A checklist of everything your business needs for a new website
Here’s a list of all the steps to consider for your new website.
- Get a URL (www.name.com)
- Hosting Plan (What keeps your site live 24/7)
- Site Competition Comparison (Know your competition)
- Know Your Brand (Do you have a font, colors, image?)
- Links to Sites You Like (This helps to focus on a design)
- Website Concepts
- Website Development
- Add-Ons (Booking or Ecommerce)
- Marketing & Advertising (recommended)
1. Get a URL
Your URL, aka your .com, is your website address people will type in to find your website. This is essential to getting your website started, including the next step you’ll be connecting your .com to your website hosting plan. There is no way around these first two steps. Here’s the simplest way to do it.
We recommend this registrar, DirectNic, for fair pricing, and plenty of Top Level domains to choose from. Which means you don’t have to get a .com, it could be .xyz, .me, .us, 100’s of choices to get just the right name. Something to keep in mind, there’s still a large number of people that will put .com after everything, so we recommend to get that first, and a different one as a secondary URL.
2. Get Your Website Hosting Plan
What keeps your website live 24/7
Your website hosting plan is where your website gets built, stored, and kept live 24/7 to the rest of the world. Your URL will be assigned to this server that your hosting plan is on. We have used and recommend BlueHost, as we are most familiar with their services, and they keep a wide range of low to high end services, one of which will be perfect for your website.
For a small business site – Simple Website: Navigate to – Hosting / Shared Hosting / Prime (recommended)
For heavy traffic business – Advanced Website: Navigate to – Hosting / Dedicated Hosting / Enhanced (recommended)
3. Get To Know Your Competition
Very important to know what others are doing in your industry, before you design your own.
Getting to know what your competition is doing is essential in deciding what you want and don’t want in your website. Looking at other sites does not mean you are going to copy the competition, only studying what you see is working for them, what isn’t working for them, what is making them successful, maybe they are doing things on their site, you have not thought of yet. This can get you excited about the ideas you already have, or make you think of new things you have not thought of yet.
4. Know Your Brand & What is Branding?
Your brand IS NOT your logo or your tagline, although, they are a part of it.
” You can’t control the process, but you can influence it.”
*Brand (color) and Identity*
/Things to think about/
Your beliefs and behavior define your personal brand
What is *personal brand?*Story telling / values / trustworthiness / motives and end goal.
A brand is a person’s *gut feeling* about a product, service or company. You can’t control the process, but you can influence it.
It’s not what you say it is, it’s what *they say it is*, based on your blogs, talks, imagery / influences.
– Taken from the book – /The Brand Gap/
5. Copy links to sites you like.
This will help to narrow the look and feel when working with the designer.
This will help not only benefit you and help you shape what you would like your site to look similar too, but it also helps your designer to design something that you’ll really like in the end. Keep in mind, don’t just focus on what you like only, what would your customers, from all different walks of life, interests, and favorites, like to see and experience from your business.
6. Website Concepts.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO SKIP THIS STEP, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, and you focus on Italian food. It takes time to make your menu, testing out different plates of food until you finally pick out the set you like and think your cliens would like. Then you make your menu. Well your website works somewhat the same way, you need to put some concepts together to make sure your site is performing for you the way you want. Maybe you’ll find out that your original idea was way off, then again, you might find out your idea was spot on. Even the automotive industry comes out with “concept cars” before they go with their final production car, take the same steps for the creation of your website. It will be money well spent. Also keep in mind that a good designer will listen to you and come up with their concepts based on what you describe, then when they come up with 3 or 4 concepts for you, you then re-group and come up with the final concept. Here’s an example below…
For this conceptualization process, the client described having 3 different areas of focus for their event planner business, and they specifically new what they didn’t like, but we’re not entirely sure what they liked. What they didn’t like was anything dark, so no night shots, keep the imagery bright, along with the color tones of their logo. There was also to be a clear and concise way of clicking to join, or post, as well as quickly access featured blog posts by the company. Although the client did mention that they did not want any night shots, the designer did mention that based on statistics, close to 1/2 of events take place at dusk and into the evening, so one concept would be created with that in mind just as an example to think about. This way you can take advantage of the warm, inviting light of candles and a beautiful reception table setting.
So here are the 3 concepts, each could probably hold their own just fine in a professional setting, but the end choice will end up being closest to what the client has in mind, combined with good user-experience (UI) and layout by the designer.
7. Website Development.
The final concept presented won’t always end up being the final result either, but will at least get the site well on it’s way to a good final website / page design. As you can now see below, the final design choice and layout is a bit different than all three original concepts, but still maintains the initial goal of focusing on 3 main routes of offeres by the company, as well as good focus on blog posts.
In fact, the client, upon viewing the concepts of what they described originally, then realized that they should now incorporate a search element instead of pure focus on clicking to 3 separate elements within the site. So for the final design, a search was added into the top hero element, and everything else remained as described just below the search.
It’s now time for this stage to take place. Depending on how incorporated into the rest of your site this or these add-ons will be, some of this may take place during the initial concept and development of your site.
So what is what we are considering to be “add-ons” to this website? It may be a booking plugin, adding in a shopping experience with the addition of something like Woocommerce, or other types of plugins that add new features to your website.
Here’s one of our articles reviewing several booking plugins for a website that offers travel or tour booking add-ons: SEE HERE
For more detailed information about any add-ons, please contact us, there are so many different directions on where this could go, this article would never end.
9. Marketing & Advertising!
It’s an exciting time, the launch of your new website! Whether it’s brand new, or freshly updated, people will still need to find out about you and your business. Search engines alone will not help you, and it usually takes a few months of time before you will really see the benefits of search engine results.
So for starters, now that you have launched, the search engines are already spidering your site, and you are joining the world wide web community.
It is important now to do some marketing and advertising to let the world know about you and what you do. There are so many ways of doing this, from free, to expensive, we can show you how to plan it out and not waste your money where you don’t need to.
For starters, get working on your “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) it’s free if you do it yourself, or a small expense if you have someone do it for you. There is a free plugin called YOAST, which is a search engine optimize checklist for you to follow, that is not the end-all, be-all, but it does get you thinking and acting on SEO tactics.
Yoast Plugin: Click Here to download, or search and install in your “add a plugin” tab.
Once installed, you can go through your homepage, secondary pages, and posts, and fulfill the yoast checklist, it will help get your pages in line, as well as warn you if you have duplicate keyword phrases which can hurt your Search score. As you learn more about Yoast and what it does for you, you can make adjustments, you should always be making adjustments, and don’t worry if you don’t always get a green light from the Yoast score, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not getting benefits from what you have done with keywords and phrasing.
After all, even Google admits that keywords are not necessarily what their engines are purely focused on, more a total combination of kewords, paragraph content, relevant links to other sites, relevant links from other sites to you, non-repetitive content, properly tagged images, links from within your site relevant to your page or article… for starters, that’s free to do, and you can do it at your own pace.
Once you get the SEO tactics under way, there’s a few things to keep in mind for free marketing, and that is getting articles written about you, by other websites, and / or blog sites. This can be the best thing for you, especially if that website already gets tons of traffic, and they link to you from an article about you.
With regards to marketing and advertising, there are so many avenues, so we are going to create a second part to this article, covering many more marketing and advertising tips and techniques, including free and not so free tactics.
Get your new website working for you today.