How to design a rocking website
Is it time to get your small business into gear and design a website? But the million dollar question is how to design a website? Where to start, what do you need, what’s the best platform, what do you want your customers and clients to do? They’re some of the areas I’ll cover below which you need to consider when determining how to design a website. Because there’s so much in planning and designing a website I have split this into two parts. So, enjoy reading part one below.
Amazing branding for your small business website
Branding is something that should be considered from the start. If you’re already in business, then you’ll hopefully have a logo for your small business. But if you don’t then I’d recommend organising that first.
A logo is one aspect of your branding which will set the tone for your website’s fonts, colour palette, tone and style.
Branding isn’t just a logo it’s about providing an experience too and helps set your business apart from others in your field.
If you’ve had a full branding package created for your business then you’ll probably also have great icons, graphics and other collateral to use on your website too. Which makes designing the site and putting it all together that bit more fun and easy too.
Pick the right hosting and domain name
You will also need hosting a hosting plan and a domain name for your business.
Domain name: is your website address on the internet. It’s where people go to view your website. For example, https://businessname.com.au.
Hosting: in a nutshell is the service and technology that’s used so your website is viewed on the internet.
I use and recommend Siteground for hosting and normally GoDaddy for domain names. There are lots of options out there, but I’ve been very happy with Siteground and GoDaddy’s service.
You might wonder why use two companies when quite often companies will offer both services. I usually recommend using two different ones as although it can be slightly easier to connect the two. If something goes south with one company then all your eggs aren’t in the one basket. Speaking from experience with that one.
Plan and set your website goals
Have a think about what you want your website to do for you.
- Allow clients to make a booking
- Buy your products or services
- Showcase your work in a portfolio
- Educate your clients and customers in a blog
- Tell your clients and customers about what you do with different service pages
- Use landing pages to get specific about an offer or product, service or event you’re launching
And then plan how they can work together to achieve your one main goal.
Plan your SEO and SEO strategy
You can do this earlier in the piece when planning on how to design your rocking website if you wish but now’s a good time too.
Once you’ve got your website goals planned out then you’ll have a good idea of what website pages you’ll need.
Standard pages you’ll need are:
- Terms and Conditions
Quite often I’ll have clients say I won’t worry about an about page. But I always recommend including one. It’s the second most visited page on a website normally. People love getting to know the person behind the brand and their story. Once your website is up and running check your Google Analytics in a few months to see what they show.
Additional pages depending on what you are doing are:
- Service pages
- Sub service pages depending on how many services you offer
- Work with me
- Landing pages
Once you know what pages you’re displaying on your website then you can start planning your keywords for each page.
Your About page is normally brand or your own name orientated but the other pages need to be allocated based on keyword research results.
When planning your keywords only allocate one main keyword focus per page with synonyms to compliment it. This applies to blog posts too.
Allocating your keyword approach will depend on your industry and how old your site is. If your site is new then you’ll need to look at a longer tail keyword approach. Whereas if your site has been around longer then you may need to target short tail keywords. Again, all this depends on your industry and:
- the search volumes you find
- how competitive the search terms are?
- what the competition are doing for those terms
Plan your blog post topics
If blogging is a part of your digital marketing plan start by planning topics that will be of interest to your readers.
- Have a brain dump – I love Trello for this or quite often I go back to pen and paper. It’s a great excuse to buy more pretty notebooks and pads.
- Think about what you get asked regularly
- Consider your clients or customers pain points
- Contemplate what terms your clients or customers are searching for too
From there do your keyword research and determine if it’s worth your time writing posts or articles on those topics. Remember it’s important to consider ROT (return on time) not just ROI (return on investment). I’d never thought about ROT until I attended a great webinar by Jen Waterson, of Simply Smarter Numbers earlier in the year and it really made me sit up and take notice of where I was spending my time. Jen has a great Podcast episode 3 Steps to Profitable Revenue Growth which I’d recommend having a listen to.
Now back to SEO….. when it comes to your SEO strategy do you have landing pages for location specific keywords or other keywords that would be of benefit to your small business? These pages don’t necessarily need to be on your menu though but they’re there for Google to crawl and searches to find.
Don’t forget to consider the below when writing your pages to and apply your SEO findings:
- Page copy
- Page titles
- Heading structure – H1, H2s, H3s, H4s, etc – remember to have only 1 H1 per page or post
- Image file names
- Image alt tags
- Image file size
What website platform is best?
WordPress is normally my website platform of choice. It’s well known, does have a bit of a learning curve if you’ve not used it before but once you’ve got a few pointers you won’t look back. Is very flexible and will grow with you as your small business grows.
Shopify is a great ecommerce platform. I normally still recommend WordPress with WooCommerce as my preferred platform though. There are a few simple SEO aspects that aren’t easily done on Shopify which frustrates me as it’s a 5 second job in WordPress.
There’s always exceptions to the rule so there are times where I will recommend Shopify based on the client’s technical ability. As Shopify takes care of all the updates making it more user friendly for those that aren’t technically confident. Or that don’t want the learning curve.
Squarespace is one of the new platforms to the scene and not one I’ve worked with as yet. From what I’ve heard and seen it’s very big on beautiful designs though so does the tick the box for that.
It does concern me though when your website, hosting and domain is all rolled into the one company. They’ve got you over a bit of a barrel if you’re unhappy with one aspect.
Squarespace seems to tick the SEO boxes that I normally look for but without using it it’s a bit hard to tell 100% if it ticks every box.
My recommendation is do your homework and due diligence before committing to a platform. And see if you can find other small businesses that are using Squarespace and see how their SEO is.
I’ve only worked with Wix when I’ve been moving clients to WordPress so that probably says a lot there and then.
Most clients have found they’ve outgrown Wix for one reason or another and they tend to start with Wix as it’s an easy beginner’s platform to set up, so I’m told.
I’m a big believer in starting as you’re going to finish. And migrating away from Wix is pretty much a site rebuild. So, choose a platform that’s going to grow with your business is a good business decision in my opinion.
I understand budget can play a big part in your website platform choices. Which is why I’m developing a DIY website option that has all the foundation/techie stuff set up for you (send me an email if you’d like to know more until I launch it properly).
How’s your website designing so far?
Let me know how your website designing is going so far. Either comment below or you can find me here. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
In part 2 you can look forward to:
- Website set up
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console – we never launch a website without this
Sound good? If you have any questions I’m only an email or phone call away.