One of the first things to do is to understand what you want your website or blog to do. Do you need it to be a lead generation tool for your company, or are you looking to communicate with existing customers?
Whether you are able to create your own site, have an in-house team who can do this for you or whether you need to use a web design firm, the next step is to put together a clear strategy that will help you to achieve your goal.
Blog or Website?
Essentially, a blog (short for web log) is just a different type of website that is a simple way to post text and images to the Internet without having to know how to code using HTML, the programming language that is at the heart of web design. However, it is not so easy to customise a blog as it is a website and there are more design options available if you create a custom website.
There are several choices to consider it you want to have a go at creating a site yourself:
WordPress – this is a popular content management system (CMS) that is installed on your web server. It is user-friendly and intuitive, allowing you to build a site without a great deal of technical ability and therefore this system lends itself well to creating blogs. There are thousands of different themes available, ranging from free to paid versions, as well as a vast assortment of plugins (pieces of code created with the purpose of expanding the functionalities of WordPress) that allow you to customise your site.
Adobe Dreamweaver – this is a commercial web development application that you install on your own computer. It enables you to get a very decent-looking website up and running fairly simply without having to code although it is advisable to learn how to code because this will ultimately give you more control.
Create.net – this is the system to use if you want to build a website with an ecommerce store. There are a whole host of design features that enable you to completely customise your site that will make it have a unique look.
Once you have chosen the right platform to create your site there are a few things to think about:
Design – Does the website promote your brand in the right way and appeal to prospective customers?
Technology – Does the website work the way you want it to? Is it easy to update and, if it is an ecommerce site, can customers make purchases easily?
Marketing – Can visitors find your website using keywords? Make sure that you communicate with them effectively on social media?
Support – Can you get support if and when you need it?
Content – this is probably the most important aspect of any website or blog. Think about what it is you want to get across and to portray. Don’t forget that this is your virtual storefront. Do you have product images, descriptions, pricing, shipping costs, terms and conditions? Ideally visitors should know within seconds what your site is about, what they can do there and why they should take action. Content should be kept fresh, updated constantly, with new posts being published on a regular basis.
Coding – Although you don’t need to be able to code if you want to create a successful website, ultimately being able to code will give you substantial flexibility. Coding is a skill that has become a powerful force and there is little doubt that basic coding lessons will soon be offered to students worldwide as part of the curriculum in the future.