Starting an online business can be extremely daunting. Most people, at one point or another, have expressed interest in building a website. Expressing interest is the first step in a long line of work. Motivation is often lost somewhere in this line, leading to a lot of wasted work. I built my first website in 2016 and it took an incredible amount of effort to stay motivated. In the process I learned a lot and had a lot of frustrating moments. Here are four important things that I learned.
Usually people get so excited to start something that they just want to dive in. While excitement isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just diving into something like a website can be. Spend some time to plan out exactly what your website will be doing. Figure out what your color scheme will be, who your audience is. Spend some time figuring out exactly how you want to lay out the website and how much money you are willing to put into it.
I used a program called Lumzy to help draw up a wireframe of the entire site so that I knew what it would look like from the top down. Seeing the big picture will often cause you to make some adjustments to your strategy, which is probably a good thing.
In order to have a website go online you will need to choose what is called a web host. There are dozens, and they all have different pros or cons. Here is a pretty good list of web hosting services and reviews to figure out what works best for your situation. You will want to look at things like price per month, introductory prices, downtime, customer service rating, and anything else you can think of. Choosing to move hosts can be a huge pain. If your website starts doing well, but your host keeps going down it will be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Spend a little time up front and save a lot of time down the road.
There are quite a few website editors out there at this point. By far, the most common one is WordPress. A lot of competitors are popping up that offer simpler desiging tools to get a site up quickly. Unfortunately as your site starts to grow and you want to add capabilities, you will see that most easy design sites do not offer the functions that you want to be able to do on your site. Because WordPress has been used for years, there are millions of great plugins that can give your site any funcionality that you need to succeed.
As part of this, try using a visual composer. You don’t have to code your own site. You can use things like Visual Composer, which allows you to design a site almost like a Powerpoint. It will be able to respond to different screen sizes and load great on all types of devices, but will require no hardcoding on your part.
Take a course
There are dozens of courses out there that can teach you how to do this. Some of them cost thousands of dollars. Don’t take these. Sites like Udemy offer great courses nowadays for as low as $10. Take one of these. You can literally look over someone’s shoulder and watch them design a site using WordPress and see exactly what they do. It is worth the $10 and will likely save you hours of figuring things out the hard way.
Building a site is frustrating but extremely fun. Let the frustrations slide by and enjoy the progress you make. It will all be worth it someday!