The Freelance Ninja

If you’re like me, then you have had many business ideas that could be your ticket to living a life of excess and generosity. All that’s standing between you and being featured on a list of this year’s top startups is….well, life. Prior obligations, a full-time career, your kid’s karate class, family gatherings, and the list goes on and on.

 

Once you’ve chosen the venture you’re most passionate about and decided to sacrifice some time, and most of all, sleep…the next step is to come up with a business plan. Whether in the beginning or a little further in that plan, there almost always comes a time to build a website.

 

Here are 4 simple, yet important, things to keep in mind when creating a new website:

 

  1. Your domain matters!

The URL you pick matters for many reasons and since there are so many websites out there, your first, second and even third choice is not always available. Here are a few things you should consider and never sacrifice when choosing the perfect “.com” for your business:

 

Search Engine Optimization– It is best if your domain contains the keyword that people would search to find your service. For instance, if you are starting a wedding photography business, your URL should contain either “wedding” and/or “photography.”

Make it Memorable – We’ve all stumbled across an interesting site while doing something else online and thought, “I want to know more about that” or “I HAVE to show this site to so and so” only to forget the website. This is one reason it’s important to choose a domain that is easy to remember but doesn’t get lost in the “noise.”

  • Try to avoid abbreviations when possible.
  • Get a .com if available, “.net” is the next best extension.
  • Avoid long, hard-to-spell words.

 

  1. The Host with the most!

After you purchase your domain you have to find a place to host your website and all its content. I have used many different hosting options, and believe me when I say, not all hosting services are created equal. I won’t list the services I’ve used that made putting my site online a nightmare, but I can offer the best solution that I have found.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, reliable, and easy to use provider, I would recommend BlueHost. One of their best features is the amazing customer service they provide.

 

  1. Choose the best platform for your skills.

I come from a graphic design background and consider myself to be fairly resourceful on a computer but would, by no means, call myself a coder. So, for me, a fully custom html website was not an option and hiring a backend designer can often times be expensive. After trying many website builders, I found that WordPress is the provider that offers the most options while still being easy to learn for freelancers with no previous web design experience.

The best thing about WordPress is that there are many “themes” that you can purchase for an extremely reasonable amount. By purchasing a theme you start with a well designed template that you can just add your content to and publish in a matter of a few clicks. You can browse and find the perfect theme for your business at ThemeForest.

 

  1. Good luck is the effect of good planning!

I get excited when I think of a product or service that offers a solution to someone’s problem and I tend to jump right in. I can speak from experience that planning your website’s content out BEFORE you start creating and publishing can SAVE YOU HOURS OF VALUABLE TIME!

By planning out the main structure of your website, you can prioritize which pages to build first and get a better understanding of how your information links together. Not only does this make it easier for you when building your site, it also helps your potential clients navigate more easily and browse in a more natural way.

 

Here are a few areas to plan to help your site launch go smoothly:

Top Navigation – these are the links on the header of your site. (I.e. home, about, services, contact, blogs, etc.)

Secondary Navigation – these are the pages within your top navigation that show up as “drop-downs” for the top links or in sidebars on the main pages. (I.e. about > mission, experience, bio)

Home Page – The goal of a home page is to introduce your product or service in a clear and concise way, add credibility to your company, and offer information to walk your potential client through the buying process. Try not to get hung up on flashy and distracting features that some sites have, as it will only make your call to action watered down.

 

I hope that these tips have helped you realize that YOU can create an amazing website without any experience, while saving hours of valuable time that you can now spend getting your business up and running. Comment below if you found this article helpful or have a question.

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