Small Business Websites Melbourne: What Makes a Site Outstanding?

Small Business Websites Melbourne: What Makes a Site Outstanding?

You may find these tips helpful if you have a small business website. These web tips can increase your perceived trustworthiness and expertise. We have identified nine areas or suggestions to make an outstanding website and more than 23 points that you can work towards to produce the best small business website in Melbourne.

9 Tips to make an outstanding website

  1. Fast loading website
  2. Website that clearly shows your offerings
  3. Attractive and error-free website
  4. Excellent user experience — Easy to navigate
  5. Comprehensive and helpful website content
  6. Create a trustworthy website
  7. Transparent vision and pricing
  8. Be authentic
  9. Offer a Guarantee

 

1. Fast loading website

Annoying your users

A slow website can annoy your users to the point that they bounce off and don’t see what you have to offer. According to Kinsta, 40 per cent of website users will abandon a site if they have to wait longer than 3 seconds for your website to load. It is critical to have a fast-loading website, particularly on mobile, if you wish to have an outstanding website.

Ranking first page

If your website is not fast loading, it’s possible it will not rank. The mobile version of your website is assessed for speed by Google. It is now a ranking factor, especially Core Web Vitals. If your site is not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks or not at all. To assess your website speed, test it using Lighthouse or GTMetrix or Webpagetest. Start by looking at what is required to get the Core Web Vitals into the required zones. You may need to pay a developer to fix some issues, but certainly, ask your web designer to design for speed from the beginning.

Core Web Vitals Test Result

GTMetrix speed test

2. Create a website that clearly shows what you offer

What do you do exactly?

Have you ever noticed how many sites don’t clearly explain what they offer? You might not have the patience to read through or search the site for more explanation. The key is to be clear in the Meta Title and to have the Meta Description describe and entice customers to your website in a few words and match the web page’s First Heading and content. Following your content, you need a Call to Action to help the user to know what to do next. This might sound common sense, but it is certainly not always followed.

Once you create the landing page or home page, do some testing. Organise a focus group or even family and friends to rate the clarity of the introduction, title and meta description. The title and meta description are not found on the website but on the Search Engine Results Page and can be set up in the back end of your website. Again, get your designer to ensure these all match from the outset. If you structure these elements this way, you will achieve better search engine optimisation and be easier for your user to understand.

Where are your services?

Make sure your services are spelled out clearly and leave no room for doubt as to what you offer. If your site is clear it is more likely to leave a good impression on your audience and help them buy from you. By adding your services clearly and in the main menu, you are also helping Google bots understand your site. Google bots must understand the keywords and purpose to deliver the site for the appropriate keywords..

Where are your prices?

Having prices on a website is a debatable area. If you sell something online, clearly showing all costs, including shipping, is essential. If your pricing is complicated and dependent on other factors, then perhaps pricing on the site is not appropriate. I always try to put myself in the position of my users and ask if they would expect prices to be listed on the website. If the answer is yes, then make sure you are transparent about what is expected.

3. Attractive and error-free website

Typography

Undoubtedly, we all judge by first impressions when it comes to websites. Sometimes we don’t even know what it is we like about a site, but it has a flavour that appeals. You can break this down by checking the details. What font is used on the main headings? Is it modern and simple, or elegant and expressive? Does it have serifs? Serifs are little feet extending off a font character’s main lines. Some serifs can aid in readability. Serifs tend to be on older-style fonts, but not always. Fonts have a history of usage, which can subtly bring feelings to remembrance. Perhaps you relate a font to a significant brand or an era. Fonts are fundamental to setting the tone for your website. Generally, your web designer will ask for your Logo to start your website’s design, which may contain a particular font. If you intend to change your Logo, be sure to let your web designer know before starting, as this can completely change the style of the pages. Make sure your typography is large enough to be easily read and has generous line spacing, as this will bring more ease for reading.

stencil font example

Imagery

Images, photographs and graphics are crucial elements that make an outstanding website. I was recently asked to look at a website that offered services in the design industry. I was looking to see if there was a reason to trust this organisation. The thing that raised a red flag was the lack of images. Images provide proof, especially in the design industry.

Images add a flavour to a brand, and they also help to explain complex situations. Images can be used to add a break in a large chunk of text and show more about you, your business, and your products.

Consider employing a professional brand photographer to capture your brand and products when looking for images for your business. These images can be an excellent investment and provide a years supply of pics that you can use to display on the website, your social media and other areas of marketing.

You may consider stock images if you need a different picture here and there. They are not as authentic as shooting your own, but they might be sufficient for your purpose. Remember, stock images cost you roughly $16-36 per image. Please choose an image that is the correct proportion for the location it needs to go. For instance, if you want a banner image, this probably needs to be broad and narrow. Don’t choose a vertical/portrait-shaped image or one that doesn’t crop well into the required shape. Also, remember a banner needs to be large enough and of good quality. You will require an image of approximately 1920 x 1080 px for this purpose. The other consideration is if you want the text to go over the image. Is the image too busy to accommodate the text? This might be something you leave to your designer to help you choose. A final thought— it’s required to have alternate text on all of your images to aid accessibility and SEO.

recognisable branding image

Logo

The Logo of your website is an essential feature of the website for branding. You want consistent branding across all your marketing, so your users will identify you quickly and you can gain a reputation. Often a designer will use your Logo to help set the look and feel of the website. If you plan to change your Logo soon after designing the website, then please let your website designer know this detail. It will save you a good deal of time and expense.

One mistake many business owners make when designing their website with their Logo is to make the Logo very large and feature on the page. This is a mistake because your website needs to be focused on your user. The Logo helps establish your identity, but the site needs to be user-focused. The old saying is, “People don’t care what you do as much as why you do it and how you can help them.

Spelling and grammatical errors

Have you ever gone to a website and noticed several spelling mistakes? How does this make you feel? For some people, this doesn’t seem right and sets a bad feeling in terms of the trust. Remember, it might not bother you, but it will undoubtedly irritate some of your users. Try using a spelling and grammatical checker like Grammarly before posting your page.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a big problem for more than one reason. Firstly, it is stealing to plagiarise someone’s else work, but the second problem is duplicate content. Search engines will rank your page poorly if your content is similar or the same as some other webpage. Robots can quickly tell if there is more than one copy of a page and which is the original based on date and domain authority and this can also apply to images taken from other websites.

If you just published your website, you likely have low domain authority. Domain authority is a ranking on the world wide web that positions you in a page order when searched by keywords. It will help if you improve your domain authority by providing great content and value to your users, bringing trust and organic links to your pages. These links are called backlinks or Off-page SEO and are crucial to your site’s visibility on the internet.

Error Free Website

An error-free website is crucial to give that trust factor. When looking for statistics for this article, I found a site that did testing. Still, in the same location, I saw a prominent warning (see image below) that items were missing or broken and errors on the page. Immediately my trust in this site and its proof went out the window. I’ve pasted a picture of the warning message below. These warnings can happen simply on your website because of a lack of web care and diligence. It is essential to look after the maintenance of your website and be sure that errors are not printed onto the page as was this one.

image of a warning that says Missing block of content or error

4. Excellent user experience and easy to navigate

Easy navigation

Don’t you find it irritating when you hunt all over a site to see a particular page? If you lay out your pages clearly and concisely within categories, not only do you assist your users, but you can gain extra points for ranking. Keywords used in a navigation system can also help you rank better.

Pillar pages

Consider creating pillar pages in your menu. A pillar page consists of an over-arching topic menu item and a breakdown of sub-topics listed under this menu item. The sub-topics should cover every area of the over-arching topic, including detailed and helpful information that clearly shows your authority in this area that you specialise in.

Here’s an example using Websites as the over-arching topic. Web Design might be the main menu item with a dropdown list of sub-items such as Web Development, Website Maintenance, eCommerce, Content Management Systems, Hosting, SEO, and Content Creation.

The beauty of this information structure —it is search engine optimised and will help with your authority on Search Engines.

Silo structure pillar post 2022 04 29 at 3.40.19 pm

No hidden items

I was recently on a site looking for a particular form to send a message. I didn’t find the web form, but I found an email. The email owner quickly responded and pointed out that they had a web form on the page. I didn’t see it immediately because they had hidden it with an image that needed to be clicked to find the form. It wasn’t clear to me to click the picture to access the form. This is an example of poor user experience. It’s important to follow standard practices to make it easy for users to find what they want. It also saves your business time having to explain where to go.

5. Comprehensive and helpful website content

Up-to-date and fresh content

Having fresh content is always paramount. This is Google’s number one area of focus for ranking websites, which is very valid, as we should use our websites to assist our potential customers. It is vital to provide them with unique and helpful content.

If you supply prices, ensure they are accurate across the site and have no contradictions.

Consider the burning questions your users might have, write the question on the page, and then answer them. This is an excellent Search Engine Optimisation technique.

Ensure other sites pointing to your website, such as Local Directories and Socials, are also up-to-date.

If you are blogging, and have the date on the post, then be careful to keep your posts fresh. There’s nothing more off-putting than something that’s not been touched for years. It suggests you are not doing much business, negligent, or closed.

Contact details

When visiting a website, it is common to be unable to locate the contact details. If your clients are likely to want to contact you, then put your contact details in a logical place where they can quickly be found. Classically the contact details might be in the menu or footer, or the phone number could be placed at the top of the page. These are three locations where people are used to finding contact details.

As well as this, use social media icons to help your users find further information and gain further trust in your organisation. Make it easy for your users to communicate with you, learn about your services and ultimately buy from you.

contact details page

Clear descriptions of offerings

People want to see what you offer from all angles. That might include a detailed description and photographs of points of interest. People might want to know the size and scale of your product or the colour. They will want to see your product in action, i.e. being used for the purpose it was made. You could use case studies to describe your offering. Without these details, your users may feel apprehensive about buying from you.

6. How to create a trustworthy website?

Fast Site

If your website is not fast to load, you may be flicked before you are even seen. If you are not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks. The websites listed on the first page of Google are considered more trustworthy than those on subsequent pages.

Reviews

Reviews are expected on eCommerce sites today. Without great reviews, you are unlikely to be found in the rankings; Shoppers are looking for those five-star reviews. Find a system to get your customers to review you. If your customers are in the mid-to-late age bracket, you may need to think outside the box to encourage them to use technology and create a review.

Behind the scenes look

Your users want to know who you are. They want to know you are a real person that cares about them. Adding an about section, with images and bios, creates trust with your users.

Secure site

Some simple steps are crucial to take for security on your website. Firstly you need to have an SSL certificate. You can tell if you have one of these if you have a small ‘s’ at the end of the https:// part of your URL. The s stands for security. You can check if your certificate is valid by looking at the small lock at the beginning of your URL (web address). If you click the lock icon, you can see the certificate. This image shows that the connection is secure. When you click the second arrow it tells you who verifies the security.

Your connection is secure

 

this certificate says: security verified by cloudflare There are different security certificates; some cost a bit to provide the appropriate security, while others can be free. Certificates can expire, and it is worth knowing how to discover this detail. You can check if your website has up-to-date security using the Chrome Browser.

  1. Open your website in the browser.
  2. Click on the three dots –ellipses menu at the top right of your browser.
  3. Choose ‘More Tools’ then ‘Developer Tools’ from the pop-out menus.
  4. When the new window opens, choose ‘Security’ from the top menu.
  5. You can then see the first message, which tells you if the page is secure, valid and trusted, or not. (see image below) By clicking the blue ‘View certificate’ link, you can view the actual certificate, which will tell you when the certificate expires. (below) If you have a free certificate, the web host will often renew it for you. Still, if you are paying for a more secure site, you will need to pay and ensure it is up-to-date by the date provided.SSL Certificate-security overview- as seen on chrome developer toolsSSL certificate viewer

Display Trust Icons

Some further steps may be appropriate for you, depending on your website. Some people display trust icons such as McAfee Secure and Norton Secured to borrow trust from an official organisation. There are other trust badges, such as VeriSign Trusted, which have been tested to increase use by 42%. bluefountainmedia

Paypal Verified, or Secure Payment Stripe, may be good badges to display on your shopping cart or shop page to bring a little further trust. You could also consider a free shipping badge or a 7-day free trial icon.

Another great idea is to put your awards on the page. If you have won any awards, add these icons or certificates to your page. Often you see websites display logos of those who have trusted them to provide services. This is a terrific way to provide proof of good service and trust. Your customers would be thinking, and if this big company trusted them, I can also.

Norton, PayPal and McAfee Secure Trust Badges

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

Terms of service and privacy policies are also crucial for assurance and trustworthiness. Privacy policies are required by Australian law on websites that collect customer data, such as via a contact form. And if you are operating a shop using an eCommerce system, Shipping Policies and Terms of Service are all significant features which need to be kept up to date to help users confidently buy from you.

No broken links

Broken links or links that go nowhere do not bring trust. Get your web designer to create an informative and engaging 404 page to redirect your users to where they want to go. By clever communication, you may get them back, but often, they will leave to find someone else. Test your pages with a broken link checker regularly and update the broken links found. There are many such tools on the internet. Here is just one —deadlinkchecker

broken link checker

7. Offer Transparent Pricing and Approach

Again, providing as much detail as possible is essential because there is so much competition at your fingertips. If you have a straightforward pricing structure, perhaps it’s helpful to have it on the page. Consider your competition. Do they have prices, and would your customers feel more comfortable buying from you if the prices were on the page?

When describing services write your approach or vision, not in a way that is all about you but about your customers.

8. Be Authentic

Authenticity is very popular today. With business primarily going online, that personal touch is perhaps missing, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating an enticing persona and brand story can attract users interested in you, your look and your brand. Some businesses have become sensational overnight. They have created a brand that shows many details of their everyday life that draws followers. These followers regularly devour their content. Consider who your tribe is and what they want from you to provide that authentic experience.

9. Offer a Guarantee

A guarantee might clinch the deal, depending on the product. I wish beds came with a guarantee that they would remain comfortable for at least their warranty period! Consider giving a money-back guarantee which tells customers you firmly stand behind the quality of your product. Some businesses offer a 14-day or 30-day money-back trial to assure satisfaction.

100% guarantee customer satisfaction badge

Conclusion

We are an Australian web design company that has organically grown due to providing quality and customer satisfaction, plus our interest in search engine optimisation. Today, over 3000 web design companies within Australia compete for business, ranging from backyard organisations to those offering enterprise systems. So, if you are looking for a web designer, consider which end of this spectrum you want to enter. If you like to look someone in the eyes and talk about what you need, you should look for a local business. Sometimes some situations cannot be easily explained over the phone or face-to-face online.

With the advancement in online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Join.me, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex, to name a few; it is feasible to hire a website builder /designer that operates in another part of the country. If you choose someone internationally, you must consider other aspects such as language or cultural barriers.

The website designer discusses your requirements and gets you to send them any files, such as logos or website articles and images. From this information, they can put together the design required and organise reviews at scheduled times. If you are happy with how things are going, you can approve or discuss changes, and the process can go back and forth until the completion date.

Hopefully, the points mentioned above will help you understand more about what is required for an outstanding website before you begin and help to get your new website off to a successful start.

Don’t hesitate to contact us here if you want us to create your website, optimise it for search or provide website maintenance or content creation. We are more than happy to assist.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

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7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

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How to make a website for business

How to make a website for business

If you are looking to take your business online, this information will help you understand the steps on how to make a website for business and choose from the many platform choices available to build a website from scratch.

  1. How to create a website from scratch
  2. Where to get assistance to build a business website
  3. Why choose a professional web designer to assist you in creating a website

1. Create a website from scratch

You may have heard of website builders, such as Squarespace, Wix or Shopify, that make it easy to build a site from scratch. These platforms have been designed to help you get a website up quickly and easily. The question to ask is, “Can I create a website from scratch?” The skills you will need are a little bit of technical know-how to move around a software platform and some design sense. This might not be you. From experience, I find many people start these solutions and get stuck at one point or another. Maybe the design doesn’t look professional. Or maybe they need a functionality that is not offered out of the box, and they don’t know how to proceed to build their business website. But if you don’t mind persisting and looking for solutions, then maybe doing it yourself is a viable proposition. You won’t need to know code to create a website with one of these top-rated platforms.
Your first decision is to choose either a static/brochure-type website or an eCommerce/ Shop website. Next, you will have a choice of design templates. Sites like Wix tend to have more designs, but Shopify leads the market in eCommerce.

Here are three choices of platform types with their advantages and disadvantages and steps to implement.

a. Website Builders

Website Builder platforms offer ready-made designs or templates, including an interface to drag and drop items around the page to see as you create visually. Squarespace, Wix and Shopify tend to be the most popular. However, there are many more in the marketplace.

A Website Builder will allow you to customise each page relatively simply. However, if you don’t have a design sense and an understanding of image sizing, you may still struggle to achieve the look and feel you’re after.

Most builders generally cost a monthly subscription, although some have a free plan that will include the company branding. The good thing about subscribing to a Website Builder is that they manage many aspects behind the scenes. The downside is you will not have complete control over every site element. A Website Builder generally looks after hosting on a server within the subscription cost. Most will also allow you to buy a website name (Domain) with the subscription or use your domain name to get started immediately. Here’s a list of popular Builders:

Wordpress logo

  • Wix — (3rd popular website —2.5% of the world market. Free and paid option with lots of designer templates),
  • Shopify— (2nd most popular website engine, but declining usage to 3.8% of world market currently — $29 per month),
  • Webflow— (21 free templates, free & paid $12-36/ mo),
  • Squarespace— (currently with 2.1% of the world market. Relative ease of use with great templates),
  • Weebly— (free & paid options),
  • GoDaddy— (free & paid starting from $14.95/mo),
  • Site123— (free and premium plans),
  • WordPress.com— (Blogging and Publishing free)

Advantages of a Website Builder

  • Simplified system
  • Some predesigned template designs ( quantity and quality depend on the platform)
  • Payment gateways are easier to initiate
  • hosting is included
  • Low learning curve

Disadvantages of a Website Builder

  • Monthly Fee.
  • Limited ability to extend functionality.
  • Assistance from a web developer could be expensive.
  • Limited control over the site.
  • You may need to register and pay for a domain name separately (Squarespace does not supply every type of domain name. Some names require external management).
  • You may not like the free themes.

11 Steps using a website builder

  1. Choose the website builder that suits your needs and budget.
  2. Research an available unique domain name.
  3. Choose a design template from those available or purchase one.
  4. Gather your images and size them according to your template.
  5. Gather your text copy and any other elements required.
  6. Customise the template to suit your business by adding your content.
  7. Choose any plugins to extend the website functionality (Free and paid options).
  8. Preview and test your website.
  9. Publish your website on the internet and check it on different browsers and devices.
  10. Keep the content up-to-date and relevant to rank as best as possible in Search.
  11. Backup site content in case of a disaster.

Squarespace

Squarespace interface to edit pages

b. Content Management Systems

A keen group of developers worldwide have created what is known as open-source content management systems (CMS). Open-source allows anyone to use the software freely. Some of these CMSs are:

  • WordPress.org      (Highly customisable platform with plugins and themes. Not to be confused with WordPress.com, which is a Website Builder for blogging)
  • Joomla                  (Advanced CMS platform, popular among programmers)
  • Drupal                    (Advanced CMS, popular among programmers)

With this kind of website or content management system, you can create, edit and manage the content without knowing the code (Although that would help). A CMS is perhaps a little more complicated than a website builder, but the advantage is the flexibility to do what you want and need for your website. The platform is free to download and start, but you will find other costs, such as a Domain name, Hosting, and maybe Plugins and a Theme. A Domain name is your website’s name and address (URL). Hosting is the place where your website “lives”. You will pay a hosting company to place your site on their Server. Plugins are extensions to the Content Management System to add additional functionality and flexibility, such as a calendar or a booking system. Some plugins are free to use or have a free plan, but others may require a subscription. Most CMSs come with basic themes (the look and feel), but you may need to buy another theme if you don’t like that look.

Of all the CMSs available today, the most popular is WordPress. 43.3% of all websites on the World Wide Web are WordPress sites. It started as a blogging platform called WordPress.com, a hosted platform, but it has evolved to accommodate all website types on the self-hosted CMS WordPress.org.

Joomla has recently decreased to 1.8% share of the worldwide market, and Drupal has less again. Both of these CMSs are great platforms but perhaps have a steeper learning curve again. For me, the key difference is the availability of resources (or lack thereof). WordPress has captured the imagination of website developers in the small-to-medium market. Therefore, you can find more tools and expertise at a reasonable price than with the less up-taken systems.

Advantages of a Content Management System

  • Most are open-source, free systems to use
  • Flexibility
  • Many designs or themes are available for free or purchase
  • Ability to edit your own content without knowing how to code
  • Easy updates of functionality with a huge range of free and paid plugins
  • It is easy to add further pages as required
  • It is easy to add a visual editor plugin to make designing the site simpler
  • Ability to scale with your business

Disadvantages of a Content Management System

  • Necessary to manage updates regularly
  • Register a Domain name (Start around $13yr)
  • Need a Hosting Provider (Starting around $6mo-$50mo)
  • You may need to purchase a theme or visual editor, such as Elementor or Divi
  • Assistance from a web developer could be expensive.
  • Medium learning curve

c. WordPress Visual Editor Plugins (also called Page Builders)

A Visual Editor is not a complete Platform but an addition to a CMS Platform to aid in designing and updating the site. WordPress allows many Visual Editor plugins to integrate seamlessly. A Visual Editor can be added to WordPress to quickly change themes (look and feel). They provide a drag-and-drop interface to customise the site, usually in a more visual way. Visual Editors can supply a complete look, feel, and functionality for specific industries, streamlining the development process.

A few of the Visual Editors that integrate with WordPress include:

Backend of WordPress - The add a plugin tab

  • Divi by Elegant Themes   (Lifetime payment option)
  • Elementor   (Free and paid designs)
  • Generate Press
  • Beaver Builder
  • Thrive Architect
  • WP Page Builder
  • Brizy Website Builder
  • GoDaddy Website Builder
  • SeedProd

Most of these builders have a free plugin to get started, but you may require a premium plan to have the style and functionality you desire. The price can vary greatly. You might pay just $45 for a once-off use or buy the builder for lifetime use. (Not all that expensive as you might think).

Advantages of a WordPress CMS Visual Editor

  • Speeds up design.
  • Live preview the front-end while you are designing.
  • There is no end to Flexibility and cool features, including e-commerce.
  • Ability to scale with your business.
  • Many hosting companies are already set up with WordPress and Visual Editors.

Disadvantages of a WordPress CMS Visual Editor

  • The Visual Editor or Page Builder may not cover all your needs but may clash with other builders when extending your design options.
  • Once a Page Builder is an active theme, you cannot easily switch it off.
  • Some builders may slow down your site.
  • A low to medium learning curve for beginners

Steps to get started with WordPress CMS & Visual Editor

  1. Firstly, find a hosting company that offers good support, security and speed and sign up.
  2. Then, you must choose a Domain name and register it on the Hosting company site or Domain site.
  3. Next, set up WordPress through the web hosting company. Some do this for you.
  4. Choose a Theme (design) from WordPress or install a Visual Editor/Page Builder plugin (such as Divi or Elementor) and choose a template. (Some hosts, such as SiteGround or GoDaddy, have their own website builder and can set up WordPress Visual Editors).
  5. If you are building an eCommerce site, you will need a plugin such as WooCommerce. WooCommerce supplies the necessary interface for payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe. Payment Gateways can be a bit more complicated to set up.
  6. If not using a Visual Editor or Template, it’s best to plan your design and site structure, including how it will affect the users’ experience (UX).
  7. If using a Visual Editor, customise the template. Your static site will then be up and running quite quickly.
  8. Create pages and content.
  9. Create a navigation menu.
  10. Check that your site looks right on mobile, then test and publish.
  11. Add regular new content to improve your SEO.
  12. Keep backups and regularly update your plugins, themes and WordPress Core.

2. Getting assistance to build a website

Customers getting assistance to build their new website and looking at their design.

If you have already braved starting a site and are looking for someone to improve or progress you in the right direction, you could look in a few places.

  • An online marketplace could be an excellent place to start. You can submit a job request and get three quotes (or more) to help you finish the website.
  • Meetups are a place to learn and meet with other like-minded people about whatever subject interests you. A WordPress Meetup is happening in most states of Australia. You may find you can ask the questions you need and get the help you desire, but it might not be that simple to fit into the speaker’s program. Some meetups go through the backend interface and explain how to use it. This could be perfect.
  • Some organisations teach, with an hourly fee, the steps you need one-on-one.
  • Find a great video and follow it step by step.
  • Check out our FREE easy online SEO courses
  • Call for assistance in completing your website

3. Choosing a professional Web Designer/ Developer

wireframe of website designs
If you understand the advantages of choosing a top professional web designer, you will be prepared to spend some money. A minimal site could start from as low as $650 and go upwards to many thousands for a sizeable eCommerce site.
So what should you expect from a professional that you wouldn’t get doing it yourself?

  • Years of experience
  • Design sense
  • Knowledge of all areas of development
  • Ability to create your website optimised for Search Engines from scratch
  • Experience in User Experience, User Interfaces, World Wide Web rules, Accessibility, Fonts, Funnels, Payment gateways, Personas, Client-Focused Design, Image Optimisation, Browsers, Marketing, Email Marketing, Privacy Policy, Website maintenance and more

Steps to get started on a new website with a professional Designer

  1. Choose the developer that meets your needs and budget and has the ability to listen to your requirements.
  2. Discuss the type of users you wish to attract to your product or service and the functionality required. Show the developer examples of websites you like.
  3. Give the developer your chosen Domain name or ask them to assist you with this.
  4. Choose a host or ask the developer to help with this.
  5. Give the developer all the content, imagery, logo and answers to their questions. Check out—Why content is important for websites
  6. Agree on a payment structure.
  7. Meet at set intervals (online or in-person) to preview the site.
  8. Test and approve the new website.
  9. Organise a contract to work on your ongoing search engine optimisation and website maintenance. See our article on Basic SEO steps

Conclusion

As you can see, many details are involved in web development. But of course, each website design is largely dependent on the type of business you have. Are you selling goods online, or will the site just be needed as a brochure? Will you need ongoing page creation, such as a blog? Do you need your site to be number one on the Google Search Engine Results page so you can win more attention and leads? How much time do you have for learning and developing the site? The cost of a website is largely the same whether you choose a Page Builder or a CMS, but sometimes the cost can be greater doing it yourself, because of mistakes made. If you need support, lessons or web design services, check out our services here or contact us for a friendly chat.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more

10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be made quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together 10 practices for great website design that will get you on the road to a winning site.

1. Customer-Focused Web Design

When designing a new website, it is crucial to keep your customers’ needs in view. Provide valuable content to genuinely solve their needs and optimise all customer touchpoints and preferences. Conversely, if the website is not intuitive to navigate, it will reduce customer satisfaction. Your users are likely to bounce off your site and look for another company to solve their needs.
Minimise confusion by clearly answering the questions that your customer might have and by providing easy-to-use & great website design layouts.

2. An Easy-to-Understand Website Purpose

Creating a website that attracts your target audience in a few seconds is crucial. Not only that, but the purpose of your site must be evident at a glance, or your user will move on. Statistics say you have just seconds to get this information across. Next, ask your friends if they understand what it is you are trying to convey. Perhaps you can give them a couple of quick tasks to achieve on the site to test its effectiveness.

3. Clear Calls to Action

Your website aims to provide a valuable product or service to make your customers’ life easier. So, it is essential to help them find the information they need quickly. Discover the primary purposes your user requires on your site. Is it to find your contact details or to buy a product, or to evaluate your services? Having an easy-to-understand design with clear calls to action will help them navigate your sales funnel to purchase more quickly. Provide your contact details clearly in intuitive locations. Also, by keeping the significant areas of your design consistent across all pages, you are aiding your clients to buy from you.

Call to Action Button - Subscribe to Siteground Hosting

4. Useful and Consistent Content

An essential part of marketing is making sure that your website has the highest professional quality content. It needs to have a consistent tone throughout the whole site and other collateral of your business so that it helps to convey the general atmosphere and purpose of your business. Most of all, it needs to give the type of information that is foremost on your customers’ minds. Content that will solve their needs. Don’t be afraid to hire a great content creator to help shape the information required into easy to read, error-free and well-written pieces. Here is a great article about content to learn more on the subject.

5. Eye-catching Design

Your design is the first thing your users will see. It needs to convey the intended feel of your business and provide up-to-date functionality that your users would expect. Your colour choices and elements will all leave an overall impression of your company. Do you want to look slick and professional, colourful, artistic, elegant and minimalist? Start your design firstly with your users in mind, and follow through so that all details reflect the impression you want to impart.

6. Mobile and Desktop Friendly

Responsive design is essential today to deliver an optimal display on every device that your users choose. A responsive design scales to fit each different device. You will need to tweak the design for each version, adjusting details such as the size of buttons to allow them to be easily clicked on a small device. Google Console offers pointers to ensure all your features are optimised for mobile. With the increase in mobile users, Google has developed a mobile-only Index. If your site is not responsive, it will not be listed in this index; hence you will miss out on a significant portion of business. There are several quick online sites to test and verify that your website is mobile-friendly.

Website designs mobile and desktop -and how to start- 10 practices for great website design

7. A Stable Content Management System

When choosing a platform to create your website, the many choices can leave you confused. Some platforms are easy to use but have limited functionality to go with the regular monthly fee. Other sites are free to use but very complex to understand. The average user needs to find a stable, well-maintained CMS with an extensive support network to call on. A Content Management System such as WordPress is a well-established platform that enables you to update your content without knowing code. There is a learning curve, but you can easily find guidance with such a lot of support out there. Keeping your platform maintained will ensure your visitors don’t encounter errors or delays that will lose their trust.

8. Website Optimised for Search

Just because you publish a website on the internet doesn’t mean your target market will see your site. Several factors contribute to a well-optimised site that can be found via a browser search. These include ensuring your site is indexed with Google, Bing and other providers. To be crawled, indexed and well ranked by a search engine, you need to optimise your website for technical, on-page and off-page SEO. Some of these areas that need optimisation include- HTTP Header responses, speed, sitemaps, redirects, links, headers, titles and metadata. Again, Google Console is a great tool to show you areas to improve. Because ranking a website is such a competitive area now, it is advisable to learn how to carry out search engine optimisation to have the best chances of ranking well. By keeping track of your conversions from your marketing and SEO efforts, you can discover what is working for you and compare the impact of any changes to your site. Read more about optimising your website with these 5 basic SEO steps to start your website.

9. Tailor Your Website to Your Marketing Plan

It is essential to start your business with a marketing plan. Part of the plan includes identifying your target market and knowing about this group of people as much as possible. You will be designing your website for these people, so you need to know their likes and needs, where they can be reached online, and the types of marketing they will respond to. By consistently following your plan with strategic marketing, you will ensure your business stays at the top of your customers’ minds.

10. A Web Design Company that Works with You

A friendly and experienced website design company can bring a wealth of knowledge to create and maintain a successful website whilst minimising stress. As you concentrate on building your business, they can keep your site running smoothly and converting visitors. Choose a company that is happy to answer your questions and learn about your goals to avoid any pitfalls in the future.

Conclusion

According to research into website design principles, the success of your site largely depends on your design. However, every website design, whether new or five years old, needs to be a work in progress. So you can chip away at the list provided. But don’t forget to research your customers and their needs first. Then create a plan that serves them. These 10 practices for great website design will put you well on your way to a competitive website. If you would like some assistance, please get in contact.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more

Why content is important for websites

Why content is important for websites

Have you ever considered why content is important for websites? It is the building block to develop reputation and trust. So often I see small business websites with an image on the home page and nothing further. The site may look great, but the user is likely to bounce straight off as there is nothing to help them. They have come there with a need. The job of the web content-creator is to understand their customers' intent and provide the content to resolve that need.

Grab this excellent opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise and provide a solution for your users. Engage and educate your prospective customers with valuable content marketing. Below I've put together seven reasons why content is important for websites. Hopefully, this will help you build a better site and a more robust business.

1. Valuable Content Influences Conversion

Great content is important for websites as it helps influence conversion. According to Intechnic, 57% of marketers have acquired new customers from their blog. That is to say, by setting yourself apart from your competitors and by showcasing your subject matter expertise, you can bring peace of mind to your consumers.

Your web users are searching using keywords to find the business that will solve their problem. There is an opportunity not only to solve their problem but to go above and beyond. Provide better quality information and images with thoroughness, and you will win over your prospects with the value.

2. Content is Important for Websites to Generate Leads

If you can solve a consumer need by showcasing professional and concise content on your website, you are ahead of the game. By answering their problem with great content, your website user is more likely to remember your brand. When your brand is on the mind of your consumers, you stand out above your competition. If your content is showing up all over the internet, you increase your chances for more sales. When your prospects need your product or service, they will remember the company with excellent user experience and content.

3. SEO Value of Content

The SEO value of content is undeniable today as the leading Search Engine—Google, rates websites based on the quality, relevance, and uniqueness of website content. Search is carried out via typing keywords in a search engine. By creating more articles, video and imagery, you provide more opportunities for different keywords to be used and found.

Besides these reasons adding fresh content is in itself a ranking factor. Another ranking factor is Backlinks or links from a highly rated site to your site. If you create a significant and unique content piece, others might find it valuable enough to link to on your web page. Consequently, this can help to increase your domain rank and ability to be found in search.

4. Writing Evergreen Content for Business Websites

Evergreen content is the type that never grows old. If you have a few pieces of evergreen content, you can extend the lifespan of your articles. Consequently, this can allow more customers to find you. Bringing users continually back to your site increases the likelihood of backlinks to your pages and indeed business.

5. Shareable Content

Fresh content can be shared widely from one interested person to an exponential number of people via social media. As this type of marketing is free (except for the time and expertise to create the content), it is an invaluable and cost-effective way to generate leads. Certain types of content are more popular than others. In particular, Infographics, How-to's and Checklists are some of the most sought-after pieces of content you can create if well researched.

6. Accessibility

Accessibility of your website means that people can shop or compare products on the internet 24/7. Website owners need to ensure there are no barriers that prevent interaction on their site. Barriers can include content functionality such as non-working contact forms or shopping carts, broken links and menus. It could also include a lack of correct information such as opening hours. Also have you considered the needs of those who are sight-impaired or have other disabilities?  With valuable and up-to-date, accessible content, you are in effect, having a permanent window on the street to your services. Accessibility extends the ability of your business to attract leads and customers even while you are sleeping.

7. Differentiate your Product or Service

Content on your website enables you and your brand to showcase your expertise concerning your products or service. If you set yourself apart from your competition, you allow yourself to have an edge. There are many ways to differentiate yourself. You can choose a different tone of voice or look and feel. Perhaps more extensive types of content will be the way forward. Consider including whitepapers, eBooks and case studies and a blog to build a show-stopping business content strategy. By analysing your competition, you can see what their offerings and angles are and do a more unique and thorough job.

Conclusion

As you plan your content marketing, think about the information gaps. Perhaps also consider the platform types available for your budget and product offerings. If you know your users' intent, you then can match the correct variety of content to meet that intent. For example, an eBay shopper wants to know all about the product they are searching. By inserting the competitive keywords into the copy with instructions on how to use the product, you can come up a winner.
Here is a non-exhaustible list of types of content to consider. Let us know how we can help you with your content creation and marketing.

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Blog
  • Listicle
  • EBook
  • How to
  • Case Studies
  • Webinar
  • Logo design
  • Graphics
  • video
  • Photography
  • White papers
  • Infographics
How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more

Which web host should I choose?

server hosting

Which web host should I choose?

I want to explain web hosting before getting into hosting services. A website must be placed on a Web Server to be available on the Internet (or the World Wide Web). Web hosts are companies that lease Server space and accompanying technology to make your website accessible online. Choosing a web host need not be difficult but requires some research. As a beginner, price is a factor for selecting web hosting, so we need to consider this in the search for the right provider. Most Hosting companies offer a discount when you first sign up. You should try to lock in that discount for three years as the renewal price will increase. However, the three main factors to consider after the price are website security, website speed, and hosting support. So here’s my outline of what to look for when deciding which web host you should choose.

Website Speed

Website speed is one of the criteria for a great website. We all know most users will move on if a site doesn’t load in under three seconds. Your site and business will lose trust. Maintaining a prominent search engine ranking also requires that a website load fast. So how do you achieve this?

The web hosting company where your website “lives” is responsible for making your website load more quickly. If your site is not performing as expected, contact your web host company and ask them if something can be changed to improve the website speed. The factors to research when considering a top-notch web hosting company and to ensure you get excellent website speed are, firstly, the quality of the server, secondly, the cache setup, and thirdly, perhaps the size of the disc space. Litespeed is a great server to look for, and the more disc space you can get for the price will be helpful.

Website Security

Website security includes features such as an SSL certificate, backup and security monitoring. You can tell if your site has an SSL certificate by looking at the beginning of your domain name. It should have a small lock icon and an “s” at the end of the http (e.g., https://www.examplewebsite.com.au). When you hover on the lock icon, you will see it says “verified by such and such company”. Hence, that company verifies the domain as a legitimate site.
If you sign up for scanning or monitoring in your server package, you should be assured that if someone hacks your site or places malware, you can be notified and have it removed.
Daily backups are crucial to ensure that you have a backup of the latest version of your website to reload if your site is hacked or crashed. Check that the web hosting company you are considering offers these critical features in their hosting package.

Hosting Support

One of the reasons for hosting support is to aid you if your website goes down for any length of time. If your web host company offers 24/7 support, you know you can call them in the middle of the night or when you notice your site is down. Or perhaps you are updating your content yourself, and everything crashes when you add a feature such as a plugin.

There are, of course, different types of support. Some hosting companies only offer support to experienced developers. In contrast, others are happy to make the changes you require if you don’t understand what is wrong. It’s a good idea to check this detail before signing. Having the support and daily backups factored into your hosting cost gives you peace of mind.

 

Conclusion

To summarise, compare web hosting companies in your budget that include a quality server such as Litespeed, cache setup, SSL certificate, daily backups, security monitoring and 24/7 hosting support. As a startup company,  Shared hosting/ WordPress hosting is adequate. We would be happy to assist if you are unsure about any of this. Here are a couple of our picks for WordPress Hosting.
SiteGround Hosting , Hostinger, A2 & Chemicloud
Ask us about hosting.
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How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more