5 Steps to Make Your New Website an Excellent Adventure
5 Steps to Make Your New Website an Excellent Adventure
These 5 steps to make your new website project can make things much easier for you, but I must admit that my venture into creating my new website was not quite the excellent adventure I had when I designed my site. In fact, my website from hell was totally embarrassing before I redid it. And a chore it was. If you have a new business or want to redo your old website, follow these five steps to make your new website is an excellent adventure. These are pre-planning steps that are important to make your new website a success. Plus you’ll have my secret sauce of how to find the right domain and often a dot com. Or perhaps you are migrating your first website to a new platform like my favorite: WordPress. These five steps will help make your new website process stress-free and make your new website project easy breezy – well almost.
1. Find Your Domain Name
Here’s my process for finding a domain name. Use a thesaurus and notebook, document or Evernote (my fave). You’ll get suggestions from any domain registrar if a name is/is not available, and keep a list of the ones you like. thesaurus to find more suggestions of similar words – it’s like brainstorming ideas. When I changed my company name in 2009, I found at least 20 possible .com extensions that were available. And then queried friends, clients and business associates for feedback. Were some surprised by the name I came up with Kick A Marketing.
Oh and make sure that you control your domain name by purchasing it yourself. I’ve worked with clients that purchased website packages that included their domain and guess what? Several had to change their company name (what a super hassle) because the designer would not transfer the name to them or the web design company went out of business. You MUST be the queen/king of your website domain.
2. Hosting for Your New Website
A very important thing to consider. Again, make sure you have control of your hosting. Many companies offer hosting as part of their website design package, but I don’t. I want to make sure my customers have complete control of their hosting account. Heaven forbid, but what if I wasn’t able to work for a while and you couldn’t contact me? What would you do? What would happen? You may not have any problems purchasing hosting through your web design company. But just be careful.
I’ve had good luck with SiteGround for hosting WordPress websites (yes that is an affiliate link). They have extra security features for WordPress and a great cache that loads your website quickly, plus you don’t have to wait for customer support when you need help. Yes, I’m an affiliate, but do check them out. You’ll pay from $4 to $8/month typically your first year, unless you have a humongous site. It goes up the second year – about double – but worth it.Purchase your own hosting to make sure you have complete control of your website.Click To Tweet
3. Decide on a Budget
Oh the number of prospects I’ve spoken to about a budget for a site or other services and their answer is – hmm, I don’t have one. Really? Well ya need to go back to the drawing board because you really need to know how much you want to spend. Imagine if your clients told you they didn’t have an idea of what they wanted to spend for your services. Does that mean unlimited? Hmmm. Oh I must admit that’s a decent budget.
Having a budget helps you determine if you can hire someone or if you should try to ramp up and create your own site. If you’re thinking of creating your own website, you can use services like Wix, WordPress.com or GoDaddy. You’ll be somewhat limited, but if it’s more of a business card or simple online presence you’ll need, these will work – for now.
Or if creating your own website doesn’t interest you (darn I even wish I could have hired someone to help me) and you’ve budgeted to hire a professional, talk to a web designer and see what platforms they use to build websites. My favorite – WordPress (self-hosted not WordPress.com). Why? Again, control and “search capabilities”. If you know Word, it will be super easy for you to update blog pages and posts on the fly.Go back to the drawing board if you don't have a budget for creating your new website project.Click To Tweet
4. Plan Your Pages
What pages will you need for your website? Normally you’ll need:
- a home page
- about us
- and an optional blog and portfolio page
- plus others.
If you’re transferring your site, by all means, bring all your pages over – unless some are ready to be archived and irrelevant for your new site. Then you’ll need to include the right redirects so you don’t lose any of the SEO juice or Google authority you’ve built up. However, David Meerman Scott thinks you should keep your old content, although I am not sure about this and deleted all my old pages before I ran into this blog post. Also think of any sub-pages you may need. If there are too many, you can always use a “mega menu” for your navigation, although I prefer to keep it simple and not use one.
5. Decide on Colors for Your New Website
Ah, the importance of color. I ran a color combination requested by one of my clients by one of the designers I work with and he said the colors symbolized death in the US. Colourlovers is a place where you can view and get ideas for color palettes. And if you really want to get an in depth study of color, here’s a three part article on Color Theory for Designers.
For example, did you know that red is associated with fire, violence, and warfare, but also love and passion? It also shows power (yeah baby, Kick A’s logo was red before the re-branding) and is associated with importance – think red carpet events. Remember that color is associated with different meanings in different parts of the world.
So, if you’re not sure about color for your new website project, read this three-part article from Smashing Magazine. Use color to portray your brand through your logo, website and other marketing material, but be cognizant of what your colors mean.
That’s it for this now and I’m sure I’ll have another follow-up blog post because there are so many considerations and steps to make your new website. And I’m right with you. I just launched Kick A’s this new site and I was so overwhelmed with the magnitude of the project. I did a little at a time until it was all done and it took many, many months. We are talking turtle speed, baby.
What about you? What will help you with your new website project? What problems do you have? Please post your suggestions or questions here. Oh and here’s another article you may want to peruse: How to Avoid New Website Failure.