Step 1 You Have An Idea!
Maybe you have a new gadget you’ve been wanting to sell to the world or perhaps you’re a specialist in your field and want to share your ideas online. Or maybe you own an award-winning bakery and want to sell your baked goods not only to those in your town but also somewhere else in your province or the country.
Regardless of where you came from, you have an idea, a product or a service you want to promote online!
It’s been proven that businesses who have an online presence are more likely to stay in business, longer.
Step 2 Contact A Professional Web Design Consultant
Just like you would call a plumber if you had a leak or you would go to a dentist if your tooth ached, you should contact
a web design professional as the next step. There are
definitely a lot of DIY web design services out there ranging
from free to hundreds of dollars a month and range in
complexity from super easy to “gotta get an HTML book”
complicated. There are also many different ways of building a
website such as in simple HTML or using a framework like
WordPress, OpenCart or Drupal. Each framework has its own
unique features and are better suited for certain websites.
Choosing the wrong framework might make you waste
hundreds of dollars or leaving you with a buggy, slow, over-
bloated website. A web design professional will know what
framework is better suited for the project and can guide you
along the way to launching your business.
Step 3 Get Your Dot Com & Hosting!
In order for you to share your website to the world, you’ll
need a “web address” or URL. For example our web address
is www.OMIS.ca! You’ll also need to reserve your space on
the internet – or “hosting.” Hosting is the space you have
online to store your website, emails, pictures and all the
other content within your website.
It is highly recommended you work with a professional
domain and/or hosting provider. As it is the case with our
business, we offer hosting and domain managements
services as an added service. There are many sneaky and
automated domain services out there that could really
jack up the prices of domains. As a reference, you should
never pay more than $50 for a new domain and depending
on the provider, anywhere between $10 to $50/month is a
fair hosting price.
With respect to your domain name. A professional will know
how to find the availability of your domain, some alternative
suggestions in case one is taken, and also the impact it could
have on your branding or SEO.
With hosting, there is a lot to consider to a professional
would be better equipped to handle the scope and the hosting
requirements of your website. For example, do you have a
high traffic expectation? Do you store heavy content like videos
and images? Do you need secure encryption for online shopping?
Step 4 Build The Website – Create The Content!
It’s always important to set out your timeline when starting
a new project. Quite often, the web designer/developer can
get started on the framework of the website while the client
puts together their content, images, videos and everything
else that will be featured on the website. This overlap of
work can cut your launch date in half!
Always speak with your web designer as to what is the
desired format they would like to receive their content.
For us, we’ll take emails, Word documents and even PDF’s.
As long as we can cut and paste we’ll get it on your website!
Keep in touch throughout the initial stages in case you have
any special circumstances like a big page of content or
charts/graphs etc. Quite often these can also be incorporated
into the design.
Step 5 Content: Meet Website!
This step might sound a little redundant after reading
the previous “Create content” step. However, this is the
step that will make your website stand out and give it
that extra professional look and feel. Certain types of
content, deserve different layouts and formats. For
example an FAQ page. You might not want to read the
answers to all the questions so why not “hide” the
answers until the user clicks on the question? This can
cut down the size of a page by 90% making it more
visually appealing, less text-dense and extremely more
user-friendly! Same with an image gallery or a news
section. There is an ideal way to effectively and visually
deliver content to your users.
Step 6 Set Up Third Party Services
Along with your website, you will need peripheral or third
party services. Some of these might include links to social
media websites or plugins to keep track of website
statistics like Google Analytics or even payment related
services like an SSL certificate or PayPal Payments. We’re
also a big fan of MailChimp and ConstantContact for
managing your email and newsletter services.
A web design professional will be aware of these and should
have worked it into the scope of the project as they are
somewhat technical in nature and involve very minor coding.
Many of these should be setup prior to launching your
website – during the final testing period of your website.
A final important service to consider is email! Are you
keeping your “old” email? Does your host provider also host
email? Do you want to manage your emails using Google G
Suite or Microsoft 360? Email should be tested and used as
soon as possible (See Step 3 Above!) to ensure no
miscommunication happens once the website is launched.
Step 7 Plan Your Launch Date
You and your website designer have spent countless of
hours going through content, clicking on links, putting in
sample orders and test user registrations and everything
works! Your website is now ready for launch!
Even though you can’t wait to tell the world about your
new website, it’s always a wise move to plan a “soft
launch”. A soft launch is basically launching your website
without spreading the word… just yet! This allows you to
tell a few friends to browse around the site and test things
out. Someones a fresh pair of eyes can make a difference.
In the case of an online shopping website, it allows you to
place a “real” order and see how it all works.
Once you are confident your website works without a hitch,
you can start to promote it on social media, by email and
activate any marketing campaigns.
Step 8 Monitor Your Website
Just like any regular business, you should continuously
monitor your website. You can primarily do with with
Google Analytics but some platforms like WordPress and
Shopify, offer their own internal traffic and statistic
tracking tools. Monitoring your website will allow you
to see what pages of content users like, see if there are
any errors or broken links logged and also help you
monitor your sales, inventory or customers.
You should also consider putting in practice some
regular routines like writing a newsletter or a blog.
Checking in with past customers to receive a review or
a testimonial and also engage with your social media
users to bring them to your website. Adding and revising
content on your website will prevent your website from
getting “stale” and will keep users coming back (and
Search Engines too!).
Step 9 Keep In Touch With Your Web Design Consultant
As mentioned in Step 2, hiring a professional for the
service required (plumber, dentist, web designer) as an
advantage. Just like a dentist would keep informed about
industry technology or ways to fix a cavity, a web designer
should also do the same. Keeping informed on the latest
web trends, coding practices or user expectations, a good
web design company will make it part of their practice to
inform their clients through a blog, social media or a
newsletter. One big example is the rise in use of mobile
devices to view websites. For some of our clients, nearly
50% of the traffic is viewed from mobile devices so it’s
imperative that your website is mobile friendly and
Step 10 Website Marketing & Search Engine Optimization
It’s no longer 1995. Simply launching your website doesn’t mean viewers are going to come crashing your site! We’re now in an environment where online competition is very high! Nearly everyone has accepted the use of internet or do transactions and research online. In fact the internet and online businesses are so popular that they are even causing normal businesses to close their brick and mortar store doors.
Just like businesses have traditional ways of advertising such as newspaper, TV and radio. Websites need to consider online advertising and allocate a budget for search engine optimization. Online advertising (for example Google AdWords or Facebook ads) is an easy way to promote your website and grow your users. What’s great is that quite often you can “qualify” the cost as you know exactly how many clicks or views your ads received.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something to consider after the launch of your website. Depending on your business and your competition, you might rank on page 1 or page 100 after launching your website! For example, being a real estate agent in New York would be a lot more competitive than a veterinarian in a rural town! The real estate agent would have to outrank many more websites than the Vet! It’s always best to wait a few weeks to see where where your website “lands” with respect to the competition given a select few keywords. Following this period, a professional SEO company will be able to see the limiting factors and the required work needed to help you rank higher.