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By Katerina Fuller

Step-by-step guide for setting up your first website

If you have recently started a new business or hobby, you know you need a website to get the word out. Here is a brief outline of the basics knowledge you will need in order to set up your website in no time. It covers selecting a website hosting provider, building the website, and getting your first visits to your new site.

Select a website provider

What do you want your website to do? Deciding the purpose of your website is the first step in choosing a website provider. Gone are the days you would need to hire an expensive developer to build you a website; most hosts now provide easy-to-use site-building tools.

But not all website hosting providers are created equal. Some will allow easy integration of an online store, while others are better at allowing you to express your creativity. Then there are those that make it easy to create a simple website that just looks good. Take some time to think about what your primary focus for your website is, then search out the top website hosting providers. Most will offer a free trial period for you to test out their platform before committing to them.

Build your website

Once you have selected your website hosting provider, you will want to think about how you want your website to look. Gather any images you might want to use on the website, and start writing your website content. Make sure your website tells clear, concise story.

First-time visitors to a website will spend an average of less than 20 seconds on a page, so you have to grab their attention quickly. What is the first thing they see on the page? Will it make them stay? Does it direct them to the essential part of the website?

Make sure your website loads quickly so that users do not leave before it has finished loading. Use optimized images and text, and keep from putting too much content on one page. Just like any other file, images take up space. Simply making the image appear smaller on a webpage will not reduce the file size. Optimize your images before you upload them to reduce the load time of your site.

It is important to remember that websites are not set in stone, so be prepared to iterate on the design based on feedback from your friends and customers.

Get your first site visitors

Lastly, your website is no good without visitors. You want to start by sharing the website address with your friends and family. If you have an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media platform, share the link to your website, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Also be sure to put the address on any marketing materials (business cards, for example) you plan on sharing with potential visitors. You will also want to submit your website to the popular search engines like Google, and Bing. Waiting for them to index your site may take a few weeks. Search engine listing and optimization is an expansive topic that is covered in detail elsewhere.

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