I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full Affiliate Disclosure for more information.
Start Your Business Online: How to Design a Website for Your Home Based Business
In order to do any kind of business online, you will want to have a website. A website is an incredible way to find new customers and to nurture the relationships that you already have.
With 47% of people reviewing a company’s website before making a purchase (KPMG, The Truth About Online Consumers), and an estimated 95% of all purchases made will be via eCommerce by 2040, it’s more important than ever to grow your business and to design a website.
However, building your first website can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, there are so many choices. So, let’s break it down into three easy steps. on how to design your first website.
1. Determine Your Website’s Purpose
What are you going to do on the website? How are you going to make money? This is important because some website languages, templates and platforms are more effective for certain business models.
For example, if you’re building a site with a web store, you’ll need to choose a theme or platform that supports eCommerce. If you are going to focus on your own services, does the platform integrate with your scheduling tools?
Purchase Your Domain Name
Once you’ve decided what your website will be about, you’ll need to buy your domain name, which essentially is your URL or site name. You can either purchase it through your site host (more on this next), or you can purchase separately from somewhere like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
Although it may seem like a good idea to do it all in one place, if you ever have to break up with your site host, you won’t have to worry about having to redirect your domain again.
When choosing a name, here are some tips for the best success:
- Use keywords that relate to your niche when possible
- Don’t use clever spelling variations as you’ll be less likely to be found in a search
- Try to secure a .com domain
- Keep it short
2. Secure Self-Hosting, Choose Your Platform and Select a Theme
Once you know what you want to accomplish with your website, it’s time to choose your website site-host and writing platform. There are a number of options here.
Choosing Site Hosting
If you want to really have control over your blog content, design and monetization strategies, you will want to have a self-hosted site. Think of site-hosting as the landlord that hosts your content. You still own everything on the site, they just help by providing a space on the internet to share it.
RELATED CONTENT: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What’s Best for My Website
Some things to consider when choosing a good hosting site:
- Do they offer an introductory price (if they do, try to get as many years as you can as it’s usually only offered once)?
- What is their average downtime?
- How is their customer service? Are there several ways to contact them if you need help?
- Does their hosting come with free migration services (if you are already hosted somewhere else)?
- Do they provide free SSL certificates for security?
- Do they have good site speed?
- Do they provide back-ups and restores in their plans?
- Do they offer domain emails (these are required for creating accounts with email service providers like Mailerlite)?
The site-hosting that I prefer and recommend is Siteground. Siteground has very rare downtime, excellent customer service, great site speed, and daily backups and restores in every plan. These are things that should be most important when looking at any plan. You can get self-hosting at Siteground here for just $3.95/month
Another great option and an all-in-one service where you can get site hosting, free security certificates and access to over 35 premium themes is WP Engine.
Choose Your Platform
There are a ton of options for a writing platform. This is where you will create your content and access it in the future. Some of the platforms available are Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Blogger, and Shopify.
The most popular platform for writing content is WordPress. WordPress is opensource free software created for an maintained by users that account for over 33% of all platforms used on the internet.
There are hundreds of online courses and books to show you how to use this WordPress. It might take you some time to design a website; however, you’ll be able to create it one hundred percent on your own.
If you are a more experienced designer, you can also learn a website design format like Joomla which is a content management system written in PHP, a design language.
Choose a Theme
Creating a website that conveys your message and business can be fun, yet exhausting.
You can use all-in-one site building services that offer wizards and templates to help you customize a website for your business. You can also use website design software that has themes that work with the new WordPress updates like StudioPress or work with one of the hundreds of free themes built into WordPress.
Another option is to use your website host’s predesigned templates. These templates are often customizable and are a pretty quick and easy way to get a website up.
If you do decide to go with a premade theme, try to choose one that can grow with your business and has the option to upgrade in the future. There’s nothing worse than realizing that you can’s update something and having to change to a whole new theme.
You can buy a very good theme for less than $150 that will suit any style or niche. My favorite place to buy themes that are beautiful and responsive is BluChic or Creative Market.
And if all of this just seems like too much, you can design your website with a pencil and paper and then hire someone to create it.
3. Decide on Navigation and Format.
Before you create your website or hire someone to do it for you, you’ll want to draft your website on paper. Decide what pages you want your website to have.
How are people going to find what they need? How will they navigate your website? What categories or buttons will you have? How will you share your information and how will you promote your products or services?
Some important pages to consider are:
- About Me
- Contact Page
- Legal Pages
- Shop (for eCommerce stores)
Figuring all of this out before you begin creating your website will help ensure it is a success.
Conclusion: Creating Your First Website
Creating your first website is a strategic process. However, much of the work will be done on paper as you plan the purpose and layout of your website.
Once you know exactly what you’re creating, you can find the best tools to create your site and make it a reality.