How to Start Your Website, What’s Needed?
Monday, November 30th, 2020
Once you’ve got your marketing and products, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready to start your website.
Your digital business needs to have a responsive website design (meaning the layout changes depending on the viewers screen size), this has been a necessity for a while now, but more recently Google has added mobile optimisation to it’s ever-changing ranking algorithms. As most ‘early research’ search requests on the internet are conducted on a mobile device, before continuing the later stages of the buying process on a laptop or home computer, so cater to these mobile users first.
There are tons of options out there and it must get confusing, especially if you’re not up to speed on the latest tech. Another question you will most likely come across is whether you should opt for a custom built or themed website. Let’s start by finding out what kind of site you need.
What kind of website Do You Need?
What’s the sole purpose of the website? is it to act as a simple online brochure website to showcase your products or services, or do you need shopping cart functionality to process online orders? Another
Website Style & Functions
Your website follows the style of your brand, if you have one, if not then it’s time to act. Your brand helps you to stand out against your competitors, and instil trust in the minds of your customer’s. Brand awareness and recognition are essential to your digital business. A web design specialist can build a website to reflect your brand identity.
Collect some visual inspiration on Pinterest, and have a think about the kind of feature’s and functions you may need on your website. Most websites have at least one contact form, but there are load’s of different things you can add such as marketing automation, drip marketing campaigns, CRM integrations, booking facilities, the list is endless. Spend some time mulling this over to get a solid idea of how you’d like your website to function.
Check the websites of your competitors to see what works and what doesn’t. Make sure to include an opt-in offer to start collecting email addresses for future digital marketing. Once you know the kind of website your business needs, and have an idea of the style and functionality you require we can move on to the next step of purchasing your domain name and hosting.
WordPress CMS Platform
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com Versions
The ‘real’ WordPress is the way forward in our book, it’s a free self hosted installation but it requires web hosting (see below). This great article highlights the differences between the WordPress versions. But in a nutshell, WordPress.org is ‘the real WordPress’, it’s the powerful CMS (Content Management System) that you’ve all heard about and powers nearly 40% of all websites. You also have access to 55,000 plugins to enable just about any function you can imagine. All you need is a domain name and web hosting and you’re ready to roll. It’s also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress.com is a hosting service created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Because of the same founder, users often confuse WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software.
WordPress runs on ‘themes’, whether they are custom built by a web developer or pre-made and ‘packaged’ for sale or distribution – a popular website for WordPress themes is Theme Forest. Some pre-made themes are free and some cost anything upto around £80 for a decent one. The main issue with using a pre-made themes is that any website functions are restricted to the limitations of the theme itself, so choosing the right one to use is a must!
Installing WordPress.org onto your ‘webhost’
A lot of web hosting companies offer a simple ‘one-click’ install of many popular applications, check to see if WordPress is included on yours. This information is found in the cPanel of your web hosting environment. If it does then great, just click on the WordPress icon and follow the steps to install it.
If it’s not included then you will need to install it yourself.
After WordPress has been installed and you have the downloaded your theme, you’re ready to install it onto your WordPress installation. Head over to the side menu and click Appearance > Themes. Click the ‘Add new’ button and upload the theme ‘zip’ file you’ve just downloaded. After a few minutes the theme should be installed, click Activate and preview your new theme.
How Much will it Cost?
If you do decide to hire a designer or web developer to create the website for you, then be aware of ‘website designers’ who offer all-singing, all-dancing websites for £199! They sound amazing but as demonstrated below, this wouldn’t cover the cost of a basic theme, domain name and hosting – leaving little to no time spent on the actual website. Some even claim the websites to be ‘SEO Optimised’, it’s not humanly possible to offer this service, at this price, so please save your money!
Total Cost of a ‘Do It Yourself’ Website
Before we get on to building the website, there are other things which need to be taken care of first. Ongoing website fees including the domain name and hosting are mandatory, but website maintenance and updates are optional. If you’re confident in updating the website yourself, or more importantly if you have the time – this would save you at least £420 per year in maintenance fees.
Unfortunately, even if you’re creating the website yourself there are still costs involved in the ongoing hosting and domain renewal fees. These are outlined below based on a 3 year ownership. The first year year includes the one-off cost of a premium theme, if a free theme is okay for your business then deduct £80 from the below costs:
First Year Cost = £210 (£630 with Maintenance)
Total Cost After 3 Years = £470 (£1,730 with maintenance)
(Optional £420 per year for maintenance)
Ongoing costs are around £130 per year for the domain name and hosting.
Ongoing Website Fees
A domain name is simply your website address, or URL (eg. www.yourdomain.co.uk). Choose one which is relevant to your online business and try and get both .co.uk and .com versions if possible, it also helps to prevent cybersquatting. Domain’s are relatively cheap and come in lots of different flavours! New TLDs (Top Level Domains) are also available which enable you to have a different extension such as .guru, .digital as opposed to the usual .co.uk, .com, .org etc.
Every website needs a place to live in cyberspace, a place to ‘host’ your website. Web hosting usually comes with an enticing first year offer but then sting you for the renewal, be sure to read the small print. If you go for a website built on the WordPress CMS platform look for website hosting which enables a ‘one-click’ installation of WordPress, and has Litespeed Cache enabled – more on that later. We use Guru as our webhost.
WordPress core and security updates need to be taken care of and installed promptly. Any themes or plugins which are used on your website also need to be updated accordingly to ensure a smooth, secure operation of your site.
Revotion offer affordable website design which includes web and mail hosting as standard – Superfast UK Cloud Hosting with SSL Certificate. So if you need a new website or looking to breathe new life into an old one, then get in touch with us, we’d love to help.