So you have decided on you want to a website for your business. What to do next?

1. Define your goals for your website.

At first glance the goals for a website seems very obvious — all websites enable businesses to publish information about themselves and allow potential and current customers to find information. However, your website strategy should be aligned with your business strategy. Who is your audience, how do you reach them, and what should they be able to accomplish on your website? For example, do you want people who visit your website to be able to make an appointment with you? Think about your own business processes and how a website might be able to contribute additional efficiencies. Do some preliminary planning, look at websites you like, look at websites of your competitors, and figure out what you want.

You might even want to write out what it is you want on your website. Even if you are having a professional build it, chances are you will have to provide text and images as well unless you pay for copywriting and stock photo.

2. Get your own domain name.

Even if you are not going to have a website right away, it would be smart to get a domain name. This one is very important, because the domain name is how people will find you on the web. It is your address and what you are known as on the internet. Use a reputable domain name registrar to register your domain name so you can protect yourself from possible headaches.

3. Consider what you need in web hosting.

Finding the right web host is a process. It’s not a terrible process, but it is not advisable to do it unplanned. You will want to figure out what is important to you in a web host. What is your budget? Do you need e-commerce support? Do you plan on using email or newsletter? Do you want 24/7 support (most likely yes)?

4. Contact a few web designer/consultants

Assuming that you are not going to build the website yourself, once you have a grip on some of the above items, you will probably want to contact an expert who can get your project completed and done in a professional and timely manner. If you plan on doing this yourself, then you will have to invest quite a bit of time to do it right, since there is more to a website than just getting something visual posted. Contacting a few professionals and getting a sense of the price for what you want might just help you save not only time but money. A good web designer or consultant can help you find good hosting, navigate the issues around doing business on the web, dealing with social media, and help you set realistic expectations on what the website can and cannot do. I would not advise contacting the a professional first without doing some homework and figure out what you want.

If you have figured out what you want and are ready to take the next steps, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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