You have no idea what a website is (some related web pages occurring under a single domain name) or a blog (a website or web page, often updated, and usually controlled by a person/small group, and written in informal language), and yet you would like to build your first business website. But how do you get started? Well, we’ve all been there, and so let’s read on and find out.
Each website is unique, because each person who builds a website is unique, with a unique goal. Perhaps you want your website to supply information with the idea of people contacting you, or you may want to sell products via the website. Whatever the purpose for your website, you need to build the website solely based on your requirements.
Seeing you are the one building the website, you need to start writing web content for the website. Not only are you the only one who knows exactly what you want, but by writing your own content, you will clarify your thinking regarding the way forward. If your English isn’t so great, you can always get someone else to edit it for you. Content includes text, images, and videos seen by a user when going onto a website.
Be concise in describing what your company is all about and what it must offer, because in today’s world everyone is in a hurry, and visitors haven’t got enough time to read through copious notes. It must also be clearly stated, so that there is no doubt in the mind of the reader what you and your website must offer.
To be brutally honest, the client doesn’t really want to know about all your personal achievements. The client’s basic need is what is in it for them, what is being offered, and what can be bought.
When you arrange for the website to ask the clients some questions, the whole purpose of the website becomes clearer, not only in your mind, but also in their minds. For instance, you may be offering some products for sale, in which case the website invites them to have a browse.
The default arrangement for most websites is to show a few pages such as the ‘home’ page, the ‘about’ page, and the ‘contact’ page. Regarding your products, you may want to first have a contents page, which summarises all that the website must offer, followed by individual pages displaying all the different products. Provide as many contact details as you can, thereby making it easy for people to contact you. You can also add valuable images, and client testimonials.
By having a close look at other websites that appeal to you, you will soon begin to get a good idea what looks great and what doesn’t. You can then extrapolate those ideas into the building of your own website, but making sure you stay original.
Keep in the back of your mind that the ultimate purpose of the website is for it to meet your needs. The bottom line is that it must look professional, because the last thing you want is to chase potential clients away. Practice makes perfect, and your first round at building a website may not be too great. Learn from that experience, but rather bring in a designer to help you in the whole process. Make sure that you don’t build a website that is restrictive, in case your business starts to expand.
You need to buy a domain name for the website. A domain name is that part of a network address which identifies it as belonging to a domain. Remember to choose something that reads easy, but still looks professional, such as specialities.co.za. All your clients will see this name on your website as well as on your business cards for years to come.
When it comes to choosing a suitable web hosting company, go for say Linux-based web hosting, which includes the LAMP platform, namely, Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl. For security reasons, keep your domain and hosting separate. A web hosting company refers to a company that stores websites on its server; a LAMP platform is an open source web development platform, which uses Linux as the operating system, Apache as the web server, MySQL as the relational database management system and PHP as the scripting language. Sometimes Perl is used instead of PHP.
Afrihost offers shared Linux web hosting services as well as Windows shared web hosting services. For R29/m, the Afrihost Linux web hosting package consists of a free domain (for first year), unlimited web traffic, and includes one MySQL and PHP.
Choose one of the pre-made themes (a theme refers to the look and style of your website) / website designs (some are free) via a website builder of your choice, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. A website builder is a tool used for constructing websites.
Your web host should be able to facilitate the website builder (and your theme) of your choice. Also, some web hosts offer their own free website builders too. This is where 24/7 support is critical to your website’s success, especially if you are doing it all by yourself. In this context, Afrihost’s technical support uses dedicated consultants to maintain optimum, local telephonic support; it has systems that constantly monitor operations, so that a server crash can be detected immediately, and has remote reboot devices that can be used to restore crashed servers as soon as possible.
Some website builders are more secure than others. WordPress is notorious for being hacked if it is not set up properly, but this too can be avoided. Avoid getting free themes as you may put the security of your website at risk.
A custom website, built from scratch, may offer the most customizable solution and the highest level of security (potentially), for example a bank’s website, but it can also be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.
Rather include a photo of yourself or your team which personalizes the website. Visitors still go after the human touch. Make sure also that the website is cell-phone friendly.
No one said building a website is easy, and much time and energy is required. It also won’t be plain sailing - the website may go down at some stage, for instance. But regular communication between yourself and the web hosting company as well as their solid, professional support should see you through. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is important, which helps improve your website’s visibility in Google Search. Afrihost offers a free SEO Tool and SEO service to help you.
Do you still have unanswered questions? You’re welcome to contact us or feel free to read or Web Hosting FAQs.