For an SME designing a new website, the amount of choice and number of decisions that have to be made can seem overwhelming.
In our experience, there are five important steps in the process of a new website project; starting from the initial stage of choosing a domain and setting up hosting, then developing a comprehensive design brief and building the actual website, which includes choosing a CMS, mobile-optimized theme and developing a content strategy.
In most cases businesses have already purchased their domain name. If you are looking for a new domain it’s best practice to choose one that is memorable, includes keywords if possible, is a .com if you target an international audience or a .co.uk if your audience is local and does not contain hyphens.
There are a couple of key things to look for when you are deciding where to host your website. Hosting should be:
As the saying goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ For every project that we take on at Cocoonfxmedia Ltd, we ask the client to complete a comprehensive creative design brief. In our experience, we’ve found that this is the best way to help clients crystalise what they want from their website including details about their target audience, budget and timeline.
The three areas to look at when you begin building your website are which CMS to choose, how to select a good theme template and what approach to use when developing content for your website pages.
This is the backbone of your website, a CMS or Content Management System allows for the creation and modification of the design and content of your site. Of the available CMS options, we recommend using WordPress. Worldwide, WordPress powers 30% of all websites (over 75 million at last count) and for good reason. It is intuitive to use, simple, stable and offers affordable customization using plugins.
A mobile-responsive theme that is lightweight and loads quickly is non-negotiable. We recommend using a custom theme that is built specifically for your needs. Google has explicitly stated that they prioritise mobile-optimized websites, and a fast-loading website can lead to an improvement in conversion rates of over 12%.
Think of your website as an online brochure for the products and services that you offer. Content should be written to meet the needs of your clients by answering their questions and adding value. Creating optimized content that your clients love will also have a positive impact on your rankings. The regular addition of fresh content is important both for regular website visitors and for Google’s ranking algorithm.
Using a local website design company is the best way to bring your website to life for two important reasons. Firstly, you can rely on improved communications. Being positioned in close proximity to your designer means that you are able to meet with them in person and avoid any miscommunications and you’re working in the same time zone so getting timely responses is easier. Secondly, they understand the local market and can offer insights on what works and what doesn’t base on their experience.
Cocoonfxmedia Ltd is a web design and digital marketing agency in Lichfield just outside Birmingham with clients throughout the Midlands. We offer an end-to-end online marketing service and specialise in helping SMEs curate their presence on the web.