Getting a website is as easy as A, B, C
A is for Acquisition - Domain Names & Hosting
In order to have your website accessible to other people on the internet you will need a domain name – such as mybusiness.co.uk – and a hosting package, which is basically somewhere to store your website data.
During the initial consultation I will guide you through the process of choosing and obtaining both of these things. I will make sure that both the domain name and hosting are entirely in your name, so that if in the future you wish to say, move to another host, you will not need to involve me in the process. This will also mean that should you wish to make changes to your website in a year’s time, you will not be ‘held hostage’ by the need to get in touch with me to release the details you need, a situation I have come across several times when updating old websites for clients.
B is for Blueprint
Once you have contacted me, the first thing we will do is arrange a consultation – ideally it will be face-to-face, but can also be by online video-link or email if you prefer.
During the consultation, we will discuss your needs for your website (what pages do you need – contact form, events calendar etc.) as well as such things as colours, logos, typography/fonts for the website design, which will need to be chosen to fit in with any existing branding you have. We will also talk about what images you want on the website. I have access to a large range of licensed stock photos, but can also provide a photography service, should you need specific images of your products, premises, staff etc.
C is for Code
Once everything has been settled on, it will then be time to build the website. How this is done will again depend on discussions had during the consultation. The website can be created in one of two ways.
If you are going to need to update the website on a regular basis, with events, blogposts etc., then you would be better off with a website created using WordPress, which can be set up to allow you access to make edits to the content.
WordPress uses ‘themes’, which dictate the basic appearance of a website and can lead to a more ‘generic’ look. If you want a unique appearance for your website, then I can code it completely by hand – ‘from scratch’ as it were. Obviously this is more time-consuming and therefore is a more expensive option.
Examples of both options can be found on my Portfolio page
Responsive Website Design
Responsive Design means that your website will ‘react’ to differing screen sizes, so that a visitor to your website will have a pleasing experience whatever device they are using to view it. A static, fixed-width website may work perfectly well on a desktop monitor but viewed on a mobile phone it will require the visitor to constantly swipe up & down and left & right to view the whole page. More often than not, this will lead to the visitor simply leaving the website, rather than messing about in this manner.
A responsive website will adjust the position and size of the content to keep everything in view the whole time, or even show different content according to the device being used.
This is important because over 50% of visits to websites are now made on mobile devices. As a result of this, Google gives more weight in its search results to websites that are ‘mobile-friendly’ (see the SEO section below).
For an example of how responsive design works, if you are viewing this web site on a laptop or desktop computer, resize your browser window to make it narrower. Notice how the layout of the page changes as the window gets smaller.
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ which means ensuring that a website ranks as high as possible in search engines (primarily Google) for its desired ‘keywords’. ‘Keywords’ (or search terms) are the words or phrases you would expect to enter into a search engine when trying to find providers of the service you are offering. Suppose you are a driving instructor, you would wnat your website to appear in search results for phrases such as ‘driving instructors’, driving lessons’, driving school’ etc.
However, there is much more to SEO than simply filling a webpage with the desired keywords. Search engines use a variety of factors to ‘rank’ a page including, but not limited to: content relevance, page load speed, mobile friendliness, physical proximity of a business to the searcher etc.
You may see people on the internet promising you ‘Number 1’ or ‘First Page’ on Google (for a fee of course) but the truth is that no-one can guarantee such things, because only Google knows how their algorithms (the calculations that determine what links you see when you search for something) actually work – and they are constantly being updated.
I certainly won’t make any such guarantees, but i will make sure that your website is as optimised as possible to give it the best chance of showing up to the people looking for you. Also, be aware that search engine ranking doesn’t happen overnight, it may take a few weeks for your website to work its way up to its final position, and positions can vary from day to day.
As an example, I recently built a website for someone who wanted to get more local repair jobs for his double glazing business, as his existing website wasn’t ranking very well for that. I created a new website specifically aimed at repairs, with a new domain name. After going live, it ranked no.32 on Google for ‘double glazing repairs *hometown*’. After six weeks it was ranked no.8 and was no.3 after 5 months.
Images & Photography
Images are an important part of any website as they are the first thing to draw the eye of a visitor. You should use images that represent and are relevant to your business, such as images of your products or of your staff engaged in their work. Images of people in particular can help your visitors engage with your website. If you are unable to provide images yourself, I also offer a photography service to provide high quality images of products & premises and staff portraits.