This is the place where everyone comes to first. In fact, most people think that this section is the ONLY section that they need to do. And, for many, it is. For those that know the importance of a complete strategic approach to building your web presence, then this is the “window” – this is what readers are expecting.
Designing a website, hosting it, creating the website (with SEO) and linking to RSS feeds are all done in this section.
After this section you are almost done. Oh… with the framework only! You still have all the content & blogs to start writing!
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Website design is all important. It is all about how you are going to present your content and widgets to your readers.
Many small business quickly choose a theme or layout and “dump” their content out there and think that they are done. You’re not. In fact, you may have just lost every potential client that looks at your site and immediately says “retro” or “nope” or “how did I get here!?”. Read the Top 7 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make article and ensure that you account for those potential pitfalls.
So how do you design a great website? Great question. Depends on your service & industry, and how readers quickly (and when I say quickly, I mean 5 seconds or less) “read” the website the moment it pops up. The article Eye-tracking: Where do readers look first? can be an eye-opener, but it is something that must be understood to design an effective website.
Review 30 Clean Website Designs for Inspiration for websites that are considered clean (by the author). These websites may not meet your definition of clean, or even your requirements, but they can give you some ideas.
Once you have an idea, the Theme section below is going to allow you to select a theme similar to what you want and you can be up and ready for content pretty darn quickly!
There are many hosting sites available. One of the better ones is BlueHost. Review Top 10 Web Hosting providers comparison for other hosting sites. GoDaddy is another popular hosting site for websites.
brandITsimply uses HostMonster which is a sister-site to BlueHost. The review BlueHost VS HostMonster – Which is Better for Shared Web Hosting? gives a simple choice: use BlueHost if you are not as technical but need your site up most of the time; use HostMonster where you are continuously updating your site to use the latest technologies (but be aware that you are closer to the bleeding edge).
WordPress has also provided their own review of WordPress Web Hosting listing their top-3 choices.
Things to consider when choosing a host site:
- Website Tools
Layout & Themes
We strongly suggest that you use WordPress for your website. After selecting a hosting site and installing the WordPress software, you can select a theme (mostly free from 100’s of choices) and have it installed and readied for content within 10-15 minutes. Yes – 10-15 minutes, and that is just because of the huge number of themes to choose from!
Invariably, you are going to find a theme that you “just must have!” And it is nothing like the layout and design you had originally came up. Don’t worry… it happens! What you need to do, however, is decide whether to keep this all keep looking.
Once you have decided on a theme which HAS the layout you like, then you need to customize it. Many of the themes allow simple and quick changes to the background and, most importantly, the colors! First thing that we do is add our logo and apply our brand colors – you will be amazed at the results.
For a technical review of layouts, review Planning Your Website´s Layout. This lesson is pretty technical for lay persons, but contains examples of layouts that you should consider. It also demonstrates the “technical” nature of all websites.
For a video example on how to install your theme, check out Bluehost Web Hosting Help WordPress: Install a new Theme. The video shows you step by step on how to select and change the theme! This is another reason for choosing BlueHost or HostMonster – they have awesome support materials and, as you will see, great videos!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is one the keys to pushing your website and content to the top of search engines. Review 5 Secrets to Selecting Highly-Effective SEO Keywords for an overview on how to use SEO effectively.
One of the primary tools to use to select the most effective word or phrase is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This the most valuable tool to pick the write phrase to use for YOUR service! Use and note down the most effective words to get people to your website.
Once you have the list of SEO key word/phrases, you need to have them both behind the scenes AND with in the website pages and blogs that you post. Remember, the more you use the keywords within your site the higher up the search list you will be.
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary. Many folks out there also calls it “Really Simply Syndication” which is the peoples choice!
What RSS does for your website is helps you stay current and provides your readers with a summary of what’s happening on specific topics today. They can then click on those links and be directed to that story to learn more information. What is neat about using RSS like this is that you provide your readers with the impression that the website is current.
In addition, RSS works the other way too! You are providing so many blogs that is demonstrating your expertise in your field, that you WANT other people to link to your RSS. WordPress provides this option AUTOMATICALLY – use it and promote it!
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