Are you ready for a website? Here are six steps to consider to help you get up and running.

It is time for your business to reach the next level – presence on the internet. Now that you are ready to develop a website for your business, where do you begin? We will take you through a few basic steps to get you going on your first website.

Step 1: Choose a Platform

This is just what the name implies; it is the base on which your website will stand. For newbies and even those with some knowledge of websites and coding, WordPress is the most popular choice for a platform. It is used by over 50 percent of all websites. It is easy to use and most of the work has been done for you by a host of developers and web designers. Other options include Joomla and Drupal. For the beginner, though, is the recommended choice.

Step 2: Choosing a Domain Name

What will your site be called? What is your business niche? What is your focus? Use these answers to come up with a name. Write down several and then check online to see if the one you want is available. It may take a few tries to find one you like that no one has taken. Keep it as short as possible and also easy to associate with your business. Buying a domain name may cost a few bucks, but it’s worth it to have your own business name.

Step 3: Find a Web Hosting Service

You can’t have a website without a host. The hosting service is where your data will be stored, on their servers. Depending on how much space you need now and in the future, it might be worth a few more bucks a month to ensure that your site won’t crash or get turned off. Free web hosting services usually don’t provide enough bandwidth for a major business website.

Step 4: Create a Site Map

Before you begin to put together your website in cyberspace, it needs to be put together on paper. Using a simple design, sketch out your pages: headers, content, images and positioning of these elements. Also, include which pages will link to other pages, how they will link, pulldown menu options and the like. Knowing roughly how you want it to look goes a long way to getting the focused finished product you want for your business.

Step 5: Install WordPress makes it easy to install their website program on your computer. One-click installation is offered. You can then log into the content management system and look around to see how to set up pages, edit and upload content and more. There are many options with WordPress.

Step 6: Design your Website

For those who know coding, you can use HTML or CSS to change the pages to look like you want them to. HTML can be used in a simple text editor to get your content to show up the way that you want it. WordPress offers options for free themes for design templates to begin with. A variety of options are available, so take some time to peruse them. If you don’t like it, you can always change it.  There are also hundreds of plugins that can help your site with functionality.  Once you install Worpdress, start researching themes. In addition to the FREE themes you can find in the wordpress dashboard and online, there are also a number of inexpensive themes you can purchase. I love and use Elegant Themes for several of my projects including this website.

Once you decide the theme you like based upon your needs, start looking at what you want your site to “do.” For instance if you need forms check out Contact Form 7.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]If you plan to sell something on your site, WooCommerce is one of the best platforms with lots of functionality.[/tweet_box]

In the next post we will go into more detail about “how to build a website”  including the things you need and need to know.

If you are a member of Women in Ecommerce, you have access to our latest training, WordPress KnowHow!  Check out the sales page on Get More Business Series .  You will learn everything you need to set up your wordpress website in less than an hour!