Checklist for building a website.
Setting up a website for your business can feel like a huge task, but it’s not. This is a summary of what we need to get started on your website build project.
The must have information on your business website
Online presence is important for almost all businesses, but each business has their own unique needs and offerings. The questions we ask will help you through the process to identify exactly what you need from your SEO optimised small business website.
As there are many good reasons for setting up a business website, it is equally important that your content is clear from start, for example:
- Do you need an online presence with basic business information – a brochure like website
- Do you need a call to action website where you want the user to click, call or take an action.
- Do you need an e-commerce system where you sell products online.
- Do you need information based website to create credibility around your professional work.
- and many more….
A domain name that is good for your website?
A domain name is the URL for your website, or you could also call it the website address. This is what you would type into the browser and it usually starts with www. If you are looking to have a domain name that has the ending of .com.au which is used in Australia, it needs to be clearly related to your business. We will take care of the registration process and help you, but we need your ABN number by law to register .com.au.
To register a domain name ending with .com or one of the many other options, you are free to chose what words you like. However, it is not easy to find a short and easy domain name nowadays that will have good keywords for your business, so you will have to think of with many options.
Your domain name is important.
Domain name with good keywords for your business, can help coming higher up in a search engine if everyting on the website is done well. It is important for SEO, search engine optimisation. So, using a domain name with a few letters, like xyzd.com.au might be simple and representing your business, but it will not help your business finding new customers searching on Google. You might consider plumberxyzd.com.au or plumberservicesxyzd.com.au just for better SEO. There are many combiations with a domain name and we will have a discussion about this and advice you if you have not already registered your domain name.
Your website needs hosting
99% of the time Website Adelaide will build your website in WordPress. WordPress is one of the biggest tools and content management systems for website development and it is amazing.
10 years ago, it would take 10 times longer to build a small business website compare to today. This is one of the reasons why you can find much more affordable website packages today with quite sophisticated interactive services.
WordPress is a free tool, a content management system, and it needs to be downloaded and installed on your server. With a hosting package we will be able to install WordPress and build your website. A hosting package is where your website is placed. Every website needs hosting in order for the world to be able to view it.
There are many different web hosting packages depending on your needs. For a brochure like website with less than 50 pages, you will not need more than the first and most basic package most hosting companies offer.
We work with Dezyne in Adelaide and we will help you through this process. It is important to know that you will be the sole owner of the hosting package, why you will own the website and the hosting and it will all be in registered in your name/business. If you would decide that someone else should take over the web design work or web maintenance for you, you are free to do so with no questions asked. You own it all and can access it at any time.
A hosting company with great service can often be very important, especially when you dont know much about the technical aspects of it all. Joel Williams at Dezyne.net will help you and take care of most hosting related issues and his service is extremely valuable. We could not recommend him highly enough.
The hosting package cost $66 per year, and that includes a control panel to set up as many emails as you like and a lot more. This is very good value for a great web hosting package and service..
Hosting will be set up by Joel Williams and he will send us the codes that we need to access your server and where we can start building your business website.
Your website content – text (copy)
We will ask you to write the content of your website. Our job is to build and design, and we do not write your text. We will during the process grab content from your text to create headings and other small text blocks within your website, and this is text we have been inspired to use from your text with some modification.
If you need help with the text/copy for your website, we recommend Colette Chorley Marketing and Copy services who we work closely with for website content writing.
Plan your pages of the website and start writing.
Think about the first page, what text do you need so the user can see straight away what you offer and why they should stay on the website. We recommend using more words than most clients would want to. Google and the search engines loves words!
Google does not consider a page with less than 500 words to be an interesting page for the person who is searching information / service / help. It is often difficult to our clients to put together more than 500 words per page, and we understand, but at least have that in mind when you are writing. Write the most important things high up and then go a bit deeper into the subject futher down. Your user will actually appreciate the more information they can get from the website, the better.
10 years ago the advice was a bit the opposite, keep it short and sweet we would say. Today, we want words, the user want as much info about you as possible, and the user might get disapointed if they can’t find what they need to know about you and your services.
What pages should you have on your website?
What is your business and what do you want to offer? Many of my clients will have the typical setup of home, our services, about us, contact and maybe a few more.
If you have no idea and don’t know where to start, you could browse the internet for other websites within the same business field and get inspired.
You can then see what they have written and what pages they have. If you are in the city and consider them as a competitor, you will need to remember that you have to write at least as many words and give as much information as they have on their website, before even thinking of getting up there in a Google search near them. Of course, the text content is only one part of the whole complex SEO part, but still very important.
Your services or what you offer is a very important part of the website. We are often too familiar with our own profession and business, why we forget that the user might not understand what you are selling and offering. The title of your profession or business field does not always explain very well what you offer.
Your message should be more clear than that. For example, I am a web designer, but I will make my message clearer that my business is about building websites for small businesses. There is a difference. Ask yourself why should they come to you, why should they contact you and what brilliant and special service will solve what problems for them. If they understand that straight away, then your website will be more popular.
How much text should you write for the website?
If you are targeting consumer, and not business to business, you will need consumer language and words on your website. Google and the search engines reads your text and matches the words with a search. If the user is searching for the words “garden services” you need to have them on your website even if you would use the words “landscaping services”. There are probably a lot better examples, but the point is to use common words and associated words in your text.
Very often our clients will think that it is not necessary to write a list of what services they provide, even if it just a bullet list. But, this is not a bad thing for the user, it gives the user clear information of what you offer and it also makes it very clear to Google and the search engine of who your target audience is. We recommend that you write information about what your services are, what are the benefits of using your services and why should the user contact you and no one else.
A general rule for SEO is that a page with less than 500 words is not very interesting to Google and the search engines. This might be hard to accomplish on some pages, but at least you know that a page with a word count less than 500 will generally not do well in a search engine.
Writing text about your business and structure it to the correct pages or sections in the website can often be longest process in the process of setting up a website. We ask you to have all the text content ready for us before we start building and designing your website.
What images should you use for your website
We can always use some stock images and we do also create a few images during the web design process. However, for your credibility it is great to have some real image. Mobile phone today takes such good quality photos that there is really no excuse. Your visitor will really appreciate some authentic photos of you, your van, your work and some work realated photos. If they can see a face, then it is a lot easier to lift the phone and call you.
Stock photos can be useful in many ways, but when you see the same operator working in an office USA, England, China and Australia it does not give your website credibility.
In the website process we will ask you for photos or images. Endlessly we are given just a few photos and then we start the process of creating a nice website. In the web design we often need more images than just a few. We will then look for stock photos and search for hours which too often ends with the client sending us images that they want to have instead, why we ask you to send us as many images as you have.
A photo can be cut and we can use just parts of it. Don’t worry too much about the quality or what is on it, we might find a useful part of the photo, make a colour overlay on it, and it can be very effective.
Maybe you could have a day when you have your phone at work ready for photos of the most strange things. You could take a photo of your desk and your computer, the entrance to your office or a job you are about to start or finish. You might see it every day and not find it interesting, but your user might find that it helps contacting you for you business.
One last thing we would like to mention. Contact details! Almost all businesses have a page on their website called Contact us or similar. However, many of our clients are start-ups or small self employed businesses and they might not want their address on the website. We fully understand that but we want our clients to know that for Google it is a very important part of page ranking. Google tries with all its codes, to avoid displaying websites for the user that they are not certain of being safe and real businesses.
Just recently Google have added into their system that they look for clear contact details, they even prefer to see it in the footer of the website and they want an address.
If you can verify your address with adding your business website to Google Places, then you score even higher! This gives Google a very clear message that you have a business and the user will be able to find you and contact you.
Gmail and Yahoo
Both Gmail and Yahoo email systems are absolutely fantastic email tools, and we use them as well. When we use them, we go into the settings and let Gmail know our own domain name and emails and have Gmail pick them up into their system. When we write an email, the sender email address will be our domain name email and we will receive the emails in this very same way.
Gmail and Yahoo email addresses are great for personal use, but they are not very professional. You can set up a Gmail address one day and then be gone the next day and no one would ever know the real owner, hence all fraud businesses and poeople use Gmail.
Using your domain name means that it is registered to your business and there are several ways for anyone to get hold of your details and therefore this is more trusworthy. Never pay for a businenss service where you correspond via just a Gmail address unless you know what you are doing. Unfortunatly this happens every day, especially in the web design and SEO industry.
Anyone in the SEO business or web design business knows that we do not use just Gmail, we have a domain name and domain name emails. When someone from a SEO company writes to us with a Gmail, the action is always the same, DELETE.