Planning your website
Whether you’re just starting out or think this is the year to take your business online, here are ten things to think about when planning a new website.
What level of service do you want for your website?
Internet Service Providers (i.e broadband providers) provide you with a connection to the internet: every internet user accesses the internet through an ISP. Each ISP offers different levels of management, security and broadband speeds, so shop around to get the service level your business needs for the best price.
How much hosting space will your website need?
You are likely to need a Web Hosting Provider with which to house your website (i.e. storage). A Web Hosting Provider broadcasts a website to the rest of the world through a server. Hosting services such as email need extra storage, so check that the standard storage space offered by your ISP will be enough, or if you need to arrange more from a Web Hosting Provider.
What is your website for?
Do you want to build your brand, expand your business, sell goods or services, or simply share your story? The main purpose of your website will help you decide how to design and brand it.
How do you want your website to look?
Simple layouts and clear navigation work best online. You can pay a designer to create your website or use the free tools available on platforms like WordPress and Blogger to do it yourself and then simply transfer the site to your domain name and chosen host when you’re done.
How social do you want to be?
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can play an important part in your business and help drive customers to your website – so make sure you think about official pages for your company and how you’ll use them.
Do you want to go mobile?
More and more people are viewing and buying from websites on their smartphones and tablets – so it’s important to make sure that your site can be easily used on these devices.
Is your website legal?
Take a look at websites similar to your own to help you decide on your policies, such as how you will use and store data submitted by customers, e-commerce regulations, etc. Then display them clearly somewhere on your website.
What level of security do you need?
You wouldn’t leave a shop unlocked, so make sure you have up-to-date security software installed and a back-up system ready. Losing your website and its data to a virus or a hacker could be devastating to your business.
How are you going to track your success?
There are lots of useful online tools like Google Analytics to help you view your website’s performance, from the number of visitors and page views to bounce rates and referral sites.