If you’re reading this, it means your brand is ready to be seen and you’re in the driver’s seat. We’ve come up with a checklist for the entrepreneur that wants to build their own website. Please note, we highly recommend hiring a professional once you’ve gotten in the groove of things, have a solid income, and are aware of your analytics as web design isn’t as easy as it may seem.
Oh, and there is no such thing as a free website. There’s always a catch! Most of the time, it ends up being you not having full access to your website or its content. You will always end up paying for hosting, a domain, etc.
We hope that didn’t scare you… Let’s get started!
1. Domain Name (www.yourwebsite.com)
Your domain name is essential when building your website. It is your website’s digital address that your potential customers will use to connect to your site. Most domains are $12-20 for your first year depending on the keywords used. However, you’ll more than likely pay no more than $30 for the years to follow.
*Let’s say your brand becomes extremely popular -Fashion Nova for example- you’ll also pay more, per year, for your domain name because the number of views will add value to your domain name.
Be creative with your domain name! There are a ton of domain endings that can be used. For example, our domain name is www.armni.media instead of www.armnimedia.com (boring!)
Please keep in mind that there is no way to get around paying yearly for your domain and we wouldn’t recommend it anyway.
2. Business Email
There’s nothing more professional than a business email address. It’s not easy to build trust over the internet. Seeing free email accounts being used for business can make potential customers give you the side-eye; creating unnecessary doubt.
GSuite – Google
$5-10/month per email address/inbox
Syncs with multiple platforms easily
Access to Google Drive, Docs, Forms, etc. included
Google Search Console (ability to update/edit ‘being found on google’ and info tab)
$7/month for 5 email address in one inbox
Does not snyc with most platforms; has its own app
Based in Switzerland (higher security; two passwords needed to access inbox)
We’ve used both.
3. Website Building Software & Hosting
A website building software does exactly what it sounds like… builds your website. There are a few options out there for all levels of designers. The most popular ones are Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly.
First things first, if you plan on selling anything, you need an eCommerce site. All of the platforms above are capable of providing such. However, depending on the type of product, your recommendations may vary.
If you’re someone that is simple and likes a modern, boxed look, Squarespace is where you want to be. For those of you with vivid imaginations, starting out, we recommend Wix or Weebly. Their website builders are mostly dragging and drop. They have a variety of buttons, shapes, dividers, plug-ins, etc. to add to your site. Keep in mind, most plug-ins -all platforms included- usually have an additional fee outside of your initial hosting fee.
WordPress is for the more advanced. You can purchase themes from sites like Creative Market. You’ll need to install them and some coding may be required. The cheaper the theme, the less editable it’ll be.
A host is the storage unit where your website content lives online. Whenever your website’s domain name is entered into someones web browser, the browser will fetch your website’s content from said host. The type of hosting you need will depend on how many visitors your site has. Similar to your domain name, the popularity can increase the cost of your hosting. However, if you’re starting out with any of the platforms mentioned above, your hosting will more than likely be bundled in your monthly or yearly payments. No matter how many visitors your site gets, they’ll let you know when to upgrade.
Hosting for WordPress is different and is considered Basic Hosting. You have a slightly more access compared to the Free Hosting options above. We recommend BlueHost for all websites and Pressable for eCommerce.
4. Website Template (Design/Theme)
A website template is a pre-made design. Gives you the professional look without the cost. There are tons of free templates -also known as themes- out there but the best ones usually cost. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace have pre-made designs just a click away. For the WordPress users, you’ll need to check out WooThemes or Creative Market.
5. Site Analytics
Knowing how your customers are moving around your site, what link(s) brought them to your site, etc. will make is important. Google Analytics is the most common; however, some website builders provide this information as well.