5 things to know before starting a website

Developing a website is not like Field of Dreams: if you build it nobody might come. You must plan, know what you're building and know for whom. You also need to know, depending on your type of website, what type of function with your website will need.

The following is a list of items or things to know before starting a website.

I. What's it all about and what kind of website do I have

In a new document or in a piece of paper write down what is the website all about.  A simple description of what you are offering in the website and what you're looking to get from it. For example if you have a restaurant business and you want to advertise it that description might read "advertise my business, let people know my menu and events in the restaurant and let people know where we are". With a description like that you know that you need to write about the type of food that you have in the restaurant, have your menu online, have an events page etc.

The next step would be to write down a list of the sections in your website. "front page, about us, our menu, contact page with a map and address".

II. What should I bring to the website project?

The following is a list of items you should consider before starting.  The list may have items that do not apply to you or it may lack an item that's specific to your business.

  • Text Content
    • What is the website all about?
      • products
      • services
      • information that you want to provide the potential customer
    • Privacy policy 
    • Terms and conditions
  • Images
    • Images of your Product or service
    • Images of people using the product or service
    • Infographics showing why your product or service is the best
    • Team pictures
  • Product or Service descriptions
    • Specs
    • Prices
    • Shipping
    • Options
  • The name of the website
    • Name of the company
    • Domain name
      • Do I already have it?
      • Is it available for registration?
  • Multimedia
    • Videos
    • Audio

III. Common on terms for web development

Web hosting and servers

This is where your website will be hosted on, where the files that form your website will be available to the public.  Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that supplies the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.

Domain names and registration

A domain name is your website's name. A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Computers use IP addresses, which are a series of number. However, it is difficult for humans to remember strings of numbers. Because of this, domain names were developed and used to find websites on the Internet rather than using IP addresses.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic, increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes the purchase of paid placement.

Blog and content marketing

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses to attract attention and generate leads, expand their customer base, generate, or increase online sales, increase brand awareness or credibility, or engage an online community of users.

This is usually done with a blog which is a news section in your website.  These blogs are then indexed by search engines, share by you in social media (and by others if the content is useful).

SSL Certificates

An SSL Certificate gives visitors to your website a measure of peace of mind knowing that their communications with you are secured and that at least you secured your website.

The SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), also called a Digital Certificate, creates a secure link between a website and a visitor's browser. By ensuring that all data passed between the two stays private and secure, SSL encryption prevents hackers from stealing private information such as credit card numbers, names, and addresses. 

IV. What email environment I want to use

With your domain comes the ability to have a personalized email address, which looks more professional.  Whilst there are many options, in my experience these are the most commonly used:

Office 365

office 365 logo

Office 365 is a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft, as part of the Microsoft Office product line, which includes E-Mail services.  Prices begin at $5/month per user billed annually ($8.25 if you also want the desktop version of office).  Which means that if you have 3 email inboxes for three people, you pay $180 (plus any applicable sales tax).

All plans provide you with the desktop versions of the Microsoft Office product suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) except for the "Business Essentials" and "E1" plans, which only provide the online ones.

G Suit / Google Apps

On April 2, Google raised the cost of licenses for their productivity suite, which includes apps such as Gmail, Docs, and Drive. G Suite Basic Edition increased to $6 per user per month, up from $5, while G Suite Business Edition increased to $12 per user per month, up from $10.

cPanel E-Mail

cpanel top email features icons

Most hosting companies offer cPanel with their web hosting.  cPanel allows you to manage your email accounts in your website's server. Since it's included in your hosting plan, e-mail accounts are free.  You are only limited to the amount of space on your web server or hosting account.  cPanel's is quite easy to manage and did I mention it's free?

V. How I'm going to promote the website

There is nothing worse than preparing a party that nobody attends.  It's the same with your website.  You should think about how you are going to promote your website.  Investigate the pricing for options such as Google Ads, boosting posts on social media, and traditional advertisement (even flyers that you yourself distribute cost money to print).

If you need help answering any of these questions, feel free to contact us. We are recognized as a Top Website Design Company on DesignRush