The best websites feature many similarities. They are safe and secure, responsive to user requests, provide easy navigation, and feature rapid loading. SEO optimization is essential, with well written meta titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords in place. Social sharing on popular platforms makes it easy to spread the word about your website to people around the world. This behind-the-scenes expose explores everything you need to know about starting a website!
Now is the right time to consider starting a website
With so many websites out there, it may seem really easy to quickly put something together and start generating an income stream from day one. Much more goes into starting a website than meets the eye. As you’re about to see in this DIY guide, there are plenty of aspects to consider. Cross-browser functionality, mobile friendliness, and well established website browsing techniques must be adhered to. For instance, the ‘F’ shape is how it all begins. People tend to read the top of the website first, and then the navigation bar, before scrolling down the page. Bear this structure in mind when you are starting a website.
Whether you’re a business owner, personal blogger, artist, or literary talent, you may be curious about starting a website to showcase your offerings to the world. Nowadays, more than ever before, websites can make or break a business. The Internet presents as the go-to destination for shoppers, making a well-crafted website an absolute priority.
You generally have two options available when starting a website. You can go it alone with your own website builder, or you can pay somebody to create a beautiful website for you. The DIY option is much more cost-effective, and with the right website builder service it will definitely suffice. Most start-ups and businesses simply cannot afford to pay professional website developers thousands of dollars for their expertise. Fortunately, a little thought goes a long way when building a website on a shoestring budget, and it all begins with a blueprint.
Read more to see if WordPress will be a good fit for your e-commerce site!
WordPress can be a fabulous option for e-commerce
Did you know that WordPress accounts for 35% of Internet websites? As a content management system (CMS), WordPress stands head and shoulders above the competition. It certainly delivers on expectations in the e-commerce arena. As a website builder, WordPress is peerless, particularly when it is compared to competitors like Joomla! and Drupal. WordPress features tens of thousands of plug-ins, each of which is designed to make the process of building a website that much easier.
Among the many benefits of using WordPress as your CMS is cost – it’s 100% free. This open source platform is available to anyone who wants to use it, but you will have to pay for hosting and purchase a domain for use with WordPress. Having said that, WordPress isn’t for all e-commerce platforms – it’s best suited to certain businesses such as a small online store. If you’re just starting out, WordPress offers everything you are looking for, including simplicity, easy integration with plenty of themed templates, customization, and multiple payment processing options.
Be advised, WordPress is not ideal for every e-commerce platform. It’s a low-cost option for business owners, hobbyists, and creative talents. Fortunately, a lot of the grunt work has been removed from the equation today. You can now create custom fields and expertly crafted meta boxes for your WordPress websites with companies like Meta Box. This intelligent plug-in is also GDPR compatible, with hundreds of thousands of installations and a 4.9/5 rating from users.
As you’re about to see, there are many elements to consider when you are starting a website.
Determine your goals ahead of time
What purpose does your website serve? Are you fulfilling a need in society? What benefit do customers get from your brand? How are you different to other providers? What value proposition does your business offer to your target market? The better your messaging to your customers, the more effective your website will be. This should always be undertaken in a professional manner with meticulous attention to detail. This is known as your website strategy.
Who is your website targeting?
Are you aiming at a broad spectrum of the market? Who is the ideal customer for your business? Once you have piqued their interest, it’s important to captivate their attention throughout the conversion funnel process. Your website should answer all of the most important questions that they have. For standard products, there are several questions that customers have, including availability, variety, pricing, delivery, returns, questions, et al. Cater to your target market by providing all the answers they need for the questions they have. If it’s too difficult for your visitors to find what they’re looking for, they may go elsewhere.
Easy to follow website design
It’s really important to carefully map out the website to ensure that visitors can find everything that they are looking for. All of the pages on your website should be carefully planned, to ensure a smooth flow and easy-to-follow content. A great way to do this is by sketching on a notepad, perhaps in Paint, or other popular mind mapping software. Determine all of your website categories ahead of time, and then put it all together in neatly arranged sections.
You want to keep things as simple as possible. Dispense with the clutter and information overload. Visitors want to feel like this is the website for them. There is a time and a place for Encyclopedia Britannica – this isn’t it. Confusion and discord translate into high bounce rates and lost customers. The user should be able to easily find exactly what they’re looking for, without navigating out and never returning. Navigation should be effortless – that’s what visitors really like.
It’s true, web content is super important!
Great content always attracts visitors. The better the content, the more engagement your website will enjoy. When you’re selling products, or offering services, the quality of the content is everything. Search engines like Google and Yahoo focus on website content quality for various reasons. Higher results in search rankings often go to reputable brands with good quality content. It pays to put in the time and effort to create a great e-commerce website. The operative word is engagement – that’s what great content generates. Compelling content encourages visitors to interact with your website and that’s how winning is done.
Your overall website strategy should also focus on website design. Style, layout, backgrounds, color configurations, branding and overall ‘fit’ are really important. The message you are trying to relay to your target market should gel with the design, style, and layout of your website. Whatever design you opt for, make sure that it is visually appealing to your visitors. The key to great website design is simplicity. The longer you can keep visitors on site, the greater the chance of converting them into customers.
Websites can feature several types of content. Given the goal of attracting an audience, you may wish to pursue original content. They say that there is nothing new under the sun, but there are always exciting ways to make content attractive, engaging, and converting to visitors. Keep a laser-sharp focus on your brand and the benefits it offers your customers. Content should always be created with SEO in mind, but don’t write content that comes across as unnaturally SEO-targeted. Blogs are a great way to engage users who want to learn more about what you do and how your products and services can benefit them. Other types of content include e-books, infographics, educational resources such as guides, tutorials, and how-to articles.
Which website hosting service should you use?
The Internet is populated with hundreds of website hosting services. Truth be told, anyone who runs a business requires a web host. We live in an interconnected world where e-commerce is more important now than ever before. Online shopping is where it’s at, and businesses need a web host to be part of this virtual landscape. People search online for products and services that they’re looking for – Yahoo!, Bing, and Google – remain the favorites. Whether you’re running a blog, a personal site, or an e-commerce platform, a web host is a necessity.
So, what do web hosts offer you? Web hosts provide storage options, data transfers, and email. You don’t need your own servers if you are using a web host. Hosting plans include WordPress, virtual private servers, dedicated hosting, and shared hosting plans. The costs of web hosting depend upon the type of service that you have requested. Shared web hosting is cost-effective, since many different websites share the same server. Dedicated web hosting is an expensive alternative. With this option, your website or e-commerce platform is the only one using the entire server. Most people will not require dedicated servers, unless they are running companies like IBM, Microsoft, Facebook or other mega-operations.
Web hosting with cloud server platforms are all the rage nowadays. If this is the direction you want to take, be sure that the web host provides SSL certification (secure socket layer) which encrypts all of your traffic between your customers browser and the host. Business hosting is the preferred option for active websites with plenty of visitors. Many powerful WordPress plugins can help you boost your website traffic such as Yoast SEO, Smush, All in One SEO Pack, WP Health, and W3 Total Cache.
Website functionality and testing
In an ideal world, the websites we envision are the same ones that visitors get to enjoy. In the real world, websites don’t always work the way they’re supposed to, and fixes may need to be deployed from time to time. Website functionality refers to the way visitors are able to use your website. Internal links, external links, images, multimedia content, shopping carts, payment processing, customer support, and category pages all need to work like a well-world machine. If you have an advertising budget which targets your SEO-optimized keywords on search engines and redirects all traffic to a website that is not fully functional, it’s a wasted exercise.
To ensure premium-grade functionality, it is imperative that your website is really working well. Anything less is a disaster waiting for a place to happen. Analytics must be used to see what parts of your website visitors are clicking on the most and possible areas for improvement. Google Analytics is a useful tool which offers valuable information to website owners. If you notice problems emerging, split testing can be conducted on variations of specific pages by changing content, design, layout, structure, and even products/services that are available. Believe it or not, the slightest modifications can have dramatic ramifications. The goal is to get things just right so that users derive maximum benefit from your website. Now, you’re ready to go!