Six things to consider
when planning a new website
John McConville | 27 Nov 2019
6 things you need to know when you embark on making a website for your business
The world of web design can be confusing. You need an online presence. Where do you start, what do you need for your business?
Like a good recipe it is a good idea to get the ingredients all in place before you start.
First let’s make some distinctions
1. Register your domain
Get a domain name that works for you. Some good advice at this stage can make all the difference for the future of your intellectual property. It is not so good if you can register the country domain, (eg .co.uk), but the top level domain (.com) is not available. Try not to make the domain too long. So www.thisismybeautifulnewandimportantbusiness.com is no good as we should keep the number of characters in the name as low as possible. Not only is it hard to remember, search engines will penalise you for a long name.
Make sure you are the registrant, so the domain belongs to you, not the person or company is registering the domain on your behalf. Automatically renewing your domain is easy to do, but you need to make sure you have control, or that a reputable company is doing this work on your behalf.
Finally, never respond to official letters, or emails wanting to charge you a fortune to secure your domain. Go back to the website or company and renew your domain that way.
2. Domain hosting v web hosting
It’s really quite simple. You register your domain and it is hosted by the company that is licenced to sell domains. When you register your domain; mynicedomain.com, the domain is associated to a domain name server (DNS) which tells the internet where the domain name points to, and from there your domain is associated with an ip address, which is usually 16 number code with dots in the middle, like this: 001.002.003.004
So the thing that links the domain and the web hosting together is the ip address.
3. Web Hosting
When I make a beautiful new website for a very happy client or take over the web hosting, I just point the ip address to the server where the website is hosted and that associates the domain with the website. Well, of course it is not that simple, but this is enough to understand the relationship!
You can think of the website being a series of files, code and images which are stored in a special way on a computer. That computer is a web server, and what makes it special is the operating system it runs on, which is usually an OS specially designed to serve websites to the internet efficiently. The other special thing about this computer is that it is housed in a data centre, which means it is in a protective environment that has a super-fast connection to the world wide web.
Depending on your needs you should speak to someone impartial about what you need; basic shared hosting, or a cloud based virtual server, or a dedicated server. That’s another conversation.
4. Types of website
There are so many ways to make a website, there are static, content managed (cms), bespoke, and off the shelf designs.
Sometimes all you need is a basic entry website from an online provider like Wix or Squarespace (there are many other good solutions out there). Usually you will need the website to be content managed, so you can easily update your website with new information. The day of the static website is long gone. A static website, or a website that is neglected will quickly slide down Google listings.
Often an off-the-shelf template can be good enough to get your business online, but if you need to stand out, and your website needs to reflect your logo and identity closely, then you should look at a solution that applies your brand to the website well.
Your website should be easy to manage and update in-house, and I recommend using technologies and cms solutions that any good web developer can take on, in case you need to move the website in the future. I always recommend you steer clear of proprietary solutions.
5. What you need your website to be;
Search engine friendly
Easy to update
Appropriate for its purpose
6. Factor in future updates and website marketing
I see this mistake made so often. Ensure you have the plan, the budget, or in-house capability to update and promote your website and services, including search engine marketing, content, optimisation and advertising spend. I have seen so many businesses just throwing money at online advertising without any strategy or plan.
Never answer the phishing emails or calls from Brad Little @hatemail.com offering to do your search engine marketing, they will be happy to take your money and pocket it.
I hope this has been useful. If you do need any help with any of these issues, please don’t hesitate!