There are well over a billion websites online today, and with 250,000 new sites built every 24 hours, if you have a profile or run a business of any kind then a website is a must. Most people understand the value of a website, but it can feel daunting to create your own. There’s a lot of technical jargon to get your head around, but the process of launching a website in 2023 is easier than ever. If you are looking to create a new website, here are seven simple steps to follow to get your site online, from coming up with an idea, to finding the right managed hosting, and launch.
1. Decide on a name and buy the domain
Choosing a name can be tricky – it needs to be unique, memorable, and easy to spell. And when you through in the need for the domain name to be available to buy, then that just adds to the difficulties.
If you are struggling for a name, then there are numerous business name generators available online, but the process to do it yourself is relatively straightforward if you just sit down for a few hours and think about your options. Here is a rough guide to picking a good name:
- What sector is your business – find the relevant term and then use a thesaurus to find words with similar meanings you could use instead.
- Think of a second word that is more unique to you or your business, whether that is a name or play on words or in-jokes between friends or colleagues.
- Start different combinations of the words from #1 and #2 above to create a two-word name for your business.
- Check with a domain registrar that the domain is available either as a .com or for your country, such as .co.uk.
2. Plan out the features
What do you want your site to do? Is it a leaflet website that simply explains what your company does and ways to contact you, or is it a blog, or a shop, or a membership site, or a learning platform, or any mixture of these types of elements?
Now is the time to plan out exactly what features you want your site to have as this information will inform both your choice of content management system (CMS) and the site design.
3. Choose a content management system
Not all sites needs a CMS, but in general you will find launching your site easier if you do not have to reinvent the wheel and can instead rely on a CMS to handle many of the site features. Popular content management systems like WordPress or Drupal both offer a wealth of plugins and addons which can make it much easier and more cost-effective to add features.
For most websites, WordPress is a great starting block as it is reliable and flexible, with companies building everything from simple leaflet sites to complete SaaS tools or platforms with it as the framework. It is easy to use, has a wealth of themes to help you build a strong design, and you can run it on almost any hosting environment
4. Find the right hosting
Web hosts manage the servers on which your website will run, but there is a huge variety of companies offering such services at almost every price point, from a few bucks per month up to thousands or more.
If this is your first website, then choosing managed hosting is probably a good fit as the web host is more “hands on” with your hosting setup and there to quickly answer any questions or solve and issues that may arise.
5. Sketch out the design
If you have an eye for design, then you might enjoy coming up with the design of your site yourself using tools like Figma. And even if you do not enjoy design, you can play out the pages and functionality, so that you can give clear directions to a professional web designer – someone who may double up as your web developer.
6. Build your site
Once you have your design ready it is ready to build the site. This means installing the content managements system on your hosting adding the features you need and applying the design. WordPress and other content management systems have got significantly more user friendly in recent years, and so even without any technical expertise you may well be able to create a relatively simple site yourself with the help of a professional theme and a handful of great-looking photos.
For a more complex website, you will want to employ a professional web developer who has the skillset to make your site a reality. This person may have already helped on the design of the site, but here is where the heavy lifting is done on building functionality and getting yor site setup and ready for launch.
Once you have your website designed, built, and ready to go then it is time to launch! It is generally good to soft-launch your site first, which means getting it live but only really showing it off to friends and family for the first week to make sure you have fixed any bugs or typos that may arise. And then, a week or two after the soft launch you are ready to promote your site to the world.