Wanting to have a website but you don’t know where to begin; or if you should really have a website? You don’t just put up a website because you want to. Wanting is primal, but certainly after desire comes with something more. It is not enough that you want it. Here are 8 things or startup tips that you should consider before putting up or deciding to have a website.
OK, let us not put this aside because it starts from here – your desire to have a website. Why do you want a website? You have a number of positive reasons, I suppose, and they are all valid. All factors aside, if you insist on having a website even if you don’t need it, then stop here. You don’t have to know the rest. Just go ahead. Satisfy your desire and put up your website. There’s nothing wrong with that. Should you want to explore more, then continue reading.
Having second thoughts? You may have the desire to have a website but do you really need one? Having a website requires time, work, and money. If you don’t need one, then don’t waste your energy. The difference between want versus need is that a need is something necessary; want is not. How do you know then if you need a website?
If you’re into business, do you believe that having a website will increase your sales? If yes, what should your website feature in order to increase your sales? If you’re not into business, will your life change to the better if you would have a website? Why do you need a website? If there’s no valid need, why do you want it then? What’s your purpose?
Your purpose of having a website will justify your need or your want. Generally, you need a website for reasons such as publicity, marketing, advertising, e-commerce, research, and communication, among others. The following are some specific valid reasons of having a website.
- To publicize your organization. You want your target market to know that you exist. Your web presence therefore is necessary so that for those people who would be interested to learn more about your organization can learn about your organization by visiting your website. More importantly, you give your prospects a means to get in touch with you.
- To sell and market online. You want to sell things online to reach a wider market. Rather than opening a hundred branches of your store nationwide, an online store would be more convenient for your customers to buy your products. If your job is about Internet marketing, then you definitely need a website. For one good reason, your customers should know who they are having transactions with.
- To reach a global market or audience. Reaching a global market means more sales to your business. If your website is about activities that you do or propagate, the need to share what you do can give you more satisfaction if you can connect to a wider audience, especially to those who are confined to their homes.
- To share information. We are born to share our gifts such as our knowledge, talent, skill, works of art, etc. By giving tips, counsels, or short tutorials for free, you do something selfless and noble. Why not? Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web technology, made the Web for everyone to enjoy and use for free forever.
- To be productive. You can make blogging a hobby. Instead of wasting time doing nothing at home, you can make yourself useful and productive. Connect with people and be social, or offer an online help or support to people that you can inspire. Use your blog to improve your skill in writing.
- To journal your activities. Use your website to record or document your progress in whatever you are studying or working on. Blogging was invented and originally intended for this reason.
- To showcase your portfolio. If you’re into services such as photography, painting, or creative design, use a website to showcase your works.
- To provide add-on services. You want to serve your customers without them having to go to your shop or office. Your website can provide add-on functionality such as mini-apps that can be entertaining, educational, or informational. For example, if you are promoting a weight loss program, your website can have a mini-app that calculates ideal weight. If your site is about finance, you can provide something that calculates loans and amortizations.
What are you going to put on your website? Your site cannot be empty. If your purpose is to simply present your business profile on the World Wide Web, you only need basic information such as a short write-up about your company, a visual presentation of your products or services, contact information, key persons that make your organization (if necessary), progress or growth timeline, some business principles, beliefs, goals, and ideas.
If your purpose is to give a rich source of information about your chosen topic, activity, or field of work, then you must have a clear idea where you are going to get this information.
If you are selling stuff online, then be ready with photos of the items you wish to sell, honest description of your products, and how your customers can order online.
5 Target Audience or Market Niche
Traditionally, you first think of a product, then you look for the market. Today, the modern and effective way of doing business online is the reverse. First is to look for a market. Once you have found a market niche, then you create a product in response to the need of that market. A market niche is a group of consumers who have common needs or demands. For example, women who want to lose weight.
If you know your target audience, you must also know where to connect with them. Your website should have visitors, otherwise, it will become useless.
Having a website entails cost. You pay for your domain name registration and its renewal yearly. You also need a web host which you pay annually. You will have to hire a web designer to design or build your website. If writing is not your skill, you might need to hire a writer. You may also need to hire a photographer and a graphics artist should your site require images; or simply buy images online from photo-stock sites. You also need someone who can manage and administer your website regularly.
If your budget is tight, you may opt to use the free sites such as Blogger or WordPress(dotcom). Free sites, however, have limited functionality. You use them simply for blogging – to showcase your work, to market your services, or share information. Technically, you cannot use free sites for e-commerce purposes and online marketing. There may be a creative way to sell a few products with free sites but usually these free site hosts do not allow it.
If you need your website up and online immediately, it can be done but do not expect much. If you are a person who can learn online technical stuff with ease, you can build your site in less than an hour with Blogger or WordPress(dotcom). Otherwise, you will need to hire or ask someone to teach you or do it for you. There are CMS (content managements system) available on the Net such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal which you can use to build your website in less than a week or two. If your website requires complexity and has to be developed from scratch, then it may take at least two months to accomplish your site; plus, be ready with a big budget.
The platform that your website may require depends on the purpose of your website. An e-commerce site is more complex to develop compared to a blog-type website. A static website, usually used to present a company or business profile, can be done with HTML and CSS. Here’s an example of a static website. For this site amikvs(dot)org, I built it with WordPress.
There you have it. I hope the list above can help you in deciding whether to have a website or not. If at this point, having a website sounds complicated and you feel discouraged to have one, consult a specialist who can explain further the ins and outs of putting up a website; or use the comments below to ask me.
Perhaps you are wondering what the difference is between WordPress(dotcom) and WordPress(dotorg). WordPress is a CMS that you use to build a website. WordPress(dotcom) is a site where your website can be hosted for free using WordPress. WordPress(dotorg) is a support site for those who use WordPress outside WordPress(dotcom).