Building a website for your business has never been easier, so let’s get started! Use this guide to get a quick overview of the steps to build or redesign your business website. Whether you’re doing it yourself or if you’ve hired someone to build it for you, it’s a good idea to understand the process. We’ll mention a variety of services in this guide. We can’t tell you which services are right for you, but this overview will help you make informed decisions about the services you need.
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to assess your goals, your technical skill level, and the amount of time and money you have to invest in your website. If you’re tech savvy and looking for an inexpensive option, you could build your site in an afternoon for less than $150 in domain registration and hosting fees. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more robust site, snazzy graphics, and don’t mind working with an outside firm, hiring a website design company could be the way to go. Either way, everyone launching or redesigning a business site can benefit from the best practices below!
- Choosing a Domain Name: Your domain name is your website’s address on the web and you need to secure the rights to use the name of your choice. Ideally it will be the name of your business or some easy to remember abbreviation. For example New York Magazine’s domain name is NYMag.com. Check if your domain is available and purchase it on a site like GoDaddy.com.
- Choose a Website Host: Next you’ll need to decide where to host your site. Your website designer might have a recommendation, which is great. If you’re doing it yourself there are sites like WordPress.com, which has dozens of readymade templates you can choose from and customize for your brand. WordPress.org and SquareSpace are services that offer a little more flexibility but you’ll need to have some basic knowledge of coding. We encourage you to research your options and ask other business owners about their experiences before you make a decision. Find out what you’ll need to do to maintain your site over the long term. How easy is it to make a change? How much flexibility will you have? Now you’re ready to get started building or redesigning your site.
- Publish your Content: You’ll need to have a logo and any photos and graphics ready as well as the copy you want to publish. Copy should be short and easy to skim. You should also have in mind the colors and fonts that match your brand’s style guide. If you’ve already created a brand asset library (see our branding guide), you’ll have all of these files at your fingertips. Wondering what to publish on your site? Check out our website checklist for our top do’s and don’ts!
- Test it out: Websites sometimes look different depending on the browser. Test how your site appears in several of the major web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome) on Macs, PCs, and Mobile devices.
- Make sure it’s Mobile: Brides are doing more and more of their planning on the go, which means it’s important that your website is usable from a smartphone browser. If the images don’t load or the buttons are too tiny to click, she may move on before she really checks you out. See our Get Started Guide to Mobile Marketing for more.
- Don’t forget SEO: Ask your web developer about SEO friendly practices they are incorporating into your site to help you get picked up by search engines. If you’re using one of the more popular web hosting services such as WordPress.com, some SEO-friendly best practices may be automatically set up for you when you sign up. For more on SEO best practices, check out this webinar.