When starting a business there are so many things to consider and one of the biggest things is a website. With more and more people using the internet to find products and services a website is an integral part in order for your business to be found online.

I can appreciate that even thinking about a website can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What platform do you use? Well this post is all about helping you do just that, get started and I mean from the very beginning.

Platforms

Due to the boom over the last 10 years of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses there are now plenty of platforms on the market to help you create your website. However, which ones make the reward chart and which go in the Raggy dolls reject bin?

It’s important to shop around when it comes to platforms and really think long and hard about your decision. I’ll be doing a platform comparison post later in year to break down each of the market leaders for you, but for now think about the following:

Price

How much do they cost overall? Starting up means budgets can be limited however investing in your business and your website will pay dividends going forward. Also think about costs long term. Some platforms charge a monthly fee so you are looking at long term costs for your website, rather than a one off payment.

Features

What sort of features do you want? Do you need a shop where you can take payments or do you offer services and need just a few pages. Perhaps you’d like to give your customers some added value content (always advisable) and have a blog. Make a list of all the features you’d like so that when you are looking at platforms you can use your tick sheet.

Ease of use

For example you might need something that you can completely do yourself because you have the time and want to learn. Alternatively you could be in a time poor position where actually you’d prefer someone to get everything created for you. If going down the first route you want something that is easy to use, clear features and no complications.

Innovative design

Platforms that offer you an off the shelf solution where you can choose a template can be really handy however, keep in mind that there are going to be thousands of other businesses that also will choose this template and so you want to be able to make your business unique to you and that does go beyond changing colours and images.

Technical issues

It may seem weird to think about these in the beginning but it’s always good to look ahead. Some platform that use templates will have updates and this can often cause issues for your site, make sure you’re aware of potential problems before spending hours designing, you do not want downtime or have to repeat work. Also investigate their support network, if something does go wrong who can you turn to?

Packages

What do the packages include? Usually with some platforms you’ll find package options that means you’ll get certain features if you spend slightly more on the monthly cost. ¬†Make sure you have a look at the breakdowns and understand what you’re getting.

The best thing to do is have a look at everything, don’t just rush in, think about what you really want from your site, think long term not necessarily short term and a quick win. This is a big investment in your business, no matter what platform or route you choose so make sure you give it the time it deserves.