How to set up your website
If you’re new to the world of website design and internet publishing, you might be feeling a little apprehensive about building your own website. Maybe you’d like to build your online presence for your company or start a blog. Whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place to get started.
This article is here to help you through some of the website design questions and problems you may face in the beginning. I hope to highlight some important considerations to help you prepare.
Table of Contents
where to start
Choose a Domain Name
The first step in launching a website is to acquire the domain name. Selecting a suitable domain name requires some forethought. You should understand what your company or personal website will be about before you can choose an appropriate domain name for it.
Some tips for selecting a great domain name include:
- Pick a name that is short, easy to remember and easy for others to spell.
- It should also be associated with the kind of information you are presenting on the site. For example, if your website features technology related news or tips, then “techfacts” might be an appropriate domain name. If you are selling children’s clothing then”childrens-clothing.com” might be a good domain name for your website.
- Also, do not select a domain name that has been in use by someone else or is trademarked by another company. It is important to conduct a search prior to choosing your name to make sure it’s available.
- If at all possible refrain from using numbers in your domain name. A number can be a numeral or text (33 or thirtythree) and that can cause a lot of confusion and lost traffic.
Consider your TLD
TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the last part of a domain name. While you are free to choose any TLD that you desire for your website, there are some TLDs that are popular than others.
- Some of these TLDs include .com, .net and .org.
- Consider which is more beneficial to your business.
- If you are an Australian company that doesn’t do business abroad it is better to register a .com.au to help with local search.
- Also, consider finding other alternatives such as .net if you are a software company or .org if you are a non-profit organisation.
Register Your Domain Name
Register your domain name. Usually, you can easily register your domain name with your domain host, for a small fee. Some hosting providers offer this service free.
Acquire a Web Hosting Service
After selecting a domain name, you will need to acquire web hosting for your website. There are many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that offer web hosting services. The costs vary greatly. Usually, the costs are dependant on the bandwidth and site performance. It will also depend on whether you choose to be on a shared server or one that is dedicated to your site.
Get the best you can afford. Think about the type of site you are trying to build and how much traffic it will draw. You want enough bandwidth so that your site loads quickly for visitors.
You can find a lot of web hosting companies offering very cheap prices, but you get what you pay for. Companies that offer cheap prices often have poor service, slow speed and will not be able to ensure your website is online 24 x 7.
Build Your Website
After you have registered your domain name and acquired hosting for it, the fun part starts, building your website! If you are new to web design consider hiring a web designer who has experience in designing sites for businesses. They can assist you in developing an aesthetically pleasing website with the correct structure to get the most out of your site.
Building a website by yourself is possible of course but there are steep learning curves for the most popular ones like WordPress. Blogs like WP Beginner offer some fantastic articles on how to get started. Other web hosts like Squarespace and Wix offer easy to use tools that help you build a professional website without knowing HTML or anything about programming.
My only note on these is I have found them restrictive when it comes to very specific design needs or when you require “out of the box” functions.
Web design can be expensive, but if you find a good web designer to work with they will help you save on the overall cost of your site in the long run.
How to design the perfect landing page
Make your main page (home page) stand out and look professional. Choose a web design that reflects the image of your brand and business in an appealing way.
Again, you can do this by hiring a website designer or use a website managers like Squarespace or Wix. I am an avid WordPress supporter because they offer the best freedom and scope compared to mosts platforms available. However, they can be more complicated to use initially.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source content management system that you can use to create a website or blog. There are thousands of templates and plugins available for free or paid that allow you to take your design ideas and turn them into reality.
If you have experience coding, you will be also able to edit the code yourself or employ a coder to write so extra functions for you.
When designing a new site remember these important tips
- Make sure it looks professional and clean.
- Include photos to help tell your story and add visual appeal.
- Include a call to action in your design that encourages interaction with the site.
- Include navigation bars and links so it’s easy for the user to find what they need.
don't forget these
Make sure your main page includes the following
- A powerful headline to entice users to learn more about your service or product. Key phrases in this section should include words like “Here’s why…”, “Learn how…”, or “Discover what’s next”.
- Above the fold include a brief but compelling description of what your business does and why people should buy from you (the fold is the part of the screen that users will see without scrolling down.)
- Include a call to action near this section, such as “Buy Now” or “Learn More”. Provide information on where to go next and how to get started. This should be the next consideration in your design.
- The additional pages should give users more information about you and your business. Explain who you are, what makes your business unique, and showcase your offerings. Include photos of your team members, your company, and high-quality images of your product or services.
- Make sure the bottom of every page includes a contact us section with your phone number, address, links to popular pages and social links.
- Make it easy for the user to navigate the design of your website. This is extremely important as poor navigation will push the user to move to another site. Navigation is also a key consideration for SEO.
What information to include on your website
- About section. When designing your website, it is a good idea to include an about you section so that users know who you are and what your business does.
- Contact us section. This will allow your customers to find out more information about your business and make it easy for them to get in touch with you when they have questions or want to place an order.
- FAQ page. This can come in really handy as it provides answers to questions that arise regulatory about your business. Additionally, this will save you time having to deal with the same queries over and over again.
- Privacy page. This is very important as it outlines to your customers what you do with their data and why.
optimise your website
Search Engine Optimisation - SEO
- This allows you to make your website more visible and “findable” on the internet. You should do this by including relevant keywords throughout your site.
- Make sure your page headline includes a keyword or keywords that describe the products or services you offer and what makes you unique or stand out from competitors (e.g. “Helping local business owners get more customers”).
- Include keywords in the description of your web pages (e.g. “Get more customers for your business by investing in Pay Per Click Advertising from Boost My Search”).
- Optimise your site for mobile by including a “mobile-friendly” design.
- Make sure all images are sized correctly and add descriptive alternative text so they can be easily found within search engines (this is referred to as the alt tag.)
- Avoid over-optimisation and don’t stuff keywords into copy where it feels unnatural or obvious. Focus on delivering quality content to your users.
- Make sure your website is fast check your page speed on Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If your site is too slow, it will impact your page ranking and discourage visitors from exploring the site further.
If you have a WordPress website, you can use a variety of plugins to check page speed, search optimisation and analytics among other things.
For more information on SEO check out this post.
Set Up a Search Console Account
This is a free tool that allows you to see how well your website is doing on Google.
- Add and verify your site on the search console account
- Include all of your sitemaps on this account so it can be easily indexed by Google and other search engines (e.g. “http://www.website.com/sitemap.xml”)
- Get familiar with the search console account and use it to monitor how well your site is performing. For more information see Google Search Console
Set Up Google Analytics
Take Advantage of Google Analytics
This tool allows you to see detailed information about your website’s traffic, where it comes from, what users do on your website, and much more.
- Create an account
- Add your site to your Google Analytics account.
- Make sure you add the tag to all your pages with the tracking code.
- Set up goals so you can measure the progress you are making from different marketing initiatives. For more information see Google Analytics
Develop great content for your website
- Include content that is unique to your business and why users should buy from you, not from a competitor.
- Write posts for your blog that are interesting, educational and engaging and pay attention to user experience.
- Use videos or presentations to further explain who you are and what you do.
- And most importantly make sure any page on your site includes a call to action. For some great content writing tips see this blog post
Keep Your Content Fresh and Updated
- Write blog posts and articles for your website on a consistent basis.
- Keep your content relevant, fresh and up to date.
- Add social media share buttons to all your content so that it can be shared easily with others on social media platforms.
look after your website
Keep Your Website Well Maintained
- Run regular site audits to ensure your site is working well, that links are in place and that the search engine bots can access all content.
- Keep your website speed fast, monitored and optimised through Google’s speed report (PageSpeed Insights).
- Update your plugins and software to avoid security issues and possible disruptions to your website.
- Create a 404 page that catches the users who may have been looking for a certain page on your site but can’t find it anymore.
In summary, to get your website found online you should consider all the above-mentioned tips to increase your search engine rankings and organic traffic. The key to success is high-quality, fresh content with your target audience in mind. Also, do not neglect the technical optimisation of your site and user experience. This is as important as the design. Take advantage of these ideas as they all work together to help you achieve your business goals.
Need help getting started or want a professional review of your website? Contact me now for a free consultation.