7 Steps to Get your Website Up and Running Right Now
The whole idea of publishing the website for your business can be overwhelming. I get you. The list of tasks to get you from planning to building and, finally, launching your website is endless. And as you’re going through the process of creating your website, you discover that there’s new aspects that you hadn’t thought of, like plugins or opt-ins, and it’s in this very specific moment that you’re tempted to give up.
But instead, you do something else. You ask on your go-to Facebook group for advice, for the in’s and out’s of creating a proficient website and advice on what the essentials are. All in the hopes of finding some clarity. But that’s not what you found. The ‘helpful’ answers you received have left you even more stressed, and only added more confusion to the long list of tasks you already had.
You don’t need more external advice or recommendations. What you really need is a PLAN. A step-by-step process that allows you to know how to go from point A to point B, and helps you plan, create and launch your website with no space for overwhelm. Here are the 7 basic steps to get your website up and running:
Step 1. Go inwards
That means pausing for a second and answer these questions:
- What is the #1 goal of your website?
This can be informing about your services, selling your products, or driving traffic in through your blog. This decision will affect every single other area of your website, from choosing the building platform, the template, the visuals, plugins or the content you’ll include. So it’s really important that you pause for a second and become clear about what you need your website to do for your business.
- Identify your website’s functionalities and pages
Now that you’re clear about the main goal of your website, you need to know what this will look like. If your main goal was to sell your products – you’ll need an ecommerce functionality. If you’re creating a blog to drive traffic in – maybe you’ll need a blogging platform that enables your posts to be SEO-friendly and links them easily to your social media platforms. The functionalities you need can range from an opt-in page for your freebie, a client contact form, ecommerce, a blog, a multilingual option, a private area for downloads, etc.
Now that you’ve covered your technical base, what pages do you want to include in your website? List them out, and add any relevant information that needs to be included within each of them. A tip? Make it short and simple – don’t try to include more information than is needed onto your website, or you’ll just be adding more tasks to your plate. Ask yourself this: is this section really needed, or is this information more suitably delivered in another area of my business? Know that NOT everything needs to go to your website, so be specific and concise.
- What is your budget?
The answer to that question can be close to 0. Although if you want to create a professional-looking website, you always need a bit of budget. There are different ways your budget can be spent on your website, and these can be a one-off buy, such as a domain name or a template, or subscription-based, such as hosting, a building platform fee or a plugin subscription, which, in turn, can vary from monthly or yearly fees.
Be clear with your budget and understand that it will need to support the needs and functionalities of your website – so take it as an investment. You don’t need to splurge, as nowadays there are very inexpensive building platforms with free templates that allow you to have a stunning and professional-looking website for only $12/month.
Step 2. Choose your website’s building platform
This is one of the most asked questions I’ve seen among small business owners like you. And it has to be answered mindfully. With my one-on-one clients I ensure we make a conscious decision with the building platform we choose, making sure it delivers the functionalities that the business needs, not only now but also setting eyes in the future.
There’s a long list of building platforms that make it easier for us to create websites no matter our level of literacy: Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, Wordpress, Showit, etc. Do you need to be it super easy to update? Do you require a multilingual option? Is good design a must?
Make sure you don’t jump onto the next step without having decided on your website building platform.
Step 3. Create your branding
You may be an advanced student and have all your branding ready: your logo created, and your fonts and colour palette chosen. But if you haven’t, don’t stress, because now is the time to put it together. Yes, just before you dive into choosing the template or even logging into your website and start building it.
Have a look at these resources that I’ve prepared for you that will help create the branding you need for a stunning and converting website that is aligned with your business:
- Blog post: ‘What the heck is branding, I just need a logo’
- Blog post: ‘How to Create Beautiful Graphics for your Business’
- Blog post: ‘5 Key Elements to Have in Place to Stay Consistent with your Branding‘
- Blog post: ‘How to Create Your Business Logo with Canva (in One Day)‘
Step 4. Choose your template
Now that you have a clear picture of the look you want to achieve with your website, it’s time to choose the template. It will vary depending on the building platform you’ve chosen, and you have free or premium templates. Jump onto your chosen building platform and browse their template section. Here are the direct links to the theme sections of the main website building platforms:
For Wordpress, as well as most of the other building platforms, you can find premium templates on websites like ThemeForest, Creative Market or, by typing a search on Pinterest you’ll find dozens of studios who have created beautiful themes.
Step 5. Write your copy and grab your photos
Ok, let’s recap. You’ve identified the main goal of your website, the main functionalities and sections, you chose the building platform and a template and got your branding together. Now you’re ready to get moving.
Step #5 will require you to sit down with your laptop, focus, and get it done. In my experience, writing the texts for your website and preparing all the photos is the area where most clients struggle, and the reason why most projects are delayed weeks, and even months. If you don’t want to join the overwhelm wagon, know that you’ll need to do the work.
Be aware that here’s where you’ll have to set aside one day or two to complete the texts that you’ll include on your website, and find the photos that will accompany it.
Remember in step #1 you identified the sections of your website? Take that document, and start writing under each section. Again, remember to keep it simple and to the point. Some tips to help you write your best copy:
- Focus on one message per page, and a sub-message for each paragraph.
- Make use of hierarchy and format text into headlines or paragraphs depending on their importance.
- Convey the voice of your brand: are you cheeky or personable?
- Speak directly to your customer and make them do something, whether it is contacting you, jumping onto your blog or clicking purchase.
Remember that you need to write ALL the text, including navigation, footer, and every single button.
Support your text with images. You can get free images in sites like Unsplash. Download them and save them in a smaller file size, preferable under 200kb.
Step 6. Upload your content and build your website
Now it’s time to log into your building platform, install your template and upload your content. NOT before. This is important because by doing all the previous work on its own, you’re skipping any possibility of overwhelm, as the technical side is the one that can be major cause of frustration.
Here are some small steps to take to build your website and upload your content:
- Install the template
- Before tweaking any design, upload content onto your homepage.
- Now jump onto the styling area in your building platform, and edit colours and fonts to suit your branding.
- Upload the rest of your content and set up your navigation.
- Link buttons and content between pages and from navigation.
- Install the needed plugins or functionalities that you identified on step #1.
- Edit the configuration: edit permalinks, add your social media links and connect to your email marketing software
- Revise for any broken links, making sure the website loads fast and all the sections are connected
Step 7. Launch
This can be the easiest, or the hardest part. Technically, it’s the easiest, as the only thing you need to do is hit publish.
Some people face resistance in this stage, as it can trigger doubts and fears of getting out there. We may start seeing areas we don’t like, or paragraphs that we could re-write in a better way.
Remember, a website is not carved in stone. You can go back and change whatever you want every single day. So if you were to take a piece of advice today is to DO IT! Know that once you get your website to 95% done, you’re entitled to show it to the world.
Promise it’s not such a daunting task. We’re in this together!