Anyone can design a website. Many of us can design a site that is a breath-taking work of art or a technical marvel. With Content Management Systems like The Digital Marketing System, web design is suppose to be something everyone can do. But don’t be fooled by the hype. This system uses WordPress and it is anything but user friendly and has only added several more layers of complexity to what was already a complicated process.
The learning curve for WordPress is pretty steep. But once you know how to – at the very least – create a post, you are well on your way. It is, however, an entirely different story when comes to designing a website that can attract thousands of potential customers every month and turn them into buying customers. Making a site easy to find is much harder than just making it and making it look good.
Ideally, a website can be an excellent tool for generating fresh new sales leads, but only once it has become visible on the search engines. This is not something that can be done in a day, a week or a month, even a year.
The secret is knowing what you’re buying when you get a quote from a web designer. A website is an excellent idea if you want to generate more sales leads than what you are already getting using distributors, salesman, newspapers, and other traditional advertising methods. But the design of that website is only a minor part of the long term process of reaching new customers, generating brand awareness, new sales leads and revenue. It is not something that you should do on a whim. A $500 website may look like a great deal, but it is probably nothing more than an empty building that no one will ever visit. In other words, “you get what you paid for”.
Where To Begin
Here are five crucial steps that you must take to get off on the right foot.
1. Domain Name Registration
With Google putting new websites in a holding pattern (some say for as long as 2 years), it is highly recommended that you pick a domain name and get it hosted as fast as you can. It could take a year or more for Google to index the site and for it to show up for any keywords.
The first thing you have to do is pick a domain name or a URL address for your website. Most people usually try to get something like their company name, i.e., www.companyname.com. While this is usually a good strategy, it can also be a good idea to do some research first and think about other alternatives that might be even better. It is usually a good marketing idea to pick a domain name that tells people what you are selling, i.e., heatexchangers.com. Whatever you decide on, make sure you register the domain name with a trusted registrar and, if you can afford it, that you register the URL for more than one year. Renewing a domain name ever year can be a traumatic experience if you are not use to it. A good place to start searching for a domain name is BlueHost or even GoDaddy. They’re relatively cheap, their fast and quick to respond to any inquires you might have.
2. Web Hosting
The next step is to get your domain name hosted. This is a crucial step and shouldn’t be taken in haste. You want a host that is reasonably priced, easy to contact, quick to respond to your questions, reliable and technically capable of dealing with all kinds of websites. It goes without saying that a good hosting company is very rare. Most hosting companies can handle your standard website. Not all, however, can handle an e-commerce website or a website with an administration backend (like WordPress) that allows you to update the website yourself. (If you want a website with a cart, make sure the host supports MySQL and .php on a Unix server.) When it comes to hosting a WordPress website, it is highly recommended that you consider “managed” website hosting that can make your site a lot faster and more reliable. – Visit Web Hosting Buying Guide by CNET.com for advice on choosing the right web hosting for you.
3. Web Design
Once you have your domain name hosted, you are ready to design your website. Once you get a quote, try to remember that you are not getting a fully developed website that will sell your products online. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When you see web designers offering to design a website for $500, all you are really getting is an empty container – even less if it is not a search engine friendly design. Ideally, it is the function of a website to sell your products, but only once it has been fully developed. Which is another way of saying, not until it is easy to find on the search engines.
Unless you already know for sure that your website is going to be a total success I would recommend choosing WordPress as your design platform. A standard HTML website might be cheaper and not as hard to build, but it won’t be mobile friendly which means it will be harder to promote on the search engines. Once you know that WordPress is the answer you’re looking for, start adding content to the site and worry about the appearance of the site once all the content has been added. Try getting the basic structure and functionality of the site settled first before spending a lot of money on professionally designed graphics. For suggestions on how to have a successful website visit my tips for converting leads into sales..
4. Web Promotion
A successful promotion of your website should begin with keyword research. Since we are in a world dominated by Google, it is highly recommended that you get a Gmail account which gets you access to Google Adwords and all of the Google properties out there, i.e., Google Analytics, YouTube and so on. Once you have that you can use the Keyword Planner in Google Adwords to research the best keywords for your business.
Finding the most popular keywords to target is the most important step you will take. If not done correctly this could set back the process for years to come. As it is, it can still take months even years before you will see any genuine results. If you can’t wait that long, think about Google Adwords as quick and easy (but expensive) way to get some visitors to your site and possibly some sales. This might give your site the boost it needs, while you work on developing the content of you site and getting quality links to boost its pagerank. Click here for more information on promoting your website using Adwords.
4. Social Media
Building your website’s presence on Social Media has quickly become the method choice when it comes generating traffic to your site. While it sounds easy enough, it takes a lot of work to develop these platforms to the point where you are generating actual leads.