When it comes to designing a new website, there are a number of important points that need to be considered. I have been designing and building websites since 2006 and over this time, I have created a check list of things that need to be done before and during a new website build. Here are my top tips!
1. Decide what sort of website you need
Firstly, you must decide what it is that you are trying to achieve online. Are you selling products or services and want to take payments through your website? Or did you want to write a blog on your chosen subject? Perhaps your business needs a website to display information and advice?
Whatever you need a website for, I can help you.
I primarily build websites using a Content Management System (CMS) called WordPress. The days of needing a Web Developer to make even the smallest of changes to your website are long gone! A CMS allows you to manage your own website without needing any experience of coding. You or a member of your team would be able to create new content, manage, modify, and publish new website pages in a user-friendly interface.
There are different CMS platforms to choose from and each has it’s advantages. For an e-commerce website where you are selling products or services online, I would recommend either WordPress or Shopify. For all other types of online business (blog, brochure site, portfolio or entertainment website), I would also recommend WordPress.
I am primarily a WordPress Developer and here are 6 of the most important reasons to use WordPress in 2022.
But what if you don’t want to update your own website? Maybe this doesn’t interest you and running your business takes up all of your time? That is not a problem. Once your website is built, I can provide you or a member of your staff with training so that they can learn to make edits and updates. Alternatively, I can provide updates to your website for you on an ad-hoc basis, charged at my hourly rate.
2. Purchase the right domain names
There will need to be some brainstorming involved when choosing the right domain names for your business. Simple and catchy is the key – hyphens and numbers are best avoided. You want your domain name to be easy to pronounce and spell to minimise confusion and make it more memorable.
Domain names can end in all sorts of extensions like .pro and .me but I believe it is still better to use the most common extensions, which for businesses based in the UK are .co.uk and .com. Remember, you can buy more than one domain name and have them all pointing to the same website (this is where I can help). I also strongly advise that if you buy a domain name for your business, that you buy both the .co.uk and the .com extensions as a minimum.
Now you have decided on a domain name, you need to make sure it is available to buy. There are so many domain registration companies to choose from but I tend to use 123 Reg or GoDaddy. You can purchase a domain name for as little as £1 for the first year but they are usually a cost of between £5 and £25 per year. Obviously there are some domain names that are worth a fortune, a bit like personalised car number plates – the domain Voice.com sold for an eye-watering $30 million in 2019.
3. Choose the best website hosting
For those that don’t already know, a website hosting company stores your website files on their web servers so that it is viewable on the internet. It’s basically a data storage cost that you will need to pay either monthly or annually for. In return, the hosting company maintains the web server your website is stored on and keeps it secure to prevent hackers from accessing and destroying your website. The typical cost for hosting a small website is approximately £5 to £10 per month.
Many website design companies provide their own hosting packages so they become a sort of one-stop-shop for your domain name, hosting and website design and build. However, there can be some disadvantages to this as you become solely reliant on that one company for every part of your online business.
You will need to make sure that the domain name you want and pay for is not registered in the website company’s name. The registered owner of the domain name needs to be you.
Is the website they build for you easily transferable in case you decide in the future to use another website company? If it is not, you risk losing everything and having to start from scratch again.
I do not provide a website hosting service myself. The hosting providers I tend to use are 123 Reg, SiteGround and UK Web Solutions Direct. I will help you to register your own domain names and set-up your website hosting in your name with a long established and reputable hosting provider who will be able to give 24 hour support should your website ever have a problem.
4. Create the perfect website design and page layout
It is important to remember that your website is the online shop-front to your business. A great website will showcase what your business does and is a place where visitors can learn more about it, whilst you get the opportunity to deliver your marketing message and enhance your brand, gaining new customers along the way.
Here is where I can help you. After our initial meeting, I create website page design layouts in Photoshop and send them to you for edits and approval before I begin building your website. There are many things to think about during the design phase of the website process but some points to consider include menu structure, the use of white space, colour scheme, image quality and sourcing of imagery, typography, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and responsive design so that your website will look great on any sized screen.
If you would like me to design and build your new website or you already have a website that needs updating, please get in touch today.