Having a website built specifically for you doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Follow this simple guide to help me help you to bring your new site in on budget and look the way that you want it.
Settle on a domain name
I can help you organise this but my advice on selecting the actual name is always to keep it simple. If your company is called ‘My Domain Name’ then I would advise that you choose ‘mydomainname.co.uk’ rather than something with punctuation such as ‘my-domain-name.co.uk’. the reason for this is that it is easier to communicate the address both verbally and in writing. You will not need to verbalise the hyphens etc when telling people your web address or specify ‘this is a hyphen, not a dash’ when writing it down. Just make sure that when the words are mashed together, they don’t spell something unwanted!
It is usually a good idea to settle on a logo, however simple, before you start to build a website. The logo and any stationery that you already have will often dictate the colours and other style choices made to build your site. If you don’t have a logo, I can always create one for you.
You can have as many images as you want on your site, but I would advise that you select only a few great images that really illustrate what your site is about, rather than lots of mediocre images that just take a lot of time to load and add nothing specific to your site. If your site needs 50 images, then it should have 50, however, if it only early needs one or two, there’s no point cramming them in.
Your images don’t have to be particularly large but it is always a good idea to send me the images in their original, largest format. I can always make images smaller but making them larger can present a few problems.
If you don’t have any suitable images or headshots, I can come to your workplace and create some images. Likewise, if you need product images, I have a small studio where I can create images of your products for you or again, I can come to your workplace to do this.
I advise that you have a really good think about how you would like your site laid out. These days, many people access the web using their smartphones, so it makes sense that your site is simple to navigate using just a thumb. If there are lots of menu option, things can start to get a bit fiddly, so keep it simple.
Most sites tend to bunch all of the information that people really want to get at, on the home page. This could include a ‘logo/intro’ area, a quick ‘about’ section, an obvious ‘call to action’ and a ‘contact’ area.
If you want a gallery section, a shop or a more involved ‘about’ section, these would be a good candidate for extra entries into the navigation menu.
Once you have worked out all of the different ‘pages’ that your site should have, it is a good idea to create individual pages (word docs or indeed physical sheets of paper) for each individual webpage (each of which would have an entry in the navigation menu). You can then write the content for each page before your designer starts to build the site.
I would advise that you write at least a couple of succinct paragraphs for each section of your site. Too much makes things difficult to read and navigate and too little won’t get your message across. If you have a lot to say, consider adding this on a special page rather than the home page. Unless you are used to writing about yourself, it is often a strange thing to do, so be sure to get a colleague that understands what you are trying to say to have a good read through your text before it is sent to in. Don’t forget to read it carefully yourself and check your spelling and grammar are correct!
Although not absolutely necessary, it is a good idea to have a look around the internet and let me know a few sites that you like the look of (just send me the domain names eg. “www.mydomainname.com’). This will help give me some direction as to how you want the site to look and feel.
Sending it all across
Once you have everything organised, send it across to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll take a look and let you know if there are any problems with the content you have sent across. Ideally, any text should be typed into the email itself or attached as a word doc or some other text document (ie not a photograph or scan of text) and any images should be supplied in jpeg, tiff or png formats.
If your files are only available in a format that is not listed here, don’t panic, just send them across and I’ll see if I can still access what you have sent over.
If you have them, It is a good idea to unify the identity of as many of your social media accounts as you can – so for instance, you facebook page might be ‘facebook.com/mydomainname’, instagram: instagram.com/mydomainname etc. If you can’t get them exactly the same as your domain name, it’s a good idea to get them the same as each other at least, whatever that may be. That way it becomes easier to find you on any social media channel.
Once your site is complete, it’s a good idea to unify the look across all of your social media pages – I can send you files to help with this if necessary.