Hey – I build websites!
I’m highly flexible. I can make your design into a working website, or I can start from scratch and provide text, photographs and a design to provide a turn-key solution.
Here are the things we need to consider/do:
Buy a website address
- The first thing you’ll need to do is get a domain name (eg www.mywebsite.co.uk) and web host. It’s better that you buy this yourself, because then you own it. You can buy your domain name and hosting here, I recommend the Standard hosting package (unless you think you may have more than 100 customers a day, in which case the Business hosting), and choose Linux rather than Windows hosting.
- The next thing we need is text for your site – this will help you think about how many pages you need, and the structure of your website.I can get the text written for you – I use an excellent copywriter who is extremely proficient and thorough. She will take the time to understand what you want to convey, and provide concise, well written copy. Alternatively, she can check and edit your text.
If however you are fairly capable, and want to save some money, it’s certainly true that nobody understands your business as well as you do.
You can use Microsoft Word or any other programme to write this text. I suggest that you make your text fairly concise (people have very short attention spans), and split it into small relevant pages, then get somebody else to check it.
You will be able to make changes to the text afterwards, but it’s best to get it right in the first place.
Please make it easy for me to work out which text goes on which page.
Photos on your website
- Every website needs some photographs or images to bring it to life. If you have your own digital photos that’s best, but we can also buy them online fairly cheaply from a site like iStock (you only need the smallest size). I don’t suggest taking photos from other people’s website unless you have permission or are sure they’re available without copyright. I also happen to be trained as a photographer, so if you’re really stuck, I’m sure we can come to some arrangement.
Design your website
- If you have a design, I can turn it into a working website. I like to have the design in its original format (probably Photshop, Illustrator or InDesign).I can also design your website from scratch. It’s helpful if you have some ideas of your own, or some websites you like, or even a rough idea on the back of an envelope – its nice to have a face to face chat before I sit down at the drawing board.
Building your website
It’s important to have everything nailed down and signed off before I start building. It’s a lot more work to make structural changes afterwards.Some websites can be built in a day (unlike Rome), where as others take a week or two. I always build Google friendly websites and check them on all the major browsers.
Maintaining your website
- I generally build CMS websites (content management system). This means you will have the ability to easily and immediately change the majority of text and images on your website. It’s really easy. Some clients (eg flavour magazine) get me to add a dozen or so articles every month due to the sheer volume of content they are adding to their website.I’m also available to make minor or major structural changes to websites. I’m very flexible.
- It’s technically very easy to link from your website to facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest or anything else – but is it a good idea? The answer is simple: yes, but only if you are actively using and constantly updating these services. Nothing looks dumber than having a facebook icon that doesn’t actually click through to anything, or a blog that hasn’t been updated for 8 months. On the other hand, if you get loads of ‘likes’ on facebook you could easily find yourself having a tenfold increase in visitors.
Will your website be on Google?
Yes. But I make no guarantees how high it will be ranked. All the websites I build are as google friendly as can be, but that only goes so far. The more people you get to link to your website, or visit your website, the higher your ranking will be. The very best way to get a high ranking is to have interesting and constantly updated content.There are plenty of companies out there who will promise all kinds of results, but If you want to pay google to rank you higher, check out adWords.
Who visits your website?
I can include google analytics on your website. It’s a free service and it is extremely thorough.
Do you want to sell things?
- We can divide most websites into one of two categories: Brochure websites and E-commerce websites. Brochure websites are essentially information. They may include products that you are selling, and even prices, but they do not have the ability to take payments online. Simple.
E-commerce websites do have the ability to take payments online. The rest of this section is about e-commerce websites.
Things to consider:
- How many different products lines will you be selling?
- Is your stock unlimited? (for example, if someone goes onto your website and pays for 200 bars of soap, will you be able to supply them).
Websites are good for selling set units (eg Amazon sells books)- they are not good for selling bits and pieces. For example, the most complicated e-commerce website possible would be a delicatessen. You’d have to introduce/remove new lines all of the time (what’s fresh/available), and every time you sold a slice of parma ham you’d have to update the stock on the website so that someone doesn’t come along and pay for something you can’t supply.
The simplest (and cheapest) way to create an e-commerce website is to use PayPal. A PayPal merchant account allows you to accept payments via PayPal or credit card. The PayPal payment system is virtually free, and simple once you get it set up. It’s also recognised and trusted by most people.
We can do a lot very easily using this technique, including setting postage costs to specific countries, or allowing sales only from specific countries. We can set how much stock we have and the website will know when an item has sold out (although this is not synchronised with sales you make through other channels than the website). We can set up coupons for discounts and sales on individual items.
When an item is sold through the website, you get an email letting you know the details. You can then log in and process the order.