The first example to look at is the email delivery service MailChimp. MailChimp allows users to sign up and use their service for free. If you have a more extensive email list or require more features, then you would join their upgraded plan. They want to make their services seem as easy as possible in an effort to be accessible to both professionals and novices. In MailChimp’s funnel, they have traffic which they get a lot of via word of mouth. Next up is a homepage that draws you in with its slogan and its iconic monkey graphic. They place their buttons strategically around their page for ease of browsing. They next utilize their pricing page and emphasize their free option. They want to get you signed up for their services so you can show everyone how easy their platform is and help them grow.
All of the site builders included here let you put Facebook Like and Twitter Follow buttons on your pages, and some even let you display feeds from the social networks. Some give you help building a Facebook Page and tying it into your site design and updates. Many products offer some sort of SEO tool, but too often this is just a form on which you can enter meta tags. You're mostly left to wrestle with that black magic known as SEO for yourself. It's very important to submit and verify your site to the search engines, unless you don't want anyone to find it!
There are three main ways to build a website. If you’re a beginner, by far the easiest way to build and launch a site is to use a website builder provided by your web host. If you’re at least somewhat web-savvy, you could use use WordPress or a content management system (CMS) such as Drupal or Joomla. If you are already well-versed at coding, you can start from scratch and use HTML to build the site from the ground up. Each approach has its merits and challenges:
Even if you don't sign up for those web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You'll want a WYSIWYG editor that lets you adjust every page and add images, video, and social links. Plunking down a few extra bucks typically nets you robust ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages for improved Bing, Google, and Yahoo placement. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, free of charge, when you sign up.
Based on what you learn about customers during your interactive content, send personalized purchase suggestions. Create how-to videos, product guides, and even finders to assist purchasing decisions. This is the crux of content marketing: Produce useful, personalized content that speaks to your audience and draws them into the ecommerce sales funnel.
There are thousands of templates to choose from in WordPress’ own Theme Directory. Search for the types of themes you’d be interested in. If you’re setting up a newspaper search ‘newspaper’, if you need a site for your café search ‘cafe’. There’ll be dozens, if not hundreds, of contenders. Clicking on a theme takes you to its own page where you can see user reviews and preview the theme in action.
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You may expect a 404 page to pop up from time to time on new websites, but with patience and determination, you can build a fully functional, beautiful, and highly converting site from scratch. The main takeaway here is always to test your website before launch and remember that refreshing and revamping your website is a task you will have to perform regularly from now on if you want your business to grow.
Jennifer Young is a specialist in educational technology with experience in web design and development. She also has 12 years of editorial experience writing for print and the web. Jennifer is passionate about covering topics related to web tools and technologies and enjoys learning about tech as much as she loves teaching it. She embraces the challenge of making web hosting accessible for every type of user and is delighted to share her knowledge with the HostingAdvice.com audience.
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