Setting up a website for your culinary arts related business is a smart move but the idea can be overwhelming – especially if you aren’t experienced with websites or blogs. It does take a lot of work and many decisions but, like eating an elephant, you can complete the project if you just take it one step at a time.
Step One: Choose a Host
This will probably be the biggest investment you make in your website unless you are paying someone else to put it together for you.
The hosting site is where your files will be stored. Generally you pay one flat rate for a year and can have numerous websites on the same account. The cost will generally be close to $100.00, give or take some change either way.
It’s important that you research your host and talk to people that you know who blog or have websites. Find out how the customer service is, how much down time they experience, and whether they are satisfied or not. There are several to choose from, including –
- Blue Host
- Go Daddy
- Host Gator
Step Two: Choose a Domain Name
This is an important step and nothing else can be done before you have completed this. Your domain name is the web address or URL that your customers will use to get to your site. Ideally it should be the same as your business name. The problem is that sometimes the name has already been taken. You will need to do a domain name search on a site like Instant Domain Search to ensure that the URL is still available.
Let’s say your business is Pie in the Sky and you want to register PieInTheSky.com but that name is not available. You can contact the owners of PieInTheSky and see if they would be willing to sell the domain name or you can see if PieInTheSky.net or PieInTheSky.org are available. If that doesn’t work you will need to get creative and use something like PieInTheSky2.com or some other variation.
Try to keep your domain name short, catchy, and easy to remember. This will help your customers find you more easily.
Once you have your domain name chosen you will need to register it with your host – usually under $10.00 per year.
Step Three: Decide on the Purpose
It’s time to decide what you are trying to accomplish with your website. Are you pulling in customers? Promoting a product? Providing a special service? Giving information? Maybe you are even doing a combination of some or all of those things. Whatever your purpose is it is important to take some time to map it out – you’ll use it as a road map as your business grows.
The purpose gives you the direction that you need to reach out to your customers successfully and build your brand effectively.
Step Four: Decide on the Contents
How will you set up your website? Will you have an area for your customers to buy a product? Will there be an area for information about your company? Will you give instructions?
Many businesses choose to associate a blog with their company. This is a great idea because it gives each customer a chance to know you and it gives you a chance to build relationship with your customers. The blog is the spot where you (or a freelance writer) will connect with your customers with tips, interesting news related to your business, photographs, and other things to interest your readers and build a client base.
The very least information you should have on your website, depending on your business, is –
- About page that tells about your business and has images of you and your employees. It’s good to have a short bio of yourself as well.
- Contact page that gives your contact information, including email.
- Social Media buttons like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. These allow your readers to share your content and bring more readers to the page. You’ll also need to create accounts on Facebook and the other sites.
- Plenty of good quality images of your product, the people who work there, and anything else that would make customers feel as if they know you.
Step Five: Choose Your CMS
Once you have your hosting account and have decided on the contents you’ll have to choose a CMS, or content management system. WordPress is probably the most used CMS but there are several others that may work as well or better for what you need. Research content management systems thoroughly before you decide on one. Web Designer Depot has a good article comparing the top systems.
Setting Up a Website Is Just the Beginning
These are just the very beginning steps to creating a successful culinary oriented website. If you have the money to hire a website developer then you won’t need to do some of these things yourself but it is still important to know what needs to be done and why. Setting up a website is one of the most important things you can do to build your brand, interact with your customers, and make your business a success.Once these foundational decisions are made then you will be able to move on to the design aspect of your website.
If you have a website that is food related leave a comment and share your tips for getting through those first steps to a successful website.