Website Design & Build 101: The steps you need to take!

So you’ve just started a new business, or maybe you’ve been in business for a while and want to step it up a notch by getting your brand out there into the online world. Your website is a powerful marketing tool and is usually the first impression potential customers get of your brand.
Get it set up properly from the start by following the steps below:

Register a domain name

Your domain name is the address that people can find your website on the internet (e.g. www.switchupdesign.com).
There are a multitude of domain name registrars out there with GoDaddy, CrazyDomains or NetRegistry being the most popular ones.

When you purchase your domain, you have the option of buying the .com.au version along with .com (if available).
If you are primarily targeting Australia then it is recommended to buy the .com.au version as your main address. You can also buy the .com version and have it pointing to your .com.au address.

Set up Website Hosting

Your web host provides a space for all your website files to live. Without this, no one would be able to see your website.
Like domain name registrars, there are lots of companies who provide hosting services.

A couple we recommend would be BlueHost or Siteground.
Each host will have multiple packages available to purchase and the one most suitable to you would depend on factors such as: how much storage you require, how many visitors you expect per month etc

Choose a platform

Like everything else so far in the process, there are many options available for your web platform.

Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are often used by people in the beginning who want an easy to use DIY option. While these may seem like a good idea at the time, they can be quite restrictive further down the track and we would always recommend building on WordPress from the outset.

It is easy to add additional functionality such as membership sites, ecommerce, online forums etc using plugins that often the other platforms don’t support.

 

Pick a theme

Now that most of the technical boring bits are out of the way, it’s time to focus on the aesthetics of your website and choose a theme.

Your theme dictates how your website is going to look and yep, you’ve guessed it again, when it comes to themes there are many, many options available! You could go on to ThemeForest and search all day!

The theme that we love to use is Astra Pro with Elementor page builder. It is a highly customisable framework that can be styled to look pretty much anyway you want and integrates nicely with most plugins (more on those shortly!)

We always recommend installing a child theme so that any customistations you make to your website aren’t lost when the theme is updated.

Insert your content

The content of your website is the most important part! This is what sells you, your business, your brand and lets the world know what you are all about.
It can consist of text, images, video and should align with the way you want to be viewed as a company.
If you struggle with the written content for your website, you can always hire a copywriter to help you with this.
You should use high quality, high resolution images. Your original images are always preferable but there are websites available where you can source stock images if required.
Some of our favourites:

Free: Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, Stocksnap

Paid: Creative Market, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Depositphotos

Install plugins

Plugins are pieces of software that are used to extend the functionality of your website. A lot of them are free and many also have premium versions to take them to the next level.
They are easy to install through your WordPress dashboard and you can browse through them on the WordPress.org website.

Popular plugins are:

Contact forms – Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms
SEO – Yoast SEO
Ecommerce – WooCommerce
Analytics – JetPack, Google Analytics
Site Security – Wordfence, Sucuri
Backup – Backup Buddy, Updraft Plus
Mailing list integration – Mailchimp, Active Campaign

Maybe that all sounds like too much hard work and if so, that’s ok. We can help! 

We can build you a beautiful, responsive website that your customers & search engines love.

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