There are over a billion websites online. It’s true; I just checked this fact on the Internet Live Stats website! That number grows on an hourly basis. These days it is quite easy to set up a website.
But the thing about the World Wide Web is that there are plenty of websites that look horrible. It’s those websites that have low visitor traffic. And what’s worse is that many business websites suck too!
Do you run a business? If so, you will doubtless be aware of the importance of having a good online presence. Just about everyone goes online these days, and many people will find out about your brand on the World Wide Web.
What happens if your website has a mishmash of strange color schemes and a weird layout? Chances are people will think you don’t care about your company’s image. That is why you need to have a website that doesn’t suck!
In today’s comprehensive guide, I will show you how you can build a high-impact web presence. Here is what you need to know:
Choose a good domain name
The first step to setting up a high-impact website is to have a good domain name for it. The Internet is full of “useful” advice on what domain names you should choose. But the best advice can get summed up as follows:
- Make it short and sweet. No-one wants to spend all day tapping a domain name into a smartphone web browser;
- Make it memorable. Consider using a snappy acronym that sums up the theme of your website.
There are millions of domain name registrars on the Web that you can buy domain names from. What sets the best ones apart from the lousy ones is the service they offer. Sure, some companies might charge you a buck for a .com domain for 12 months.
But what if they charge you $50 to transfer to another registrar? Or they charge the same for renewing the domain, that $1 domain you bought doesn’t sound as attractive now! That’s why it’s best to find out who offers the best mix of service and price, and go with them.
As with anything in life, the service you receive must be as good as the product you use. That saying applies to domain name registrars.
Choose a good host
Before you set your website up, you need a server to “host” your website files on. As with domain name providers, there are plenty of website hosts available. Some range from the super-cheap to the downright exorbitant!
When you compare the different hosts on offer, consider the following key points for your checklist:
- Location. Let’s say that your website is just for a US audience. I recommend choosing a host whose servers are all based in the United States. Many cheap hosts are in places like Eastern Europe or even the Far East. The further away your server is, the longer it will take to access from your locale;
- Bandwidth. The amount of bandwidth your hosting package offers is important. If you have plenty of visitors to your website, you need a package that offers a high amount of bandwidth;
- Disk space. Web servers aren’t much different to desktop computers that you use on a daily basis. They use hard drives to store data on, just like your PC does. Many reputable hosts allow instant disk space quota upgrades as your website grows;
- Operating systems. The majority of the world’s web servers run on some form of Linux. Some run on Windows-based servers. But I recommend using a Linux VPS for your hosting needs.
Decent web hosts offer something called “cPanel access.” With cPanel, you can manage various aspects of your website’s hosting. In essence, cPanel is your web server’s online control panel.
Build your website with WordPress
I am a big advocate of the WordPress publishing platform. It takes its roots from an early blogging platform. But today, more than 75 million websites run on the open-source WordPress publishing platform.
Why? Because it’s easy to install, use and maintain. It’s a system designed for everyone, not for the exclusive use of tech-savvy web developers. Its admin user interface is a dream to work with, and everything makes sense in it!
Another benefit of WordPress is that anyone can make themes for it. These themes are, in essence, a “skin” for your website. You can use free WordPress themes, or you can buy premium themes from places like ThemeForest.
If you are new to WordPress, there are plenty of free online tutorials that show you how to do many common tasks. And if you’re stuck on something specific, there is an excellent WordPress user community out there that can help.
Those of you that prefer to learn “offline” might want to take a look at the array of WordPress self-help books on offer. Examples include the excellent WordPress for Dummies.
Take visitor feedback on board
Just because you think your website looks amazing doesn’t mean the majority of your visitors agree with you.
Web design isn’t just a one-off process. Websites need to evolve with the changing needs of people’s browsing habits. They also need to evolve with the changing needs and demands of your business.
It is important that you gauge the feedback of your visitors, and take on board what they tell you. For instance, let’s say that most people feel your website sucks on a mobile screen. In that case, you should consider developing a new responsive design.
In case you don’t know, “responsive” websites are those that have dynamic layouts. They “respond” to the screen size and device that a user has. On small mobile screens, a responsive website might use bigger font sizes and a simple layout.
It’s not you, but your visitors that will access your website the most. You must ensure that they can do so without issue. Your content should be clear and concise. And they should be able to access your website from any device, regardless of screen size.
I hope you have found today’s website guide useful. Thanks for reading!