How to plan your website
Websites – Using images
Imagery can make or break the impact of your website.
- Customers and design. Always think from your customer viewpoint.
- Images - choose a style of image and stick to it, i.e. if your shots are of people, make sure the focus is the same and the overall colour theme is similar. Make them engaging for the right reasons in line with your product or service.
- There are lots of image stock sites you can buy images from without paying royalties, so when you search for them look for ‘Royalty Free’ images, however, DO NOT under any circumstances take images that are not yours. You will be liable for back payment of fees in the range of hundreds to even thousands. Image Tagging is used to trace images so if you take it and even rename it you more than likely will be found out. You must have permission to use images online.
Websites – Promotional Functionality
Search Engine Optimization
- Google and other search engines searches for keywords and phrases on your page that match the search. Don't know what your key phrases are? These are the individual words that people might search the web for when looking for your product/service. Google will read words linked by a hyphen as both separate words and phrases.
- Every page can be found independently online so each page really should have it’s own relevant key words.
- Google provide FREE tools for you to use to establish what your keywords should be.
- You do not need to flood any one area with your key words but you do need to have them consistently present in all opportunities on the page in the bit people read and the bit behind the scenes.
Taking payments through websites
Look for security, cost and the user experience.
- If you need to take payments through your website you can do this a number of ways. How you choose to will probably come down to cost and will depend on functionality. You can use third party providers such as ‘Eventbrite’ or you could insert ‘merchant buttons’ from ‘PayPal’ within your site.
- If you are looking for a payment method like a shopping cart to sit on your site then your site will need back end database functionality. This takes you into ‘support’ territory as well. A provider who can give you the back end support to make sure the site is secure and stable.
- Taking payments through your actual website verses a third party can boost your search engine optimization for your site because the more activity that happens on your site the better it will stay in the search engines. Third party sites or bolt on packages give you the security and ease but you are taking the viewer away from your own website.
- Social Media is able to provide online shop functionality for low fees so you can see Facebook shops popping up more and more. This may not be appropriate for a corporate feel and doesn’t lend itself to service lead sales currently.
Measuring your website performance
Know who, when, how and why your viewers are viewing your site.
- ‘Google Analytics’ is a great way to monitor website performance. Again Free! Your web builder just needs to include some code into the back end of all your pages.
- From your Google Analytics account you can see how many people are visiting your site, how long they are staying and even which pages they ‘exit’ from. You can set goals for conversions to monitor how many people actually fill in your form or if you take money through your site you can even set monetary value goals.
- Google Analytics will also tell you where your leads are coming from. So if you get your site visitors from ‘Facebook’ then it will tell you how many. This is the same for all sources of leads. It goes into much detail and will even tell you if the viewer is using a mobile or a desktop to look at your site, and where they were when they did it!
- If you are not monitoring your website performance, how will you know if your promotions are successful? In Marketing the first rule of any promotion should be to track the responses.
New to business and having a website – here’s the starting point.
Domains and hosting – first things!
Domain name registration
- Don't have anything printed with your details on until you have bought the domain name and know it is yours.
- Think about what your domain will say about you. i.e. write it down all one word all lower case and play a word search where the words join just incase your words merge into something inappropriate.
- How easy is it to remember. This is important if you are advertising the address. Can you get Social Media handles that match your domain name? This consistency helps people to remember you. Brand consistency is so important.
- It would be a bonus if your domain included one of your 'key phrases'. Although this is not essential when you have consistency across the other opportunities throughout your website.
Website hosting space
- Do you get hosting space included with the purchase of your domain name?
- Does the domain or hosting space include email accounts? You need to understand what is included in your package and what the annual or monthly renewal fees will be.