If you’re an entrepreneur, having a website is the best way to get your products and services out there, but when you’re first starting out, creating a website seems like the most overwhelming process in the world.
Let’s unpack that overwhelm and get you the tools to create a basic website.
The overwhelm starts with this thought: “Where do I even begin?”
Many people will tell you if you want a website, do it right or not at all. I don’t support that belief because we all have to start somewhere. Entrepreneurs might try to get quotes from marketing agencies around them because they don’t have the time to learn how to create a website on their own and then actually do it. The quotes they will get from agencies make them think they need to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours with someone creating their website when really that isn’t necessary. When you’re just getting started, you just need to show up when someone does a search for your business online.
When you’re first starting, your website needs to…
- Inform people about your business at a high-level
- Encourage people to contact you
Since those three things are fairly basic and don’t take much to put together on paper, let’s learn how to make a basic website on our own.
The steps to creating a basic website are:
- Choosing a domain name
- Buying that domain name
- Choosing a content management system
- Setting up that domain name in your content management system
- Creating a homepage
- Creating a contact page
- Creating an about us page
Let’s create your website in 7 easy steps!
The cool part is that the first 4 of the 7 easy steps can be lumped into 1 step by going to www.wordpress.com.
While there are many content management systems, WordPress is search engine friendly and can be as simple and complex as you want it to be.
When you visit www.wordpress.com, it will prompt you by asking what kind of website you’re creating. It will then give you a search bar where you can search for the domain name you are looking for. I recommend using some form of your business name if you’re selling products and services. If you’re a photographer, freelancer, etc. using your personal name is also a good idea.
I have a bias towards the end being “.com” because it’s the most common ending and ultimately people trust “.com” the most because they see it the most.
Once you find the domain name that is right for you, select it and WordPress will lead you to plans, starting at $3 a month – $45 a month. It will show you the benefits of each plan so choose the plan that makes the most sense for your startup.
You’ll see a cart summary and a form to fill out with some basic information. Once you submit this information and your payment, steps 1-4 are complete!
Once you’re in the backend of your website, you can choose a theme! There are many free themes to choose from. I would choose a basic theme for this starter website because white space keeps the viewer focused on the content and is the easiest to edit. You are not stuck with a theme after you select it!
I’m currently using the theme “The Writer” for my blog. You can explore themes in the backend of your website by clicking design > themes > and then clicking any of the free themes shown on screen.
Now that you’ve selected your theme, you’re up and running! Time to add some content.
As a new entrepreneur, you might not have any photos for your business yet. Don’t worry! There are plenty of websites free or cheap stock photos that you can use until you’ve built up a photo library.
Select at least one photo for each page you’re going to create: homepage, about us, and contact.
If you have a logo, you should use it on your website to promote your brand identity.
To upload these photos to your website, go to the media library, and select upload media, and go to the folder on your computer where you’ve saved the photos. WordPress media library allows you to resize your photos if they are too large. I wouldn’t use photos that are larger than 2000 x 1500 pixels. Note: if you uploaded photos that are larger than that, resize them in the media library. 2000 x 1500 pixels is a good size for a header image on each page.
After these photos are in the media library, you can go to the separate pages of your website and add them where you want them.
Chances are WordPress created some pages for you. If there are more than three pages, delete the excess (for now) and focus on the first three. Let’s start with the homepage.
The homepage should have this information:
- Company name
- One call to action
- Three selling points to highlight your services
Remember, I’m keeping this as high-level as possible to get you up and running. Over time, your homepage will have more than one call-to-action and your copy and content will evolve and expand to more webpages.
The homepage is the first page the user will see on your website and it’s crucial for engaging the user and intriguing them enough to learn more.
If the information on your homepage succeeded in keeping your user around, they will likely toggle over to the about us page next. This is where you can write a brief mission statement, when and how you got started, and a few sentences that make you a unique company that the user should work with over everyone else.
The final page for a basic website is the contact us page. The contact us page should have a phone number, an email, and potentially a contact form that the user can fill out. If you have a brick-and-mortar location and want people to visit you, add the address as well.
A contact form is an easy way for people to get in touch when they have a question or two before they are fully sold on your brand or service. It’s a passive way to engage the user. Have this contact form link back to your email so you’ll be notified when someone submits one. The three fields I recommend for your contact form is
Make sure the email, name, and message fields are mandatory for the user to fill out so that you have a way to get back to them.
Once you have these pages set up, there is no doubt you’ll want to add more and more! Before you go adding 10 more pages, create a strategy about what should come next. Get clear on your business goals and what information helps to sell your products or services.
In an effort to keep this short and sweet, I may not have went into enough detail for you. Leave a comment below if there are specific things you want more information about. Or if you have any marketing questions that are unrelated, reach out!