Top 7 Must Haves Elements for Your New Website
Congratulations on your new business! As you prepare for your new website, here’s a list of helpful tips to help you get started.
1. Domain Name. Selecting a good domain name for your business is important as it will become the online destination for your company. Tips for your selecting a new domain name include:
- Use keywords or elements of your business name in the domain name.
- See to develop a domain name under 15 characters
- Keep the name simple and easy to remember. This isn’t as easy as it was 10 years ago however creating a simple domain can be difficult. You can research available domain names and combinations for your company for free using a wide variety of hosting companies, like GoDaddy or HostGator.
- Make it easy to pronounce and spell.
- Avoid hyphens and double letters in your domain name. These elements can make it hard for someone to correctly remember your site address.
2. Website Hosting Company. As you develop a plan for your new website, pay special attention to the company ultimately hosting your site. As a starting point, consider these factors while searching for a hosting company that will best fit your needs and budget. A lot of inexpensive hosting services are available and while the low monthly price can look attractive, the results are often in line with the cost of the service.
- Uptime reliability. Look for companies with great uptime reliability 24/7. Look at customer reviews on Google and other sites to learn about the service.
- Data Backups. Consider hosting companies that offer data backup services if you do not intend on managing this aspect of your site yourself. Many times, your web developer is willing to bundle in a maintenance service after the initial site launches.
- Customer service and ease of use. If you are not technically adept rank higher companies with high ratings for customer service, online support, and self-help resources. Many sites look great until your website goes down or you get a virus and need immediate help. In many cases, hosting companies offer different rates for different tiers of support service. Consider the options carefully and be honest with yourself. If you are not a web developer or don’t have the time to fix a problem the cost and time to find an expert after the fact can get expensive.
- Beware of special deals. Many hosting companies will offer free additional services to get you to host your site with them. Read the fine print. A free offer today can be comparatively expensive at the end of the offer period.
3. Security and Compliance. Establishing a secure website and creating the relevant documents to help you stay in compliance with Internet laws and regulations are essential to a successful online presence. Hackers, virus, and malware can quickly turn your online business into a nightmare if you do not protect it carefully. Here are just a few essential elements to consider as you get started.
- SSL Encryption. If you plan to transact online or collect customer information, we recommend you also buy a SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. This is really important because the information you or your customers send via the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. SSL will help keep it secure. Having a site with SSL will also give your customers and Google (and other search engines) confidence that your site can be trusted.
- Virus and Malcare Protection. Protect yourself against bad things happening to your online business with virus and malware protection. Find a service you can afford that gives you the protection and support you need and want. Buying a support service after you have a virus or malware is expensive, frustrating and too late.
4. Content Management System (CMS).
You can choose from many different website builders and content management systems. Features and services vary depending on the platform. Both free and paid services exist. This is an area of your business where you definitely get what you pay for especially if you are not comfortable with web design and development. Top CMS systems include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal with WordPress being the most popular. Free platforms include Wix, Squarespace and a host of other website builders independent of or tied to hosting companies. Our favorite is WordPress given the range of 3rd party plugins available and the number of available developers to help build your business.
5. Brand Identity. As your plans for your online presence becomes more clear, remember to include discussions about your company’s logo, brand identity color scheme and any associated graphics and photographs you wish to use for your website. It’s important to discuss your brand identity upfront with your launch team to save time and money during the development process of your website.
6. Website Content. Content, the words and images on your site power your online presence. Content comes in the form of articles, stories, offers, service descriptions, data collection forms, and information helpful for people to learn about and engage with your business. Content is an important part of your website and a content strategy, even in basic terms, will help make it easier for customers to find you when using search engines. You will also want to carefully consider and discuss how you want to collect visitor data on your website as well as how this information will be processed and ultimately delivered to you. Thinking through this aspect of your website carefully will make it easier for your marketing team to recommend the right tools for your website and to estimate the right budget for your project.
7. Search Engine Optimization and Site Maps.
People will search for you online. To help your prospects find you build in search engine optimization (SEO) into your launch plans. For new companies, work with your developer upfront to make sure your new site is optimized for SEO. This will include a basic content strategy, keyword research, and basic on-page optimization. This will become important as you work to differentiate your company from competitors. If you can not afford SEO, at a minimum, make sure your marketing team implements your website sitemap. Sitemaps are created by your web developer and are submitted to search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing. Sitemaps are documents that help machines (like Google’s robots) understand each page of your website to help search engines catalog your site and provide more meaningful search results to its users.
Good luck with your new website. The above information may sound a bit scary or even foreign. With the right marketing team helping you can quickly get your website up and running without trouble.