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Guest Post by Angela Wills
Have you ever had a baby? If you’re male I’m going to assume the answer is NO, but if you’re a woman you might say yes. Even if you haven’t you probably know someone who has, right? You probably also know that the amazing little creation you see after delivery didn’t come from a stork or appear out of nowhere – a lot of preparation went in to create a beautiful result.
Now what does this have to do with websites (you might be wondering right about now)? Everything. Just like a healthy baby doesn’t just happen a great small business website won’t just happen for you. You need to pull together some important parts to build a website that really helps you get the very best start.
The good news is, unlike a baby, building your own website doesn’t have to take nine months. You can have a profitable site up and running in a matter of weeks or even days if you’re highly motivated and you get started right.
Here are five tips to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Know What You Need It For – Saying “I need a home business website.” isn’t enough. You need to know what you want that website to do for you and what you want your visitors to do once they get to your website. This can be as simple as wanting your visitors to pick up the phone and call you if you’re a local home-based business or filling out a form on your website for a free consultation. Whatever it is you want the site and your visitors to do, figure it out before you try to build a website and save yourself a ton of frustration.
2. Decide On a Layout – Look around at other websites you like or love and see how they’re laid out. A typical website has a header (the top part with a graphic), a main content area (the big part with most of the articles/information), a sidebar (the smaller part to the left or right) and a footer (where the copyright, disclaimers and other useful links go). Figure out how your site needs to be laid out to achieve the goal you set out in tip #1.
3. Choose Your Website Design Software – This is the part most people try to do first but it will be much easier to choose once you know what you need. My recommendation for almost all cases is WordPress because it is easy to use, allows you to make a blog or a website (or both), can be flexible with layouts and allows you to add all sorts of functionality that many other programs just can’t do. Of course, I’m also partial to WordPress because I use it on ALL my sites, my client sites and I teach a six week course on how to create websites in WordPress.
4. Design Your Site – Now there are too many ways to design a website for me to get into the nitty gritty details right here. What I can tell you is that you’re probably going to need some graphics if you want your site to capture the attention it deserves. If you don’t know how to make your own graphics then it’s a good idea to either hire someone to help or commit some time to learning the basics at least. When I make my sites I create a ‘header graphic’ to use as the ‘anchor’ that I create the entire site around. I match everything to that graphic and pull the look together based on the feel I decide the graphic should represent.
5. Make a Content & Marketing Plan – A great small business website is not finished when it’s designed (it’s a common myth to think your website is ever complete!). After the site is created you now need a content plan and a marketing plan. These will pull you forward and allow you to get visitors who want to return to your site again and again.
I hope this helps to get you started when considering how to make your own small business website. I know it can feel overwhelming so please post your comments or questions here and I’d be happy to answer them and guide you to the right place – it’s what I love to do! Also if you’d like to learn more about building your own website check out my website at http://www.WebsiteDesignMojo.com
About the Author: Angela Wills started her first work at home ‘business’ at about age five when she picked up some rocks from the side of her driveway, put them on her kiddy ‘tea table’ and told the neighbors the big ones were $0.10 and the small ones were $0.05. A few hours later she came away with a deeply embedded entrepreneurial spirit and about $1.50 in change. Thirty years later she’s a full-time home-based entrepreneur who helps anyone with the desire to grow a business online get it done! Visit Angela at http://www.MarketersMojo.com