Building a website all starts with an idea, domain, and website platform. I’m going to explain everything I wish I knew before I began building my websites.
Everybody says that experience is the greatest educator. In the future, I want to create businesses. Thus, I decided that I might as well see how much I could learn by challenging myself to create a business in 30-days. If you’ve ever thought about doing this, and hope to live vicariously through me, you can follow my journey here and check my socials where I post regular updates.
So you’re a beginner?
At the start of this year, I had never built a website. Now, I have built six, and have done 10+ complete remodels of my personal website. Throughout this process, I’ve learned a lot, and want to share.
I could explain the LONG journey of my personal website – the domain transfers, the different build-out attempts, the frustration, the late-night help chat experiences, the YouTube searching, the Googling, etc. (Even recalling all of that is exhausting!)
Instead, I’m going to explain my most recent website build which is much simpler, and will hopefully make your process much more enjoyable.
Choosing a Domain
Choosing a domain is your first step.
Your domain is what people will type into the search bar so you want to make it both memorable and easy. As a rule-of-thumb, steer clear from long and complicated domains. If you were your customer, what would you want to type into the search bar?
The best domains are simple and hint at the purpose of the website.
Begin with a business idea.
Buying a domain begins with a compelling idea.
First, brainstorm a list of words that fit the theme of the idea and then test their availability.
Don’t commit yourself to a name before you know if it’s available. That’s a rookie mistake.
This is the process I follow:
- Business Plan (what are you doing, how, and why)
- List out words and names that fit the theme
- Plug best options into a domain-search tool
- Choose business name
I looked through 10+ names, saved the available ones, and chose the one that seemed the most fitting.
I ended up choosing “projectlifebook.com” because it’s memorable, easy to type, and straightforward.
Which Domain Provider to Purchase Through
Once you’ve decided on your domain and business name, it’s time to buy the domain.
You have two options for this: either buy through a domain seller or you can see if the website platform you want to use has a domain-buying feature.
If you go the route of choosing a domain seller, there are a lot of options.
If you would prefer to buy using the platform you want to build your website on, then you need to decide which platform to use.
Deciding which Website Platform to Use
This all comes down to features.
Make a list of the features you need to execute your business idea, and then check out the graphic below.
Do you need to showcase something? Are you trying to sell? Are you wanting it to be a writing platform?
You can do more research on your own. Most of these websites offer a free-option, or at least a trial period that you might want to test out.
My Experience with Different Platforms
I originally chose to build this new website on Shopify, but ended up on Squarespace.
My oversight, which cost me days of work, was Shopify’s lack of customization. I chose Shopify because it’s the best for e-commerce, but because it’s built for e-commerce, people are usually more concerned with their products than with their website.
If you’re a coder, or want to hire a coder, you can utilize Shopify to get the best of both worlds — product and website. If you’re not, like me, you have to choose either-or.
Ending up on Squarespace
Like I said, I lost days of work by starting on Shopify.
Moral of the story: do your research when it comes to choosing your web platform, and know what kind of features you both need and want.
Once you’ve chosen your idea, landed on a name, and chosen a website platform, it’s time to buy and build.
Good Luck! The final product will be worth it!
This post originally appeared on micaelarichmond.com