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7 things to bear in mind when buying a website

Given we are now living in a digital age, you can pretty much assume or take for granted that it’s not too hard to tackle most things IT related. But while all businesses generally know they need a website, just how simple is it to create your own? Should you enlist the help of a developer, or is it all as straightforward as creating an Instagram page?

What domain name should you choose?

To simplify, a domain name is the web address that you chose that can end in .co.uk, .com, .org and so on. The most highly sought after and prestigious domains are .co.uk and .com. This will be something worth considering when making your selection. If you are thinking of using your company name, you will need to think about how easy it will be for people to spell, also, it’s often helpful to use your location in your domain. Using a location in the domain name can be an important part of getting people to your website organically. What we mean by ‘organically’ is a natural search result rather than paid for. This is when someone enters one or several words relevant to their search requirements into a search engine – for example, Google. An example of this: ‘wedding hair in Buckinghamshire’ can be targeted with the domain www.wedding-hair-in-buckinghamshire.co.uk. Pay per click (PPC) are ads paid for by businesses where they gain preferential listings on sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo by paying to be found at the top in an auction-style bidding system.

What content do you need?

You can always go back and add to your website, so don’t be pressurised to produce a finalised version when it goes live if that’s going to take a long time and hold your business back. If you’re wondering what main pages you need, the minimum required would usually be:

  • Homepage
  • About Us
  • Reviews/Testimonials
  • Services (can be split into each service or as a list)
  • Contact Us

How much hosting do you need?

Hosting is the space that holds your website. Your ‘space’ doesn’t just store the files and media for your website, it also contains your content management system or software, your security and your bandwidth (which decides how fast the site loads and how many visitors it can handle at once).

Aside from the software, photos (particularly high-quality ones) generally take up the most amount of space. It’s worth cherry-picking which ones you want to include on your site if you’re starting off with a small hosting package.

Text alone requires minimal space but you will want to think about the visual appeal of your website. Great content combined with eye-catching images will be sure to hold people’s interest.

Do you really have the time to do it properly?

It’s worth noting that preparing and constructing your site can take some time. You need to give some thought and attention to the content, the language and tone you convey.

Think about the images you want to use on your site and which ones best sell your business. As the old saying goes, a picture can tell a thousand words.

Add on the initial set up of the site; choosing a design, configuring the design and configuring the back end. This is where websites can become a bit overwhelming for a beginner and an incorrect set up can even prevent Google and other search engines finding your website if the wrong information is entered.

Are you computer savvy enough to create a website yourself?

A high-quality looking website can increase your business appeal and integrity as a brand. There are many web building products and information available for beginners but the end result can look fairly basic and standard. If you have plenty of time, and perhaps would like to understand the world of web design a little more, then this could be for you. However, if you are looking for a professional product with a relatively fast turn-around, it might be worth enlisting the services of an established web designer.

The main goal is to get your message across and talk to your target audience in the way that they respond well to. Try to stay consistent with your core values and help people feel a part of your journey.

Do you need support for SEO and technical advice?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the technical term for being found on Google and other search engines. Sometimes called Google Rankings, the more times you appear in searches, the more traffic (and hopefully sales) you’re likely to get. SEO isn’t always essential if you’re looking more for an ‘online brochure’ (typically called a brochure website) – something that gives you credibility combined with other marketing you’re doing, rather than in itself driving your business forward.

If your ambition is to be found on Google, Bing and Yahoo then additional support for SEO, ensuring you get more of the right customers visiting your website and technical advice, can prove highly beneficial.

As well as the front end technical side of websites, there are many facets to owning and running a website rather than just having a site to host your business page. In particular, managing the domain name and the emails that are attached to it. You may need to factor in the additional cost of things like this and how to utilise them correctly and effectively.

Make sure you understand the importance of website security

Another vital element to give thought to is contending with hackers. The most common attack is where hackers use a method known as brute force to try to login to business websites at a rate of 100 per hour. It involves relentless attempts using a variety of password combinations via an automated programme to gain access to your website. If your website stores customer data when they contact you or order from your website, then you are responsible for keeping that data safe and should read in-depth about GDPR as well as your legal obligations. The likelihood is that most hackers are just trying to install spyware, viruses or code that uses your hosting to send out hundreds of spam emails a minute which then can result in your IP address, email accounts and domain name being blacklisted.

There are other ways that you can become ‘blacklisted’. If you intend to send out cold emails to new and existing consumers you can run the risk of being blacklisted. What this means is that if emails from your website or email account are marked as spam, all your emails may be stopped from getting through – even legitimate ones. Companies and consumers use spam filters that have what is known as a criteria to classify an email as ‘spam’. The criteria can consist of:

· A Bad subject title – it is important to title your email so this can guarantee as high ‘open rate’

· Software issues

· Bad lead data – you may have obtained some data where you could be sending out a large quantity of emails to new contacts and the emails no longer exist.

Some of the points may sound a bit daunting to a new business owner, and while there are lots of free and very cheap website options, it’s sometimes worth insuring yourself and your business against future issues. Hopefully, some of this information will help you decide what risks are worth taking and whether to commit to this yourself or speak with a professional.