I set up, design and maintain websites as part of my service to my clients. The most exciting part of having a website is frequently updating it with content. This keeps your website relevant and valuable to your audience. Even more importantly, keeping your website up to date is hugely important for a favourable Google ranking. A favourable Google ranking is likely to increase traffic to your site. Traffic to your site means you can potentially capture an email address or sell something down the line. That’s basically my long-winded way of saying that keeping your website updated is great for your brand’s story – which is what I’m super passionate about.
Before all the excitement of creating and designing pages, writing copy, adding images, and general prettifying can begin, technical foundations need to be in place. The “boring” stuff has to come first – veggies before pudding.
What most people find boring/tedious/complicated about website creation, is what I love doing.
Hosting setup and technicalities? Yup.
WordPress setup? Yup.
Template setup? Yup
Website structure? Yup.
SEO setup? Yup.
Page designs that the user can modify? Yup.
Thinking Differently about a Website
When I explain websites to people, I like to use the analogy of a building becoming a home. Foundations need to be laid – that’s the buying of a domain name and hosting package. The general structure of the building equates to installing a Content Management System (CMS), choosing a theme and setting up the structural plan of the site. The furniture and décor are the images, written copy and blog posts of the site.
A website is your online home. You have the freedom to make it exactly what you want it to be. You can write what you like (within reason), and publish images you love (also, with reasonable restrictions). You can use your favourite colours and fonts (just not Comic Sans, please), and you can let your creativity take over. But, your website should look amazing, should be user friendly, and should actually work. Opt-in forms that keep popping up, even though a user has already input an email address, are such a turnoff. Badly structured websites are also likely to cause a visitor to leave. Take your guests on a guided tour of your online home (back to the home analogy) and be proud of what you are showcasing.
I love that loads of people DIY their websites and a free or premium theme can often be the first strategy to get a site live. There is no shame in this, and it means that the website owner has first-hand experience with how the website works on the back-end, and it means they know exactly what to ask for when they need help. These are my favourite people, because they understand what they need help with. Apart from building sites, I also analyse them and can offer suggestions on functionality, design, user experience and other technicalities. But don’t worry, I make it simple so that my feedback is actionable. If you’d like me to take a look at your website, you can contact me.
This series will cover what you need to know to set up your website. Stay tuned for the first part of the series which will be out next week.
I’ll be covering the process I use when setting up a site, and this will not be “cut and paste” for everyone. I will be going into a few of the services I use and pay for. None of the posts in this series will be sponsored by any business, brand or company and I only write about services I actually use.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.