Do I hire someone to build my website – or can I build it myself?

It’s relatively easy to create a simple website, but you might be time poor, or you may be looking for a more sophisticated solution  – so you may want to hire a specialist to do some or all of it for you. In the end, the decision is yours to make. You will need to take into account factors like cost, scope, timeline, size of your business, goals and feasibility. To help you get a feel for the different ways that you can build your website, here are six options to consider.

WordPress or Similar CMS. A CMS is a content management system and regardless of which type you choose (WordPress is widely recognized as the best, but there are many other out there), it will provide you with a simple way to construct your website without having to know a lot about websites or website building.

Adobe Dreamweaver. If you have a fair grasp of HTML and CSS (if you don’t know what these are, this probably isn’t the choice for you), Adobe Dreamweaver provides you an easy way to make complex websites. This simply means that you have more creative control over the design and construction of your site without having to own expensive web design and coding programs that professionals use.

Hiring a Web Designer. This can be a more expensive option but is also the easiest if you are time poor or don’t have a lot of digital experience. This simply means you outsource the job to a professional web designer. Of course, you will have to pay and you will have to do your homework to find a web designer that you can work with, but in the end, you can customize your website as little or as much as you desire—it just depends on how much you want to pay.

Website Builder. A website builder offers you a simple way to design, build, launch and manage your website.. These builders are generally “drag and drop” control panels which means you have a number of options on the left which you simply pick from and then drag them over onto your site with your mouse and drop them where you want them to go. Then, you simply fill in the content and launch your site.

Trust Afirmo to guide you through setting-up and sorting-out your business. From March 2022 Afirmo will give you the tools to get your marketing-game on, tools to register a domain, design a logo, set up your website and get your presence on social media on-trend.

How do I get a website address for my business?

A website address is also known as a domain name or url, and is definitely one of the first things to take care of when giving your business a name. Maybe your business is up and running so already has a name?

You can check if your idea website address is available, including the suffix options – like .com, .co.nz, and .nz.  To do this, search online for registrars or check the randomised list of New Zealand domain registrars  on the Domain Name Commission Website. Remeber that from March you will be able to register your domain name directly from your Afirmo dashboard.

What do I need to include on my business website?

To work out what to include on your website, you need to have a clear picture on what you want your website to achieve. Some examples include:

  • To capture potential customers through Google search
  • To encourage more people to contact you
  • To let people buy your products or services online
  • To keep people up to date with news items
  • To build credibility by sharing helpful tips related to what you do

Once you have clarified what you want your website to achieve, you can customise your website to achieve these goals. Take a look at the websites of your competitors websites – how do they make their site customer friendly to stir them in to purchasing?

Do you need to future proof your website? Right now at the stage of your business, you may want to keep things really simple. You may want to start with a blog on your site….but in the future what you need may need to sell products from your website.  It’s a good idea to think about what your website needs may be in the future so that you can easily add new areas to it as required, without having to rebuilt in the future.

How to do I make a site map for my website?

Once you have a visitor on your website, you want to keep them there as long as you can – so you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find the content they are looking for and that is what your site map does. A site map starts at the home page and shows the paths to logical locations for the types of content you want to include. You need to put the most important information upfront and gradually increase the level of detail for your visitors. Part of the challenge is making your site map right for your first time visitors, and for those people who have visited you before.

Your basic site maps needs to start with a home page that provides quick, easy access to the most important-high level content, with links to more information about your products and services, about who you are, and about how to contact you on sub-pages.

How do I choose the right business website template?

Big tip – you do not need to develop your website from scratch! There are thousands of affordable templates available online you can choose from.  Website templates have everything designed in place and all you have to do is add your content in the spaces provided. Do some research on a few options before you choose a particular template, because some are more customisable than others.  The main thing when choosing a template is to choose one that’s designed for the types of content you want to include, has the look and feel that matches your business, and can be easily used to add or remove content.

Also before settling on one website template, make sure it is “responsive” – the template needs to automatically adjust formatting to whatever the visitor is viewing your website on – a computer, a tablet or a smartphone.

Another big tip – even with a template site, relax if you feel daunted managing it on your own – because you don’t have to.  There are plenty of affordable website development companies to help you choose the right template for you and get it all set up on your behalf – they can also show you how to add new content and maintain existing pages into the future.

How do I choose a host for my website?

A website host is a company that provides the computer servers your website content sits on.

Responsible hosts specialise in keeping their servers operating 247, up-to-date and secure. And some website hosts include automatic back-up copies of your site – so if anything goes wrong – your website material can easily be restored. Website hosts usually host your email mailboxes too, and may also offer spam protection and filtering.

How do I keep my website secure?

Basic online security steps are always important, like choosing a complex password for the content management system, and changing the password regularly – and make sure to use two-factor authentication when possible.  Also, when you are looking at your website host provider company options make sure you compare what security protection options they offer.

How to I write my website content?

If you are not a confident writer, you can hire a content writer to do the content production for you, from scratch, or to fine-tune content drafts you have started.

Content writing tips to get you started:

  • Decide and be clear on the purpose of each page.
  • Write what your target audience needs to know for that purpose to be achieved.
  • Let your brand personality come through – if you are fun fashion brand, make sure the content is punchy and fun.
  • Keep content natural, conversational and concise.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Start with the main points, and then go into more detail.
  • Talk to the customer about the benefits of your product or service, then get in to the features that provide those benefits – people like to know how the new shoes will make them feel (benefits), before they read about the way the shoes were made (features).
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms – or explain what they mean when you first use them
  • Use subheadings that convey the main point of each paragraph or section, to break up your content and make it scannable to the eye.
  • List the phrases people will probably use to search for your goods or services, then use each one of the words in a page title or subheading where it seems natural, and in the content – this will help search engines find your website.
  • Reinforce the main benefits of your products or services by using short customer testimonial quotes if you can.
  • Make sure you include a call to action on every page – such as “to find out more, call XXX XXXX or get in touch today – and link “get in touch today” to your contact page.
  • Put your phone number or your main contact details in the header and footer of every page.
  • Hyperlinks stand out – so use words that are meaningful and important to customers, not just “click here”.
  • Spell-check and read everything out loud to find typos and clunky sentences that may distract your visitors into leaving your site.

How do I make a business logo for my website?

Even if you have a logo, when you take your business online it could be a good time to design a version that is more suitable for a website. Having a sharp, attractive logo reassures visitors that they have come to the right place. You can have a new logo designed from scratch or visit one of the many logo-generating companies online.

How do I get images for my business website?

A picture paints a thousand words – so having images on your website that provide insight for your visitors into your business is a good thing. Images for your website don’t need to be a high resolution – so it is possible to use photographs taken on a smart phone camera. If you are using your own images, rather than stock images or pictures taken professionally for you, make sure they reflect well on your business and look professional.

Should I test my website before it goes live?

Yes – before you publish your website, it should be tested on a wide range of devices – phones, tablets and computers.

The test should also use all the main browsers, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Apple Safari, Samsung Internet and so on.

Send your friends a link to the test site and ask for their frank feedback – make sure you test everything carefully including the content form, all internal and external links, plus comments and feedback channels – and get your friends to feedback on how easily they were able to use the forms and links on your site.

How do I promote my business website?

When your website is developed, and tested, it is time to launch, and to let the world know your site is up and running.

The more traffic you drive to your site, the more highly it will be rated by search engines. There are ways to let search engines like Google know, so they can “crawl”  it as soon as possible  rather than waiting for them to stumble on it.

Another way to build awareness of your website is through customer newsletters, social media, and local website directories.

Also, make sure all of your business collateral includes your website address – including advertisements, business cards, vehicle signage, uniforms, email signatures and so one.

What maintenance does my business website need?

Like most things in business, it is important to keep your website up to date, relevant and in good condition, so set time aside to regularly focus on:

  • Ensuring existing content is still relevant.
  • Regularly adding new content, such as a blog or online newsletters.
  • Responding promptly to messages, comments and feedback from visitors on your site.
  • Trying fresh versions of content to see if it improves your search results.
  • Redirecting the url of any pages you delete, so they don’t produce the bad “page not found” experience for search engine crawlers and customers.
  • Renewing your domain registration and template subscriptions in time.
  • Ensuring templates and plug-ins are promptly updated to the latest and most secure versions.
  • Changing your log-in password regularly.