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No. 5 – What To Consider Before Starting A Website

Have you ever wanted to build a website? 

 

Today, I’m sharing some things to consider before embarking on a website project. It’s friendly tips that can help save time, money, and a headache later. Hopefully, it helps you build or try something new online this year.

 

A website is your digital corner of the internet where you get to write, sell products, promote your skills, or simply share what you’re passionate about with the world. It requires a certain rhythm of updating, a spark of refreshment, a dose of upgrades, and continuous monitoring.

Notes by Naly

I’ve taught and helped startups, businesses, and international organizations with marketing, technology, and websites for 17 years. Teaching and mentoring people with marketing and technology empowers more startups and people .

I love creating and building websites for work and fun. Learning and teaching on websites helps more people (especially women) discover ways to build online.

Websites have gone from simple web pages to robust marketing, product selling, content creation, and community building machines. The growth of marketing technology accelerated use of analytics, lead management software, dashboard creation, and more tools.

 

If you’re thinking about starting a website this year, or ways to update your current website, then I hope this helps.

 

Share your website building tips in the comments! I’m always interested in learning and growing more.

Summary:

Subscribe to Notes by Naly

This was a free edition of Notes by Naly, with original publication on Substack. 

Notes by Naly is a weekly collection of notes and musings on an eclectic mix of topics ranging from business, food, travel, beauty, poetry, and more. It’s written by Naly and is a glimpse into her world as an entrepreneur and writer. 

Receive Notes by Naly directly in your inboxhttps://naly.substack.com

Website Planning

Before we build a website, let’s do some planning. This helps to outline, research, create a budget, and set goals for the website.

 

What are you building a website for?

 

Websites symbolize our online identity. It’s where we get to display our personality, business, passions, and purpose to the world. A website can be a creative portfolio or resume. We can post to social media, but having our own website is like digital real estate.

Websites are a place for us to own a small part of the internet.

If you have a current website, review your site map and web pages. Can you condense some? What are the analytics telling you about traffic flow? Researching your past analytics helps for the future.

 

If you’re starting a personal website, write down the 5 Ws. Why? Who? What? When? Where? How? Create a personal goal with your website. Include your portfolio, create a blog, or simply share what you love exploring online.

 

If you’re starting a business website, align it with your business goals. How can the website serve the business better? Do you need a simple website with content or are you running an e-commerce business with multiple software integrations? Do you need something simple now and scale later? Do you invest in building a custom environment now for the long-term?

 

Start thinking about branding and design. Make a list of websites you like. Make a list of websites you don’t like. Get inspiration from a photo, book, or magazine to mix it up. This will all come in handy when it comes time to establish the look, feel, and content of the website.

 

Whatever your reason for creating a website – write it down. 

 

Keep that reason and audience for your website somewhere near, and stare at it if you’re feeling lost in the process of creating.

Questions to consider:

Hosting Providers & Domain Names

In order to create a website, you need a hosting provider and a domain name. A hosting environment is like digital land, and your domain name is a street address. Your website is your home front and window to the world.

 

You can purchase an all-in-one website solution for a vertically integrated approach if you’re unsure. This would give you the hosting, domain name, and website template all in one. It’s a nice, simple, and well priced solution in the market now.

 

If you’re building a custom website, a hosting provider can get you the domain name and cloud storage with a suite of services, depending on the company. If your website is down or running slow, you can reach out to your hosting provider for guidance on usage.

 

You can also hire a managed cloud hosting provider to serve as your outsourced IT. This enables you to scale up in a public or private cloud environment as you grow employees and install software tools to power your business or organization. This allows your business or organization to throttle cloud storage, have higher cyber security monitoring, and get the right certifications like HIPAA, PCI, or FedRAMP. 

 

Coordinate with them to ensure your website is always up and running. Cross communication and operations between marketing, technology, and cloud hosting provider is essential to digital businesses and organizations.

 

Are you choosing an all-in-one solution or a custom website?

Questions to consider:

All-In-One Website Solutions

If you’d like to setup a website quickly with templates and no code, then an all-in-one website solution might be a good fit. It’s great if you have an online portfolio and resume. It’s a good way to start and you can migrate to a custom website environment later as you scale.

Launch a no code website with all-in-one solutions that provide hosting, domain, and website templates.

There are pros and cons to an all-in-one solution. 

 

All-in-one website environments are a great starting point for many individuals and small businesses. It’s also a good way to build a personal or hobby website and sell items. It may not be a good solution if you require heightened data security, processing healthcare or patient data, or integrating software solutions.

 

Having your hosting, domain, and website in one place makes managing it easier. There’s still a level of learning here, since you have to modify templates to make it more customized. It does empower many people to build without having to learn to code. Many features offered provide a great digital experience now.

 

However, integrations are limited, speeds and security may vary, and migrating a website can be a pain. 

 

The ultimate question here is, what are your personal or business needs and does it work for you?

Questions to consider:

Notes by Naly

Custom Robust & Dynamic Websites

Take a piece of paper and write down all the potential features, security risks, softwares to integrate, e-commerce, analytics, etc. that you require or may need in the future.

 

If your website requires more customization, security, features, software integrations, and e-commerce capabilities then you may need a custom robust and dynamic website.

Unlike an all-in-one website, this one is custom built into a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, and hosted through a separate cloud hosting provider.

I’ll write a more detailed post on building a custom website in another note.

 

For now, determining if a custom website solution is right for your needs can help you outline and get some things in place.

 

Building a custom website has its own in-depth process usually requiring a web developer, web graphic designer, and a trusted hosting provider.

 

Assessing the time, cost of creating, and maintaining a custom website and cloud hosting provider is important. These costs will vary depending if you’re building in-house or hiring an agency. There are plenty of creatives online with website building skills if you’re on a budget. 

 

Make a note of the monthly, quarterly, and yearly costs associated with the website. Keep it in mind and file it under your IT or Marketing costs of doing business.

Align your website with your business goals.

Assign a website master and start searching for a cloud hosting provider. You can also find a managed cloud hosting provider to serve as your outsourced IT cloud needs. Determine if you’re designing and building the website in-house or find an agency.

 

Software integrations allow you to connect forms to your website, manage and rate individual leads, create automated e-mails, host online events, and more.

Some softwares can integrate with your website to streamline marketing, operations, sales, support, and more.

Some popular integrations include Customer Relationship Software (CRM) to better manage leads and sales. Robust options for businesses and organizations is Salesforce, Zoho, HubSpot, Marketo, Act-On, etc. You can also integrate e-mail softwares like MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, etc.

 

The options are endless with plugins offering cool website features, or software integrations that empower whole organizations from lead to sale. 

 

Running a custom website does require more architecture, moving parts, stakeholders, and touch points. It takes longer to build with more technical expertise, however, you can create a one-of-kind memorable digital experience.

Questions to consider:

Notes by Naly

Website Maintenance

Building a website is the first part. It’s where we get to be fun and creative. We can dream and create.

 

Maintaining and updating a website is another beast. 

 

The on-going upgrades and costs is what catches many off guard. Making sure the website is up and running without issues is mission critical, especially if you run an e-commerce business.

 

We spent all this time (and money) on a website so now it’s all good to go, right?

 

Updating your website and design is maintaining curb appeal. It’s your home front to the world. 

 

If you’re utilizing an all-in-one website then you can contact them if your website is down or not functioning correctly. They’ll typically handle major updates that may affect your website.

Creating a website is an empowering move to share your hobbies, showcase your portfolio, start a blog, or build a business.

If you built a custom site then your website master and hosting provider can update, diagnose issues, ensure uptime, storage, backups, and cybersecurity.

 

Running a big website with an active blog, product sales, customer support, integrations, and more becomes a whole endeavor of its own. Many (including me) grow weary of maintaining and upgrading their website. There’s a reason why it’s a whole job. 

 

Every company manages their website differently. Find what works for you. It can be a partnership between marketing and tech team. Time block your calendar at least once a month to update website photos, create content, or build SEO links.

 

Thank you to all the website masters in the universe!

Questions to consider:

A website is a fun way to get started building online and grow your skills. It teaches so many aspects like cloud hosting, website design, website development, plugins, software tools.

Once we get into it there's a world of cool things to discover and create.

Do you have plans of creating a new website in 2023? Have you tried an all-in-one and migrated to a custom website? 

 

Share your website building tips in the comments! What have you learned from building or closing down a website?

 

 

Happy Creating,

 

N.

Subscribe to Notes by Naly

This was a free edition of Notes by Naly, with original publication on Substack. 

Notes by Naly is a weekly collection of notes and musings on an eclectic mix of topics ranging from business, food, travel, beauty, poetry, and more. It’s written by Naly and is a glimpse into her world as an entrepreneur and writer. 

Receive Notes by Naly directly in your inboxhttps://naly.substack.com

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