Don’t Overlook This Important 1st Step
So you’re all ready to tackle a web design & development project and you’re wondering what the first step should be. Well we believe it’s research (what we call discovery). Before writing a single line of code or considering any design layouts, you should invest the time to figure out why you want a website and what you expect out of your website. Take into consideration how your business was formed, what you do, how you do it, and how you are different from your competitors. These variables should all play a part in molding the DNA of your website.
Why? Because your website should be an extension of your business, reflecting your values and philosophy. It should be able to convey what you do, how you do it, why you do it and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Your website is often the first thing a person sees when learning about your business. And you know what they say – You never get a second chance at a first impression.
Tap into our 20+ years of web experience and knowledge of WordPress web design & development and get a website that suits your business perfectly and makes you look amazing online. When you want proven web design & development, you want Team 218 Web Services – Custom Websites made right here in Iowa. We are Website Problem Solvers! Let’s solve yours!
Want to learn more? Keep reading…
8 Keys To Web Design & Development
Regardless of what business you’re in or what kind of website you need, you’ll have some important decisions to make. We’re here to help you through the confusion and make it as easy as possible for you to get a website.
1. RESEARCH (Yourself)
What are your expectations from a website?
Before you even think about the design of your website or any of the bells and whistles you want – STOP.
Back up a bit and put some serious thought into why you want a website. What do you expect from your website. Think about what your goals are for your site and how you will measure your success? How are you currently marketing your business? How successful is your current campaign? Who is your audience? Who will take care of the website once it’s up and running?
These are the kinds of questions we ask during our discovery phase of a website project. You need to know the answers to questions like these to know what the focus of your website will be.
2. DOMAIN (Get a Great One)
Once you have a game plan for your website it’s time to do some research. Let’s find a great domain name for your site.
We like to use Namecheck.com to search for domain names. Namecheck will also show you the status of social media names. Put some thought into choosing a domain name. Once you are online it’s difficult to change your domain name so choose wisely. Try to find a domain name that reflects your business name or industry. Shorter domain names are becoming harder to find, especially in the .com TLD arena. It’s unlikely you will find your perfect domain name available. Time to get creative and try some new naming combinations.
Shorter is better but… there’s nothing wrong with longer domain names as long as they’re easy to remember. Don’t forget, you will need to be able to tell someone the URL of your site. The longer it is, the more likely you’ll have to spell it out. Let’s face it – telling someone your website is www.mysite.com is a lot easier than www.myown-great-website.com.
Once you find the perfect domain name you’ll need to register (buy) it. We recommend initially registering your new domain for 5 years. The length will help a bit in your SEO efforts. Every little bit helps, especially with a brand new website.
If you hire Team 218 for your website project, we take care of all this for you.
3. HOSTING (Don’t Skimp Here)
Website hosting plays an important role in the success of your website. This is not the place to skimp to save a few bucks. Regardless of how much optimizing you do on your website, being saddled with slow hosting will kill your page load speeds. TTFB (Time To First Byte) is a crucial measurement and you want it under 200 milliseconds.
Match your hosting to your anticipated needs. Don’t buy dedicated hosting for a small blog type website. Don’t go with the cheapest shared hosting for an e-commerce website.
Be realistic in evaluating your expected traffic when selecting hosting. You want your site to load fast. You want a reliable host with customer service you can count on. Trust me, you will need it.
All the major web hosting vendors have several hosting plans to choose from. They will help you choose and the good ones will set things up for you.
4. RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN TECHNIQUES
Responsive Web Design is a requirement for any website built these days. Responsive technology ensures your website will display nicely regardless of what device its’ viewed with.
Approximately 56% of the traffic on our own website (team218.com) is from people on their phones. We expect this number to increase and your site needs to be ready to handle the traffic from mobile devices. Read more about Responsive Design.
There are utility programs available to simulate various devices on a desktop but there’s no substitute for viewing a site on actual devices. We test responsiveness on actual phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Learn how we go about Testing Responsive Web Design during our web design & development process.
5. ORGANIC SEO
The Foundation of Any Great Website
Organic SEO isn’t something you can bolt on to your website after the fact. It’s down in the basement with the structural support beams and footings. Organic SEO must be built from the ground up and be a core component of your website. Organic SEO is meta data, textual content, images, and semantic markup.
Remember when you did all that research and self-discovery? Now is the time to use that research to create some keyword-rich content for your web pages.
Write content that incorporates terms that tie into your business and industry. Use those terms in your titles and headings. Use relevant terms in your SEO meta data. Write content that weaves those terms and phrases into your text in a natural manner. Style your writing to match your target audience.
Don’t copy someone else’s content.
Review and edit your content with a fine tooth comb. You must make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. Nothing will turn your website visitors off faster that misspellings or poor grammar.
You’ll want photos too. Whether you provide your own or use stock photography, the images need to be crisp and clear and have the proper resolution. The photos need to be sized for the intended space on the web page. Large images have a negative effect on the size of your page and increase load time. That’s bad for SEO as well as user experience. Nobody wants to wait for a slow loading page. Every image needs to have Alt text. The Alt text is an attribute that describes the content of the image and is a ranking factor for your SEO.
It takes time for Organic SEO to produce results. We’ve seen sites that take 6 months to start showing results on Google. Patience and persistence are key for Organic SEO.
It’s not unusual for new website owners to use PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising to bolster their Organic SEO efforts in the early stages of a website.
For additional information on SEO, please visit our SEO Best Practices page.
Launching your website is a big deal!
All the research and hard work has paid off. Take time to celebrate, but not too long.
As exciting as the launch is, the work has only begun. Websites need some TLC to stay in peak condition. Backups, updates, monitoring and adjusting content for search results are all part of maintaining your site.
WordPress releases regular updates. Usually a WordPress update causes several plugin and theme updates. It’s important to keep your website up to date. It’s also important to apply the updates at the right time and in the correct order (Plugins, Themes, WordPress). We always perform updates on our own test site prior to rolling out any updates to production sites.
We monitor our sites on a daily basis and get alerts 24/7 should a problem arise. We want to be proactive when it comes to our maintenance services. 99% of the time we fix issues before you even know there was a problem.
For some tips on keeping your website safe from all the mischevious people out there, take a look at a blog post we wrote about Website Protection.
8. WEB DESIGN COMPANY
Make sure the Web Design Company you choose is a good fit for you. Take the time to do a little research, check references and look at their body of work.
How long should a web design project take?
Good question. A lot of that depends on how responsive you are to your web designer’s requests for information. We’ve completed web design projects in as little as a week. Some have taken much longer. We complete most of our web design projects in about 3-4 weeks.
Why Should You Choose Team 218 Web Design Company To Build My Website?
Two words – customer service.
Remember when businesses used to actually provide service? They didn’t act like they were doing you a favor by having you shop with them. Nobody assumed you wanted to bag your own groceries or check yourself out.
Businesses provided Customer Service – remember?
It wasn’t only a courtesy to their customers. They knew their customers were essential to their survival. They also thought of customers as a part of their extended family. A trust and a bond developed between a business and its’ customers.
We still operate that way. That type of service is the cornerstone of our business.
Our goal is to never let a customer do something with their website that is not in their best interest.
Make sure your web developer is a good fit. We have years of experience in web design, development and customer service. We include everything you need to make sure you get the best results possible. We’re a single point of contact for all your website needs.
If you ever have a problem, let us know and we’ll take care of it. Problem solved! It’s that simple. People come to us because we solve website problems and we’re honest and ethical in everything we do.
We would love to talk to you about any website needs you may have. We live, work and play right here in the Hawkeye state and we’re looking forward to learning about YOU!
Do you have a problem with your website right now? Use our Website Support to get help right away!
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