A quick guide to setting up your new website and tips on what to avoid in the process. Setting up a website is relatively easy but extracting the most from your pages and visitors takes time, some well placed copy and a SEO strategy.
Domain names and email.
The first stage of building your new website starts with the choice of your domain name. Ideally your domain will be your business name or something very close to it. This is of course subject to availability. If possible, you need to stick to the standard.co.uk or .com version of your domain and purchase both, typically for around £30. Once registered, your domain usually comes with email as standard and custom made email addresses can be created, sales@, info@ etc.
Content Management Systems.
We then need to choose the platform your new website will be built on. These days, the best option is WordPress. It’s come a long way in the last few years and provides many good features as standard.
WordPress is fairly economical in terms of coding meaning that websites load pretty quickly and it has a good level of Search Engine Optimisation built in from the get go, all of which can be further optimised for greater performance.
Gather the content.
So far then, you have the domain, email, a database and a fresh install of WordPress. And a blank screen! Time for the content. At this stage, it’s worth considering the rules and standards that search engines use to index your website. High quality – user friendly content, fast loading pages and fully responsive to work on all mobile devices and a clear, logical navigation for both users and search engine robots. Images should be kept light to load and provide a purpose to illustrate a point or to highlight a particular product. Video is also playing a larger part of website content as wireless networks get faster and can deliver high quality video content to help your visitors.
The copy on your website needs to be informative, well written and provide all of the answers your customers will need about your product or services. Don’t forget your opening hours and methods of contact.
Getting the basic design.
Good web design starts with a wire frame and a brand script. Literally, sketch the structure of your web pages on paper, in what order your pages link together and the flow of your website navigation. This can save a lot of time in the design stage. My brand script process is what happens at the first consultation with the client. Typically, your target customer and website objectives etc. It’s more detailed than that but that’s my secret sauce!
Building your website.
The construction of your website can begin. Your content added, sparkling graphic design and compelling copy along with a clean user interface and there you go, your website is launched! Right?
This is where the fun begins!
We now have to get your site listed on the search engines, all of them, not just Google. Each major search engine has a different set of ranking signals that often don’t line up with the next search index! It’s a never ending black art being honest. The big take away about SEO is patience. It can take some time for the fruits of your labour to appear on the search listings, let alone in a coveted page one slot. Do not cheat at this point with amazing ‘quick fix’ solutions. If guaranteed high rankings are promised and it sounds too good to be true, it should be avoided. Using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques such as buying backlinks and spamming blogs will be deemed as bad by the search engines and could result in your website being blacklisted and excluded from search engines altogether. Tread carefully.
Ongoing support and website management.
You can now sit back and relax, your website is up and running and the orders will be flooding in. Right? Possibly. Good websites are never really in a finished state. Technology, search criteria and trends change all of the time. If your website remains static, you could get left behind. Constant tuning and tweaking are part and parcel of good website management. Re-purposing content, page layout and navigation help to keep your website fresh and relevant.
Needless to say, all of this may sound daunting and, if you are busy running your business you can struggle to find the time. If you are at any of the stages I have talked about and ground to a halt, get in touch and I will help you kickstart your website development again.