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3 Things You Need for Planning a Website (or Updating One)

Planning a website can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it or if you’ve got a zillion other things to do to run your business.

There’s the whole question what content to include (here’s a website content writing plan). 

But before I get to that, there’s the technical gobbledygook: how do I “get online”?

  1. You can outsource the entire project to a professional web designer. If you’re a small to mid-sized business, you may not have the budget to do that or you may need to work that in to your financial allocations. (And even if you do, it’s wise to understand the process so you know you’re getting what you pay for.)
  2. You can DIY. There are plenty of tools you can use to build a quality website. I love this route, especially for solopreneurs, small businesses, and ministries.
Planning a website: 3 things you need with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #amwriting #WritingTips #FreelanceWriting

I’ve planned and built websites more than a few times – my own sites as well as sites for clients. 

No, you needn’t lose your mind in the process.

Yes, there is a simple way to understand how to approach planning a website.

To get started with DIY or simply to understand the process from a technical standpoint, know that you need three things to build a website.

Get those in place and then you can continue to build and update your website content page by page.

Planning a Website: 3 Things You Need

1. A Web Host

A web host is a company that “rents” online space to you online and provides the technology you need so your site has a place to “live” on the web. The host connects your content to your reader. 

Hosting fees can be inexpensive – just a few dollars a month, even. There are plenty of low-cost webhost providers out there. Choose one with a reputation for good service and you’ll save an untold amount of aggravation. (Blue Host and Host Gator regularly receive outstanding reviews as reputable, low-cost webhosts.)

Your host will guide you through registering a domain name for your site and connecting it to its servers. 

2. A Website Builder

A website builder (also called a website platform, content management system, or CMS) is a tool that lets normal people like you and me build a website without manual coding. 

You build pages (files) in your website builder and load them into your webhost. 

Your website builder guides you through the process of setting up a template – a pre-formatted page for your site that designates layout, headers, colors, and fonts. The template provides a framework in which to build your site’s pages. You’ll use the template as a starting point for each page you add to the site. You’ll also set up your site’s navigation in the website builder. (Here is a checklist of items to include in your template.) 

Word Press is a well-known website platform for small businesses and bloggers alike and is compatible with Blue Host, Host Gator, and most webhosts. 

Because I love to simplify, one of my favorite website builders is Solo Build It (SBI) - read a review here. It includes hosting, content management, keyword research, social media integration, blogging, and newsletter opt-ins all in one. 

You’ll have a learning curve with any website builder. But don’t panic. Word Press, SBI ,and most platforms offer detailed, step-by-step user guides. 

3. Website Content

Once you get a web host and website builder in place and select your template, you can add content. This is the final element you need for planning a website. 

Web content includes copywriting, graphics and video for your site pages. It’s the stuff you share with your readers. (Here's a way to get started deciding what content to include on your website.)

Over time, you may decide to update your template or even change web hosts. 

But for now, once you’re online, you can camp out in the back end of your site. You can write and add content pages to the site as slowly or as quickly as you like. Get started with this plan for website content writing. Happy clicking!

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Website checklist: 10 items you need on your website template ...

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