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Websites : Start by Planning
INFORMATION NEEDED TO START WITH YOUR WEBSITE
Once a client accepts our web design quote we are often asked what now? What information is needed to start with my website? Before we design your website we require our clients who have not done so to do some basic research / homework and to gain an understanding on how search engines work.
Planning your website
Planning your website is especially important when you will be expecting your website to be highly visible on Search Engines. The method which follows is extremely simple
Do some research:
When we start with your website we recommend the following procedure before information is forwarded to us:
Do a few Google searches for search terms you would like to be found for.
Ignore the paid adverts which come up. See screenshot below where ads are indicated:
(You need to scroll down and study the non paid search results)
You should then be viewing the websites of you competition.
Study these websites and notice the different sections which they have on their websites.
If you find directories, especially in the tourism industries dominating page 1 and 2 of Google enquire how much it is to list on these directories. (As with this example where I Google for Simonstown Guesthouse)
Important note of above example:
Whilst doing a screenshot for this example i noticed a slight change in the type of information displayed below paid for results. Google is not a company which remains static. I noticed that Google Map results pop up below the paid ads (It's free to get onto Google Maps via Google my business) . These Google Map results which popped up are neatly organised with a quick view of prices linked to Google Maps. It seems that Google has signed advertising deals with Booking.com , Hotels.com and Agoda.com. The lesson to be learned is that : 1.) Google does not remain static 2.) If you own a Guesthouse you simply can not ignore travel directories or Google Maps.
Important to realise:
Age is a factor when Google determines the ranking. Google will only give your website preference if your information is better or more complete. Remember by being individual you will get some traffic. You might be the best, the cheapest, the most affordable, the only one with a view of the ocean etc. Sit down and think what makes you unique
Learn how search engines work and what is the top mistakes website owners make:
Please watch these videos:
After watching these videos you will gain a good basic understanding on how search engines work.
Remember there are other ways to market your website than relying on search engines or advertising with search engines. Do not view your website as a daunting task. It is simply a brochure with the difference that this brochure will be online, interactive and hopefully kept up to date with fresh content.
Different sections of a website
Your home page should be attractive and should enable the potential website visitor to navigate quickly to the desired section. Your home page text is often “teasers” leading to more in depth information on other places in your website. Your contact details, hours of operation and location should be clearly visible.
Include words on your home page text, especially introductory paragraphs, which people use in everyday language. Those words you would like to be found for. If you are the best, the cheapest, most exclusive or most affordable include those adjectives. You might be found in searches where people are looking for the best or the cheapest. You will only be found when those words appear in your website text.
About us page
Important start this introduction by being straight to the point. Where you are and what you do. Your introductory paragraphs should contain definite keywords you would like to be found for. Move nice to know things like your vision and mission, when you were established down the page.
Products and services pages
All pages of your website is important. Choosing the headings of pages is important. Include words which you would like to be found for. Describe your product or service as best as possible. Do not think that your website visitors have close to the same knowledge as you about your products and services. See how your competition, those on page 1, describe their products and services. You have to do a better job with your website copy than your competition to e included.
Frequently asked questions
Have a look in your email inbox and outbox for those frequently asked questions that potential or current customers ask. Faq’s is a great way to complete your basic website text. A website should also save you time. It forces to have a clear picture of your business offering and for you to put that in writing. This means you do not have to think when you meet new potential clients. You simply can refer them to your website.
Testimonials / References
Let people know who you have done work for if applicable. It might assist to mention specific suburbs where you delivered your services.
Photographs and photo galleries
Quality photographs which are properly described in words can do your website the world of good, both in terms of aesthetic appeal as well as attracting more website visitors. Do not overdo it with the number of photographs unless really suited to your business. People entertain themselves via Facebook, Pintrest or Instagram when it comes to photographs.
Include links on your website which would be beneficial to your website visitor. You could ask those establishments in your town or your suppliers to do the same for you. High quality inks to your website can improve your website rankings. A restaurant would link to local Guesthouses and vice versa. A local guesthouse would link to some of the eating establishments in the immediate area.
Newsletter / Blog
If it suits your industry and you have a talent for writing you could consider writing a monthly newsletter or ad hoc blog entry. Once again you should carefully consider headings for your newsletter / blog entries. By e mailing your client list or potential list you are staying in the minds of those potential clients. (A monthly newsletter is another example of an alternative to SEO to market your website.)
These are just the basics of any website. You can send us links of examples of pages you think will work for you.
Do invest time in your website copy. It’s a long term investment. Do the basics well before thinking of fancy stuff. You will grow into the fancy stuff. Do not copy text from other websites. You will be penalised. We consider scriptwriting assignments but this is expensive as it can not be done without research. Cost for scriptwriting start at R2,500 per website.