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This is a guest post by Mary J Derosa.
Creating your first website may seem overwhelming at first. You need to take care of so many things, it’s hard to decide what to focus on.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much effort to get started – at least as long as you have an actionable, step-by-step plan. Not sure how to create one and what to consider before launching a site? It’s easy!
Here are 7 things every website owner should think about when starting out.
1. Your Hosting – Where It’s All Stored At
What’s the one thing your site needs first
Aside from your vision for the website, the very first thing that you need to get before you launch is a place to “store” the site.
The good news is that nowadays, hosting doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. In fact, you can get a quality shared host for a couple bucks per month.
As a beginner, you probably won’t need anything beyond a basic shared hosting plan. At least not if you’re on a low budget. What matters is that you choose a reputable company with fair pricing and a choice of at least three different tiers (for scalability/future-proofing) – just like the one you can check here.
2. Domain Name – Your Site’s Brand
Once you have a place to host your website, it’s time to acquire a domain name.
Remember that a domain name is also your brand. That’s why you should keep it aligned with what your website is about, and how you’ll monetize it.
This applies whether you are going to run an online store, make money from advertising, or own a membership site.
Naturally, when starting out, you might have no idea how you’re going to monetize the website just yet. Still, you should do your best to keep the domain name catchy, memorable, and trademark-free.
What about the TLD? If you can, grab a .com, but a .co, .cc or .net will do the job too. You can follow this guide for more tips to pick your domain.
You could also try one of the “niche” TLDs such as .cloud, .app or .tech – just keep in mind that some of them are viewed as spammy; moreover, they don’t fit a website that’s not related to the TLD itself.
3. Your Website’s Design
Once you have the two most important things – server and domain, it’s time to start designing your site. Thankfully, WordPress is so intuitive that you don’t need any coding skills whatsoever to create great-looking, intuitive and effective websites.
Instead of learning to code, just grab one of the easy-to-edit WP themes offered by Compete Themes and create a beautiful new site.
Of course, you might need just a bit of CSS to polish the site – but it’s possible to create a fully functioning site without any significant modifications to the code.
4. Website Structure – What’s Going to be There?
Knowing how you want your website to look like visually is a great first step, but what about its structure?
Unless you have a generous marketing budget or are creating a small website that will be promoted with your existing audience, you need to plan the structure of your website carefully.
It’s important to focus on everything – both the initial set of pages that you make live with the site, as well as the future posts that you will use to attract organic traffic.
One of the easiest ways to come up with the right structure is to do an in-depth keyword research using tools such as Google Keyword Planner. It allows you to find the main keywords, which you can then use to generate even more ideas for your content.
5. Marketing Plan – From Getting Started to Scaling Up
Speaking of keyword research, knowing how you’re going to attract new visitors and market your website is just as important.
If you focus on organic traffic then keyword research, content calendar, and on-page SEO optimization will be your most important tactics to invest in. But SEO is not the only way in which you can attract traffic as a beginner. Referral traffic, social media, forums – there are plenty of ways to increase your traffic.
Whichever method you choose, make sure that it provides you with enough scalability so that your business can grow and provide you with full-time, sustainable income down the road.
For example, organic and paid traffic from quality sources such as Google can sustain your site for a long time (and there’s lots of room for scalability) even if you’re in a small niche.
That said, small niches have limited traffic and you might need think outside the box for more. The good news is, you’re not the only one with the same problem…
6. Your Competitors –
Who’s Targeting Your Customers Already?
Stuck on your marketing plan and not sure what you should put on your website? No worries – unless you are in a super new, just invented niche (which was invented by you), I’m 100% sure there are already businesses providing the same (or similar) service or product.
Before you think of ditching the whole idea, let me assure you that this doesn’t mean you should give up – quite the opposite.
If there is competition, people are spending money. And researching your competition is an excellent way to grow, learn and discover new ideas (and steal them).
Of course, you shouldn’t just copy paste everything that you see. Watch your competitors, see what they do on their sites, how they attract traffic off-site, and how they position their offer. Once you have a list of actionable ideas, see what you can improve and apply the new and improved ideas to your own website.
7. Setting Up Analytics – Keeping an Eye on All of It
Want to check whether the ideas that you have implemented are working out? The easiest way of checking this is to watch your website traffic statistics using tools such as Google Analytics.
Adding analytics to your website is easy, and you should include tracking before you even get your first visitor.
Google Analytics is a free tool that tells you everything about your
While it’s not a necessity for beginners, if you want to speed up the growth of your site down the road, collecting the data from day one is a must. But don’t worry about it just yet.
Update: you may have an easier time using my new plugin, Independent Analytics, to track your website’s views and traffic sources.
For now, it’s important that you get a quality hosting, choose the right brand name, create an actionable marketing plan (with a focus on getting started but with scaling in mind), and research your competitors. The latter is critical to evaluate your own website plan.
Once you have all the data, there is just one step left – getting started!