8 steps for building a great site to promote your invention
Many website-building platforms have great customer support, with agents who are more than willing to help you solve any issue you encounter.
BY ELIZABETH BREEDLOVE
Do you have an ecommerce site to promote and sell your business? If not, why not?
If it’s because you’re intimidated by the creation process or you think you can’t do it yourself, think again.
Although there is something to be said for working with a web development agency or marketing agency for more complicated websites, if you need a simple website to begin showing off your invention you can definitely do it yourself. These eight steps can help you do it!
1. Determine your needs. Think carefully about what your website needs to accomplish. This is crucial before you get started, to ensure that everything you do to build your website is working toward a cohesive goal. Ask yourself:
- What is your goal?
- What is your budget?
- What functionality do you need?
- What do you like about your competitors’ websites?
- Do you have a logo already, or will you need someone to create one?
- Do you have images you can use on your site, or will you need to hire a photographer?
- What types of content will you need on your website? What pages?
- Are there any third-party applications that must be integrated?
- What information will you need to have on the home page?
- How many SKUs will you need to list?
- How comfortable are you with coding a website? Are you interested in a drag-and-drop or templated option, or something a bit more custom?
- What do you want the payment or checkout process to look like?
2. Choose and buy a domain. This may be the easiest step in the process.
If you already have a brand name, that’s going to be your best bet for a domain. If your brand name is already taken, you’ll have to get creative.
Your domain registrar, such as GoDaddy, will likely suggest some other options for you to choose from that are available. Make sure whatever you choose is easy to remember, easy to type and easy to understand.
3. Pick an ecommerce platform. Now you can begin to compare content management systems, website builders and ecommerce platforms.
If you feel comfortable coding a website and you want complete flexibility, you’ll probably want to combine a content management system, such as WordPress, with an ecommerce platform such as WooCommerce. If you’re less comfortable with web development, you may want to choose an ecommerce platform and website builder such as Squarespace or Shopify.
Ultimately, there is no universal best choice. It comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish with your website, which platform meets those needs, and which platform you feel most comfortable using to build a beautiful and functional website.
4. Wireframe your site. It’s time to nail down what pages you need on your site and what those pages will look like.
Wireframing your site refers to building the basic skeleton of your website. How you go about this depends on how you like to keep things organized—but to start, make a list of every page you’ll need on your site. Don’t forget about the basics such as the homepage, About page, Contact page and any product listings.
After you’ve made a list of every page you need, start thinking about how these pages will be organized. Which pages will you list on the main site navigation? Which pages will be sub-pages? Are any pages going to be landing pages that aren’t linked anywhere in the navigation?
Once you’ve determined what pages you need and how they’ll be organized, think about your page layouts. You can do this by hand with a paper and pencil, you can use a design software, or you can start building the page within the platform you’ve chosen. Whichever you choose, your goal is to have a basic layout of each page on your site so that you know which images and copy you need to gather or create.
5. Write your copy and product listings. By this point, you should have a good idea of what types of content you need on your site. Now it’s time to create the content. As you’re writing this copy, keep basic SEO copywriting best practices in mind:
- Before you begin writing each page, identify the most important keywords to include and incorporate them into the title, headings and body copy.
- Use proper heading and subheading tags to organize each page into clear, easy-to-skim sections. Paragraphs should be short and scannable whenever possible.
- Include internal links where possible, and external links if applicable.
- Include a call to action. Tell site visitors what you want them to do on your site—whether it’s to fill out a form, buy your invention or something else.
6. Design and build your site. This step is typically straightforward, but if you run into any problems you can almost always find an answer with a well-known search engine. Many website-building platforms also have great customer support, with agents who are more than willing to help you solve any issue you encounter.
Once you have the site built, you can start adding your images and copy. You’ll also need to create product listings and set up each aspect of your checkout process.
This setup is different for every platform, but the platform should walk you through everything you need to do to create an easy way for customers to purchase your invention. Many ecommerce platforms also include features to help you manage order fulfillment, or they integrate with third-party fulfillment platforms.
7. Double- and triple-check everything. By this point, your site probably feels done. However, before you launch it, it’s important to confirm that everything looks and works perfectly. Review every page, test every button, complete multiple test transactions and then check it all again. Then, have someone else look at it. Make sure you feel confident that everything is ready before you launch.
8. Launch! Follow the platform’s instructions to connect your site to the domain you purchased. Once everything is set up smoothly, share it with the world! Post about your new site on your social media platforms, tell your friends and family, send out an email blast and use any other channel you can to drive traffic—and hopefully, sales—to your new site.