Website Planning Basics for your WordPress Site
Building your own website doesn’t have to be an overwhelming endeavor. Even if you’re technologically challenged, you can learn to put together a decent custom website using WordPress, an extremely popular and easy-to-use CMS (content management system). WordPress will not only give you much greater flexibility than most DIY website services but will allow for future growth without requiring you to completely rebuild your site.
Where do I start?
There’s a lot of planning that goes into creating a professional website. It’s important to ask yourself some fundamental questions about your business before you even begin to think about WordPress. For example:
- What is the purpose of my website? – Is your website meant to simply be an online business card with contact information? Will it be an online database of information? Or should it sell products or enhance customer service?
- What will my website look like? – What is the personality and vision of your business? How will your site communicate this visually?
- How does my website tie into the rest of my business? – How will it be used in day-to-day operations? What features does it need to have in order to fulfill these needs?
- How will people know I have a website? – How will you market the site? Social media, print, Groupon, etc?
- Who is my target audience? – What is their demographic? How tech savvy are they? What kind of graphic design speaks to them? What will they be doing on your site?
Now it’s time to decide what text and photos will go into the site and how they will relate to one another. The content needs to speak clearly about it’s topic, using words that your target audience will understand and the most likely key words that Google will use in searches. Make it short, too. Except for specific cases, a wall of web text will only serve to drive your users away.
Photos MUST be of professional quality. This means excellent lighting, no distracting backgrounds and, most of all, the photo must clearly relate to the content that it is displayed with otherwise it will detract from your overall message.
Layout & Design
Now that you’ve figured out the cotent, the next step is to imagine it on the page. It helps to do some quick sketches (by hand can be fun) showing what goes where. It’s usually best to stick to familiar layouts like the one shown here because they are tried and true. Fancy designs can get in the way of your user accomplishing her tasks. The goal of design is to facilitate, not inhibit user action.
Domain & Hosting
Your website needs a home to call its own. The domain (which is kind of like a house address) should preferably use key words that describe your business, not necessarily your business name, to ensure that Google gives you maximum return in its search results. For example, “www.alaskacardetailing.com” is more likely to show higher in Google than “www.cleancarsbychris.com” because most people will be doing general searches for “car detailing anchorage”. The hosting (which is the land your house is built on) should be a well known name that offers DIY WordPress installations. Many small and local companies are not equipped to upkeep WordPress adequate servers or provide support. You can avoid hours of needless headache by simply choosing a well known provider. (Psst..We offer GoDaddy domain and hosting through our website.)
Our next step will be to take a peek at the guts of WordPress!
Also, stay tuned for our next two day Hands-On WordPress Seminar, in partnership with Out of a Jam Solutions.
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