This is the Guest Post by Chris Holland. If you are interested in writing for us then check out the details here.
So, you have decided it’s about time for you or your business to get a website, but where do you start? Below are some important things you should consider.
What is the goal or purpose of your website?
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This is the first and most important step to think about before contacting a designer. You will need to identify what you want your website to achieve – do you want to sell products? Advertise your services? Or just be a point for potential customers to gather information?
It would also benefit to know who your target audience will be. Once you have your goal(s) you can start to plan your website.
Do you need a content management system (CMS)?
image by Peregrino Will Reign
Dependent on your websites purpose, you will need a rough idea of how often you will need to update your website.
If your website doesn’t need to be updated regularly, then it would be more cost-effective if the is site updated by the company that built it – this would also save you time.
If you plan to change your website frequently (adding new products, updating your news feed etc…) then it would be in your interest to have your website with a content management system. A CMS will allow you to easily add and edit information on your site without having to have any technical knowledge.
Who will be hosting your website?
image by Tim Dorr
When choosing a company to host your website, there are a few things to look out for:
- Amount of web space – How big is your website? Do you have hundreds of pages? You will need to choose a package that will support your needs.
- Data transfer / bandwidth – Make sure you will have enough bandwidth. I would also recommend staying clear of companies offering unlimited bandwidth.
- Reliability and speed of access – A web host should not only be reliable and fast but they should also guarantee their uptime.
- Technical support – Make sure the company offers 24/7 support, as problems could arise at any time.
- Location – I would recommend that if your target audience and your company are based mainly in the United Kingdom, then your server should also be hosted in the UK.
- Features – Most hosts nowadays offer a fully featured control panel, which allows you to control your server easily (setting up email accounts etc…).
How to choose a domain name?
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One of the most important steps to take when creating your online presence is choosing the correct domain name. Your domain name is your online identity and will represent your website and business.
Finding a good domain today has become a lot more difficult, with over 168 million domains registered worldwide and increasing each day. But don’t panic, there are still many domains out there that can benefit your company; you will just have to be more creative.
Some of the most important factors when choosing a domain name are:
- Keep it short and simple.
- Make sure it is easy to spell.
- Make sure it’s easy to remember.
I would recommend trying to keep your domain under 20 characters with no more than 3 words.
If possible, you should consider using a keyword in your name, e.g. if your website is about computers, then having “computers” in the domain name would be beneficial. Not only would it let potential visitors know what your website is about, it would also have a positive effect when it comes to search engine optimisation.
Now we know what to look out for in a domain name, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas.
- Create a list of possible domains just using your business name (e.g. abcpc.co.uk, pcabc.co.uk).
- Create a list of possible domains from the services you offer (e.g. computerrepairs.co.uk, pcrepairs.co.uk, fixmypc.co.uk).
- Now try and mix the above together (e.g. abcpcrepairs.co.uk).
Now we should have a reasonably long list of potential domain names which we need to see if they are available. There are many websites that let you check a domain’s status, such as; http://www.whois.net, www.123-reg.co.uk.
If you’re still struggling to find a domain that suits your business and is available then try adding in your location; such as abcpcashford.co.uk.
Do you have a corporate identity?
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If your company already has a brand, then this should be incorporated into your website. I would suggest giving your designer some off your literature and explaining the colours you want the kind of layout you like and any other comments you feel will help the designer.
By now you should have a strong understanding of what your websites purpose is and what kind of questions to ask your design company.