Who’d have thought that your little blog about baking cookies would have turned into people begging for your sugary treats?
But now, your blog has grown. Your posts no longer read like the ramblings of a teenage diarist and you’re bursting to offer your audience something more.
Whether that’s intuitive design or faster access to the content they desire, it might be time to say goodbye to the familiar world of blogging, and hello to a dazzling new website that fulfills your needs and those of your audience.
First off let’s start by clarifying that yes, blogs are a type of website, but it’s the way in which the content is presented that makes them two very different beasts.
A blog is made up of posts, updated frequently, and shown in reverse chronological order. The written language is usually more informal, friendly in tone, and encourages an open dialogue between blogger and reader in the comment section (usually found at the bottom of the page).
In comparison, a website includes a homepage that acts as a shop window, features static content that rarely changes, and is ordered in a way that (hopefully) helps the audience to find what they’re looking for, fast. The language used is often more formal than a blog, transactional, and should communicate clearly what’s on offer, whether you’re selling a product or providing a service.
Perhaps you’ve made money from your blog and want to create a website specifically designed to help you make more. Or maybe you’re sick of the need to provide regular fresh content and want to try a less-pressured platform.
A website will help your brand to look professional and the content can be presented in a way that’s streamlined and informative, rather than long-winded and easily lost within a blog timeline.
If you’re looking to attract consumers in a more focussed way, think of your website as a handy pamphlet telling the audience what you have to offer.
Want to get started? You can start by searching for the perfect domain name…
A domain is like an address, a way for your audience to find you, and your content and is made up of two parts. Take mango.ke for example — ‘.com’ is the top-level domain (TLD) and ‘mango’ is the second-level domain (SLD).
There are hundreds of top-level domains available, ranging from country-specific ones like .co.uk for the United Kingdom and .us for the United States, to general ones like .org and .club. As there are so many, it’s easy to find one that fits.
Deciding on a second-level domain is slightly trickier. Your aim is to find one that suits your business and says something about what you do.
If you’re building an online brand that’s built around you and your skills, it might be wise to choose a personal domain, which is your name followed by a TLD like .com, .me, .guru or .biz. This puts you in the spotlight and will let potential visitors know that you’re a professional.
The important thing is not to panic. There is so much information out there to help you arrive at a good name.
Here are some posts to help you get started:
Once you’ve landed on a name that fits, head to our Domain Name Search to find out if it’s available. Congratulations, you’re on your way to a website!
Now you’ve ticked off your domain name it’s time to find a hosting plan, effectively you are purchasing a space to house your website.
There are lots of different hosting plans to choose from depending on your needs, for example, Shared Hosting is suitable for small businesses just starting out who want to keep an eye on their cash flow.
Here are some posts to help you learn more about hosting:
Now you’ve got everything you need to get started, it’s time to look at the online audience you want to attract.
Has your cooking blog become so successful that you started selling baking merchandise? Or has your blog about your life as an actor led to people asking for improv classes? Whatever the reason you’ve decided you want to start a website, you have an advantage — you know exactly what they want.
Use those needs to shape your content. Perhaps you want your readers to have a simple way to sign up for pie-making classes or to view your mixing bowl selection. Whatever they need from you, make sure it’s easily accessible on your homepage and throughout the rest of your website.