How to Build a Website for Your Business in a Day
Creating a website for your business, or building a business online, opens up amazing potential to reach new customers and provide a better experience. As soon as you’re online, you can start taking advantage of advertising technology and the convenience of the web. In this post, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to create an online business and website yourself.
Step 1. Create a Brand Strategy
Before you set out creating a website for your business, you should have a clear outline of your brand. All the aspects of the design, copy, and which features are included will be drawn from your brand strategy. The idea is to create something that fulfills your customers’ expectations and accomplishes your business goals.
Combining those two ideas can be very tricky, and that’s why having a solid strategy in place is important.
As we cover in the guide above, finding the sweet spot where your audience’s needs intersect with your goals is about learning from interactions with customers. Creating a website gives you incredible access to data about what prompts your customers to buy, and how to optimize both your product and the experience you offer.
If you can, talk to your current customers about what works for them, what doesn’t, and what they would expect from your website. If you can’t access your customers, or you’re just starting your business, then you’ll need to start with a brand identity that you think will work best, based on your current knowledge and assumptions, and then refine as you learn more.
There are many free tools that enable you to measure interactions and refine your website copy, design, features and even the products or services you sell with data. Here are a few big ones to keep at the ready for when your website is ready to launch.
Step 2. Create a Site Map and Gather Content Assets
This step ensures that you don’t have to rebuild your website because you missed something important. Based on your research and planning from step 1, think about the features, pages, and information you need for your business website to be operational. For the initial launch, you should focus on the MVP, or minimum viable product.
The idea of an MVP is to have a product that works and can accomplish business goals while meeting customer expectations. But an MVP doesn’t have to be the complete vision for your product—nor should it be. By starting small, you can discover what your customers really need, and how that plays in with your business strategy. This enables you to refine your products and website experience more and more with each new release or improvement to your products and services.
So think hard about what you need to be operational, and put the big goals on the map for the future. Then, you can create a viable map for your site that includes:
- Each critical piece of information your customers need to know—what is your product, how much does it cost, how does it work, are there refunds, warranty, etc. Think about it as if you’re explaining it to someone who’s never heard of your product or service.
- Find the breakdown of pages for all this info, organized so that customers can find it easily and intuitively. For example, don’t include product features without the price points.
- Now, map the flow for every interaction you need for the MVP. For instance, the home page > the product categories > sub categories > product details and pricing > checkout > follow up (emails and content).
It can help to list out each piece of information critical to your sales cycle and then draw out a map, whether pen and paper or a post-it wall, of how all those pieces fit together. This will be an uphill battle, but when you get to the actual site building step, it will make it way easier to manage all your detailed information and processes.
Mapping out your site can be a difficult process, especially if there are multiple teams or stakeholders involved in the process. Luckily, there are some really great free tools for keeping track of all of it.
I’d recommend Trello, which is technically a project management software, for listing out each piece of info, content, or feature you need for your MVP. Then, your whole team can keep track of progress, logins for tools, and details, while still having a bird’s-eye view of what needs to be done.
When you’re ready to create the visual map, GlooMaps is a free, web-based application that makes mapping it all out easier. And unlike post-it note maps, you can share this with your team, and access it from anywhere.
Step 3. Build Your Website
If you’ve created a basic strategy and mapped out your site, you’re ready to build it. And the first step to creating a website is finding a place to put it. Literally.
Website Hosting and Domain Name
Even though we all visit websites every day, a lot of us don’t know how that visit actually happens. Websites are basically files stored on servers connected to the internet, which your computer accesses and loads remotely. Website hosting companies provide the infrastructure for storing your website for others to access, and often provide domain names, which are like registered addresses for your websites, also known as URLs.
WordPress is our favorite platform for building a business because it offers the most flexibility and open-source/free tools. It’s great for startups looking to DIY without incurring the potentially huge development and design costs. It’s easy to integrate amazing marketing tools like OptinMonster, Google Analytics, and Constant Contact, and much more.
But first, you’ll need to install WordPress through your hosting provider. After you set up a hosting account, you’ll have access to the control panel, or cPanel, where most providers feature a one-click WordPress installation. Make sure your provider offers a WordPress installation feature—that’s a bare minimum these days.
Once you’ve installed WordPress on your website, you should receive an email with your login credentials. These will get you into your WordPress admin dashboard, which is where you configure all the settings for your website. You can access this login page any time by typing in your website URL with /wp-admin added to the end, for example: yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Choose a WordPress Theme for Your Business
WordPress themes are essentially templates for your business website that you can customize with your feature sets and branding. Premium WordPress themes, which are what we sell on MOJO Marketplace, feature the latest and greatest in design, code, and customization features. Although you can find free WordPress themes, you will quickly run into limitations that require coding or editing of the theme files, especially with more unique business models and features.
We recommend finding a WordPress theme with an importable demo design that fits your business model. For example, The Core WordPress theme features 23 demo designs for a variety of businesses, which you can customize to your liking without writing any code.
With a theme like The Core, you can find designs for yoga studios, restaurants, mobile apps, creative agencies—you name it—that follow industry best-practices in design and are fully responsive. Also, these demos include content mockups that make it easier for you to base your site map on, using tried and true practices.
Install Your WordPress Theme
Once you’ve chosen your WordPress theme, it’s time to install it through WordPress. Remember that installing a theme doesn’t mean it’s active, so you can install as many themes as you like and preview them with an existing site’s content. When you’re ready to push it live, you can click Activate on the theme you like by selecting Appearance > Themes > Activate (on the chosen theme).
Import Your Theme Demo and Customize
Now, if you found a great demo design with your WordPress theme that fits your business model, that’s where you should start. You can easily import those designs and customize the content in a matter of hours, getting your site off the ground super fast.
Follow these guides to import your demo and start customizing:
Kick Off Your Digital Marketing Strategy
If you’ve completed your website, you’re already on the market. With SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, your site will soon be indexed by Google and the more you refine your keywords and write quality content, the more you’ll appear in search results.
But your website is just the first step to making money online. It’s time to start integrating marketing and advertising tools and tracking your progress, and even optimizing your site for better user experience and a higher conversion rate. We’ve assembled a list of guides to get you started: