A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a WebsiteMarch 2, 2018
1. Narrow Your Niche
It’s easy to have a website, but it’s hard to create a successful website. That is why when you are planning to start your own website, you need to narrow down your niche. The more specific your niche is, the better. Lifestyle websites cover a huge range of topics, which means if you start a generic lifestyle website of your own you will be competing with the biggest names and the plethora of others who have come before you. Now, start a lifestyle website about life in your town, and you’ll have a more targeted audience. All websites need a USP.
2. Plan Out Your Website
Once you have your niche, it’s time to start planning out your website. What kind of content are you going to produce? What kind of articles? How are you going to provide value to your readers? It’s important to note that even if your main goal with your website is to sell a product or service, having articles can be a huge draw, both for organic reach and for SEO.
Plan out the pages you’ll have, the categories, and what your articles will have. The more you prepare, the better you’ll be able to launch.
3. Choose a CMS
CMS stands for Content Management Software, and it refers to the management system that you will use to add pages, plugins, and posts to your website. It’s the easy tool that allows anyone start their own website. There are many different kinds of CMS, though the most popular one is WordPress.
Note: WordPress is also a website creator, but you do not have to sign up with WordPress in order to use their CMS, and can instead opt for a self-hosting option that gives you greater control.
4. E-Commerce Add-On
WordPress is designed predominately for blogs, though you can typically add an e-commerce element through plugins. If your main purpose is to sell, however, you might want to consider an alternative CMS that will give you more targeted control over your products.
5. Choosing a Web Host
Once you have the leg-work done, it’s time to choose a trusted hosting service. Web hosting is typically done through hosting providers, which provide users space on their virtual servers, allowing you to be visible on the Internet. The only alternative to using a hosting service is to purchase servers yourself, but this is an option typically only chosen by very large companies, as they have the budget and the IT department necessary to ensure everything runs smoothly. Most, if not all web hosts will provide you with a certain amount of space to upload, and a unique domain name. There will be different subscription models based on your needs.
6. Choosing the Starting Theme
Once you have your web host and your CMS, it’s time to choose a theme. Themes are excellent for those who have do not have any experience in web development nor the budget to hire a web developer. There are free themes with limited abilities and premium themes that allow you to customize every aspect of the page. Once you find the theme for you, it’s time to customize your website.
Tip: If you are unsure of how to install the CMS or the theme, you can hire a web developer for this process, it is quick and is affordable.
7. Customizing Your Website
Some themes are much easier to navigate than others, which means you should be able to follow the documentation (i.e. tutorial) that the theme developer has made for you with relative ease. If your theme is more complicated because you need your website to look a certain way or have certain features, it could be beneficial to have a professional go through and set the theme up for you as well.
Note: WordPress and other CMS options do have options to add plugins. Plugins are third-party programs that add to the function and look of your website, allowing you further customization options.
8. Create Consistent, Quality Content
So far, you have a beautiful, functioning website! Now all that is left is to write your first post, or, if you have a hard time sticking to a schedule, to write several posts to put into a queue for publishing. A good goal is to post at least once a week, so that you can keep your website updated -important for both your readers and for Google’s search algorithms.
9. Bring Readers to Your Website
Social media will allow you to create a following that you can then direct to your website, but posting on social media will not be enough. You need to engage and create a genuine community of friends in order to get your website off the ground. Follow others in your niche, comment on their posts, and otherwise have a genuine dialogue with them.
10. Expanding Your Reach
Writing articles for other publications, collaborating with others on social media (and off of it) as well as engaging with other bloggers will all help you expand your reach. Building up a website audience is not easy, but with time and patience (and a consistent amount of work) you can have a popular, successful blog.
Successful websites are great not only for their reach, but also for their monetization value. Whether you sell products or ad space doesn’t matter, having a great website that posts valuable content is the draw that will help the readers that will make anything possible.