If you are thinking about building a website, there are a couple of things you should think about first. If you are able to confidently answer all the following questions with difinitive answers you aren’t thinking of changing any time soon, then you are more than ready to start your website.
1. What will my Website be about?
The first thing you need know: what are you creating a website for. Is it a business you made? Your online professional Portfolio? A blog you wanted to start? A website for another company you are working with? Once you know what will be on your website, making it becomes ten times easier, since it allows to you answer a lot of the content and format questions that come a little later. This also will help with making final decisions pertaining to the next couple of questions in this blog.
2. What Website Builder will my Website be hosted on?
The next thing you want to figure out is what website builder or manager you want to use in order to bring your ideas to life. There are a number of different programs out there that allow you to make a website, but the main factors will be your level of skill with technology and/or coding as well as how much you want to invest in this website. Check out my previous blog, Which Site is Best for You?, for more information about some of the major sites you can use.
3. Should I purchase a Domain?
Now this question should be easily answered after you have figured out number one. If this is a professional website for a company or your business, I would suggest purchasing your domain name, making it more official and giving your customers a bit more reason to trust your company and brand name. If this is a personal website or a blog, it is really dependent on your personal preferences. Some people don’t want to pay for the domain name for their blog they made for fun or for their personal portfolio that they made for fun, but others want to purchase the domain name to give their sites more credibility. Again, I suggest you purchase your domain name, but it is really all up to you and whether you are ok with a “.wordpress.com” or whatever other builder you are using name after your “official” website url.
4. How many Pages will you have?
A good thing to think about is how much content you will be putting out onto your website. When I create my websites, I first sit down with everyone involved and figure out what exactly they want to display on the website. Once they have told me everything they want, we start breaking it up into the Parent Pages, or the pages you see on the main menu, and their Child Pages, the pages you see that are part of a drop down menu under the main items. By having an idea of how many pages you will have, it gives you a better idea of how long it might take to get everything on the internet. It also allows you to consolidate your information where needbe. For example, if you have a “Contact Me” page, there is no reason to have another page that only contains a form to contact you back at. The less people have to click through on your website, the better.
5. What will your Home Page look like?
Many people make the mistake of wanting a ton of information right on the front page. This is a major problem that you do not want to start your website with. First of all, your Home Page is just the teaser; it is what gets people hooked to get to the inner pages. Having too much information or too much going on on this page will more than likely send people packing. A simple paragraph about your site with some links to your other pages or some pictures is more than enough. You don’t want to overwhelm people with stuff, especially if they are just wanting to learn a bit more at first.
6. Who will have access to make changes?
Another common problem that people have with their websites is that they give others too much access or unlimited permission to their website backend, allowing anyone with the code to get in and make major changes. I suggest only having 1, 2 people at max, having full admin rights to change everything on the backend. Everyone else doesn’t need to have access, or they can have limited access, that way you know who is changing what as well as keep changes to a minimum. This also helps when it comes to making major decisions. If only one person has the power to change things officially on the website, people can’t go back in and reverse the changes because they don’t agree with them.
7. How much time am I willing to dedicate to this website?
People don’t always realize that after the website is pushed live, there is still work to be done. Websites need constant vigilance, making sure everything is properly updated and that the content is still up-to-date. This requires knowledge of everything on the website as well as time to go through everything, time that most people didn’t think they would have to dedicate to the website after it was published. Websites are like children: they constantly have to be watched and checked on to make sure they are okay and nothing is broken. If you don’t have at least two hours each week to go through your website to make sure everything is how it should be, you might want to reconsider hiring outside help or not having a website. You can also just be resigned to the fact that your website will not be very good, but for some people, that is okay with them.
Every year, more and more websites are coming out, and along side that are ways to improving your own. This short list is just that, a short list of questions to get you started with your basic website. There are most definitely plenty of other questions that most Web Developers ask prior to the creation of the website, but for beginners just wanting to see if they should be making a website, this list will suffice for the starting point.
If you want a few more pointers, Moonfruit wrote an awesome blog that delves a bit further than I do when wanting to build a website. Check them out and then leave me a comment below on other questions you found yourself asking when starting your own website.
Check out my previous Blogs for more useful tips:
Stay Tech Savy!