Website Design Checklist

Website design isn’t magic!  I’m going to need some information from you before I can start creating your website.  To make things easier, I’ve put a list together for you.

I’ve created an introduction to websites that covers the basics of websites and what the terms mean.  If you are new to web design or the internet, then I’d suggest you read this first.

Website Address & Email

  • Do you already have a domain name?
  • Do you need hosting?
  • Will you want email addresses associated with your domain name? If so, how many?

Company Information

  • What name does your business trade under?
  • Is it a Limited Company? If so, I’ll need your Company Registration Number and Address for the website.
  • What telephone number would you like on the website?
  • What email address would you like enquiries sent to?
  • How long have you been trading?

Brand Information

  • Do you have a logo? If so, please send it to me.
  • Do you have brand colours? If not, do you have colours you would like me to use?
  • Does the business have a ‘tag line’ or an ‘elevator pitch’?

Images/Photos

  • Do you have images you’ve used before that you’d like me to use?
  • Do you have a photo of the main people for the website? People like to see who they will be dealing with so this is almost essential.
  • Are you insured? If so, who with? Let me have their website address.
  • Are you a member of a professional body? If so, let me have details along with a website address.

Text/Content

  • Do you have any words or content you would like me to include on the website?

Products/Services

  • What are you selling?
  • Do you want the prices on the website?
  • Do you have a description of the product/services?
  • Will people pay via the website?

Testimonials

  • Do you have any testimonials I can add to the website?

What’s Included in a Basic Website Design?

To give you an understanding of what website will be, a simple website will have:

  • Home PageAbout Page – about you, your company, it’s history and why you do what you do
  • ContactServices/Products – there may be more than one page for these, depending on what you do.
  • FAQs – you might want to have a page dedicated to frequently asked questions. If so, let me have them.
  • Articles – if you are going to write articles for your website then I’ll create a link for you.
  • Shop – if you are selling things and taking payments on your website.

The list is a guide to the information I’ll need to create your website. We’ll work together on this and, if you don’t have some of the things, such as images, then I can source those for you.

The most important thing throughout the whole process is that you are happy. Please don’t be afraid to tell me if you don’t like something. I’ll make as many changes as needed until you have a website you’ll be proud of.

Contact me on 07887 533845 or via the Contact Form for a free, no obligation discussion about your website.

How to create the perfect About page for your website

Let’s get personal…

It’s the 2nd most visited page on your website making up for as much as 25% of page views (according to the websites I look after).

And it’s often the most overlooked when creating a website, added as an afterthought or containing some generic/corporate (aka boring) information.

Like this one…

Experts in beauty & wellbeing – says who?

It’s from a Beauty Salon in Ashford.  Not very inspiring is it?

Experts in beauty and wellbeing they claim, yet there’s no information about them, their qualifications or even whether they’re insured.

In fact, there’s not a name or qualification in sight.

So, what should your about page include?

1. Information about you and your team

Sounds obvious but people are on your about page because they want to know about you!

Tell people about yourself.  Tell the story as to why you started your business and do what you do.  People love reading stories, so tell them yours.

Obviously you don’t need to reveal any skeletons in the cupboard, but give them a brief story about yourself.  It doesn’t have to be an autobiography, but, looking at Teresa’s About Page it tells them who she is and what she does when she’s not working.

2. Building Trust & Credibility Through Your Story

The About page allows you to build credibility for yourself and your business.  Listing the qualifications you have, the clients you’ve worked for reassures your website visitors.

Adding in testimonials from happy clients provides social proof to your visitors that others have used  your business and been happy.  Remember I said people like reading stories, well the clients you’ve worked with are part of your story.  Weaving in these stories with your own helps build authority and trust.

3. A photo of you, your team and your clients

People want to know what you look like so show them.  Studies have shown that even new born babies are fascinated with faces and this doesn’t wear off.  Include a great photo of you for your website.  It doesn’t have to be a formal headshot, but have one that reflects who you are.

 

Helen Mackenzie, a professional consultant who works in the Procurement industry and is one of my clients, provided a photo of her outside her home in Scotland.  She looks relaxed and yet professional.

 

 

Or this one from a local nursery.  The About page has a photo, a story and a personal message.

 

 

If you’re a team, introduce yourselves.  This way people can put ‘names to faces’ and will feel more comfortable coming to your business or contacting you.

4. Your Values and Personality

What do you stand for?  What makes you tick?  What do you enjoy?

The About page is a great place to share things that are important to you with visitors.  Yes, this may put some people off, but if you strike a cord with someone they are more likely to choose you rather than a ‘bland’ alternative.

The aim here is to resonate with your reader.  To some extent we’re going back to basics here, who are your customers and what are they interested in.

If you care deeply about the environment and avoid waste, recycle everything and carry out a weekly litter pick of your local park, then tell people.

Love being outdoors? Share it.

Hate cooking (like me) – tell people.

Depending on your business and how personal you want to get, will depend on how much you share here.  But, weirdly, the more you tell people about yourself and your values, the more people will like and trust you.  I guess that’s to do with being open and honest.

5. Avoid Jargon

I found this example of an About Page when looking at local businesses.  It’s got a list of all the qualifications on it, but who knows what it really means.

If you’re going to use things like BS standards, then either explain what it means or provide a link to a page that explains it.

Jargon is something it can be really easy to slip into, so have someone who doesn’t know what you do read your page and see if they understand it or ask a 10 year old child!

6. Consider Using Video

Think about using video on your webpage.  Can be interviews with you and your team, a tour of your premises or even your clients sharing their experience with you.  Making videos is not what it used to be and you can record on a mobile phone, edit and upload easily.

7. Provide A Way To Keep In Touch and Contact You

Now that I’ve seen your photo, read your story and discovered that you’ve helped people in my situation what do I want to do next?  Contact you!  So often this part is forgotten so either include a Contact Form or a strong Call to Action button to take them to the Contact Page.

Have your Social Media accounts available to them, so they can choose to follow you and include an email capture on the page to encourage them to provide their contact details.

 

And finally, meet Joe

Finishing up with this one which I love.  Joe is the ‘Chief Cleaner’ and here he is holding a pile of ‘yuk’ he’s just cleared from a gutter – love it!

Hands up, this isn’t my work and there’s lots I’d change about this About page, but I love the fact that they’ve got Joe with ‘gunk’ from gutters that he’s just cleared.  The customer sees Joe, sees that he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and looks honest and reliable.  This picture alone is much better than a stock image of people looking immaculate or a corporate logo.

 

Need some help?

If you need some help creating your About page, get in touch.  Contact me and we’ll arrange a time to talk.

7 ways to market your business

  1. Run some adverts

    Think about what your customers are reading and where they’re looking, not just at work but when they’re at home to.For £15 a month, you can advertise in something like Ads R Us. Don’t underestimate the power of these ‘free ads’ dropped through people’s doors, especially if you are selling to consumers.

    I keep a note of who is advertising in them and there are some who have been doing this for years.  If it wasn’t making money, they’d have stopped by now.

  2. Leaflet drop your local area

    Another ‘offline’ tactic, but leaflet dropping your local area can create a surge in customers. One client, a beauty therapist, did this and got 17 new customers, 9 of which are still with her after 3 years.Don’t resort, however, to a boring flyer.  Think out of the box.  How about a letter in an envelope marked as ‘dear neighbour’ explaining what you do and how you can help.  It costs a bit more, that’s true, but it will certainly get opened and read!

  3. Who else sells to your customers?

    Let’s say you are a fitness trainer. Who else sells to your customers?  Sports shops in town, health food stores, hair dressers, beauty therapists, weight loss programs?Now, approach them and see whether you can do some reciprocal referrals.  What do I mean by that?  Well, you’ll recommend them if they recommend you.  At the very least see if they’ll hand out leaflets.

  4. Capture email addresses when people come to your website

    It’s basic, but have a way that you can capture email addresses when people come to your website and then email them!You can do daily emails or weekly ones, but make sure you’re regularly talking to your existing customers (yes get them to sign up to). There’s a skill to sending emails but make sure that you provide lots of free information that will help customers and potential customers and along with promoting your services.

  5. Have a website

    It always surprises me the number of small businesses that don’t have a website (over 2 million in fact in the UK). Yet study after study shows the potential increase in sales a website brings, without much effort.  And the truth is, 80% of consumers will search for a business online before using them – if you’re not there, then you’re losing custom.

  6. Use Social Media – wisely

    If your customers are on Facebook, then use Facebook. However, be aware that very few of the people who like your page will see your posts.  Facebook wants you to pay to promote them, it’s how it makes money.  Don’t spend hours each day posting to Facebook.  Try scheduling your posts, using an online search tool like Hootsuite that will find you content to share (given some keywords) and then allow you to schedule that content.Try having a group associated to your business, especially if you know your clients like to chat.  Going back to the Pokemon club, there’s a private group where they all talk Pokemon.  Great for sharing articles and promoting products.  This works outside ‘clubs’ though.  Going back to the fitness trainer, create a group where people can share stories and get support.

    A Facebook group can work for most businesses, you may, however, need to be creative.

  7. Get out and meet people

    Where are your customers hanging out? Go and find them, if you can.  If you’re selling to other businesses, there are a whole host of networking opportunities for you, from breakfast clubs to Rotary.Selling to mums?  Get involved in the PTA at the school or offer £1 donation for every purchase.  The thing here is to work out where your customers are and go and meet them.

 

The thing to do, every day, is to focus time on getting (and retaining) customers.  Until your business gets established and has a core group of loyal customers, this is your number 1 priority.

How to update your website

WordPress, the software let’s you know when you need to update it, the Plugins and the themes.  It does this by the arrows at the top of the dashboard when you log in and by displaying a message on the dashboard.

 

  1. Click on either the link WordPress X.X.X is available! Please update now. or the arrows at the top.  This takes you to the update page.
  2. Click on the blue button “Update Now”.  Wordpress will now update.
  3. Update Plugins
    You then need to update the Plugins.  Scroll down the Update page, put a tick in the Select All box (so all the Plugins are selected and press Update Plugins button.
  4. Update Themes
    Lastly, scroll down and do the same for Themes.  Select All and press the Update Themes button.

And that’s it – your website is up to date!

 

Using Your Website

Logging into Your Website

To log into your website, go to http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php (perhaps bookmark this page).  Your username is your email and the password will be the one I gave you.  If you’ve lost or forgotten your password, you can reset it by clicking on the ‘Lost your password?’ link underneath the form.

Around the Dashboard

Once you have logged in, you’ll be taken to the Dashboard that looks like this.

It’s the main page for WordPress and where you can quickly see what’s happening on your site.

Checking for Updates

 

The first thing you should always do is check for updates.  Looking at the top bar, there are 2 arrows in the circle with a number by it (in this case 6) means there is an update for the programs that operate the website.

Click on the circles with the arrows and it will take you to the following screen.

 

In this case, there is an update available for a Plugin.  A plugin is a bit of extra code that adds extra functions to the ordinary WordPress program. In this case, it is the plugin that operates the contact form on the website.  Simply tick (by clicking in the box) Select All and then press Update Plugins.

It’s important that you always do the updates to keep the functions working and your site safe.

Once you’ve clicked the button, the screen will go grey and then reload with something like the one below:

Now that the site is updated, let’s talk about how to create a new Page or Post on your website.

Adding A Page

There are 2 ways to add content to your website, via a Page or a Post, so what’s the difference?  A Page is something static, that won’t change much, like your homepage or contact us page.  A post is something that’s time-sensitive, an article or a special offer.  Posts display the date they were created and can be organised into categories (more on those below).

For now, we are going to create a Page.

Using the top bar, click on the + New button and select Page.

 

It will open a screen as below:

 

This is the main screen for adding Pages.

Add Title

This is where you add the title for the page.  So if it’s your home page, you’d call it Home etc.  It will be presented as the main title for the page so you don’t need to worry about formatting it.

Underneath is a white area.  This is where you write your text, add photos/videos etc to the page.

Adding Headings

You will want to break your page up into headings to make it easier for the reader to find the information and read your page.  Select the text you want and then, using the drop-down menu (that says paragraph), select the header type you want.  Personally, I avoid using Header 1 as this is the style for the title page, I use either Header 2 (as the main header) and Header 3 as sub-headings under that.

 

As you can see, it’s changed the formatting for the heading.

Other Formatting

On the top bar, the first row has buttons for:

  • B – bold,
  • I – italic,
  • bullet point list,
  • number list,
  • “ is for quotes (you’d use this for testimonials)
    Next is justification – left, centre, right (where the text sits on the page)
  • The Link is to add a link to another page (see below)
  • The Link broken is to remove the link
  • The next is a read more tag (which I never use)
  • And the last box on the top row opens or hides the row below.

On the top bar, the bottom row has buttons for:

  • Strikethrough – puts a line through the text
  • – puts a horizontal line across the page
  • A drop-down changes the colour of the font
  • T on a clip board is how you can paste text you’ve copied into the document
  • The eraser clears formatting
  • Omega allows you to put special characters into the document
  • The next two allow you to indent text to the left or right
  • The next two buttons are undo and redo
  • The question mark is for keyboard shortcuts

Some of these you’ll never use and remember to select the text before formatting it.

So, you’ve got some text on the page but you’d like to add a picture, sound or video.  That’s easy!

Adding Media

Click the Add Media button.

You then get shown all the images, sounds or videos that are stored on your website.  If the picture is already there, select it.

A menu appears on the right-hand side once you’ve selected an image.

The top gives you the name of the file, date it was added, the size in KB and the size in pixels.  You can click edit image (to crop or rotate it) from this screen, or delete permanently.

Below this (scroll the pane down) are more options

 

Here you can add a caption to the picture, add Alt Text (people with visual impairment have software that reads the Alt Text to them or it is used if the image doesn’t load), a description for you to remember what the image is.

Below that are the Attachment Settings, here you can change the alignment (none, left, center, right).  Link To – if you want them to go another page you can add the link here, the other’s you probably won’t use and will tend to have it on None.

Lastly the size, and this is where you can select from pre-set options or choose the size yourself (custom).

Once you are happy, select Insert into page and the image is added.

If, once the image is there, you want to change the alignment or size, simply select the image and click the alignment you want or the pencil button above.

 

Adding New Media

You can add new media to your website by clicking the Media button on the left-hand side of the dashboard.  However, you normally want to add the media when you’re in the middle of writing a Page or Post.  To do this, click the Add Media and select the tab Upload Files.  Click on the select file (or drag the file and drop it) and it will be uploaded.

 

Adding A Link

You may want to link from text to another page on your website or elsewhere on the internet.  Simply select the text you want to link from and click the Link button.

 

Paste the URL into the bar or start typing the name of the Page/Post if it’s on your website and WordPress will find the page you want.  When you’re done, click the return button.

To remove a link, simply select the text you want and click the Broken Link button.

Once you are happy with the page, press Publish (you can Preview if you wish first).

Once you’ve published the page, you can still make changes.  Just update as above and then press the Update button.

To view the page as your visitors will see it,  click View Page on the top bar.

Creating a Post

Posts are the same as a page, so adding text and media is identical.  The difference is that posts belong to categories and you can use categories to create groups of posts.

Adding a Category

Click ‘Add Categories’ on the menu on the left-hand side of the dashboard – it’s under Posts.

Here is where you name your new category, for example Offers.

If you want to select a Parent category (for example News would be the Parent one and Offers a sub-category) select News in the Parent Category.  Scroll down and click Add Category.

By default, WordPress has Uncategorized, so before you create a post, remember to add a new category.

Going back to Posts, you create it as a Page except select the Category on the right-hand side.

Tags

Tags are words you can use to help search engines and, if you have search on your website, WordPress find articles etc.

Featured Image

Some themes support featured image (this website does and it’s the image that is shown behind the title screen).  Simply click the link and select the image you want (or upload it as above).

Menus

Having all these lovely new pages and posts is brilliant except your users can’t find them so we add them to a Menu.  To find Menu it’s under Appearance from the Dashboard.

I’ve already created a menu for you.

To add the new Page to the menu, put a check in the box and click add to Menu.  To add a Post, you will need to click the little triangle to open up Posts and then find the post you want to add to the menu.

To move the page to where you want it to be on the menu select it and drag it.  If you want it to be under a Parent, drag it and move it to the right (For example Hellow world is below Sample Page and appears as a drop-down menu on the website).

 

Change the Name on the Menu

You may not want the name to appear the same on the Menu bar, perhaps wanting to shorten it.  This is easy, click the triangle and a box will appear.

 

Simply click in the box called Navigation Label and change it to whatever you want it to be.

Adding Categories

As discussed under Posts, you can group Posts according to their category.  Adding the Category to the Menu is the same as adding a Page or Post.  Select the Category you want (click the Triangle to open it up), click add and then drag it to where you want it to be.

Adding Custom Link

You may want to add a link to the Menu to a page outside your website.  To do this, open Custom Link.

Where it says URL, paste the URL (web address) in the box.  Then give the Link the text in the Link Text box.  Click Add to Menu.

When you are happy with how the Menu looks, click Save Menu.

To Remove an Item from the Menu

If you want to remove an item from the menu, click the triangle to open the item up and click Remove Item.

Viewing your Website

At any time you can see how your website appears by click on the Visit Site at the top of the page (hover on your website name).

 

Need help?  Have questions?

If you get stuck or don’t understand anything, then ask and I’ll happily help out.  Quite often I can quickly log into your website and sort it out.

 

21 Reasons why you should have a website

Thinking about getting a website for your business, but not convinced you need one?  Here’s 21 reasons why you should.

  1. It’s an online brochure for your business.
  2. It’s an online advert for your business.
  3. It’s an online store.
  4. It’s cheaper (and lasts longer) than direct mail or newspaper adverts.
  5. You reach a large geographical area.
  6. You keep your customers informed about products, services and news from your business.
  7. It’s available 24/7 – whenever your customer wants you, you’re there.
  8. You can showcase your work, products or services.
  9. It improves customer service by answering their frequently asked questions.
  10. 80% of customers search online before going shopping.
  11. It increases your business value – people think you’re not a proper business if you don’t have a website.
  12. People can find your physical address easier.
  13. You can communicate with customers using forms or online messaging services (like the one on my site.)
  14. You can issue press releases on your website.
  15. It develops trust with you customers by letting them know who you are and what you are about.
  16. People can share information easily about your business with friends.
  17. You can sell directly from your website.
  18. It allows people to window shop before they come into your physical shop.
  19. It provides social proof – testimonials are there to reassure customers that other people bought and were happy.
  20. 6 out of 10 customers expect you to have a website.
  21. You can develop your business’s personality through articles/blogs.

So now you know why you should have a website, let’s talk about the how.  The easiest and quickest way is to let me create one for you.  No fuss, no hassle – sit back, relax and in 7 days your website will be live.

Use the form on the side of the page to get in touch.

Speak soon,

 

Claire