4 Things To Remember When Planning A Website.

4 Things To Remember When Planning A Website.

We have compiled some website planning top tips.Perhaps you have recently started a new business (congratulations) and need a website or perhaps it is time for a refresh of your current website. In either case, it is important to carry out some basic planning before you get going. Even if you have a trusted website designer, you know your business best and we would recommend you get involved in the planning.

How do you choose the right domain name when planning a website? (if a new website).

When choosing a domain name for your website – and if appropriate, the name for your business – we would recommend you:

  1. Keep the name as short as possible and ensure it is easy to pronounce/spell.
  2. Avoid hyphens – It can be difficult for customers to remember to add hyphens to your domain name and they can be associated with spam.
  3. Check whether the .co.uk version is available? Unless you are an international business, .co.uk is going to be the easiest for people to remember. You might also want to buy any associated domains (.com, .net, .uk) to protect your brand.
  4. Use keywords in your domain name if possible.
  5. Search for the name to see what else is out there. You don’t want to end up competing against an established business.
  • Do a trademark search to make sure you won’t get into trouble with other brands.
  • Check on Companies’ House to see if the name has already been registered.
  • Check on social media channels to see if the name is available. It can confuse your audience to use a different social media username than your     domain name.

How do you know which keywords/keyword phrases to use?

We cover this whole subject in much more detail in our Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation course but here are some starting points:

  1. As you know, a keyword is a word that is entered into search engines to find your product or service. Ideally, you want your product/service to appear on page 1 of the results.
  2. We would recommend creating a list of keyword/keyword phrases and then design your website pages around the most important keyword phrases rather than designing the website first.
  3. Your keyword research should:
  • Include words your audience will use to find you – this might not be the same words your team use internally.
  • Look at what keywords your competitors are using. We use the Mozbar Chrome extension to make this easier.
  • Use tools like Uber Suggest, Google Keyword planner, or Keywords Everywhere to help you research keywords to include on your website.
  • Identify the main phrases that will form the structure of your website and make a list of phrases to use in future blog posts.
  1. Each page on your website should focus on a different keyword phrase and the phrase should be added to the places on your site search engines would expect to find them. You may find you need more pages than you first thought.
  2. Decide whether to include a location in your keyword phrase to make it easier to find the website in your local area.

What functionality should I include on my website?

  1. Be clear about what functionality you require on your website. Do you need a simple brochure site or do you need to have an e-commerce element?
  2. Are you wanting to create links to newsletter sign-up forms, landing pages with downloads, membership functionality? What can be included in a ‘phase 1’ and what can be included later?
  3. Experience has shown, it is often better to get the basic elements working and live and then add to it rather than trying to get all the functionality working immediately.
  4. The beauty of content management systems, like WordPress, is that you can bolt on additional functionality using plugins relatively simply so you don’t need to develop all aspects of the site at once. However, I would plan the full functionality required to ensure the customer journey remains correct.

What is the customer journey?

A customer journey describes each of the types of audience you want to attract (personas) and identifies all the touchpoints they have with your business. You can plot the journey and make sure the journey they are taking is achieving the overall objectives for the business.

When you are planning a website, you need to consider how people will enter the individual website pages and what you want them to do next. You only have a few seconds to tell people what the next step is so you need to make it clear.

Don’t forget about the journey on a mobile device. When looking at a website on a mobile device, most people won’t use the menu. You need to have clear buttons or a call to action to tell people what to do next.

If you want to create a website yourself, Concise would suggest our WordPress for Websites bundle. This bundle includes our SEO, images, and WordPress courses together with a free development area to create your website before you need to purchase hosting to make it live.

Alternatively, you might want to take advantage of our full website development services. We work with you to plan your site around relevant keyword phrases and your customer journey and will create a beautiful website that works.

Are you planning a website? Do let us know how you get on in the comments section below.

7 things to check before your website is good to go

7 things to check before your website is good to go

7 things to check before your website is good to goYour website is likely to be one of the most important investments for your business. Whether you choose a website development company, or opt for one of the many website builder software tools available, you need to ensure your new website will showcase your brand, provide a good user experience and ultimately result in customers.  At Concise Digital, we believe the following 7 aspects should be included as standard so you don’t have to spend additional money on a phase 2:

1. A good visitor experience

A great website understands the user’s needs and tells a story your prospects can connect with. Visitors will make split-second decisions about your business based on your website looking at:

  • If your services are relevant to them (offering)
    If you deliver a good service (testimonials)
    Whether you have the expertise to deliver the services you offer (blogs/articles/credentials)
    How you work with your customers (user experience)
    A well planned, easy to navigate website that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for is the best way to keep them engaged. Great copy and appealing images that help tell your story will add to the experience.
2. Calls to action

Does your website have clear “calls to action” to help convert casual visitors into customers?  Calls to action (CTAs) are a visual stimulus to help guide the visitor through the site, draw attention to content and prompt purchasing decisions.  CTAs don’t necessarily need to adopt the “Buy Now” approach, they can come in many shapes and forms. They can convince a user to download information, sign up to your mailing list or help increase social media followers and shares.

3. Mobile friendly

A good website will work well across different browsers and devices. These days, the majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device so it is imperative that your website is mobile friendly. Why not test how mobile friendly your site is with this free Google tool?

Did you know, some types of videos cannot be played on mobile devices, such as license-constrained media or content that requires media players such as Flash.  Make sure you don’t give your users an unexpected ‘video free’ experience.

Many sites have sign-up forms to collect emails to nurture leads or apps offering a chat function. If you intend to include these types of apps, check that they do not obscure the screen on a mobile device and are easy for the user to dismiss.

4. Initial Search Engine Optimisation as standard

A well-designed and appealing website is only useful if people can find it. If your website is invisible because of poor optimisation, you are missing opportunities with potential customers.

We believe that search engine optimisation should be a consideration when planning your website and included as part of the build rather than an add-on. Ensure each page is individually optimised for keywords and phrases relevant to the content so that search engines understand what your web pages are about.  It is so much easier and cheaper to do this as part of the initial build rather than paying for this as an add-on service.

It is true that this is only part of the requirements for search engine optimisation, but it is an important part.  If search engines don’t know what your web pages are about how can they be expected to rank them?

Search engine optimisation algorithms include hundreds of variables including website speed, mobile friendliness, number of visitors, broken links, bounce rate, repeat visitors, links from other websites, time on site and page views. Some things are in your control such as checking your website for broken links and making sure images have meaningful ALT text.

Google Search console and Google Analytics are fantastic tools to help you understand how Google and visitors find and use your website and should (in our opinion) be installed right from the beginning of a new website.

5. Site speed

Page loading speed should also be a consideration as part of the development process on any good website. Pages that take a while to load are not only frustrating for the user but will affect your Google rankings.  Page speed can be improved by how a website is technically created as well as how images are optimised.

The PageSpeed Insights report by Google gives insight into the real-world performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.

6. Clearly defined policies

As soon as you configure Google analytics on your website (our favourite is a plugin called Monster Insights), you will be adding cookies.  By law, you need a proper cookie policy on your site that tells people how your website uses cookies and gives users options of accepting and rejecting them.

If you collect personal information from visitors such as a newsletter sign-up form, you are legally required to have a privacy policy. Here are the changes we have made to our privacy policy to ensure we complied with the additional GDPR guidelines.

7. Maintenance

It is likely that you will need to make changes to your website in future, so understanding how easy it is to edit and maintain your site (and what training is available) is worth considering before you start.

In addition, changes in technology may mean that your website needs to be updated regularly to keep it secure.  Make sure you understand the cost of any maintenance contract so you do not get stung further down the line – or end up with a site that can be hacked.

At Concise Digital, we are proud to create WordPress websites that are “good-to-go”, with clearly defined specifications and costs up front and of course, all the above included as standard. If you are looking to enhance your brand with a new website then please get in touch and we can discuss some options with you.