Ready for a mind-boggling statistic? There are about 2 billion websites in the world – and there are almost 8 billion people. So that means there's a website for nearly a fourth of the people on Earth. Crazy, right?
Who owns them all? Well, of course, many companies own websites. But it's not all corporations and big brands. When you stop and think about it, a lot of people around you have a website. Nancy, your next-door neighbor who owns a floral shop has one. Your niece Julie just built a site for her babysitting business. And your husband’s best friend Frank (the one who seems to always be over when it’s dinnertime) has one to show off his baseball card collection.
You’ve been thinking of building a website, too. Whether it’s for a charity drive, to start that new small online business you’ve been dreaming of or just to blog about your daily journey, you’re ready to take the leap and go online. Before you do, think about this. Remember those 2 billion websites? Well, less than 400 million of those are active. While some of these inactive sites are the result of people who may have closed their businesses but have not canceled their domain names or sites that are still in construction, the vast majority are inactive due to disorganization and disinterest.
Lack of planning and preparation can result in a website without a true purpose. To avoid this, you need to do some preparation to establish your motivation for building your website, what audience you are seeking and why your idea is sustainable. Asking important questions now will make it easier to build a site that has meaning, longevity and appeal. Ready to get started pre-building your website? Let’s go!
What is the goal of your website?
Your site may be designed to educate people on the history of your local community. You could be starting a small business and want to build an online following of customers. Maybe you are a social influencer who is active on social media and wants a website to act as your "home base.” Or it could all be just for fun. Determining your specific goals for starting a site will set you on a productive and organized course. Remember, you are nearly 50 percent more likely to achieve success when you have a clearly defined goal and you write it down. Be specific. Be intentional. Be ready.
Who is your audience?
When you are thinking about your new website, who do you see visiting and reading it? Sketch out a “persona” of your target audience – a compilation of the typical traits and types of people who will engage with your site. This will help you narrow your focus and think about creating a website for a specific person rather than a mass audience. Your content will be more meaningful, your photos and graphics will have more appeal and you will build a connection with your audience when you use a persona as your guide.
What website elements do you need?
Now that you understand your audience, what do you want them to do? Want your audience to comment on articles discussing the hot news topics of the day? You need a blog site. Want customers to make purchases in your online store? Add an eCommerce section. Determining what site functionality you need will give you a big head start in successfully building it – and getting it right the first time.
What are your brand attributes?
Your brand is the distinguishing personality traits that make you unique. If you own a business, it is what sets you apart from the competition. If you are a social influencer, it is the reason why people seek your opinions and follow your guidance and why businesses see the value in partnering with you. If you're a hobbyist, it’s the way you look at model railroading that keeps like-minded enthusiasts coming back to your website for more. Simply put, it’s your “it” factor. Defining your brand will help you determine the tone and style of your site, including content, graphics, logo and color choices. Here’s a blog that will help you develop your personal brand.
What will be the focus of your content?
Content is the core of your website and the main way you'll will attract website visitors. If you own a business, you'll want to clearly define your brand advantages and provide photos, videos and descriptions of the products you offer along with a well-organized eCommerce store. You’ll also want an about us section that lets people get to know you, your team and your business plus links on your site to your social media accounts. If you are an influencer, your site content could include your latest product reviews with links of where and how your followers can purchase them. If you are a hobbyist, consistently update your site with your latest collection items with photos, videos and copy. You should refresh your content regularly and give people reasons to keep coming back to your site for more.
How do you know when you’re ready to build a website?
If you have good answers for all of the questions above, you're in good shape. Keep all of your ideas for your website in one organized place and have them available throughout the web building process. Next, look for a web builder that is easy to use and affordable. Ideally, you will find a website package that includes free domain name (your website address) registration and web hosting (click these links to become more familiar with each). Most web builders include do-it-yourself (DIY) and custom design (they do it for you) options.
From registering a domain name, to building a website to web hosting and eCommerce options, Register.com has everything you need to start and build your online presence. With affordable pricing and helpful support every step of the way, you can get up and running in a low-stress and dare we say fun way. We’ll make it easy and enjoyable to create the website you’ve always wanted – and now that you’ve answered all the questions in this blog, you’re ready to make it happen.
By doing your homework before building your website, you will lay the foundation for an online presence with a purpose, one that truly connects with your audience. Stay enthusiastic, stay organized and stay intentional and you will be well on your way to building a website you'll be proud to call your own.