Designing or Redesigning a Website
Thinking of getting a new website or upgrading your existing one? Start by familiarizing yourself with basic web design and web marketing principles. If you feel you are not clear on any of the points, and would like assistance at this stage, contact Joomla Bliss. We offer an initial 30-minute consultation free of charge.
Website Design, Look and Feel, Page Layout, Navigation, Content
- Your URL is best to contain your most important keyword. It is not required, but it is highly beneficial. Example: www.joomlabliss.com
- Your website should be based on a content management system (free open-source content management systems like Joomla would do a fantastic job even for the most complex websites)
- The style of your website should reflect the type of business you are in (check the leading companies/organizations in your field and model your site afyer them)
- Your website's layout needs to be user friendly; is best to be of 3-column or at least 2-column design, with a permanent top main menu and a footer
- Your site should be compatible with all major browsers two generations back
- Your site needs to be highly responsive, i.e. reformat itself on all mobile and tablet devices
- Download time should be under 2-4 seconds and 10 seconds for dial-up connection
- All external links should open a 'New Window'; all internal links should be set for the 'This/Same Frame'
- All hyperlinks should have 'Titles' defined.
- All images should have 'alt' tags describing their content
- Your website needs to have pleasant images and an easy-to-read typography (font) style
- Your contact information needs to contain your full physical address, phone number and email, and it should be easily accessible
- Your website's navigation should be of more than one and not more than three levels deep (a tree-like structure)
- Your website's navigation should be arranged logically and hierarchically, starting with the broadest category and progressing down to more specific sub-categories.
- Your website must have a Breadcrumb element and a Site Map element
- Your website must contain a site-wide Search element
- Your website needs to have a Registration form
- Your website needs to have a Newsletter subscription element
- Your website needs to have an RSS feed and preferably several Social Media buttons (Addthis.com)
- Your website needs to have a Blog with user comments
- Your website needs to have a custom 404 error page
- Your website needs to have 301 redirect setup
- Your website should offer free and useful information for your visitors, presented in an easy-to-read format (text arranged in short paragraphs, using headers, sub-headers, bulleted lists and other web page formatting principles)
Selecting a Content Management System (CMS)
- Will your website significantly reflect your business? For example, a restaurant business is not affected by a poor website.
- Do you have a very specific, highly custom (even unusual) and very large-scale plan for your website? For example, are you thinking of setting up a social networking community website similar to Facebook? Online auction?
- Will you offer a significant amount of content? Will your website have more than 50 pages?
- Will your website have a bog where people can post comments?
- Will your website offer a newsletter subscription?
- Will you be selling anything via your website? One item or multiple items?
- Will you offer free downloads of PDF, Word, Excel files?
- Will you have a lot of visual elements, such as product galleries, photos, images, etc?
- Will there be restricted areas on your website that would require login?
- Will you have a lot of social interaction on your site (posting comments, uploading photos, exchanging messages, etc.)?
- Do you have plans to grow and enhance your website gradually, i.e. placing polls, surveys, quizzes, adding e-commerce, etc.?
If you answer 'Yes' to any 5 of these questions, your choice of a CMS should be Joomla. If your website is largely driven by a blog or simple text - it is safe to select Wordpress. If you answer 'Yes' with an strong emphasis to question #2 - select Drupal or even better, procure a custom CMS (which will cost a fortune).
- Your website needs to have a modern look and feel, appropriate for your type of business (e.g. social networking website versus financial planning firm; alternative energy provider versus HR software developer)
- Your website needs to offer a good amount of free and interesting information to its visitors (links to quality websites in your industry, free PDFs, demos, etc.)
- Your website's content needs to be written in a simple language and presented in an easy-to-read format (suitable for visual scanning)
- You need to have clear and visible calls to action (buy, order, download, register - links, banners, and buttons)
- You need to collect emails of your visitors (newsletter signup, registration form, free download, free demo)
- You need to do a thorough keyword research as well as competitive analysis
- You need to SEO your site's design, content, and formatting by incorporating your main keywords in all structural elements
- You need to build as many back links as you can from sites and blogs in your industry (or directory links are of high value as well)
- Your need to learn about online PR and Social Media Marketing (the leading sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest)
- Your need to participate in your industry's reputable forums and blogs and offer your professional advice
- You need to enrol in Google AdWords; you need to create custom landing pages for each ad group
- You need to collect your website statistics and analyze it on a regular basis (Google Analytics is a must; remember to set goals)
- In summary, you need to be constantly creating content: on your website's blog and on the leading social sites, as well as posting comments on forums and blogs with links back to your site where possible. The key is to create meanignful and useful content for your visitors and for the general public; re-writing your press releases and posting them on all social sites will be counter productive.
- Above all, you need to get your users to click on those buttons: "like" and "plus" and "share" your pages with comments. Those comments should ideally contain your most important keywords. Comments are key. Simply clicking the buttons is not enough, or you need hundreds of those clicks. But comments, if you cna get 40 buttons with keyword-relevant comments, you site will move up in ranking on Google very significantly. Being on the first page on Google will drive traffic to your site. If you arenot on the first page, you are nowhere.