Building A Website
Building a website can be an overwhelming and confusing task if you’re not familiar with it. You can hire a professional to build it for you, or you can build it yourself. There are many options available for building a website and choosing the right one is important. A website is simply a collection of files that sit on a server somewhere in the world. When someone types a domain name into a browser, the domain points to the files and serves them up in the browser to be viewed. That’s a very simplistic explanation but it may help in understanding websites as we move forward.
Before you do anything with your website, consider your domain name. A domain name is used to direct people to your website and includes an extension like .com, .org, .net, etc. There are countless websites that allow you to find a domain name and register/buy it. It’s usually easier to purchase the domain name from the company that will be hosting your website. With this in mind, think about not only what your domain name should be, but who you will use to host it.
If you decide to hire a professional to build your site, they will most likely choose the host and register the domain for you. Either way, make sure the domain is registered to you and not the company building your site. This is important so make sure to specify it when working with a web designer.
The domain you want may not be available because someone else already owns it, so you may have to try many options before you find one. When choosing a domain name, think marketing and easy of use. You will find that you direct people to your website over and over so the domain should be as easy as possible. UASProPilots.com is easier than UASProfessionalPilots.com. It’s also cleaner since there isn’t the opportunity to misspell “professional”. Domains that are long or complicated increase the chance of being typed in wrong and words that are often misspelled may not be the best in a domain.
You can always register more than one domain that points to the same place. UASProfessionalPilots.com will still take you to UASProPilots.com. If you tie your domain to your email, consider that as well. firstname.lastname@example.org is a lot easier and more effective than email@example.com.
If you can get a domain name that reflects your company name, it may help with your listing in search engines. Whatever domain you settle on, it will work for you but think about some of the nuances to guide you in the right direction.
Do It Yourself Sites
There are many out-of-the-box solutions available if you want to do it yourself, but know what you’re getting before you commit to it. Your website is an important part of your marketing effort and it should be considered carefully to get the right solution. There are plenty of solutions that are affordable and easy and they may be perfect for your needs, but they may not. Sometimes you get what you pay for so think about what your getting and what your goals are before making price and ease of use the driving factors in your decision. If you decide that you need something better than a grab-and-go solution for your website but still want to do it yourself, consider a website based on content management.
Content Management Systems
Many websites these days are content management systems (CMS). The most popular and perhaps easiest to use is WordPress. If you are building your site yourself, WordPress is a relatively easy and effective solution. If you are hiring a professional to build your site, they may be using WordPress to do it. There are easier solutions for building a website but they are not as robust or long term.
Even if you don’t want to build your own site right now, plan for the future. It will benefit you in your business to know a little, or a lot, about your website and how it works. As your business progresses, your website may need to become a bigger and better marketing tool.
WordPress makes it easy to add just about anything to your site. Plugins like eCommerce, Search Engine Optimization, and even client-side login are available and affordable, many times even free. Blogging is easy with WordPress (read our article in the Business Intel section called “Blogging For Drone Business” for a better understanding of blogging) and there are countless ways to display a rock star portfolio using plugins in WordPress.
If you build it yourself or hire a pro, make sure to know what you’re getting and why. Hosting does not have to go through the WordPress site. The WordPress interface can be used with any hosting company that offers it. Sometimes, there are limitations when hosting with WordPress so another hosting company may be a better fit.
There are other CMS solutions out there to research if you choose. We feel that WordPress can be learned and used by just about anyone while some of the other solutions that are available take more expertise. WordPress is also the biggest in CMS and there is usually a reason for that.
The great thing about websites is they can be improved or changed at any time, and they should. A website is sometimes one of the biggest pain points in moving forward with your business but it doesn’t have to be. Know that you can build your site in stages if you want or add content at any time. You don’t have to have a fifty-page website to launch. Your plan should be to get established with a professional presentation of your business and services and add and change as you go. A one-page website is a good place to start if you don’t want to commit to multiple pages, links, etc. Additional pages and links to those pages can be added later and replace sections of the one-page site.
When building your site make sure to include the things that are important. Read our article entitled “5 Things Your Website Must Have” to help you understand what to include and what to focus on.