So, you have a business idea or have already set up a business. You need a website for your business web presence and to promote it.
What do you need to have, to build a website?
- Domain name
- Web Hosting
- Business email address
- Logo design
- Favicon (Favourites Icon)
- Text content
- SSL (Security Socket Layer)
- Google Analytics
- XML Sitemap
- Website security and firewall
- Website maintenance
Register a domain name
Your domain name forms the URL of your website. Eg, the domain name of this website is ‘jadewebdesign.co.nz’. Often, the business name is used in the domain name. For a website in NZ, you may want to consider registering both the ‘.co.nz’ and the ‘.nz’ versions of your domain name. One can be used as the primary domain, to create the pages of your website and the other can be pointed to the same website. Owning both versions of the domain name is for the protection of your branding.
You can register your domain name/s with a domain registrar yourself or I can do it on your behalf. Each domain is registered for a year or for multiple years’ term. This is a recurring expense for as long as you want to keep your website and associated services up.
Learn more about Choosing a domain name.
A web or website host is a company that owns servers located within the country or overseas. You purchase a hosting account which gives you the server space for your website files to be stored on. These files can then be accessed and browsed by all visitors to your website 24/7. There are three common hosting types:
- Shared hosting – this will be the cheapest option offered by a web host. Your website will share the server with many others, often 200 or more. Comparing it to a housing situation, it is like ‘flatting’ whereby you get a room but share the house and the facilities outside of your room with the other flatmates.
- VPS hosting – it is still a shared situation but you have more capacity to run your website depending on how much you are willing to pay to upgrade your plan. This is like having an apartment in a building to yourself. This costs more than shared hosting.
- Dedicated hosting – your website will reside on a server all by itself. This option is usually for very large companies. You have complete control. This is like having the whole building to yourself, no need to share. Expect to pay several hundreds a month.
Web hosting is a recurring expense usually charged yearly, for as long as you want to keep your website and associated services up. You can register and maintain a web hosting account yourself with a hosting company or you can have a hosting account with me. With the former, you will deal with any issues with the host yourself and with the latter, you deal with me.
Here are some basic Web Hosting Terms and Conditions.
It is optional to have your domain name email address, such as ‘me@mywebsiteURL.co.nz’. Having one will add that bit of professionalism. Some are perfectly happy to have a free web-based email address, eg @gmail.com. Domain name based email addresses can be set-up through your domain registrar or other independent companies. Or, you can get a Google’s G-Suite account which will enable you to control and create as many email addresses as you wish. Any of these will be a recurring expense.
It’s great to have your business visually represented by a logo or branding. In time, people can quickly recognise you and your business by that logo or branding.
A logo is created by a graphic designer. It can be used not only on your website but for other printed materials too, eg business cards, sign boards, stationery and promotional materials. So it’s worthwhile to put thoughts into it.
Also known as Favourites Icon, Bookmark Icons or Shortcut Icons. You can see the favicon of your website as a little image on the tab on top of your browser. As your web designer, I can create and install this for you, using your logo graphic file, at no cost.
Images are important, not only for the website to look good but also to show people what your products look like or how you perform your services. An image of your business premise will help people find you at your location. Learn more about the importance of images for websites.
You can snap photos yourself or engage a professional.
This is often the most difficult job for you, to write up content for your website. However, if you are not into it, you can hire a copy-writer.
Basically, you will need to write persuasive text for your Home page as to what you offer, who you are and why choose you. Other pages you may want or need to provide content for, are:
Services – what services you provide and the write up on each.
Products – what are the products you offer and the write up for each.
About Me/Us – this is an important page because people would want to know who they will deal with if they use your services or products. A profile photo of you or each of your main team members should be on the page along with a good write-up. The write-up should encompass a brief of who you are, how to came to provide the services you offer on the website, why you do provide the services/products and your qualifications.
FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions – think of all the questions you’ve been asked repeatedly or people might want the answers to.
Testimonials or Reviews – start collecting or ask for them from your customers or clients. It will be good if they’re happy to provide a photo of themselves to go with the testimonials but this is optional. More can be added in time.
Blog post – if you are going to blog, you will need to provide at least one blog post to start and set-up with. It is a good idea to blog or post articles on your website.
If you chose me, then I’m your web designer. I will come up with the design and how your website is going to look like after discussing it with you. The design will take various aspects into consideration, such as your line of services/products, your target audience, your preferences, search engine optimization, etc. The design fee will be a one-off expense and any other work performed after project completion will be at hourly rate. It is good to choose a web designer who works well with you because it is a long term relationship.
It is wise to check on what the ongoing costs will be, such as hosting, maintenance, etc, and the hourly rate for any additional work.
Some people are able to design their website themselves. Others opt to sign up with companies providing easy, drag-drop website builders. This could work but I have encountered several cases where the websites are not effective and they end up asking me to either do some tweakings for them or re-build their websites.
Security Socket Layer has become a requirement for all websites and not just the ones that do transactions. SSL encrypts uploading and downloading of website contents, making it safer for everybody. Your website URL protocol will change from http to https. If your website has no SSL, the browser will flag is as ‘not secure’. Your web designer can install a free SSL or purchase and install one for you. For a normal information website, a free SSL is sufficient.
This is a Google data analytic tool and as your web designer, I will install it for you for no additional charges. The analysis gives you great insight to the performance of your website. If you are running advertising campaigns such as ‘adwords’, Google Analytics will give you the statistics showing the effectiveness or if anything needs tweaking.
As your website designer, I will enable XML sitemap for no additional charges. This sitemap is for search engines to better index and detect all the pages on your website. Thus your website will be better ranked.
Website Security and Firewall
Hacking and malware infection attempts happen to all websites all the time. They are done by ‘bots’ and often not specifically targeted. Web hosts would have their security system in place but as a website owner, it is a good idea to have it installed on your particular website too along with adopting other security practice such as good usernames and strong passwords.
You will be familiar with your smartphones needing updates to the apps you’ve downloaded and are using. Similarly, your website will need to have its core system, themes and plugins updated from time to time. This is not only important for the performance of the website but also its security especially when there are vulnerabilities to patch before a hacker or bot exploits them and gain access to your website.
You can learn to perform website system maintenance yourself or I can do it for you for a low yearly fee.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.