Creative Fearless Marketing | Guide to getting a new website
Over the last 3 years have assisted over 75 individuals, brands and companies in the UK and beyond to establish a web presence. Whether that was building a website for them, assisting them in securing a domain and hosting account or providing them with a web strategy and plan for their new website. I am often contacted (twice this week) via our Social Media and Website by local companies - and not only - informing me that they would like a new website but do not really know how to go about it.
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How to go about Getting a Website

04 May How to go about Getting a Website

Over the last 3 years, I have personally or through my company assisted over 75 individuals, brands and companies in the UK and beyond to establish a web presence. Whether that was building a website for them, assisting them in securing a domain and hosting account or providing them with a web strategy and plan for their new website. I am often contacted (twice this week) via our Social Media and Website by local companies – and not only – informing me that they would like a new website but do not really know how to go about it.

The confusion tends to lie in a number of aspects of the process.

  • How do I acquire a domain and name?
  • What is a hosting account and do I need it?
  • How to find a web designer and do I need one?
  • What are site navigation and functionality requirements?
  • Will there be a website test, maintenance plan and yearly fee?
  • SEO, Social Media, Newsletter, Blog..Do I need any of this on my website?

 

These are all genuine questions I receive more frequently than less and I always try to offer an honest opinion depending on the individuals’ monetary constraints, idea, product/service and market they operate it. It is obviously crucial to consider all the above (probably even in respective order)  but some will affect your end result more than others depending  on your audience.

So let’s have a look at them one-by-One quite briefly so as to provide a simple guide to getting a brand new website whether that may be doing it yourself or hiring a professional to add that special feel and touch.

  • How do I acquire a domain and name?

A domain and a company name are two different and separate things in terms of etymology. A domain is your url, a unique web address (i.e. www.cfmsocial.co.uk) that  people will be able to go to to view your website, landing page, etc.

In order to acquire a domain you can use a number of different companies out there such as 123reg, Godaddy and Heart Internet being some of the most well known in the UK.

Try and keep your domain as simple, memorable and short as possible. It obviously needs to be similar or represent your company/brand name but does not necessarily have to be identical as that may also turn out quite difficult. There are a number of tricks you can use such as using “-“, abbreviations and others to match your company name so having the exact identical url is not that crucial. Be creative and try and think like your potential customer an target audience would to think of something catchy and representative of your expertise. Remember this is your url and name so its vital that it is easy to remember.

When coming to a name,there really is an abundance of choices despite the millions of companies out there. As above it is again crucial to be focused on what you do best and make sure your name says that as much as possible. In the UK – and if you are looking to create a Limited company or LLC – you would then need to visit Companies House, executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. to check the availability of your name and if free, you follow a few easy steps and send over a small fee to officially register your company name.

  • What is a hosting account and do I need it?

A hosting account is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It’s merely the space itself. It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn’t include a site for you to sell your products. It is crucial that you have a hosting  account in order to have an email that “ends” in the same url as your website (i.e. Nick@CFMGroup.co.uk). What is more, it provides you with the much needed space for you to be able to build your website or allow a developer to build it.

Most hosting companies nowadays tend to offer a variety of tools and widgets you can make use of and can be highly useful in your web development. Please remember that acquiring an account does not mean you are all ready to go and setting it up is important for your progression.

  • How to find a web designer and do I need one?

These are really 2 very unique questions you will need answered prior to embarking on getting a new website.

Resuming from the second question and, as I always advise my clients, anyone can build a website nowadays but not everyone can produce the same end result. It all comes down to what you need to get out of your website, how much you have in hand, what your direct competitors choose as a digital presence and off course your monetary constraints. Consider all the above and then you will be able to make a conscious and fully informed decision as to whether you believe you can outsourcing your website or taking the project on yourself is an option.

In regards to the first question, it really is difficult to answer in brief terms, (it has however just pushed to now write an article about how to choose a web developer too) and I will try and simply point out some basic things to look for.

If you have made the decision to use a web developer there are a number of things you need to consider. Firstly it is vital that you communicate with your web designer and have all plans and strategy clear from the start. Many of my clients experience additional costs which they are no happy about. Be honest  and clear with the companies r freelancers you visit in order to get a more accurate result. You can obviously search on Google as well as have a look at which company your competitors have used. Word of mouth and recommendations are also a good option as it means the “advocate” has already received a more than acceptable service that he is willing to recommend their designer confidently to others. Last but not least, do not be afraid to speak to other companies around you and see of they have anything to propose.

  • What are site navigation and functionality requirements?

When taking that step into the digital world, it is paramount to define the site’s goals, audiences, content and functionality.  Website navigation is important to the success of your website visitor’s experience to your website. Navigation is often taken as guaranteed, but it plays a vital role in getting site visitors to view more than just the home page. If navigation choices are unclear, visitors may elect to hit the “Back” button or simply close down the page, on their first (and final) visit to a Web site. The key is to keep them on your site for as long as possible.Site navigation can include your main menu or Secondary menu at the bottom of your website and has to be kept simple, clear and representative of what you are looking to sell or promote.

Before embarking on a new website, it is advised to attempt to visualize the design layout and as many and features as possible, intended to be implemented. Additionally site performance and user interaction experience (behavior, load time etc.) are also important parts to consider. If Functionality Requirements are clearly set and explained from the “go”, it allows both yourself and web developer to remain focused on the goals of the design. These requirements will -or at least should-  also be an indicator of quality during assurance testing, to ensure that system features and functionality have been designed to support your users or customers, based on their preferences and needs.

  • Will there be a website test, maintenance plan and yearly fee?

This all really depends on your initial requests and agreement with your web designer or developer. There should always be a website test and I always advise my clients to NOT transfer final payment if they are not satisfied with the work the are getting or it is not to their initial specifications. or standards agreed. Depending on your website (A product based based product will usually require regular maintenance unlike a services maintenance) a maintenance plan could -potentially save you a lot of time and money although many choose to do this themselves so as to get a better feel of their website too and also be able to have in depth knowledge of potential problems that may occur. The fee will be dependent on the work produced and is usually set by designers on hourly terms.

  • SEO, Social Media, Newsletter, Blog..Do I need any of this on my website?

Some may say you need all of them, some may say you need none. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle (As with most things in life). It is obviously aligned to you goals, audience and time (the last one being the least important as time can be made for anything important for your business) and how you want to promote your company to the masses.

The creation of at least 2 social media channels is important as its the easiest and cheapest way to get that initial awareness required. Add links to your website and in turn use these “outlets” to promote your website and services/products.

A blog is also very useful but can be time consuming. However, as I also recently blogged about in my article “Why Blogging, Does it really matter?” , there are a number of benefits to having a blog and it can help increase your website views enormously if carefully curated.

A newsletter, is a regular email sent to your users or fans informing them of company updates, news, products, successes, offers, etc. I would strongly advise a newsletter for larger companies that have the database to be able to do so. Spamming random email addresses can have an adverse effect on your company so I would avoid it at the beginning. You can still keep in contact with your customers with more personalised emails which will provide them with that personal feel to your brand. If however you start building an acceptable (in terms of numbers and quality) database then by all means do engage in it as it demonstrates courtesy to your clients.

Finally, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to a number of techniques that can be used (social media is also one of them) to propel your website to the top of search rankings in google and present you as a reliable and quality website in searches. I have personally written several articles on the matter which you can see here but please consider that SEO is an ever changing discipline affected by a number of variables and can also b quite costly. I would advise to get your initial keywords and meta description and tags set correctly and then make extensive use of your social to brings clients in at the start. It always off course depends on your company needs and audience too so the above is not a rule of thumb for all (especially not for technology startups).

 

I hope I have covered points that are vital to your consideration when seeking to create a successful, focused and target oriented website. Nonetheless, I would love to hear if there are any other points you consider key or you found you should have used when building your website.

If you need some help getting a new website strategy created or even a new website developed do not hesitate to contact me. Alternatively, Subscribe to our Blog for regular updates or Follow our company Social Media Pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Instagram .

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