Planning... So you need a website?
Let's start at the beginning.... there are three parts to a website... the domain name, the hosting and the website itself. Lost already? Let me explain a bit further.
Some people already have a domain name, if that's the case we'll use that. Other people don't have one so that's the first step of the project - I can help you to decide on what name to use and I'll register it for you. Sometimes the domain name that you want to register is already taken (remember, there might be other businesses in Australia with the same name as yours), but we can cross that bridge if we come to it! Read more about the criteria on my Domain Names page.
This is the physical space where your website files sit. It's rented space, usually in a data centre. You can't host the website files yourself, because you would need to allow the public access to your computer, and leave it on 24/7.... ummmm no thanks! I can arrange your website hosting for you, I have reseller accounts which use high quality equipment with fast speeds and 24/7 support. Read more about hosting on my Pricing Page.
The website is made up of lots of files and a database which all sit on your hosting account. The website will be built using either the Wordpress system, or the Joomla system. Layered over the top of the basic installation of either Wordpress or Joomla will be a "theme" (Wordpress), or a "template" (Joomla). Once the system is installed I will start customising the site and loading the text that you have provided and images (either yours, or I can source them from various image sites). During the development of the website the site will be hidden from the public, and once it's approved by you I will make the site live, so the public can see it too.
See, now wasn't that straight-forward?
If you're still not convinced that it's really as easy as putting those three elements together, then I've included the usual formal lists of things to consider when planning a website, you'll find that section below. But don't get to hung up on it, we can discuss it when we meet, or if you're too busy to make a meeting we can chat over the phone.
What about a logo and some business cards?
Yep, I can arrange that too! Have a squizz at my page on Logos, which can then be used in any advertising or marketing you require. Whether you are a sole trader or larger business, I can continue your website's "look & feel" through to your digital media (such as ebanners, e-signatures & social media banners) and print media (such as business stationery, business cards, letterhead, banners & flags) to give seamless branding.
The formal planning stuff for those that like lists...
What is the website for?
- To represent your business and establish your presence online
- To provide a positive online presence
- To promote the business and to attract new customers
- To provide customers and others with a way to contact your business
- To display your credentials to prospective clients
- To improve your public image using the Internet
- To showcase the work of your business
- To provide staff, customers and prospects with up to date information regarding the business.
- To provide the client with information about you business and the services that you provide
- To provide information downloads to reduce the number of calls and requests you get for information
- To provide an access point for staff to log in and get information when they are away from the office.
Identify your target audience:
- Who are your target audience?
- Why will these target audiences use the website?
- What do you want them to do?
- What do you need to provide to achieve this?
Content - What should you put on your website?
- Product and services information – tell visitors to your website what you have to offer. If you have multiple services or products, split them onto separate pages so that Google can rank them separately, you will achieve better search engine results if you do this. Aim for at least 3-4 good sized paragraphs of information on every page, it is important to use keywords which a user would include in their google search.
- Consider using a copywriter if you cannot write the content or do not have time to write it yourself, a small cost will save you a lot of time and can have a huge beneficial impact on the ranking of your website.
- Company information – people will want to know what you are about before they are going to do business with you. History, Ownership, Structure, What makes you special, staff.
- Contact Information – Address, phone numbers and emails. Give them the names of the people they can deal with in the particular part of your business they want. If you’ve got staff working in different areas and at different sites, publish all of the sites contact details.
- News (blog) – articles that provide updates on what is happening in and around your company can acieve a range of things – visitors will see that the company is active and a viable entity with which they might do business; the section can act as a marketing tool to promote the good things about your company; the section can provide an excellent vehicle for keeping investors, clients, potential clients, staff and other parties abreast of what is happening in your organisation.
- Photo galleries – will you have a gallery on your website? If so, what images will you put in it? These days galleries are usually positioned with the information that they relate to, rather than on a page of their own.
- Technical Information – You may be able to reduce your spending on sending paperwork out with your product by providing technical information, brochures etc, in a downloadable form on your website.
- FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – You can provide the users with all of the information they want and would otherwise get by calling your company to ask. Depending on your situation, you might have considerable resources tied up answering calls from people who could easily be getting the information they require from your website.
- Google Featured Snippets - Compile a list of the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why) + How in your content as this is where the Google pulls the feature snippets content from. The featured snippet is positioned above the first organic (non paid) search result, so if you can include content which gets included as a featured snippet your exposure on Google will double (you will also appear in organic search results, so that will be twice on page one). (Note, to be considered for a Google featured snippet you must be ranking on page one). If you haven't seen a Featured Snippet searching Google over the past two years, here's an example (from a search for "ssl"): Click here for further information on featured snippets
- Social Media Icons - Links to all of your social media sites eg Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter. You can also include a Facebook feed, which will embed your latest Facebook posts into any area on your website, like wise with Pinterest boards, and Twitter feeds (see the column on the right of this page).
- Disclaimer – Bundle the disclaimer with any other legal stuff you might wish to have on your website. If you have any doubt whether you need a disclaimer on your website, ask a lawyer.
- Links – provides access to other websites. Does this suit your business? The aim is for those businesses to reciprocate with a link back to YOUR website, because inwards links are important for your website's ranking in Google. (If other websites are linking to yours then
Keywords - What will people search for to find you online?
- Give some consideration to what your keywords and keyword phrases might be. The purpose is to keep these high-level, but if your broad topic is already a niche inside a niche, like let’s say you’re a construction company that focuses on excavating, then you would want to include topics within the sub-niche of excavating, like underground excavating for rail tunnels, excavating procedures for city streets, or even excavating around fragile structures. Make sense? Include as many keyword phrases as you can, bullet lists are a great way to include keywords.
- See what search phrases your competitors are listing well for and start a list!
- Be aware that if the text on your site does not match people's search phrase, you will not be listed in search results. For example, if somebody is searching on "xylophone" and you don't mention "xylophone" in the text of your site then you probably won't be listed in search engine results
- Be aware that it is not just keywords, but keyword density which give you good search engine rankings.
Development - How long will it take to build & optimise a website?
The creation of a website differs depending on the size of the site and how many other projects I have running at the same time. End of the financial year is always particularly busy, so please try to avoid this time, or expect longer development times. As an approximate guide you can expect it to take 2-3 weeks to put a new site together. Unfortunately search engines work to their own schedule and it usually takes 3-4 weeks for your website to show up in search results after being submitted. If you have a deadline to meet, let me know and I'll try my best to work to your schedule.
Which Content Management System (CMS) do we use?
My preference when building a new website are Wordpress or Joomla - here is why I choose to use them:
- They are robust, over half of the websites currently online are Wordpress (around 750 million), and a smaller percentage are Joomla (around 58 million).
- There are over 30,000 extensions (features) so chances are if you want something special for your website, it won't need to be custom developed
- With Wordpress and Joomla! you can have complete control over the site
- There are fantastic tools to help you backup your site easily
- Wordpress and Joomla! simplify content management, organising your pages in a structured way
- Search engine friendly, allows great behind-the-scenes customisation for search engines
- Wordpress and Joomla! puts the client in the driver's seat, you have access to change everything
- You can manage your website anywhere, anytime, on any device - all you need is an internet connection
- Fully responsive (which means the site will adapt its layout to suit the device it is being viewed on eg mobile, tablet, desktop)
- Wordpress and Joomla! is everywhere, millions of sites use these CMS platforms which means you will never be left high and dry, there is a massive active, supportive community, and of course, you have WebCoast!
- Regular security updates means Wordpress and Joomla! keeps your site safe
Sites that I build must load fast, be easy to navigate through, and work in different web browsers and on different devices. Since around 2013 "responsive" designed websites have been introduced. Responsive means that it automatically adjusts it's layout to suit the device that it is being viewed on. The advantage of having a responsive website is that you only need to manage the content of one website, once upon a time you would have needed a separate mobile website. Google now bases it's rankings on the mobile version of your site, so it's REALLY important that your site is responsive. Responsive sites are a standard part of a new website build with WebCoast, there are no additional costs.
Keeping your website current
One of the difficulties many companies face is maintaining the content on their websites. For some websites, the content does not change or does so rarely. Other websites have content that is continually changing. There are two ways to manage content that is continually changing - you can upload new content as frequently or infrequently as you like, or you can get WebCoast to do it for you. It's a good idea to regularly add new content, either by expanding your existing content or adding a blog item, Google LOVES new content and sites that are regularly updated.
Optimisation of your website
The placement of text, image tags, meta tags, titles and correct key words and phrases are all attributing factors for search engine ranking. Optimisation involves developing your site so that search engines will give it a high ranking, it's all the little technical things that you wouldn't know to do yourself, but as a professional, I am aware of. I will optimize your website and register it with the major search engines. If you are in a particularly competitive field and require more search engine optimisation, I can refer you to a SEO colleague that I work with.