If you’re new to building a website and aren’t sure what you need, what’s out there and what questions to ask – this article is for you!
Even if you hire someone else to build your site, it’s important to know what should be going into your website. Don’t miss something important that will help your website succeed.
Choosing a Domain
Your website address.
For local businesses, you want to pick something that’s easy for people to say and remember because people may be sharing your info through word of mouth. For the same reason, something easy to spell is preferable. You may also want to pick something in the name that has keywords that pertain to your business, but this should be after you’ve picked something that’s easy to remember and spell.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Content, Content, Content
The pages, words and photos you want on your website.
Just like saying “location, location, location” in real estate, content is the most important part of your website.
- If you have good content, you will rank well in Google.
- If you have good content, your customers will want to buy from you.
This is also one of the hardest parts of putting your website together. We are not all writers! When you are first starting out, keep it simple. Remember: people want to be able to find information quickly and easily. Headlines, short paragraphs and bullet points make a page easy to read. When you are writing copy for your site, remember that people are looking to solve a problem with your product or service. Let them know how what you offer solves their problem.
Search Engine Optimization
How people will find you on Google.
- Google My Business
This is the free map listing that Google displays on many of the search results pages and where people leave you a review on Google. Create an account, fill out your profile and start getting reviews. Positive reviews will make your business stand out.
- Keyword Research
If you include the right keywords on your pages, Google will be more likely to rank your site, which means more people will find your website.
Keyword Research is how you figure out what the right keywords are. Some keywords get more searches than others. Some keywords are easier to rank for. To get the most traffic the fastest, you want to pick keywords that are somewhat popular, but not as competitive. This will give you the best chance to rank quickly and start getting business asap!
- On-Page SEO
You’ll want to place your keywords in the Title Tag, Meta Description, Image Alt Text and Headings. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry; your designer should be able to explain what these mean. If you ask your designer about “On-Page SEO” and they don’t know what it is or don’t offer it, you will probably want to find someone else to build your site. People don’t just show up on the doorstep to your website when you publish it. The effectiveness of your site depends on having these elements in place.
- Google Search Console
Once your site has been launched, you will want to set up a Google Search Console account to track how google is seeing your site. You can get direct feedback from Google if they think something is wrong with your website (which could affect the ranking). You can also submit your sitemap to Google so they can easily find all of your pages.
- Social Media & Reviews
Reviews and links back to your website from social media will help your overall ranking and visibility. Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp allow you to link to your website and provide a place to collect reviews from customers. Depending on the type of business you have, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter could also be good places to go — but research first so you don’t spend hours setting something up that won’t get you any business.
Design & Hosting
The software and platform that your site runs on.
Depending on who builds your website, you will get different recommendations about where to build your website.
Many professional designers go with WordPress because it’s extremely flexible, easy to optimize for search engines, and gives you lots of room to grow. The downside is that there are more options, which mean more choices. If you’re new, this can be overwhelming. If you have a designer there to guide you, it’s not a problem.
Options like Wix and SquareSpace are all-in-one solutions that provide both the hosting (space where your website lives) and the software that runs it. The drawback on these is less flexibility. That can be an issue if you need to be able to add a lot of functions and features as you grow your business. On the other hand, less flexibility can make it easier if you’re going to DIY, because there are fewer options and you won’t need to know anything about code.