Launching Your Website

There are a number of steps you need to go through in order to launch your website, including building your website, uploading it to a server and ensuring that it can be “indexed” (found) by the search engines.

You can approach launching your website on a spectrum from a bare-bones approach to the most thorough approach. Let’s see how those approaches compare:

 Bare-BonesThorough
Site BuilderOut of the BoxCMS or Custom Site
DesignTemplateCustom Design
CodingNo CustomSome Custom to Lots of Custom
Domain PurchaseNo DifferenceNo Difference
HostingOut of the Box Site Builder hosts sitePurchase hosting
Installing siteOut of Box doesn't require itUpload to server
Site MapAuto-generatedCustom
IndexingBare minimum effortActively submit to search engines
TrafficWait and seeAggressively drive traffic

The short version is that you can pay a small fee to an out-of-the-box site creator to have a webpage online, where you essentially do everything yourself, you can get a blog and a small store, or you can have a large website with a store and lots of other features. Where you fall on this spectrum depends upon the needs of your business and the competition in your industry. My hope is that by reading this guide, you can figure out where you sit in the spectrum.

Additional Features for Your Website

I think it’s natural to want all sorts of bells and whistles for your website. When we’re online we see all sorts of neat widgets and tools on other websites and think how great our own website would be if we just had that extra touch, if we just had that custom program that lets our clients solve their problems.

But there’s a huge problem with this and that is: custom coding requires maintenance. And it is best if the person who maintains the code is the person that built the code, meaning that your expensive developer who you hired to build your site also has to be on call to fix anything that breaks. This is a bad idea. People who build sites usually don’t want to be webmasters. But, far more importantly, the most custom code you have, the more problems you have. And the more problems you have, the more money you spend.

So here is an easy way of deciding if you need some custom work: will your business function without it? If the answer is yes, then don’t get the custom code work done.

Another important thing to remember: if you want a feature on your website, chances are someone else wanted to have that feature already. If a similar widget/app/tool exists already, you might be able to embed it on your website instead of getting something custom built. Often you can embed such tools for free. So, unless it’s easily embeddable into your wordpress site, don’t bother with.