What do you really need on your Website? Who should you get to build it? How will people find it? These are some of the questions that with the right answers will enable you to achieve a strong online presence.
If you have decided to have a go at building your own Website, before you do any kind of Website design work, review your competitor’s Websites. What do you like about them? What do you not like about them? What features or content do you think they lack?
A Website should be useful and add value to your business, give the right impression and make potential customers want to either contact you or buy from you. All Website content should be written with both the audience and search engines in mind; however, audience should always take priority over search engines. Readers tend to scan Website pages rather than read them one-for-word; so capture your audience's interest with short bulleted statements that are concise and easy to read. Structure textual content using descriptive headings and sub headings. Images should be used sparingly and carefully so as not to clutter the page and increase the time the page takes to appear in the browser window. Visitors to your Website will not wait very long for a page to fully load.
Website content should always be current, informative and engaging. As your business grows; your Website should grow with it.
Think of your domain name as the key to the doorway to your Website. Domain names are extremely important assets that need close consideration. Time must be taken when choosing a suitable domain name that will work hard for you. The right domain name will help you to strengthen your brand, influence public opinion of your company and improve your Websites SEO. Do you get a .com or a .co.uk? Do you get one which matches your business name or one which says what your Website is about? There are many factors that need addressing. Below are a few pointers which may help you in choosing that right Domain name.
Some hosting can now be found at very low prices but consider whether they are cost effective and appropriate for your type of Website? I cannot stress this point enough -- research hosting companies before you commit to a contract. Read reviews and look for ones which appear regularly in top-10 hosting companies lists. If you are intending on having a particular type of Website (for example, a Joomla CMS Website), check first to make sure that the hosting you are considering getting is suitable -- that it meets all the technical requirements.
Usability studies have clearly shown that using the right navigation, content and visual elements will retain your audience for longer. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to either buy from you or contact you. Use your company branding (i.e. logo and colour scheme) to form an attractive and engaging look. Clearly presented text, aligned and set in a font and format that runs consistently through the Website. Make good use of space and remember that utilising white space (content free areas) can be just as effective because it prevents page cluttering.
It is vitally important that your Website is easy to use and that its users are able to achieve their goals without hindrance. Their goal might be to buy a specific product or join a mailing list. Whatever their reason for visiting your Website, they must be able to do what they came to do within a reasonable amount of time. This means that your Websites' navigational system needs to be easy to understand and remain consistent throughout the entire Website.
Future support and hosting are the ongoing costs you will need to be aware of from the very start. If you have content that will change often, you may want to consider a content management system [CMS]. A CMS type of Website will allow you to self-update your content without any ongoing costs. Utilising the right technology can help your business develop and grow. If you are intending on getting someone else to build your new Website, look for a Website designer who is interested in your business and who can provide you with a solution which satisfies all your needs and requirements.
When you have a Website built, ensure that you are able to monitor and measure its performance. Reviewing monthly statistics showing detailed information on how many people visited your Website and how they use it can help you measure its success. There are many tools and techniques that can be employed to help you gather information about your Website users.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO entails using search engines to drive targeted traffic to your Website. SEO is especially necessary when business competition is high. There are many types of SEO; however, the two main ones are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO relates to anything which is done to a Website, either its design or content; which improves how it seen and indexed by search engines. Off-page SEO refers to the techniques that are performed externally to a Website which also do the same job. Off-page SEO would include back linking, directory submissions and article writing.
Mention you Website URL on everything that a potential customer or potential returning customer might see. Such places could include answer machines, letterheads, order forms, business cards, emails, social networking sites or local adverts.
If you decide to go down the path of getting a professional to build your Website, who do you get? Many people cut costs by getting a friend or relative to do it. This is where you need to keep your 'business head' on! Can they really design a Website that portrays you and your business in the correct way? Are they able to build it in such a way that it puts you above your competitors? Will they be around to support the Website if errors appear? It can seem like a saving but it could have serious consequences to your business. If you’re serious about making the right impression -- employ a professional! Self-made or unprofessionally built Websites probably won’t fill your customers with confidence about you or your approach to business.
Contact ones that you think present themselves in a way that you want yourself presented. Have a good look at their Websites and others that they have designed and built. Read their testimonials, reviews if they have them and finally, if you are happy to proceed with a particular Website designer, arrange to meet with them face to face, discuss with them your needs and requirements and see how they respond.
As the saying goes -- you only get what you pay for! Think long term. It’s no good getting a cheap Website that does not do what it is supposed to do.
Statements and opinions expressed in the articles found on the Clean-Cut web Design Website are those of the author, me! Every care has been taken regarding the compilation of this information and every attempt has been made to present information which is up-to-date and accurate; however, I cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. All content in this articles section should be viewed and used by you at your own risk. I or Clean-Cut Web Design will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this Website.