Guide To Planning A Website
1. Domain name registration
Chances are you already have a website and indeed a domain name. But what if you have a brand new company or have never had a website? Here are some tips for choosing the right domain name:
Your domain name should exactly match your company name
If you are called "Delicious Cake Company" you should register deliciouscakecompany.co.uk. This will guarantee your site is found when a visitor searches for your company name, or if they are "guessing" your domain name this is what they would type.
.co.uk or .com?
If you do business solely in the United Kingdom, then .co.uk is preferred. This is given slight preference by search engines when looking for UK sites and makes it obvious to a potential customer that you are UK-focused.
My domain name is not available!
If you are an established company which has been trading for years, and someone else has registered a domain that exactly matches your company name, you might be able to take ownership of the registration through an arbitration process.
Sometimes, you may have no choice but to register a different domain.
Avoid hyphens in domain names
Having hyphens in domain names leads to confusion. Visitors may leave the hyphens out and end up on a competitor's website. They are also difficult to convey when someone recommends a website verbally, and finally they are quite simply a pain for people to remember and type in!
Keywords in domain names
An alternative to registering a domain that matches your company name is to register an address that contains keywords that people are likely to search for. Search engines give high weighting to domain names containing keywords.
You may have noticed that B&Q's website is diy.com - this is a superb example of keyword domain registration, as people searching for the generic term "DIY" will have a very high chance of finding the B&Q website.
If you are a firm of solicitors in Brighton, you should consider registering brightonsolicitors.co.uk or similar.
2. Produce a site map
Before you produce the visuals for your website you need to work out what your site will contain.
What are you trying to achieve?
With many companies this can be vague: "we think we probably need a website", or "we need it to look better than our existing site".
Take a step back and look at it from an external viewpoint. Who is your target audience? What might people want to find out about you? What can you offer them? What will the audience want?
Now you know what you are trying to achieve, what content will help you achieve it? Consider:
- Contact information
Sketch out a site map, showing the site hierarchy (categories and sub-categories) and what each page will contain. Pay special attention to the homepage, what information should you want to give prominence to?