How to create a website in 5 steps

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In this digital age, having your own website is essential for most small businesses. They can amplify your brand, help you connect with old customers, and allow you to reach new customers.

In fact, not having a website can make your business look archaic and disconnected.

The good news is that establishing your online presence is easier than ever. In this step-by-step guide, we cover everything you need to know about creating a new website.

How to Create a Website in 5 Steps — Tutorial

Here’s a quick beginner’s guide on how to build a website.

1. Determine the purpose of your website

First decide what you want to accomplish digitally.

Here are some website use cases:

  • Develop your brand awareness by highlighting your products or services
  • Collection of emails via a registration form
  • Sell ​​products or services through your website
  • Respond to customer service requests
  • Blog about your business and industry, as well as announcing new products
  • Provide a forum for customers in your industry and/or community to network
  • Direct customers to outlets or social media platforms that sell your products

It is important to define your goals, because the amount it costs to create a website can vary depending on your needs. For example, you might be able to use a free service if your only goal is to collect emails.

2. Choose a platform

Next, choose a website builder or platform. These services let you build your website using drag-and-drop interfaces, which means you don’t have to code anything on your own. Simply create an account, then start customizing the look of your site.

Here are some of the best website providers.

  • Shopify— Designed for online stores and e-commerce businesses of all sizes, Shopify has all your payment processing needs covered. Their user-friendly interface also makes it easy to create beautiful product pages that instantly make your business look professional. Prices evolve with your business.
  • Wix.com — Ideal for any type of business. Known for its user experience, Wix is ​​one of the most customizable platforms available with features for every industry. Whether you’re building an e-commerce site or just a landing page, they make it easy to build and scale stunning websites.
  • Come on daddy – A one-stop-shop for domains and website building, GoDaddy comes with a platform that lets you customize your site, like Shopify and Wix. They also have a service that handles the entire design process for you.
  • MailChimp — Designed for landing pages with opt-in and signup forms, Mailchimp is primarily an email marketing automation tool for mailing lists. But they also offer great site design functionality if your only goal is to collect contact information.
  • square space Ideal for any type of business. Squarespace is a close competitor to Wix and offers similar features, including the ability to create beautiful sites quickly and effortlessly.
  • WooCommerce— Perfect for eCommerce stores and online businesses looking for sleek homepages and reliable payment processing, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that integrates with your WordPress dashboard.
  • WordPress— Designed for businesses and bloggers who want even more customization than the solutions above, WordPress is a free, open-source platform that’s an ideal choice if search engine optimization (SEO) is important to your business. . It’s also the go-to content management system for some of the biggest websites in the world, and can be a great fit for personal websites.

And of course, there’s always the option of coding your own site from scratch or hiring a web developer.

3. Get a custom domain name

Once you’ve decided on a platform, lock in a domain name for your website. Domain names are the address users will enter to access your website, such as nav.com or wikipedia.org.

Most website providers now offer the option to purchase a domain name within the platform, but you can also browse domain registrars such as namecheap.com and domains.google if you prefer get yours through a third party. Note that domains should no longer end with “.com” or “.org”. There is a sizable list of other options, including “.co”, “.finance”, “.us” and “.biz”. To see the full list of what’s available, just enter a keyword on your domain provider’s site.

Domain names can range from as low as $12 per year to as high as seven figures. Longer domains tend to be cheaper, while one-word ideas are often much more expensive.

4. Get Web Hosting

“Hosting” is a technical term that translates to “renting storage space for your website files.” Your site needs a place to store its data, and web hosting providers provide the digital real estate.

Popular hosting companies include Bluehost, HostGator, and Hostinger. Pricing for a basic hosting plan can start at just $2.75 per month and scale based on your needs.

You only need to follow this step if you are building your site on WordPress or coding your own. Other platforms come with built-in hosting services.

5. Check everything on this list

If you have reached this stage, you are ready to start designing your website and attracting visitors. When designing, be sure to consider these important features.

  • Privacy Policy – Due to certain language found in the Federal Trade Commission Act, it is strongly recommended that you have a privacy policy on your website. Google “privacy policy generator” for a template.
  • Cookie Policy If your web page collects cookies and receives visitors from California or foreign countries, make sure you have a cookie disclaimer. Many sites structure this as a pop-up.
  • Analysis plug-ins — At some point, you’ll want to be able to analyze user behavior, including where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site. With free solutions like Google Analytics, there’s no reason not to start tracking this from day one.
  • SEO plugins — If you plan to drive traffic from Google and other search engines, make sure your site uses search engine optimization (SEO). For WordPress users, one of the best plugins is Yoast.
  • SSL and security measures If your site is running on WordPress.org, you may need to install an SSL certificate, as well as other security plugins to keep your site secure. Other platforms like Shopify and Wix often come with built-in security features.
  • Make sure your site loads fast — Don’t spend hours sprucing up your site only to find that it takes forever to load. Periodically check your site’s speed, especially on mobile devices.
  • Include an email sign-up option or contact form — Email is one of the most powerful ways to turn visitors into customers. Make sure visitors have a way to enter their contact information somewhere on your site. You can also include a pop-up that offers a gift in exchange for an email signup.

Can you create a website for free?

There are a few free website builders that allow you to create a fully functional professional website for free.

If you’re looking for a standard site with basic features like the ability to host a homepage, contact page, navigation menu, and blog, consider using WordPress. There are two versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

The .com version is as plug-and-play as it gets and is a great choice if you’re designing your first website. Create a free account and start building immediately. The .org version comes with a slightly higher learning curve. This requires setting up a hosting and domain name before you can start building. If your goals include SEO optimization and html and css customization, choose the .org option.

If you need an e-commerce website with features such as the ability to process payments and create product pages with shopping cart functions, you will either need to purchase paid WordPress themes and apps , code your own WordPress site or hire a website designer.

Another platform that lets you create a free website is Mailchimp. Mailchimp’s landing pages are ideal if your sole purpose is to collect email addresses or other contact information. Keep in mind that the free plan only supports Mailchimp-branded domains. To create a standalone site with your own domain, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.

Finally, most platforms allow you to build the foundation of your website for free. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to get your website going, but Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and other similar sites all let you dig in and design a draft for free.

How to find the best website builder

Online business has grown at an incredible pace over the past few years, and website providers have evolved with the industry. Website providers have no shortage of choices, which can be overwhelming.

One way to find the best platform for you is to use Nav. Our platform curates the major website building services and regularly updates our selection as new options become available.

That said, here are some high-quality options we recommend. This shortlist is optimized for reliability, customization, and affordability. Some of the biggest companies in the world use these sites, and their long-standing reputation makes them trustworthy.

Merchants use Shopify as their commerce solution because we provide merchants with everything they need to Learn More

Website Builder by Wix

Need a website ? Choose from hundreds of designer templates and make it yourself. It’s easy Learn more

Start a Website with GoDaddy

Build the world you want today with GoDaddy’s website builder. Start your free trial Learn more

Nav can also help you find the best loans, credit cards, business bank accounts, etc., and it’s all based on your business data. Create a free account to compare your options with confidence.

This article was originally written on May 19, 2022.

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