It doesn’t matter if you have a shoe store, you are a video maker or you own a restaurant: if you don’t advertise your business through a dedicated website, it’s like you don’t exist. The big vantage point of the digital era is having the chance to organize an advertising campaign entirely on the Internet, at relatively low prices. But there is also the other side of the coin: you are basically forced to rely on the web’s resources. If you refuse to do that, it doesn’t matter how high is the quality of your work: the oblivion will submerge it. That’s why having a dedicated website is therefore an essential part of a promotional strategy that goes far beyond negotiating a domain name price and choosing the right one. It’s true that many small businesses manage to survive without a website, often by resorting to a massive use of the social media; which could be considered a reliable alternative only if your activity has a local dimension and negligible margins for development. But if your activity’s dimension is even slightly beyond a local range, your only option will be making your presence visible on the web.
On the other hand, launching a website today is much easier and affordable than just a few years ago. The real challenge is making your website visible and easily findable in the Internet’s Daedalus. Leaving temporarily aside all the operations concerning the SEO area (which are essential as well, but they have to be planned after a website’s launch), there are three phases to pay the utmost attention to, when we create our website. The reason is simple: the website’s success will be widely dependent on the choices that we make during these operations, some of which are just as crucial as irreversible (unless you don’t want to start all over again).
- Choose a domain name. This is the first crucial step: how to name your website? You must choose a domain that should be strictly relevant to your business. At the same time, it has to be easy to remember and type, catchy, not too long (the shorter the better, actually) and able to reveal to the visitor what he/she is about to see. Even the URL’s extension has to be chosen carefully: on a side, you have a generic TLD extension like the widely known .com; on the other one, you can choose something more specific and business-related. For instance, if you run an eCommerce-based business, maybe the .shop extension is more suited for you.
- Host your site. This means find a proper “house” for it. There are so many hosts around, each one of them with its offers (in both economic and technologic terms), their benefits, their pros and cons. Besides the prices, you must ensure that the host’s server is stable and its ability to process multiple queries is as high as possible (it depends on many factors, from the bandwidth to the server’s RAM available), if you don’t want your site to go inadvertently offline.
- Choose a CMS. This is another decisive choice, though many people tend to neglect it. Actually, an appropriate CMS makes your website easier to browse and gives you more options according to your needs. There are more textual CMS (suited, for example, for those companies that need essentially to describe their work and give useful information to their potential clients), as well as more visual ones (the best for those activities that need to showcase their achievements, for example an artisan who likes to show his previous works). There are also more “operational” CMS types, like those conceived specifically to host an online shop. Choosing the one that matches with your needs is definitely something not to be taken for granted.