If you have a business, you need a website. No question. You are losing money every day you do without a site, so don’t even think you can’t afford it. Just get one.
What if you don’t have a business, though? We know a girl who is getting ready to launch a nail polish company as soon as she figures out the manufacturing issue, and a guy who has a dream business he’s going to start once he finishes school. They’re not ready for websites yet.
We also know this band, which will provide our example. They don’t want a website yet because they don’t have enough recordings of their music, they don’t have time between classes and day jobs to look after a website, and their bassist moved to Austin so they need to replace him before they can accept any more gigs. They’re not ready for a website.
If you’re in this position, what should you do while you wait? “Nothing — I’ll think about it when I’m ready to build a site” is not the right answer.
- Get your domain name. Right now. It costs very little to register the perfect domain name, and it can cost a lot to get it out of the clutches of someone who buys it for the purpose of selling it to you. If the name of your company (or band) is available, get it. If it’s not available, get the closest you can, or change the name of the company to something you can get. Read more about this issue: “Should You Choose a Global Domain?” and “Choosing Your Domain Name.”
- Gather ideas about your brand. Basement Brew has a hard time thinking about things in visual terms, so they’ve looked at some other bands’ sites, and they commissioned a few headers to get some ideas about what they might like. Having a clear idea about how you want your site to look can really speed up the process. Use a site like Pinterest to collect images to help you clarify your thoughts.
- Get your content together. Basement Brew is working on getting some good recordings, photos, and videos. A company like ours can help with these things, but it can be a lengthy process if you want lots of things on your site: product photos, testimonials, reviews, and such should be gathered up and kept in a file so you can find them easily.
- Establish an online presence. Basement Brew set up a page at Bandcamp and a Facebook page. You can do as much of this as you are likely to keep up. When you get your website up, go back and add links.
- Set up lots of free sites. Some companies create and abandon multiple sites at free venues while they’re thinking about having a proper website made. See our social media advice on how to determine whether or not to set up your social media profile all over the place. With the caveats in that article, it’s generally good to have control over your company name in as many places as possible. However, it’s not good to have badly designed sites all over the web with your name on them. They will come back to haunt you.
- Establish a negative social media presence. Without a website or an IRL business, you may feel anonymous. Don’t get to feeling so anonymous that you think you can post nude hot tub photos or engage in virtual screaming matches with people. Once your site is up, people will search for your name. You don’t want competition from stuff you should have kept private. Hint: nothing on the internet is really private.
- Wait too long. The longer your site is up, the better it will perform; longevity is part of the search engine algorithms. As soon as you can, get that site up and working for you. Basement Brew isn’t quite ready, but they can expect to get more gigs with a website than without, and websites can be updated easily. If they have a website but don’t work to promote it, they won’t suddenly be overrun with traffic and fans. Neither will your business.