So you are thinking of ways to improve your business, get more customers or improving your revenue streams and you know one of the ways to achieve this is by getting online through a website. You know the benefits of having your business online; cheap costs, exposure to a wide number of prospects and exhibiting professionalism. But the multi million shilling question becomes, where do you start? With the increase of websites one might think getting one is a walk in the park. Well, sometimes it is but on those times it is not here are some few tips and guidelines on how to open a website in Kenya.
Register a domain name.
The first step towards getting a website is the registration of a domain name. a domain name is the address which identifies you on the internet and through which users of your website can access it.
Like a business name, domain names need to reflect the core of your business, its scope and if possible the exact industry or sector it operates in. a generic domain name might confuse web users about the exact content of the site.
Though most domain names are written as one word, you might need to add hyphens or other punctuations to avoid any misunderstanding or misreading by your potential users. You do agree a domain name like penisland.com to represent Pen Island can give the wrong connotations to the public right?
There are many domain name types based on the purpose of the website. You can choose to have a .com domain name for a global appeal or .KE if you want to pass off as a business established in Kenya. You can also opt for .org if you are an organisation. Domain names are basically done in line with the objectives.
Find a web hosting company/determine type of hosting plan:
Finding a web hosting company and domain name registration are steps which can be done interchangeably. One cannot exist without the other and hence you will need both in the initial stages of creating your website.
Hosting is defined as the avenue where all website information, files and configuration are held safely to ensure functionality of the website. If we consider domain names as the address to a house then hosting is the actual house. Hosting enables access to your website information through your domain name identity.
There are many types or levels of hosting options available for your website. Hosting solutions differ due to the storage capacity available, number of websites that can be hosted on the plan and number of users using the hosting plan in cases of shared hosting. These hosting solutions depend on the type of content carried on the website, the expected traffic and issues like customization and stability of the site.
The major types of hosting plans include:
Here the hosting platform houses many web users in one. Though relatively affordable, shared hosting plans have the flipside of low speeds, high interruption levels and at times website crashing. This is mainly due to the fact that the hosting resources are being shared amongst many users.
Adaptive hosting solutions:
A mix of cloud technology and traditional server hosting, adaptive hosting solutions provide the space and resources for expansion of the website. It is ideal for those seeking huge email volumes, huge website traffic and running processes requiring more resources. Adaptive hosting solutions enjoy the cost management approach of shared web hosting.
Dedicated hosting solutions:
As the name suggests, this hosting plan features having a server solely availed to one website. The advantages of a dedicated hosting server include stability, speed, customization and better security measures. However due to the resources available in dedicated hosting one should ensure to use it only when really necessary as not using the added feature might result to incurring avoidable costs.
Find a reputable hosting company based on experience, type of platform and value for money. At deepAfrica we excel in these factors.
Once the hosting plan has been put in place and the domain name agreed up the next step in developing your website is preparation of your website content.
Prepare your content:
Websites attract and retain traffic based on the type of content they display to the surfers. In this era of mass media prospects are being bombarded with information and content from all corners. It therefore goes without saying that your website should have timely, relevant, helpful and entertaining content.
Your website should feature a good mix of content with videos, photos, blog articles and other relevant forms of good quality content types. Preferably content should be created well before the website goes live to avoid cases of running out of content or the use of substandard content types. If possible testing out the impact of the content on sample audiences can help fine tune it hence increasing website performance in attracting traffic.
Having a content schedule will also provide an easy way of tracking the type of content you put on your website. The schedule can also help in providing a framework upon which one can determine which content is best received to make the necessary adjustments based on available metrics.
Build your website:
Domain name? Check! Hosting platform? Check! Content schedule? Check! Now it is time to actually build your website. Currently there are many platforms available where you can build your own website. Such sites include wix.com, weebly.com and webnode just to mention a few. These sites offer you the ability to manipulate set templates for free to create your own customised website.
However, the challenges of creating the free website most of the time is the limits in customization. Website created from these platforms might end up looking similar with few differences if any. For a truly professional looking and functioning website it is advisable to utilize a reputable website developer like deepAfrica to handle your web building stage.
Promoting your website:
Getting your website online is a good start but it is far from the end of things, the next step can arguably be said to be the most daunting task of all. Getting people to know about your site, visit it, making them repeat visitors and eventually purchasers is a process that requires both patience and consistency.
The good news is, in today’s world promotion has been greatly simplified especially with the dawn of social media platforms. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a host of other social media platforms as the primary avenues to drive traffic towards the website. This can be done ingeniously through relevant content which pushes the website link as the main communication. Paid promotional campaigns on social media can also work well to improve traffic.
Another means of generating traffic is through search engine optimization. A subtle and effective means of creating awareness for your website, search engine optimization commonly known as S.E.O involves the use keywords in your website content to enable it to appear higher on search engine results. Research shows that over 80% of search engine users make decisions on the first page of search engines with majority of this percentage clicking on the first to third search results. If your website can rank at the top then it is evident that the rate of traffic towards it will significantly improve.
It should be fairly noted however that the phase of website promotion is not a one off act, rather it should be done constantly and consistently over a period of time to reap the most benefit. Results may not be immediate but if you don’t promote your website the results will not be there at all.
Maintaining the website:
Being online is one thing, staying online is a whole different ball game. I am sure you have heard numerous cases of websites going offline. Well this can be laid on the choice of hosting plan decided upon at times it comes to the website maintenance structures put in place.
Web maintenance is done by ensuring that site is secured for cyber-attacks. This is done through putting in place high level firewalls and anti-virus measures. Without effective security site can be pulled down, have information stolen or destroyed completely by malicious individuals.
A regular back-up schedule is also one of the ways to maintain a website. With information backed up, the website can be easily restored in an event where it has been pulled down for security or malfunctioning reasons. Frequent backups are vital to ensure that the website does not lose any information attached to it.
Updating of the software hosting the website is another way of maintaining the performance of a website. With the fast changing nature of technology, updating of software can work well to avoid matters of security breach and improving overall speed and responsiveness of the website across many devices.
Everything goes stale with time and website content is no different. As part of website maintenance content should be regularly updated to stay abreast with the times. Having a list based on information from the year 2000 might not be so relevant in 2018. Timely content not only makes the website interesting but also offers value for your users at the site.
The deepAfrica promise:
If you are looking to get a good, functional and secure website in Kenya for an affordable price then the safe bet is dealing with deepAfrica. With over 13 years’ experience in website development, content creation, provision of hosting platforms and web maintenance, deepAfrica is the one stop solution for all your online solution needs.
We have a track record of excellence, a dedicated creative team and the best software for your website to stay stable and functioning online. Call us today on 0712-500500 and let us guide yu towards a responsive online presence.