What You Need to Know Before Launching a Website

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Office CoffeeOne of the best things and worst things about modern website creation is that it is so easy and inexpensive to do, there are no good reasons remaining for anyone to hold off on building one. That’s great because anyone with something to say, sell, or solicit has a platform to do so. It is bad because it has never been easier or more inexpensive to make a really bad website that does not accomplish the intended goal.

Many businesses get blinded by the low barrier of entry, and forget that a website is a serious thing that requires a bit of research and know-how. It may not be technically difficult to do. But there are still quite a few things to consider before diving in with both feet. Here is a short list of things you need to consider before putting another site into the world:

Research Web Hosts

Price shopping doesn’t make sense for web hosting companies. First, you never want to farm out something as important as your website to the lowest bidder. Second, most good web hosting companies offer extremely inexpensive packages. We live in a world where the least expensive package you find might also be the best for your needs.

A good example of this is iPage web hosting, which can cost  $81.00 for three years. That comes out to $2.25 a month. It is not uncommon for such prices to include 24/7 U.S.-based phone support, a free domain name, ample cloud storage, unlimited email accounts, and a host of premium features. To choose the right web host, you have to look beyond price and do your homework. A wrong decision at this stage can be the most costly mistake you will ever make.

Who Is the Target Consumer of Your Site?

Unless you are selling air or water, there is no such thing as something for everyone. You have to get a lot more focused if you hope to have any success on the Web. Are you targeting other businesses as in B2B, or consumers as in B2C? Knowing this up front will greatly influence the design and presentation of your site.

If you are targeting consumers, is your target the decision maker, as in the person holding the money, parents? Or, are you targeting the influencers, as in the kids who will be doing the nagging 24/7? As you can imagine, there is a huge difference in what will attract kids, and what will attract their parents. Once you answer that question, you need to drill down and get even more detailed. Not all kids are the same, nor are all parents. Before you know it, you will have defined a niche. All too often, that is where the gold can be found.

What Do You Want Your Website to Do?

Websites are not monolithic. There are different kinds of websites that serve different purposes. Before creating a website, you need to know exactly what it is your site is meant to do. Let’s say you want to sell things. Do you want your website to be the storefront, or the hook that brings people into your brick & mortar store? Think about movie trailers. They all want to get you to go see the movie. But some are intended to give you lots of details about the movie, while others are meant to be teasers. The same is true for websites meant to sell things.

Will you process payments on the site, or create interest and generate good leads for your sales team? You probably shouldn’t try to do both. Do you want to do an instructional site, a news site, or a blog? You can do them all. But then you have to decide whether you want to try do to do them all as one site, or separate sites.

There is a lot to think about before launching your inexpensive, easy to create website. With a little bit of forethought, you can do great things on the Web.