So, you want a website but don’t know where to start? You are in the right place!
Let’s begin with…
What do you want to get from your site?
Ask yourself these questions to help you decide the format of your website…
- Why are you building a website?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are the benefits for you?
- What are the benefits to the user?
These are some of the things that a website could help you to do….
Build new relationships. Whether you are looking for customers, investors, fans, followers or just want to connect with others who share your interests then having a website can help you attract them from all over the world!!
Improve customer service. If you already have a business, you can make it easier for your customers to contact you. You could publish manuals or tutorials online, take customer enquiries . Using the web can offer a degree of customer service around the clock.
Enhance your reputation and profile. Do you want to share your knowledge and be seen as the expert? Share articles or videos. Maybe your videos could be tutorials or explaining how things work. Get creative, sharing your music, photos, videos and stories can help gather feedback and build interest in your ideas.
Sell, sell, sell!! This is probably your main reason why you want a website. The web makes it easier for people all over the world to buy from you.
Improve you customer service. You may have an existing business it can make it easier for you to answer your customers enquiries. You could structure a form for the customer to submit to you if they have any queries. You could also publish manuals and tutorials online so they are readily available for your customers. You are then able to offer a round the clock service.
Understanding your visitors
It is so important to have a good understanding of who is going to be visiting your website. You can not create a website that pleases everyone. It is so important to have your ideal client in mind before you start your business.
You use this work in your branding, your messages and everywhere you promote your business. Ask yourself the follow questions to try and start to understand who your ideal client would be…
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- Do they have children?
- Do they work? What do they do?
- How much do they earn?
- How much disposable income do they have to spend with you?
- What are their interests?
- Where do they travel?
- How experienced are they with using the internet?
- What device do they use to browse the internet? Smart phone? Tablet? Desktop?
- Where do they use the internet? At home? Work? On the move?
There are many other questions you can ask to get a more in depth view on you ideal client. You need to have a very clear picture of what they look like.
Create a sitemap
A big challenge when creating your website is to where to put all the information you want to include in an organised way.
The most important thing is that it makes sense to your visitors. It should be possible for your visitor to be able to find what they are looking for without having to click through all of the different sections on your website to find it. They will give up and move on to a website that is easier to use.
Think like a customer. Don’t use jargon that you may understand but they may not be familiar with. Try and use simple language.
Make sure the sections are related to each other, similar way to a road map.
One approach to work this out is to write the section names on sticky notes and then arrange them in a sequence that makes sense. You can easily add, remove and reposition the sections by moving the sticky notes.
Hosting your website
It is a big decision where to host your website. If you have a developer they will be able to guide you on this.
A website is made up of files that are stored on a computer that people can access over the internet. This computer is known as a web server.
A hosting company rents out a server or more popular a some space on a shared server.
When you have space on a shared server the monthly costs are tiered according to:
- Storage space The amount of space all of your website files occupy.
- Bandwidth How much data you can send over the internet each month.
Choosing your domain names
Each web page has a Unique Resource Location (URL). For example www.griggsdesign.co.uk/blog/where-am-i-going-wrong.html
Let’s break this down..
- The domain name. This is the address of the website which is used to find the server that hosts the files. All of the files on the same website starts with the same domain name. In the example above the domain name is griggsdesign.co.uk. The co.uk is the domain extension.
- The folders. These are where the required file is on the server. In my example above the folders are /blog/. This means the file is in within the folder “blog”.
- The filename. This is the specific web page. In the example above the filename is where-am-i-going-wrong.html. This is the filename with the extension html. This explains what kind of file it is.
When deciding which domain name to buy there are some points to consider.
- Any hosting company will tell you if a domain is already registered or not.
- It is usually easily and cheaper to buy your domain name from your hosting company.
- Keep it short. Don’t forget your visitors have to type it in.
- Make it memorable and avoid words that need to be spelt out.
- As soon as you have worked out which domain name you want, buy it!