4 things you should know when considering a website for your business
I decided to write this because even after over 12 years of designing and developing websites, I still find that potential clients are unaware of the basic things needed to begin the process of having a website built. My hope is that this short list will help guide you through the process.
For the sake of simplicity I am using the term "websites" in a general sense knowing that there are different types of websites.
1. What is your website's purpose?
Now this may seem obvious to you, but it's a very important question we web designers (should) ask ... Not all websites are made equal.
Your website visitors should have a clear understanding of what you are about and what you want them to do when they get there ... Why should they use your product or service, read your Blog, subscribe to your newsletter? How will they benefit from you?
2. Do you have a website name (Domain)?
Your Domain name does not need to be your company's name. It would be the ideal thing but it doesn't always translate well on the web.
- Your Domain shouldn't be too long
- Your Domain needs to be easy to remember
- Avoid abbreviations unless you are a well established brand like, AT&T, KFC, etc.
- Your Domain should be easy to spell
- If you cannot avoid any or all of the above, be willing to aggressively market the name in an effort to avoid losing visitors. Use Google as an example. What's a Google? Who knew what that meant when they first heard it?
- Domain Names are "leased" -- you don't own them. You can obtain your Domain from a "Registrar."
Ensure that your Domain Name is registered to you through a reputable Domain Registrar. Domains on average cost $10-15 per year. I recommend Hover for registering domains.
3. Where will your website be hosted?
What is a host??? You're not hosting a dinner party, you want a website!
A web host is simply a special computer called a server that stores the files that make up your website and serves as the site's "home" on the Internet.
Web hosts are a dime-a-dozen and can range in cost, features and services provided. Some hosts offer services that allow you to build your website right in the Browser, though the vast majority of hosts require you to build your website and upload your files to your server.
Hosting costs may range anywhere from free to a few hundred dollars per month and is dependent on the type of website, amount of content and features, as well as technical requirements.
One very important piece of advice: Always be sure to have the hosting account set up in your name and save the hosting account details and any other info relating to the website hosting. You will thank yourself later.
I highly recommend Siteground for web hosting, they have hosting packages to suit a simple Blog to Enterprise-level sites.
Copy? Content? Yes, you need to have information that describes your product and/or service. How else will people know what you have to offer?
Too many times clients come to me with nothing or not enough information that describes their product and/or service. At the very least you should have the following:
- About the company (may include history, mission, about staff)
- Description of service(s) you provide
- Description of product(s) you offer
- Contact information including location
The copy will often determine how your website is organized and ultimately the functionality of the website.
Content may also include photos, videos, data and documents for download. You may want to consider hiring a professional copywriter who specializing in writing web-copy.
There are many more things to think about when considering a website that a professional web designer will guide and advise you about. This short list will hopefully set you on the path to getting a website that works best for you.
If you're new to all this and have questions after reading this, feel free to contact me.
NOTE: Links to third-party services may be “affiliate links”. Meaning, if you click and make a purchase via a link we earn a small fee. These are resources are either used by Island Design Studio or we have researched and highly recommended as great tools for your toolbox.