Starting a website has never been unchallenging with today’s’ power to connect, but to keep it a hit is another story. With over 3 billion people connected to the internet today, the world-wide web has become one, if not the most prominent platforms to express, inform, and sell. Interesting, right? What better way to maximize this connectivity than by creating a website.
Given all the crowding pitches for products, ideas, and services out there, how can a starting website compete and extend its reach? Taking a look at the fundamentals, here we gathered seven ways for a new site to hit the ground running:
1. Make Your Website Identity Clear.
A strong brand identity can help kickstart your website. Your website should be able to let your audiences set you apart from the crowd, and a definite brand identity will do just that. You are likely to stand out in your area of expertise or brand when you know what you are giving and getting. To do this, you will have to outline your goals and contributions that will put you in par.
Go into details. Writing a vision, mission, and goal statements aren’t old school. You don’t necessarily have to publish it, but it should serve as the backbone of your website. Just as you write a business plan, a site is a valuable platform that can give you gains in the long run. Ask yourself why you are creating this website in the first place. Whether it is for personal blogging, for a cause, or for commercial purposes, it could use the how’s and why’s to keep it grounded.
Know your audiences. Part of making your identity clear is by knowing your audiences. Are you writing for medical professionals or just readers your age? Identify the audiences you would like to attract so you can satisfy their need and interest but be open to drawing different types of people. Your brand should project the expectations of your target audiences, but at the same time, it should not sway you to what you offer on your new website.
Visual Identity. Your audience will judge your brand based on their first impressions. The visual representation of your website should also match your vision and mission, target audiences, and offers. Visual identity may mean a well-crafted logo, page colors, theme or style. Be able to visualize your plan. A do-it-yourself is nice, but if your new website is for business, don’t risk making it look unprofessional by opting out help from a professional graphics or multimedia designers to save a few bucks.
2. Get a Domain.
Choose a domain.
A domain is your website name or address that is unique. There can be no two websites with the same domain name. A domain extension or the top-level-domain (TLD), on the other hand, is an internet category or the suffix at the end of your address. Extensions such as .com, .edu, .org or a country code like .uk, .us, and many more are examples of a domain extension or TLD.
The Domain Name System (DNS) or the domain name was developed by Paul Mockapetris in 1983 in place of IP addresses as webpage identifiers which are but difficult strings of numbers. He recognized the problems of the early internet system thus proposing a dynamic naming system. He aimed to make easy, identifiable names for IP addresses and this has contributed to the evolution of the internet and how it is used and accessed today.
Similarly, you should be able to come up with a good domain name that is unique and easier to remember when starting your new website. Be simple. Come up with a domain name that can quickly capture your brand. While it is not mandatory for your domain name to bear the same title or name as your product or page, your audience should be able to recall or associate it with your brand quickly. So, when someone types in your domain, it will go to your website.
Register a Domain.
A good domain name will not only amp up your website, but it will also create a sense of legitimacy. People are likely to go back to your site and trust it when it appears professional and up-to-date. There’s no going around it; a domain name will build your credibility and protect your trademarks. And you don’t need a degree in computer science to be able to obtain a domain.
Before you can use a domain, it has to be registered. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is mainly responsible for coordinating namespaces and digital spaces on the internet.
So, let us say that you have already sketched how your new website is going to be like, how it looks, what it should promote, what it’s called – all things set. Now, it’s time to turn your plan into reality and place it out and into the world wide web. Then, you take a step back, and you think: how on earth is it done? You ask yourself ‘Do I need to sign up to something?’ or ‘Do I need to learn how to code and do the programmer kind of job?’ ‘How do you do this again?’
Invest in hosting solutions that can guarantee your unique domain name and extension. More reasons to get a domain when you are planning to extend your reach or making your presence known on the internet. There are many web hosting providers to choose from, and you’ll be surprised how competitive and efficient are the start-up hosting providers are.
3. Get to Know Web Hosting Solutions!
Understanding Web Hosting.
A web host is the physical location of your website. A website cannot exist without a host. If you are putting content online, you will need a storage center to hold that for you, allowing the internet to share your web content with other people or your target audiences. That is what a web host delivers – storage space and access.
A web hosting provider or web hosting per se is the business of providing the said storage space and access to the contents of a website. To put it just, your previously sketched ideas, and the brand concept is your ‘product’ and web hosting is the ‘shelf’ or ‘stall’ where you display your products and sell it. Before websites can become your platform, it will need to have its stage, a carrier.
Websites are hosted or stored on special computers which are called ‘servers.’ Thus, when people want to access your website, they will type in your domain into their web browser. Their computer will then connect to your server (or the special computer) that stores your content until they can view your content.
The process would pretty much look like this:
Personal computer → internet → Servers (special computers) → web content
web content viewed ← Personal computer ← internet ←Servers
Hosting and Domain Registration: 2 Elements.
Coming up with the perfect domain name is one thing, but obtaining it is another. It is important to note that when a domain name is already taken, you will have to come up with another. Again, there can be no two websites with the same domain. Most hosting companies will help you purchase a domain. Then still, domain registration and hosting are two elements often paired together to create a website, but they have their individual functions.
Some web hosts offer free domain names; however, it will carry the name of the host. For example, [yourchosendomainname.webhostname.com] is a free domain. You may choose your domain name, but you will have to carry the web host’s name. This format is known as a subdomain. Subdomains, however, are limited. It is free, but its features are limited.
Most search engines do not accept subdomains from free web hosting providers, so the chances of you appearing on the searches are thin. If your goal is to make your website searchable, or if your new website is for a business then you may want to reconsider availing a free domain. Besides, you will not be able to transfer subdomain to another web host.
Still, free domains are a great place to start with, allowing you to share your contents on the internet and make you get the feel of your website. It is free, and while the storage is limited, it makes putting out a content easy.
If you are trying to pursue a specific visual identity for your website, however, a subdomain could only do so much when it comes to style, color options, and themes. Your selection will only be limited to what the web host offers free; otherwise, you can purchase it.
Getting Your Website Hosted.
Hosting companies let you rent that server space that you need for your website. If you decide to subscribe to hosting, you should know the different types of hosting services and which would fit for your website’s needs. Generally, there are four types of hosting servers: Shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting.
4. Master the art of producing subtle contents.
Now that you have materialized your website, it doesn’t stop with finally getting a domain and subscribing to your host. You have to look at the meat of your website which is your content. It is your content that will sustain and keep your site running and relevant.
Produce Visual Content.
Many people respond to visual stimuli subconsciously. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Your website doesn’t have to be too elegant, but it has to be functional or easy to navigate without putting at stake design tips. Don’t be afraid of white spaces or more on your webpage. People will appreciate a breathing space instead of an info-overload when they least asked for it.
Include Infographics. Infographics (information + graphics) are an excellent visual image to represent your data. They can be a chart or a diagram with lots of pictures and elements of design. There are many ways to generate excellent infographics. You can find a website that lets you draw in one sign-up. Infographics are relatively easy to understand and do. There are presets of drawings and template designs that you can readily use for free. Infographics enhance boring texts and simplify complex information for your audiences.
Colors. Colors have a significant impact on advertising, marketing, and design for the very reason that it psychologically evokes feelings. There are many cultural perception and association on, but it is not an exaggeration to say that stirs emotions. Light receptors of our human eye transmit messages to the brain and produce sensations.
In designing your website, you have to consider understanding the meanings of the colors you are going to use for fonts and spaces so it can better support your content, message, or brand. In retrospect, bright or warm colors induce a sense of energy and playfulness. Pastel colors and the cold tones may evoke a subtle touch of modernity. Meanwhile, Dark colors can effect emphasis and stability. There are many variants and hues to choose from and when creating your website, know your preferences but consider the tones that would best describe your brand.
Font Style. Tiny details of web design can separate you as an amateur looking website or a professional one – and yes, font details are no exception. Gone are the days when we have a minimal selection of fonts and styles. Pick a font design that matches your logo or brand identity the way you pick your colors and themes.
Make your readers feel comfortable when reading through your contents. Choose font designs that convey the character of your page. If you are blogging for a candy store or a kiddie meal, playful fonts can help. If you are communicating a strong message, use bold fonts. Like colors, your fonts evoke different emotions.
Images. Images are not only compelling proofs or examples for your page, adding them helps maintain attention spans of your readers or audiences. They are also an excellent way to split the body of your texts on your page so it won’t bore your readers or viewers. Use high-quality images taken by you, so your website has a personal touch or so that you won’t need to ask and go through the hassle of obtaining authorization to use another image. If not, there are also photo-sharing sites that you can go to acquire images for free. Be mindful of image copyrights and make sure to use images that are royalty-free (RF) that allows use without the need to pay.
Videos. Get your audiences talking about your website. Adding a video may get your viewers to comment or engage with the presentation. Videos of demonstrations, testimonials, or explanations can enhance your site, and it is a plus point for web page dedication. Or you can go the extra mile and produce an animation or a moving graphic presentation.
5. Add novelty to your postings.
Add novelty to what is already in your website or not. Make your readers anticipate for new contents and developments. Get a new approach or experiment on one.
Get into the trend. Do not be afraid to add entertaining or funny content and catch up with the trends. If it is still appropriate for your page to include materials that have recently gained attraction online, like memes, try to incorporate it into your texts. Evoke positive emotions. Use hashtags to anchor text links so visitors can land on your pages especially when you connect to social media sites.
Update. Be up-to-date, check your pages for outdated information and references and update it. Your website will need regular maintenance and upgrades so it will keep attracting visitors. If you don’t see a need to update any information you posted, then try to keep it alive by engaging and replying with the comments and suggestions of your readers. Or start another thread!
6. Make your website SEO-friendly.
Be Available. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It is the approach of making your website searchable on search engines like google search, etc. You do this by improving the quality and quantity of your contents. Building a site that’s SEO friendly means that when people type words or phrases relevant to your website materials, then your website will appear on their searches.
In technical terms, it is the approach of increasing your website traffic. Website traffic, in retrospect, refers to visits or clicks of people on your website. Generating traffic on your site is the standard way to measure the effectivity of your website. It is not enough, however, to bait your audiences to click on your website, an act which is called ‘clickbait’ so that you will have more visitors. Search engines rank searches depending on the quality and its outreach. You will have to make a great site and a high content that people will find useful and it will likely make them share it. Seek help from SEO specialist and professionals to brainstorm for your materials and hasten its rank.
7. Ask for honest feedback.
Listen More. Listen to the people; listen to the market. Business people who want to connect with others must learn how to listen to what others have to say, take those ideas into account, and be able to answer queries and suggestion thoughtfully and honestly.
Share buttons. Add social media buttons for all top social networks on your websites. This can be done by integrating said top social media sites to your pages using simple codes that can configure a plugin. Make share buttons available will let people spread the news of how valuable your contents are. If not, the share buttons can also make your people talk about your materials, comment on it if needed, and allow you to learn from the engagements. A talk is an excellent form of active and willing marketing. Word of mouth isn’t a lost art of advertising and marketing. Be inventive, and your website will surely hit the ground running in no time!
Kyle Paulie Bacsal (born 1996) is a freelance researcher and a content writer. Her interests revolve around contemporary sociology, cutting-edge technology, and journals on the algorithmic rise of computing. She is a current contributor to YourLastHost blogs and contents.