Are you thinking of getting your first website? That’s great!
Now, getting a website isn’t as easy as simply heading to the supermarket and buying one. On the other hand, it isn’t too difficult either, once you know what you need to do.
There are certainly several things to consider even before you take the first step in website development. However, by tackling them in the right order one at a time, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and worry down the line. That is exactly why we, at Cogito Software Solutions, came up with this article.
This article is going to help you learn everything you need to know about the process of website development and how you can get a website yourself.
Ready? Let’s start then.
Why Do You Need a Website?
When planning to get a website, the very first question that you need to answer is why. There are plenty of reasons to get a website. The reason for getting a website will affect everything from the domain name to the features and design your site will have. As such, take some time and think about why you want a website and what you wish to gain out of it.
Some people simply create websites to maintain a personal blog without any aim to generate. Others create blogs specifically to generate some revenue. There are, of course, websites for businesses. Some business websites only serve information. Others are full-fledged ecommerce websites that directly sell products. As such, there are various options ahead of you. Your choice will determine all the other steps that you take.
If you are looking for an ecommerce website, it is best to go for ecommerce development services from reputed companies. At Cogito Software Solutions, we do have experienced teams with considerable expertise on ecommerce web development and design services.
Nonetheless, keep reading. The following points will apply to getting any kind of website with slight variations.
Wants vs. Needs
When you are planning to get a website, you will surely already have thought of the things you want in it. After all, you will have already visited many websites and found cool features, designs and other elements that you may desire in your website. That’s not bad. However, there is a major difference between what you want and what your website needs.
Think of it like packing your suitcases before heading on a trip to an exotic location. Before a trip, you may end up buying a lot of things that you think you need for the trip. For example, you may get extra pairs of shorts, shoes, shirts, sunglasses and other items that you think will be useful once you reach. After all, you reason to yourself, those items will probably be more expensive if bought at the destination. Once your trip is over, you realize that most of those items did not see much use, if any. At most, you may have used the sunglasses regularly. Instead, all you are left with is a lot of useless purchases.
A website is similar. Many of the features and elements you see in other websites may look cool and even useful. However, it is important to note that they are useful for that particular website. They might not serve any purpose in your website. Any of the following things might happen.
- You will end up wasting time and resources on features that won’t be used.
- You’ll end up creating a website with features that don’t work for the intended audience.
- You will end up re-investing in web and design development because the last one didn’t work out.
You need to understand that what your website actually needs can and will be different from what you want. Sure, there will be some overlap. Take that trip for example. You wanted to take a pair of sunglasses and that did come in handy. Similarly, there will be some features you want that will actually add value to your website. The key lies in learning the difference.
To start, make a list of all the features that you think you want for your website. Now, try and understand what your website is going to be all about. Get rid of everything that does not support that. For example, if you are going to run a personal blog, chances are that you will not be accepting any kind of payments. Therefore, you don’t need a payment gateway. Similarly, an ecommerce site will not need a lot of animations and loading screens as they distract the users from buying.
It is also a good idea never to incorporate all of your wants in the first draft of the site. Take time to update your site with a single feature at a time and see how it works out. This helps you to manage your resources effectively and smartly.
If you work with an experienced web development company like Cogito Software Solutions, you can easily work out the details with them. Our experts can help you clearly define the necessary features and suitable designs for your website.
Now, let’s look at the domain name, shall we?
Choose the Domain Name
You cannot have a website without a domain name. The domain is what people will use to visit your website after all. For example, the domain name of our website is “cogitosoftwares”. Now, you do certainly need to put in a lot of thought into this. After all, it will become the identifier for your website and will permanently be associated with it. Here are some pointers to help you out.
For a business website, this is easy. The domain name should be your business name. Of course, you don’t have to include details like ‘pvt’ and ‘ltd’. For example, a company called ‘ABC Pvt. Ltd.’ can simply go for ‘abc’ as its domain name. You should try and come up with a shorter alternative if your business name is too long. If the name is already taken, come up with variations on your company name.
You must never go for a domain name that is completely different from your business name. People will have a lot of trouble associating that website with your company at first glance and that will affect your business.
Now, for personal websites, choosing a domain name involves understanding what the website will be about and choosing accordingly. The domain name should immediately make the content of your website obvious to readers. For example, a domain name containing the word ‘blog’ makes it obvious that the website is going to be a blog about some topic.
Such domain names work better in the long run. After all, your targeted audience will instantly know that the site caters to their interests and are more likely to view and subscribe. It can even make it easier to rank on search engines.
Buy the Domain
Once you have finalized the domain name, it is time to buy it. Buying a domain name will register it under your name, making you the legal owner of that domain name. Once purchased, you can go ahead with hosting your website and you are one step closer to reaching your target audience.
There are multiple providers that you can check out such as Domain.com and GoDaddy. Some of these providers have excellent offers in place for first time domain buyers.
As for the cost of the domain name, it tends to vary. Common domain names generally go for a higher rate than the uncommon ones. Remember that you should always buy your domain name outright.
If you want to save money on buying the domain, there is a way. As you will be purchasing web hosting as well, you can club the domain registration with it. Many web hosting providers offer free registration services for a domain. For more details on hosting, check out the next point.
Get Web Hosting
A web hosting provider is a service that gives space to your website to live in and become accessible to everyone on the internet. When someone uses their browser to visit your website, the browser will fetch it from the hosting provider and show it to the user.
Now, there are different kinds of hosting available these days. That makes it essential that you choose the right kind of hosting. Of course, the choice typically depends on the number of visitors that your site will get every month. Check out the types below.
Types of Web Hosting
Generally, there are 4 kinds of web hosting. They are as follows.
Shared Hosting: As the name suggests, this plan involves sharing a server with a few other websites. Depending on the provider, the number of websites sharing a server can vary. As a result, this plan does not allow for a lot of bandwidth. It is best used by websites that have just started out and very little traffic pouring in.
VPS Hosting: Short for Virtual Private Server, this is a better option to shared web hosting. Here, you will get increased capacity for handling more visitors and traffic. This is achieved by creating a virtual space on a server which is dedicated for your site completely. As such, your site will perform better than shared hosting. Of course, it is more expensive. However, it will be worth it if your site attracts a decent number of visitors every month.
Free Hosting: As the name suggests, this type of hosting is completely free. However, the capacity is extremely limited. Additionally, in return for the free service, the hosting provider will run ads on your website to generate its revenue. In other words, you cannot get any ad revenue from your site if you choose this plan. It is provided by all website builders.
Dedicated Hosting: This is the ultimate option as it gives you an entire server for your website without any sharing whatsoever. However, it is also the most expensive option. For this reason, it is used by extremely large websites, typically at the enterprise levels such as international ecommerce sites. The majority of websites in the internet do not need dedicated hosting ever.
Choosing the Right Hosting Plan
Before you proceed, you need to know that your hosting costs can increase as your site starts to attract more visitors and traffic. You may even need to upgrade your plan down the line. However, you don’t need to get the most expensive option out there. Chances are that you will not require it before several years down the line.
For most people, shared hosting should be the first choice. After all, it is difficult to know what your traffic will be like if you are hosting a site for the first time. You can later upgrade to a VPS hosting plan once you see that your traffic is growing.
Managed vs. Unmanaged Hosting
There is one more thing about hosting that you need to know before you proceed and that is the difference between managed and unmanaged hosting.
Managed hosting simply means that the provider will handle all aspects of the hosting on your behalf. In other words, they will take care of details like updating modules, running checks and preventing crashes etc. This does free up a lot of time. Moreover, it is a great option if you are not too technically inclined.
Unmanaged hosting does not give you any such benefit. However, they will still have a support desk in case of issues but it is up to you to fix any issue that occurs. On the other hand, this is cheaper.
Setting up the Website
Now, it is time to focus on the website itself. You do have a wide range of options to choose from for creating your website. We’ll help you find the right choice that works for you. Just keep reading!
Despite the variety of options out there, they can be easily categorized under two types. They are
- Website builder tools
- Custom web development
Let’s take a look at each.
Website Builder Tools
In most cases, it is better to go for a website builder when you are getting your first website.
As the name suggests, these tools help you build a complete website. Most importantly, you do not need a lot of experience or knowhow of coding and programming languages to use them. Many of these tools come with a simple drag and drop interface which is easy to use even if you are new to it.
It is also possible to get free templates and themes. That is certainly great if you want to keep your initial costs low. Of course, paid options are also available if you want to get something that is more unique.
Some of the popular options are discussed below.
WordPress: Possibly the biggest website platform in the world currently, WordPress offers a lot of incredible features for sure. It is possible to create a custom website on WordPress but you can also choose one of their many free templates to get started. There are different marketplaces as well that sell exclusively WordPress themes, free and paid. As such, you are certain to find something that suits your site.
Wix: This drag and drop website builder has recently rose to prominence with its simplicity of use. It also provides its own web hosting and domains with free and paid versions available. The collection of templates is massive as well. Wix is an excellent choice for smaller websites.
Weebly: Another drag and drop website builder, Weebly is rather easy to use. Its websites are mobile friendly as well which is a major advantage. However, there is lack of good mobile friendly themes. On the other hand, it is easier to manage large websites with a lot of pages. Both free and paid plans are available.
Squarespace: If you want to create your own blog website, Squarespace might just be the website builder for you. They have a wide range of templates that are mobile friendly. However, it does have a few issues which can be a problem if you are aiming to have a bigger website.
Custom Website Development
If you think that you are ready for the big leagues, you can certainly consider getting custom web development services. With custom web development, the sky is the limit since you won’t need to suffer the limitations offered by themes. However, this is a significantly more expensive option compared to website builders. As such, you must be ready for a major financial outlay if you wish to go down this route.
Custom web design and development services allow you to create absolutely unique websites that perfectly match your specific needs. From the navigation to the design, every element can be created from scratch to benefit your goals. You can easily implement the latest web design trends to make your website better and more effective. You can choose from multiple platforms to suit your needs such as PHP, Dot Net and so on.
However, the time and costs involved are high. As such, this option is mainly chosen by businesses and organizations.
When choosing web development and design services, you need to work with a reputed service provider. Cogito Software Solutions is an experienced web development company offering complete web and design solutions to meet all the online needs of growing businesses.
Whether you choose a website builder or hire a web development company, you will become the proud owner of a new website. Congratulations!
However, your work does not end there. To maximize the utility and benefits offered by your website, there are a few things worth taking care of. Undertaking the following steps now can help you in the long run.
Irrespective of the aim of your website, you can find Google Analytics to be rather useful if not extremely helpful.
If you are serious about your website and aim to increase the traffic and visitor count, Google Analytics is a must.
So, what is Google Analytics? In simple terms, it is a data analytics tool that gives you a comprehensive understanding of how visitors interact with your website. One of its best features is that it is completely free, despite being quite a powerful tool.
What can you do with Google Analytics? Plenty really. You can learn how many users have visited your website in a specific time period, the most visited pages, how long the users stay on your website and a lot more! With all of these data available at your disposal, it becomes easier to understand your visitors and users better. Of course, you also gain a better understanding of the performance of your website.
This will help you make the right decisions to improve your site and attract more visitors. For example, you can improve pages that aren’t attracting a lot of visitors or improve navigation so that your visitors surf the other parts of the site.
Google Analytics might not be the most comprehensive tool out there. However, it is powerful enough and is available for free. As such, it is something you should seriously consider adding to your website.
Most website builders, such as the ones discussed above, offer tutorials on setting up Google Analytics. You can also hire a digital marketing services provider like us at Cogito Software Solutions to help you with the process. You may also consider Google AdWords down the line if you want to run paid ads.
Logos and Graphics
Having visual elements in your website is a necessity in the internet today. High quality visuals attract and hold the attention of your visitors after all. Wondering how to spruce up your website with some images? Keep reading.
Let’s start with the logos first. It is a critical component of any brand. If your website is for your business, placing the logo on the website is a must. Personal websites don’t need one unless you are trying to brand yourself. Even if you have no business inclinations, there is no rule saying that personal sites and blogs cannot have a logo.
It is not too difficult to get a logo. There are two ways to create one. The first option is to hire someone and the second is to do it yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.
Hire a Graphic Designer: If you are looking for a truly professional logo that perfectly encapsulates your website and business, this is the one you need. This process is certainly expensive and you’ll need to spend some time in finding the right graphic design services. However, you can remain assured that you will be getting a professionally created unique logo that reflects your business values and identity perfectly.
Do It Yourself: If you have the creative skills, you can certainly attempt to create your own logo. There are many logo generator tools available online which you can try out. This can save you a lot of money but it won’t be fully unique. If you have the skills, you can even use Photoshop and similar tools for the same.
High quality photos and graphics are the easiest way to make your website look a whole lot better. Humans are by nature a visual creature. As such, quality visuals are certain to impress viewers and users.
Getting such graphics isn’t too difficult. There are many websites that provide royalty free stock photos with some of them having a rather sizeable collection. Good options include Unsplash and Pixabay. If you are willing to pay, Getty Images and Shutterstock have massive repositories of images to choose from.
However, graphics are not just about photos. Other graphical elements such as infographics can also add another level of visual interest to your website. Don’t worry. There are tools for that as well. An excellent choice is Canva which has free and paid plans to cater to all kinds of users.
If you can, it will be worth investing in a creative design company. They can help you create professional logos and graphics to improve the looks of your website. At Cogito Software Solutions, we offer comprehensive creative solutions services to help you make the most of visuals.
Have you ever received an email from a business and saw that it was actually a Gmail account or some other email provider? Chances are that you thought that it was a fake account.
Sending business emails through something like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ looks extremely unprofessional. People are less likely to trust such emails and even consider it an outright fake.
That is exactly how people will also perceive your business if it wasn’t sent from your website domain such as ‘@xyz.com’. It is certainly an uphill battle trying to be credible and trusted on the internet. Using a free email service only serves to hamper your efforts, especially since your business is new.
How do you avoid it? It’s simple really. You just need to get your own business email and that is easier than it sounds.
There are several ways to get a business email account. Your web hosting provider is sure to provide a few custom email accounts based on your website. That is a good way to start off. However, the number is usually limited.
An extremely popular option happens to be G Suite from Google. They offer different plans available for getting business emails with the business domain name. It is easy to set up and use as well.
Now that you know what you require for building a website, don’t wait. Get started on it today!