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New Website Checklist of critical items

Easy As 1-2-3! New Website Checklist

By | Insights | No Comments

How-To Steps to Begin Your own Website

Here we provide the ultimate business website checklist to start your very own website, which will be the gateway to your business.

Without it, people would not be able to understand who you are, what you offer, or whether you are right for them. However, developing a website correctly is not just about the technical process because there is a lot more than that to consider.

Before you even start the design of your new website, you need to begin the process of thinking of what you need. All of this will feed into the overall finished project but getting there requires a ‘checklist’ type of approach that will help your website stand out and rank..

What Domain Name Should You Consider?

Once you have decided on your company’s consumer offering and competitive positioning, you can start with the first objective, your website domain name (www.yourdomainname.com).

The domain name is also known as your website address and it is this address that people will use to get to your site. While this can be absolutely anything, it is not as simple as that. You have to ensure that it follows several steps to ensure it is fully optimised.

To begin with, you’ll need to make it fairly short, simple to spell, and memorable. Along with this, you should also try to ensure that it has the right domain extension such as .com. If you want to rank for more traffic from your home market, then go for .co.uk.

We advise you to buy both domain extensions (.com & .co.uk) so no one copies your Intellectual Property.

Check each domain extension for similar urls world-wide, make sure you are differentiated from anyone else broadly in the same market.

You should also try to avoid difficult numbers and characters in the name, as these can be hard to remember. Also, consider how it can be used in the future should your business expand. You might begin selling artist pencils and choose the name Artistspencils.com, but you might then opt to sell other items that make your domain name redundant.

Finally, try to create a domain name that actually says what you do as this will make it SEO-friendly. Add a keyword into the name, and then this is Step 1 ticked.

Where To Host Your New Website?

It’s all well and good having a website that looks great and does everything you need, but if you have unreliable website hosting then you are going to have problems. Therefore, there are several things to think about when it comes to choosing your website hosting provider, checklist step 2.

Think about speed and whether you want a shared server or a dedicated cloud server. The former will mean you share a server with others which could mean slower speeds while the latter will cost more but you’ll have faster speeds. Read our other article on the pitfalls of cheap hosting.

A shared server realistically is fine unless you are a business expecting +100k visits a month, or huge inbound traffic during any moment in time. For these short term fluxes, some hosting platforms can be flexible for you. We have experienced a great relationship with Siteground Hosting, who provides just that.

You’ll also need to consider support via chat or email and how easy they are to contact, while the server interface needs to be easy to use.

Finally, don’t forget about security. If you have data lost or stolen, it’s going to take time and money to get things back up and running. So, you should be looking at backups, ask about regular security maintenance and what they do to keep your data safe.

We recommend SiteGround as a suitable hosting platform for your new website. Here you will find good speeds for a website under 100k visits per month. There is Free SSL protection (security) and their communication is 10/10. You can click this banner below to investigate and click Web Hosting.

What Is The Right Content Management System (CMS)

If you want a hands-on approach to the management of your web content, then you need the right content management system (CMS). If you’re not technically minded then you need a simple, intuitive system but you might be governed by your budget too.

There are many to choose from such as WordPress which is the most popular CMS in the world and one Cream Soda Media use’s to design customer sites. With over 35% of global websites using WordPress, its a recommended option for your new website checklist, step 3.

There are others such as Wix, Square Space and Drupal and they all offer the likes of templates when it comes to managing your website. A caveat though, whilst Wix and even GoDaddy may seem an easy option, they lack the ability for original design to enhance the user experience.

These platforms are mainly ‘drag and drop’. You can tell by looking if a site has been made by Wix, they are very similar. Another issue is that these CMS software platforms are not open source, you are not permitted to transfer your website off their hosting platform, if you so wish to upgrade and expand your site. Wix will own your site, not you!

If you are unsure on how to start the design then speak with a reputable website design agency and don’t get persuaded to agree to a monthly fee for the design. Some agencies offer >£100 per month for all the design and hosting. Don’t get locked into such a plan, budget for your site and buy it outright, stay in control. Start by selecting a good Web Designer and Web Developer.

Consider The User Experience

The user experience (UX) is one that can make or break your website and its success. Visitors to your website will expect a slick experience otherwise they will disappear to one of your competitors.

website page layouts on a desk, determining the best user experience
Consider where your call to action (CTA) will be best placed.

You should consider page speed and loading times while you don’t want to overload them with too much information. People are on the move and when they need to find a product or service, they want to be able to locate it on your website with minimal fuss.

Along with this, consider the navigation. Make your website design easy to use and your visitors will enjoy the experience. Sites that have clear menu structures and easy-to-find information will win them over.

You’ll also want to consider using stunning graphics and fonts that are easy to read but make sure they are compressed so they don’t cause problems with the loading speed.

Front page of a website using graphics and CSS code
Cream Soda Media uses CSS Code for it’s front page

It can also help to take a look at your successful competitors as this will enable you to gain inspiration but also see what works and what doesn’t work. Along with this, you can also carry out research to determine what your target audience wants.

Keep the branding consistent, make ‘call to actions’ clear and you will find that your website stance a chance of converting visitors.

Don’t jump into a design and rush the development. Think from the eyes of your end consumer, what do they wish to see? Add this to your website checklist, step 4!

Optimise Your Website For Search Engines

While your website might look great and do everything you want, if it does not satisfy the search engine criteria then people are not going to find you.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a set of rules that you apply to your website in order for it to rank well. Once you do this, search engines will crawl your website and it will compete with other websites that have similar content. 

This is a vital add on for your website checklist, your step 5. To get everything right, you will need to carry out keyword research to determine what language people are searching for and what works best before implementing them into the content of your website. Along with this, your code will need to be optimised, pages titled and Meta Description enhanced with loading speeds being fast. 

What is especially important is ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly as search engines now consider this to be one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking your site.

Attempt to introduce high-quality backlinks from publishing blogs, use internal links to keep people clicking through your site and make sure that all of your content engages and resonates with your users.

SEO is not something that you do once and forget about, it is something that you have to constantly work at to ensure that you stay on the first page of search engines. Read this article for the initial steps to rank on Google.

Create Frequent Quality Content

It’s imperative that you keep your website fresh. Search engines consider this to be extremely valuable to users, so create a plan that motivates you to keep your website updated with new content. This never leaves your website checklist and this is your SEO secret, step 6!

You will need to create content regularly and publish consistently through blog posts on your site and on external sites that can link back. If you want to engage with users and keep them returning, then embrace social media or create an email subscriber database.

If the content is stale and not enticing, they will go somwhere else to find what they need. To rank well and to continue to fulfil the needs of search engines, new and relevant content is going to hit the mark.

While static page content and articles can work wonders, it can also help to include testimonials on your site. This is a simple yet effective way of posting new content that will also make your business feel more authoritative.

Always make sure that the content you produce is well-written, enjoyable, and informative.

Don’t Overlook Google Analytics

Analytical tools or webmaster tools are a must and form part of the process of running and maintaining a website. Checklist, Step 7

Data is vital to ensuring your website performs in the way that you expect it to. What’s more, it will also allow you to make better choices to ensure that your website is doing everything to keep your visitors interested.

This data will help you understand and analyse traffic as well as how your site is performing. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide a better understanding while Bing Webmaster Tools can also help.

All of this will enable you to track visitors to your site on a daily, weekly and monthly basis while it will provide you with the number of views each page receives.

What’s also important is that it provides insight into the bounce rate which is the percentage of people who visit your site, view one page and then leave. 

You can identify any crawl errors that search engines find, enabling you to put them right as well as repair any broken links and identify backlinks to your site.

There are many YouTube videos on the subject, but what is also important is the ability to understand your web page download time. This can help you to optimise any large images which are usually the culprit.

All Websites Need Maintenance

Your final item for your new website checklist, step 8. Running a website is an ongoing process, therefore, a maintenance plan can help. Spend time checking the back-end Dashboard webmaster tools and traffic data as well as ensuring all software (WordPress, plug-ins) are updated.

You can run split testing to enhance performance and carry out security scans.  You should always keep an eye on your competitors too as this will ensure you are one step ahead on new keywords and clever call to action.

Log into your hosting platform every few weeks and check for any security news alerts and to make sure your server has not been moved to a new IP address!

This can be rare, but shared servers can move sites around, meaning your domain name is left pointing to the old server. Make sure you maintain Email communication preferences on with your hosting partner to stay on top of any pending changes.

Conclusion

The technical side of creating a website is not the most important thing to get your website right. You have a lot to consider initially with your market positioning and initial branding.

Then actual web design, its user experience, keywords, whilst publishing content that appeals to the layman. Depending on who you are targeting, content should match their level.

It’s an ongoing process that takes time but everything that you do will add percentage gains. The correct planning will enable you to follow a process whereby you do everything necessary to ensure that your website and business is seeing high traffic numbers and conversions.

A summarised checklist for your new website is below

  • Domain Name.
  • Versatile Hosting Provider.
  • A strong CMS like WordPress.
  • Creative Web Design with great User Experience (UX).
  • SEO credentials and overall clear web development.
  • Calendar of content publication with lead generation.
  • Google Analytics integration to review problems and progress.
  • Site maintenance for plug-ins and CMS updates.

CONTACT US

For a casual chat or just some free advice, do contact Cream Soda Multimedia on Email support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

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Disadvantages of cheap website hosting for my website

By | Insights

Cheap website hosting, why should I avoid it?

There are limitations and many disadvantages of cheap website hosting.  Getting the best business hosting service is key if you want to have a strong online business. After all, the performance of your website is important for SEO ranking. But more importantly, people will judge you based on your speed too. If your website is not delivering the best it can, then this is a huge growth restriction. Its simple, people want to have the best user experience with the ability to enjoy the time spent accessing pages.  This is delivered via better brand-width, capacity and speed, something cheap web hosting does not provide.

If your website experience is a bad one, you will have to deal with all kinds of problems. Consumers will migrate from your website to another that delivers a better experience. And on top of that, your ranking will suffer. You really want to push the boundaries and constantly focus on the best experience and results. Once you do that wisely, the payoff itself is amongst one of the best SEO practices and you will see results change in your favour.

Should I opt for more bandwidth and server space?

When you get started with Wix or GoDaddy in the cheapest or free forms, you will notice that you are very limited. The limitations will differ, but usually it is classic disadvantages of cheap website hosting, such as bandwidth & storage space. When you own a website, you don’t want to be limited in any way. Your customers will feel that limitation, and it’s not right to limit them. If anything, you want just the opposite, to make sure they find their search query fast, because that will give you some resounding results all the time.

Ideally you want to focus on increasing storage space and bandwidth.  Combined with a professional WordPress website, it will remove all the limits to ensure users have a great experience. It’s all about offering a sense of freedom. And that’s what you are getting when you upgrade your hosting. It shows that you are more professional and ready to deliver a stellar and reliable experience all the time.  As a minimum aim for >10k visitors monthly capacity.

Will my web hosting provider effect my SEO?

The issue that comes with hosting limitations is the fact that your website’s SEO will suffer. People will leave your website more often, so the bounce rate will be high and that’s obviously going to cause some issues on its own. Due to the smaller website storage space, you will be limited to how much content you can create. And you might not even have the right website format or a way to optimise it for SEO. The more you focus on results, the better the experience will be, so try to use that to your own advantage and it will be well worth the effort no matter the situation. Blogs are the king of website content, don’t be held back by storage limitations and speed of delivering the content.

As soon as you start addressing the issues, things will change and you will notice the website ranking improve. Yes, hosting limitations of cheap website hosting will hurt your SEO, if the bounce rate is too high Google will consider you less and less frequently and it will be one of those things that brings in major repercussions. Your approach must be done in a meaningful way at the start.  Just use that to your advantage and upgrade your website’s home to help your business.

You can’t handle the traffic anymore

The problem with limited hosting services is that they usually end up not costing a lot, and your website will lack a lot of features. For example, you will have a limited bandwidth and you can’t really have the amount of traffic you want. Having your website stop out of nowhere just because you reached your limit for the day is not acceptable. If anything, people will think twice before they work with you, because it shows that you are not set up as they expect. You can counter this perception and use that to your own advantage.

When you start to engage with the public via Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, you may receive a huge response due to a paid marketing campaign, or even a lucky break with a large social media Twitter user forwarding your post across their account.  The potential spike in users accessing your site will depend on the depth of hosting space and speed from the host provider.  If the user experience falls flat, your bounce rate (users who leave within several seconds) will be high and Google will rank you lower for the keywords you want to be associated with.

Our agency, Cream Soda Media, received an endorsement from journalist Iain Dale via his radio show (LBC) and subsequent twitter share.  Our website visits within 35 minutes shot to 5.2k!  Thankfully we had the hosting capacity and managed to maintain a working service for every single one of those visitors

 

Websites with downtime will experience bad marks from Google, as we mentioned above. As long as it’s related to hosting services, you can easily upgrade to make a major difference. Is it a huge challenge? No, but if you adapt to the process and make it work you will find that nothing will ever stand in your way and the outcome will be positive.

Are there Security issues with cheap website hosting ? 

Then you also have to think about website security. Users and search engines will judge you based on what security is provided.  Over the years a lot of websites have been hacked and those companies went out of business because people did not trust them anymore. That’s the main issue with really cheap website hosting. They are not as reliable as higher standard hosting services. Usually they have little to no security features. When it comes to a website, you need to have as many security features as you can get. Granted, minimalist security features might be in the free GoDaddy or Wix, but you won’t get far with those.

Hackers are always trying to acquire all your personal information, and you will end up with issues in a situation like this. What you want to do is to find a more cohesive way thinking carefully on the protection of any linked CRM databases (customer data) if you are a service provider. Without the right security features like encryption, SLL certificate, protection or even double-authentication, there will be problems. Focus on protecting your customer data. If you do that right, then you can rest being assured you are being responsible.

Is your website hosting package limiting its growth?

The growth of a website is very hard to quantify certainly for a small business. For some websites, it’s as simple as 10-20 users per week. Others have a huge growth because something became viral. So the truth of the matter is, you never really know how much hosting space you need or how/when your website will become very popular. The idea is that you want to be prepared and you really have to figure out a way to improve that growth naturally. In the case of an online business, you always want to be prepared for this type of user infusion. It will help you a whole lot more than you expect, and the great thing is that you get to have more control and the process itself will be exciting because of that.

Keep regularly checking your Google Search Console to preempt traffic limitations. When it comes to growth, you always want to be prepared for it and you need a reliable hosting service that has no limitations. When the sky is the limit, things will be easier for your business and you will have much better results every time. It’s not exactly the simplest thing you have to deal with, but once you adapt and adjust to it, things will be a lot more interesting and immersive. Plus, the more you take care of your website and show people that you care, the better it will be all the time.

Versatility and flexibility

These are things that people expect from your business. You need to have a flexible website that can easily expand and grow according to your own needs. It’s important to strive and push the boundaries as much as you can. You want to avoid the challenges that appear and instead you want to make sure your website is ready for any addition you may have in the long run. For example, many websites bring in data and apps later on. Having that added to a free or cheap hosting service is pretty much impossible. Websites need a good, reliable hosting provider that allow you to add on stuff and ensure that you are getting the best outcome.

If you are decorator, hair stylist, driveway installer, house builder– you will need space to upload pictures of your recent work and creativity.  It’s certainly worth the effort and if you do it right things can be rewarding. Of course, there are tricky moments along the way, but what matters is how your website expands and what people want in the long run. Obtaining those additional plug-ins and always striving to acquire the ultimate set of results can be really nice. It’s an important approach that you want to have and if you tackle it right the experience as a whole can be impressive.

Plus, you can have mobile apps or web apps tap into your website data. But you need bandwidth for this, so using a free hosting service is not really going to work. All these little things will add up eventually, that’s why you want to further improve and take things to the next level in a meaningful manner. Some of the wider known free website builders and cheap host providers don’t allow you blogging features or dynamic modules for elaborate overlays and CSS coding.  Drag and drop site builders sound great but be mindful before you rush in, or you may end up having to re-design your site after the 1st year.  Many sites on GoDaddy and Wix look similar, don’t be one of them.

It might be free, but add-ons can make it super expensive

That’s why you want to have a professional hosting service right from the start. It’s great to be able to test out things, true -but the reality behind this is most of the time you don’t need to test anything. You want to focus more on value and quality. Just make sure that you pick a good hosting service and package from the start, as that’s what will give you a very good experience in no time. It is not tricky to do, but do calculate the overall costs, set a budget and then go from there.

You can’t really change a lot of things

When you want to grow your website, you should be able to change everything related to it. But free or cheap website hosting approaches are not really helping you change that much, if anything. That will become a problem and you must find a way to eliminate the potential challenges and issues that arise. You might want to add sub-domains, or integrate new features such as streamed video content. The reality is that free hosting or the cheapest hosting packages from Wix, don’t support ultra-fast services and will be limited. Just because it feels good to have a ‘one stop package’, that doesn’t necessarily make the package a good deal. It’s a lot better to have a professional system in place, one that you will like just because it’s convenient and unique at the same time. It will encourage you to push things to the next level, differentiate your website and stand out from the competition.

Conclusion + Recommendation

Free GoDaddy or Wix options tend to appear as something very interesting. It’s easy to fall into the trap of not investing the correct amount of money when your website is new. But if you’re serious about creating a website that will develop eventually, your focus has to be on delivering the best results and experience. It will offer you a new and creative way to handle things, and you will appreciate results all the time. As long as you upgrade to better hosting, with a WordPress redesign, your SEO will improve. Users will trust you more and you can grow your site without any worries. It’s the best thing you can do when it comes to hosting, so try to take that into consideration!

We recommend a solid Hosting Service called SiteGround, you can click their name to see their offering.  They operate a security first focused operation with a 24/7  services team on watch.  They run real time server health checks every 0.5 sec and have strong AI anti-bot malicious traffic blockers. When we first set up Cream Soda, their customer services team was fantastic, available any time of day, any day of the week. Every level of customer gets that support even at weekends.  You will find Backup Restore tools, free SSL encryption, smart WordPress staging, email accounts, amongst more.  Better still they have a server stack optimised for speed – that’s what we all want – and its a tick box for SEO score.  SiteGround is a strong partner for any website size at competitive prices.

If you are concerned about which hosting plan is best for your website, then please contact direct on support@creamsodamedia.com. or Tel 01276 490448.  We will provide everything you need to improve the potential of your business.

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