Want a Website? Do it Yourself in 6 Steps!

Whether you're a blogger, business owner or even a regular person, you’re not going to get too far these days without a website. For many folks, a website seems like one of those unattainable things only computer science majors, or nerds from 90’s movies can do.

The truth is, making a website doesn’t have to be that difficult. You just need to know the steps and where to start.

Have a Vision

Vision for Website

Some things in life are more fun when you go in without a plan. Creating a website is NOT one of those things.

Before you even consider starting up your website, make sure your vision for your blog is totally fleshed out. You better have an answer to these questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What am I selling? 
  • What is my voice? What will the copy look like?
  • What message am I trying to convey? 
  • What is the goal of this website? And my business at large? 
  • What look and feel do I want for my brand?

We suggest taking the MOST time researching during this step. Find other websites you like and send them to web consultants, who will likely know how these websites were created and what steps you’ll need to take to replicate them.

Choosing Your URL/Webhost

Choosing Your URL

We’ve recently gone more in depth with things to consider while choosing your URL. If you want to look professional online, purchasing a URL is definitely recommended. It’s the only way to get a www.yourbusiness.com email. It’s not a huge expense (usually less than $20 per year) and will give you professional email services.

However, if you’re just a blogger or hobby business starting out, you can probably get away with using a free URL provided by your CMS (more info below). Your site will function like most other websites, however things like SEO might be affected. Usually the structure of these URLs is like this: yourbusiness.myshopify.com

A domain can be purchased through a variety of sites. Some of the most popular are GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, or any on this list really.

We used GoDaddy for this website. But each person is going to have a different preference or need, so do your research here and see what works best for you.

Choosing Your Platform/CMS

Choosing Your Platform

Once you have a URL it’s time to figure out which platform and/or Content Management System (CMS) you\re going to host things on. First, let’s take a breath. This can be when things start to get overwhelming for people. But trust us. It’s easy. And you can do this. Alright, here we go.

In the early days of websites, it used to be you needed to know how to code long boring sequences in order to make your website look a certain way. These days things are a lot simpler. A CMS essentially allows you to do all the coding, without having to actually know anything about coding. Working in the back end of your website becomes more simple. Here’s the most popular CMS we like to work with.

WordPress:

Pros:

  • It’s free to use, and you only have to pay for your URL or Theme
  • Very customizable with free and paid plugins

Cons:

  • It’s not as intuitive as other CMS
  • Can have a pretty steep learning curve

Shopify:

Pros:

  • A great and easy to use ecommerce platform for setting up an online shop 
  • Very customizable with free and paid themes/apps

Cons:

  • More limited blogs/customization options when compared to WordPress
  • Has a monthly/annual fee

Squarespace

Pros:

  • A great and easy to use ecommerce platform for setting up an online shop 
  • Very customizable with free and paid plugins 

Cons:

  • Limited back end functionality 
  • Online stores have a monthly/annual fee

Wix:

Pros:

  • Easiest to use for beginners, has a drag and drop style set up 
  • Loads of customization options


Cons:

  • Tough to integrate online stores with compared to Squarespace or Shopify
  • Can be buggy and tough to manage sometimes


Planning Your Website Structure

Simple websites like blogs or community pages won’t take too much planning, however, if you plan on creating an online store or online registration - things can quickly get complicated.

Use good old pen and paper to flesh out what pages you will need. Here’s some common ones to get you started:

About Us: It’s a good idea to have an About Us page, so anyone visiting your site can learn what you’re about. Use this page to tell your brand’s story!

Products/Services: Outline the services and programs you offer and why they are so awesome.

Values/Missions: People should know what your business is about! A values and mission page is a great place to communicate this.

Team: It’s a good place to show your expertise and personal side!

Blog: Even if you’re not a blogger, having a blog is generally a great idea so you can share useful knowledge with your followers (like this!), and improve your SEO.

Start thinking of which photos and copy will be included on each website, so the next step can be smoother for you.

Choosing Your Theme

It’s like buying clothes, but for your website!

Each CMS listed above also contains a number of themes. The theme is going to act as the stylistic foundation you build your website upon, so take your time choosing. There are plenty of free themes available, but if you want to stand out online, and in most cases get more customizability and features, you might want to spend the dollars on a paid theme.

Enjoy this part! Diving into some of these themes can be a lot of fun and a good way to spend your Friday night if you’re into long, dark internet browsing sessions.

Writing/Designing Your Website

Writing and Design

This is the fun part! And probably the part you wanted to start with. Start writing copy and finding photos to plug into your theme and pages. Suddenly you’ll begin to see your vision coming together!

If you’re looking for some free to use stock photos, Shopify Burst and Pexels are two great places to begin.

If you happen to struggle at any point along this website building road, there’s definitely a ton of online resources (and real-life people like us) to help you. Let us know how your website build goes and be sure to email us a before and after!

Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners:

  • Create Your Business Website Using Shopify
  • Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software
  • Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners
  • Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench
  • Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools

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