If you run a business and you don’t have a website, now more than ever you should be considering one.
What’s that? You’d like a website but you don’t haven’t the foggiest where to start? Well, here’s a list of the website essentials you need to create your website.
1. Your domain name
What’s a domain name you ask? Put simply, it’s the address of your website… mine is smarrswebdesign.co.uk. This is the digital version of your home address – 29 Acacia Road if your name is Kevin and you turn into a superhero after eating a banana.
There are plenty of companies that offer domain name registration, and you can often get the first year for less than £1! There are loads of suffixes available to you beyond the usual .co.uk and .com. You’ll pay a little bit more for a more industry specific suffix like .design, but it could well make your website more memorable, which is definitely worth a few £’s more per year.
When you come decide on your domain name, make sure you think it through thoroughly. It needs to be recognisable, memorable and easily spelled. Also, be careful not to leave yourself with an awkward address like speedofart.com! That should be read ‘speed of art dot com’.
2. Website hosting and SSL certificate
Web hosting companies store your websites files on their servers – you effectively rent this space to build your website on. If we continue the analogy above, this is the land that your home (the website) is built on.
There are lots of different hosting companies with services to suit different budgets, starting from around £3 a month. You’d be wise to look into the various types of hosting available before picking the one most suited to your website. The four main types are: shared hosting, virtual private hosting (VPS hosting), dedicated hosting and cloud hosting.
What you need to balance when choosing your web hosting provider and package are your websites requirements, and the resources and features provided.
Most web hosting packages will come with a free SSL certificate that signifies that your website is secure. You’ll know if a website has one by the padlock symbol in the address bar at the top of any webpage.
Every website should have this, but it is especially important if you are asking people to leave their data on a webform, or you are taking payments of any kind through your website. If you want your customers to trust your website this is one of the most important of the website essentials.
3. A website building platform
There are loads of different website builders available, including basic web builders connected to hosting companies and more sophisticated ‘drag and drop’ options like Wix and Squarespace. Most offer free and paid for page templates where you simply enter your information and images… but you could end up with a website that looks very similar to others.
4. Logo design and visual brand identity
A strong visual brand identity isn’t just essential for your website, this is essential for your entire business. A properly implemented visual brand identity should be used across everything connected to your business that could be seen externally, including your website, social media, printed materials and more.
Your brand identity isn’t just your logo, it includes all of the visual elements that you create to portray your company to your customers. Do you have a consistent and recognisable brand identity? Amongst other things, this should include your colour scheme, typography and style of photography.
5. Your company information, copy and images
Among other things, this should include: information about your services or products; a bit about the company history; address and contact details including social media links. Basically, all the key information that you need to tell your customers – it’s important to keep your information relevant and to the point.
You should also take into consideration the images you use, their quality and relevance to the subject matter they are being connected to. I’m a big believer in using professionally shot images of you and your business ahead of stock images where appropriate and possible, but there are some excellent stock image websites available where you can find stock images that suit a wide variety of purposes – such as header images for blogs…
6. The most essential of all website essentials: me!
Ok, I maybe shouldn’t be on a list of website essentials in the strictest of terms, but I’m here to help you build the website your business deserves.
You now have a tick list of the things you need to create a website for your company, but if you have any questions please get in touch to discuss your options.