Whether you're running a business or just starting out, a high-quality website can help you secure new customers and boost your profits. But what exactly should you be looking for to make sure your website stands out from the crowd? Here are five factors to bear in mind when creating a new website.
The Domain Name
The first thing you'll have to do is register a domain name. Unfortunately, with so many names already registered you're going to have to compromise a bit when it comes to selecting your website name – don't expect to land something like writer.com.
There are a few golden rules to follow though and these are:
- Length: Keep the name short – shorter phrases are easier to remember
- Easily understandable: If you say the name of your site out loud, will people be able to understand exactly what they need to type? Avoid confusing people by replacing words with numbers (such as 2 for two) or confusing spellings.
- Don't follow the crowd: There tends to be trends around start up names – most recently a number of companies with “ify” as a suffix have been making waves. But resist the urge to follow the crowd and go your own way instead.
Finally, even if you don't intend to launch an online business straight away, it's always a good idea to register a relevant domain name when you start an offline business so you know you can use it in the future.
Exactly what kind of hosting package you will need depends on the kind of business you're running. If you're operating a simple portfolio website then a fairly basic hosting package should do the trick.
However, if you're launching a new ecommerce store and are expecting high demand for your product then you'll need to ensure your site has the bandwidth required to handle an influx of visitors.
The technical side of hosting can be extremely complicated, so it's best to do a significant amount of reading on the subject before committing to anything. If you have someone technically minded at your firm, you may want to pick their brains. Any reputable hosting company should also be able to help guide you in your choice.
As with hosting, the design of your site will depend on what you want to use it for. If you're not selling services directly online, then you may want to stick with a small, static website that provides your contact details.
However, even for the smallest business creating an impressive site can bring benefits such as improved performance in search engines, so you may wish to consider investing in something a little more impressive.
If you don't have the skills to design your own site, you're going to have to hire a designer, but first you need to make sure you know what you want. Draw up a list of features you want and a list of other sites you like the look of as this will help your designer understand what you're after. Also make sure you assess the portfolio of any designer you consider working with so you can get a good idea of the kind of stuff you'll be getting.
Finally, ask the designer to provide you with all files and passwords associated with the site so you can make changes in the future.
Once your site is up and running you'll need to look at attracting visitors. To do this you'll need to track down influencers in your niche and create great content that they'll want to share. It's not an easy process, but there are plenty of marketing guides out there to help you understand the best way to market your site in a way that attracts links and visitors. Inbound.org is a great place to keep up with ways you can successfully promote your site.
Finally, if you want a successful website you're going to need to decide how you're going to measure its impact. If you're running a business the chances are you're going to want to track how many sales it generates. Fortunately, there are a huge number of analytics tools you can use to help you do this and at the very least you should install and make full use of Google Analytics. It will help you understand what works on your site and allow you to make continuous improvements and drive your business forward.
Will Stevens is a blogger and journalist working at 123-reg.co.uk, the UK's largest domain name registrar.