Anyone can create a website. You can literally have a page up in ten minutes. But it takes quite a bit more finesse and planning to lay the foundations for success.
You want to get found. You want to be understood. You want a following.
What should you do first?
1. Market Research
- Find your niche – Mass marketing is dead. In most cases, it’s far more worth it to really find that specific group of customers that matter
- Determine your site objectives -Is it purely for exposure? Is it an e-commerce site?
- Determine the tone and editorial style – What’s your brand? Whatever it is, consistency is key
- Do keyword research – this is the best way to see what keywords marketers are bidding on, and are probably worth targeting
- Find or buy the appropriate domain/domains
2. Build a site map
- Create a site map. Consider siloing. – You can build this on anything -Excel, by hand – whatever works
- Create page titles. – Preferably after you’d mostly visualized the silo and done keyword research
- Find hosting to match your projected needs
- If you haven’t bought a domain yet, now is the time
- Decide on your content management system. – We recommend Joomla for general-purpose sites.
- Create content according to your planned styles and silo maps!
- Build a social media presence, where appropriate
- Build a real-world presence – even if it’s just business cards or flyers in the right place
- Build links with caution
Wait, so that’s it?
That’s the bare minimum you should be doing. We’re painting this all in wide strokes because there’re definitely many different ways to do each of those items.
What makes a good site? (from most to least important)
- Loads Fast
- Reinforces your brand
- Google Analytics – Again there are other options, but Google is still king and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future
- Google keyword planner – If you’re looking for topics to target, this is the place
- Google Trends – Discover…trends
- Google / Bing Webmaster Tools – check these places often for important developments. You don’t want to be surprised with penalties for something that was totally above-board a month ago, but now isn’t for some reason
- gtmetrix.com – Load speed is one of the few areas you actually have some control over. Check these guys out for a free speed test
- openlinkprofiler.org – A good, free tool for checking backlinks
- feedthebot.com – See how well Google could crawl your site with this tool. If your site can’t be crawled, it can’t be indexed, so make sure to check periodically
This is all just to help you get started. By no means will this contain all the answers, but if you were confused before, this should take you in the right direction.
If you are even more confused, why not contact us to help you with your new website.