and age.
There are few questions you need to look into before you launch any kind of website:
1- What is the goal and objective of your website?
Designing a website depends on what you are trying to achieve through your website. A website is your business or organisation’s online home. Do you just want to share information about your business, like a flyer does? Then you would probably go for a static HTML/CSS website option. If you want to host a blog which also allows comments/reactions from visitors then a CMS or a content management system with a blog is a better choice. If you want to do transactions through your website, then you are looking at an commerce website which would have a different structure altogether. Platforms like WordPress have ready-made templates with plugins for almost everything so you might want to look into that. Otherwise, you need to contact a web developer. Also look into solutions like PayPal (or local solutions if there are any) if you want to incorporate transactions into your website. PayPal is one of the practical and cheaper solution in the beginning.
2- What is your budget?
A lot of the times, we tend to go for free website options but be careful with those. As a business, you might want to look into investing on the online ‘home’ for your business especially if you want to impress potential clients. A professionally designed website will always give you a return on investment in the long run. Assess how much you can spend on the website before moving forward with your plans. There will always be charges for domain name and web hosting. Then the cost for getting the website designed and possibly technical support if needed. You can mange the content yourself (e.g. a blog) or see if you want to hire a content manager.
3- Do your homework
Doing market research should be the first step actually. Where is your audience and what are your competitors doing? Make sure you have looked at a dozen of similar businesses that are already active in the cyber world especially those who are trying to reach the same market as you. For example, if you doing interior design, you should try reading up on top interior design blogs like these featured here: http://graphicdesigndegrees.org/top-100-interior-design-blogs/
See what kind of things they do on their website and what kind of content they share, i.e. videos, images, text etc.
Choose the medium according to your market, target audience and brand style. Then proceed to choosing promoting platforms, like a social media platform that matches your style. For example, if photographs and images are more your thing, then choose Pinterest along with Facebook to promote your business website. If you choose to host videos, then you also might want a Youtube channel or Vimeo account for promotion.
After you have answered these questions, you can move forward with identifying what domain name you want, what kind of hosting you want, and what kind of website you want to go for. Then comes the question of how you want to maintain it. Normally, after you have a website designed, writing blogs and uploading them to your website is not very difficult.
If you found this post helpful, please let us know in the comments section below. You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you would want to read about or know more about.
All the best with designing and managing your online presence!