What You Should Know Before You Get Started
What Are Your Goals For a Web Site?
What do you want your web site to do for you or your business? Are your goals realistic? Do you really need one? I will help you find out why you need or don't need a web presence and what your goals should be for it. If you do want to get started with a web site, I am here to make that happen for you.
How Much Will It Cost?
I will help you to figure out what it is going to cost you to put a web site online, whether it is built and hosted by me or someone else. How to see through all of the hoopla and figure out what you really need to buy. Find a realistic budget for your internet goals.
How Do You Get a Domain Name?
I will explain how to find and buy a Domain Name that makes sense for your web site and that is not already owned by someone else. Why is one name better than another? Why most Domain Names are inexpensive while others are very expensive.
What Kind of Format is Best Suited for Your Site?
I used to "hand code" websites. Some of these sites are quite functional, beautiful, and my clients are still happy with them. I have included a couple of these sites in my Web Portfolio on AnneAlden.com. Now I prefer to use a Content Management System (CMS), specifically one called WordPress. For the past couple of years I have designed exclusively with WordPress platforms and they are truly World Class in their versatility and power. WP works for the most basic website to the most demanding, user-driven websites. I recommend WordPress to my clients for its functionality, stable platform, and high level of security, but also for the client's ability to easily access and work on their own sites without my involvement. I provide training as an optional service.
Would you rather have your site professionally designed and built? This choice is very good for people who are too busy to get involved in yet another problem. The process is quite simple. It requires minimal attention on your part, just a couple of meetings to gather your information, preferences, and subsequent approvals, and you can get on with your daily activities. You will have access to the site at all times and will be able to monitor progress and also see how it will look to users all over the world. Once you provide me with all of the content, I can design and build your site in a matter of days.
How to Make Your Web Site Work for YOU
What is Your Content?
Is your content interesting? Will someone want to stop at your site for more than a minute and actually read it? Do you plan to include images and other media? Is it telling the right story about you and your business? Is it getting your message across?
Content is Crucial.
How Will Your Web Site Look to the World?
How is your site perceived by viewers? Does your site look "homemade" or does it have a professional look and feel? Is that important? It all depends on what you are going to do with your site and what goals you have set for it. Is the structure and organization easy to understand? Do all of the pages and navigation links function correctly? Are there any grammar or spelling issues? All of these things are important.
What is SEO and Why Do I Need It?
There's a fairly good explanation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the SEO page. Basically, SEO is how search engines find your site. Then they in turn make it available to people searching or just browsing on the internet. These engines use what are known as "web crawlers" to well, crawl through the internet, page by page. The internet is so vast and there are so many variables, that it may take a couple of weeks for the crawlers to recognize a change in your information. It can also be instantaneous. But, if there is good SEO and updated information, that once-in-a-while visit may be well worth your effort to use good SEO.
What Makes a Web Site Stale and Why Is That a Concern?
A stale web site is pretty much worthless as a business advertisement. Even the Search Engines are bored with it. If your site just sits there and no updates are made to it month after month, the crawlers will know that they shouldn't bother to look again. The simplest explanation on how they do this, is that they stop at your site for a fraction of a second and send out a pulse query looking for bits (as in ones and zeros) that have changed since the last time they visited. No bits out of sorts? They move on, unimpressed.
Updating a site at least once a month with fresh content really helps. The crawlers will note that there has been a change and this causes them to look at the whole site again and re-catalog it. This means it is bumped up the search list just a little bit higher, and every bump counts.
What are Google Analytics?
A very powerful website activity tracking program, but basically a way to help your site get more attention. The process involves me installing a special GA code, individually assigned to your specific site, into the meta data (see SEO page) that will help Google find and catalog your site. This code setup and monitoring the results and reports are an added service to the web design itself. It will be part of a hosting package. Of course, you can monitor GA yourself. You will need to setup a gmail account to gain access to GA which will allow me to send you an account connection invitation. Then I will remove myself from the account and it is all yours. To find out more about GA, just type in "Google Analytics" into your address bar.