I need a website, but where do I start?

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So, you need a Website, but you arn’t sure whether to hire a designer or build your own, and have no idea where to start!

Having an online presence for your business has never been so important. Throughout this pandemic, online sales continue to increase, and for all businesses, what could be better than increasing your online presence with a shiny new website. All you need to set yourself up online is a little knowledge on what you need, and why you need it.

The number one question is, do you have to hire a designer or build it yourself. There are a number of reasons why a good web designer is worth every penny, from the complexity and flexibility of designs, ensuring the site is properly set up and configured, secure, responsive and SEO Optimised, and above all else, you don’t have to do it yourself! However, you don’t have to hire a designer, there are many ways, even without in depth technical skills that you can build a website yourself. But where do you start?

Domains

The basics are important; you will need a relevant domain name. This is the website address. You can purchase a domain name from many sources, often on offer if you buy more than one year at once. We recommend Siteground for our hosting and domains, but there are many other companies that can give you a decent offer, just make sure that once you purchase the domain, you own it and remember you will need to do it each year.

Here are our tips on choosing a domain:

  • Always make your domain memorable. Don’t make it too complicated or people won’t remember it.
  • Try not to make it too long. Remember if you are using your domain is a business email address, it’s easier to be short and snappy as you and your customers could be typing it regularly.
  • Consider the most important features of your brand and the message they convey and look for phrases, words, and keywords that might help express those ideas.
  • If your business is based in the uk, and primarily local, buy yourself a .co.uk domain. This can help with local search rankings as opposed to .com addresses that are used worldwide. If you’re domain isn’t available you will be offered other extensions, like .org.
  • If you are having trouble choosing a domain name, to get a better idea you can create a web address with a domain name generators tool like this one from Shopify.

Website Hosting

Next up is hosting. Many clients I build websites for don’t realise they need hosting, but this is how you keep your website online, live and serving your customers! You can buy website packages for a year through template builders, like Wix, Weebly or Shopify. If you choose to go through a website designer, companies like us will often provide website hosting as a specific service, or part of the deal when designing your site, so shop around!

The most important element to remember, is that your hosting needs to be reliable. If you have hosting that often goes offline, or customer service that isn’t contactable, that can affect the service you give your customers, and cost you money. You also want to ensure that the hosting you buy in to, is able to host your website. Cheap is not necessarily a good thing when hosting a website, many struggle with page loading and site speed which can cause visitors to move on, particularly if you have an e-commerce site.

If you are looking to host a blog on your website, we would recommend WordPress. WordPress is optimised throughout for blogs, making publishing your content easy. For sites that don’t want a blog, this feature doesn’t have to be used, but it also can be great for announcements and updates within your business.

Website design

Once you have the basics, you have to design your site. If you are creating the site yourself, you can opt to use a template builder like Wix, weebly and shopify. They have drag and drop and layouts already defined for you – they are often paying monthly, and although this can be more expensive long term, you are paying for convenience. You can be restricted by some of the design elements and flexibility, so when choosing a platform, think about the longevity of the site, will you be looking to increase stock down the line or will you need more flexibility if you decide to expand the business. We get many clients that are ‘upgrading’ their website so they can increase the amount of functionality on their site, in which case you end up paying twice, rather than just expanding your current site, so bare that in mind. These website builders do now offer a few SEO options, but you will need to thoroughly research your keywords to make it effective in search engine rankings. Here is a free guide we offer on how to research your keywords.

Our Website Packages

Here at Glade SEO & Design, we offer website packages on all of our builds. Our packages include the design of your site built on WordPress, 12 months hosting and domain, SSL Certificate and unlimited business email accounts. All of our sites are fully responsive and SEO optimised.

WordPress is the platform that your website would be built and designed on. Our hosting provides no product or page limits, and never any additional fees, and you can have full ownership of your WordPress website upon completion. If you don’t have many technical skills, the dashboard is user friendly and we provide thorough training videos recorded on your site, exclusive to your website build.

As a web designer, we use WordPress as it is so flexible and adaptable and it is user friendly, even for beginners. There is a wealth of plugins available for WordPress, which means a site can be built easily without even looking at code. They are fully responsive if designed properly and WordPress sites automatically tend to rank higher in search engines due to the effective tools and free plugins you can use to optimise your site. All of our websites are SEO optimised using SEOPress and SEOPress Pro.

Tips for your website design

Whether you decide to build your own website, or hire a designer to do it for you, a website must be user friendly for your visitors. The website must be easy to navigate, and let your visitors know exactly what service you offer as soon as they enter your website. Make sure you consider your privacy policy, and that every visitor can access it.

Other tips:

  • Use the right imagery for your audience. Try and avoid too many stock images as visitors like to see images from your actual business.
  • If you don’t have a stock of images to use you can get some from sites like Adobe Stock Image.
  • Create navigation that guides visitors throughout your site, making the site easy to use.
  • Always include social share buttons and links to your social media. These can help your SEO if you are active on them and allows others to share your website to their social pages.
  • Remember to add calls to action to entice your website visitors to the other pages within your site.
  • Make sure you design the mobile and tablet versions of your site. I huge percentage of people now search online using their mobile, so your website has to be fully responsive.
  • Think about content. Make sure you have all the information your visitors need, but also make sure it isn’t too complicated or full of Jargon as this can be off-putting.

Once you have your shiny new site, always make sure that your website is SEO optimised. SEO Optimisation allows your website to rank on search engines and is how your business will be found by new visitors. You must take the time to make sure your keywords are right for your website. For more information on how to optimise your website for SEO and keyword research, you can download our free guide here.

Glade SEO & Design are a professional SEO & Web Design agency based in Bracknell, Berkshire. Although we are based in Berkshire, we have a national and international client portfolio. If you have any queries about SEO or web design you can contact us for more information.

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