During my most recent “Blog Writing for Business” class, the conversation came up regarding how to select a web designer and what I suggest you have in place before you hire one.
The information in this post will help you to prepare for the creation of your website* and help you to ensure that all of your website tools are registered in your name (not the web designer’s name).
*I am referencing and recommending WordPress websites only. I will put together a blog post explaining to you why I do not recommend Wix and Squarespace websites for business.
Here are the steps for you to begin the website preparation process:
1. Purchase Your Domain Name – make sure you choose the name of your business (socialmediawithromona.com) or personal brand (romonafoster.com) for your domain name — i.e. be consistent with your brand.
2. Get Managed WordPress Hosting – you will need hosting in order for the web designer to begin working on your website.
3. SSL Certificate – as of July 2018, Google announced that they will no longer index websites that are not secure. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and changes your website URL from http:// to https://. Sites that do not have SSL can only be found if someone has your actual website address and type it in. Non-SSL sites will not be found if someone does a search for ‘Daycare in DC’ for example. Only the secure sites will show up in the search.
4. Choose Your WordPress Theme – there are many places online where you can purchase a WordPress theme, but Themeforest is one of the most popular places to get one. DO NOT allow the web designer to choose your theme for you as you want to be sure it is in line with your mission and vision. What they envision for you may not even come close.
Here’s how to do an effective search on Themeforest:
Search for your industry or category such as ‘personal brand WordPress’, ‘daycare WordPress’, ‘e-commerce WordPress’, etc.
Then, check out the reviews for the theme(s) that you are interested in.
Check to see that the theme was updated within the last few months.
Make sure that the theme offers support, and finally,
Check out the comments to see how the theme developer interacts with people when they ask questions. Do not buy the theme if they are unhelpful or unkind in their responses.
5. Put together the content that will go on your website – now that you have your theme, use it as a guide for the names of your web pages (Home, About, Services, Products, Blog, Contact for example). Then:
Open up a Word document and layout each page as you envision them.
Add the home page content (text, photos, videos, etc.) on one page of the Word document.
Do the same for each subsequent page.
6. Keywords – WordPress is so powerful because it allows you to optimize your website for the search engines by using keyword tags and categories. Give the web designer a list of keywords that people will use to find what you are offering. If they do SEO, they should be able to help you find your most relevant keywords.
7. Google Analytics Code – be sure to give the web developer your Google Analytics code, which will track your website traffic and other activity on your site. DO NOT allow them to set up your Google Analytics account for you as many will add your website to their Google Analytics dashboard and you will not have direct access to your account.
8. Facebook Pixel – the same as with your Google Analytics code, be sure to give the web developer your Facebook Pixel, which will track traffic between your Facebook page and your website. Here’s how Facebook describes the Facebook Pixel.
When someone visits your website and takes an action (for example, buying something), the Facebook pixel is triggered and reports this action. This way, you’ll know when a customer took an action after seeing your Facebook ad.
You may alternatively use WordPress.com to create your website. Some say it is easier, but it is not my preference.
That’s it for now. I hope this will help you understand more about how to get ready for the building of your new website.
If after reading this, you still have questions, click here to schedule a WordPress Consultation with me today!
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- How Do I Buy A Domain Name?
Disclosure: Some companies that I mention are my marketing and training partners. I am an affiliate of others. I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links on this page. I only recommend products and services from companies I trust, tools I’ve used, and those that I highly recommend and feel may be of value to you and beneficial to your marketing efforts.
Author: Romona Foster
Romona Foster is the Social Media Trainer and Consultant at Social Media How To’s with Romona. Romona teaches small businesses and nonprofits how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business — and the best practices of Email Marketing, Online Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, and Personal Branding. She is a featured contributor with Business2Community and is a Constant Contact Community blogger.