Things to discuss with your designer
Before getting started on a new WordPress website, please consider all of these topics in the first conversation with your graphic designer. Most of the important stuff is listed here plus it gives your designer the opportunity to advise you on important options and expectations for your website build.
- Do you require e-commerce? – If so this may not be the ideal platform – consider Shopify first.
- Do you require lots of information from your customer via a contact form or similar?
- Should contact from your customer be easy and immediate or require checks and balances like captcha, compulsory fields, page navigation? – There are Pros and Cons for both options. Easy is generally better for high conversion, the alternative can filter out some spam if it becomes a problem.
- Do you want your email and phone number to be visible and or click thru? Privacy versus traffic conversion.
- Do you want your physical address to be listed via google maps? Privacy versus transparency.
- What are your expectations on your website being page one for the first year? Unless you are a niche that is not likely without high traffic.
- How fast, versus pretty do you see your website – Pictures and effects versus information and SEO?
- Do you have a business email in place or do you want advice on that?
- Do you own a domain name?
- Do you have somewhere to host the site?
- Have you seen sites that you’d like to replicate the look and feel of?
- Do you have branding and a quality logo?
- Are you seeking general advertising advise or just a website?
- Are you familiar with SEO?
- If so what keys words and phrases would you like highlighted in copy and titles
- Are you interested in a set and forget website or looking to grow and modify the site over time
- How big is the website? Small is cheaper, big is more likely to have multiple sources of traffic and keywords searches.
- Who will maintain your website and updates over time and information and technology changes? >1 hour – 6 monthly is advised.
- Have you considered how your first 100 or 1,000 leads will come to your site to start the ball rolling?
- Do you require some SEO training or understanding?
- Are you interested in extra attention to enhancing and testing your website with 3rd party plugins to tweak speed and efficiency
- Consider the main goals of your website (eg brand, conversion, information, subscription, ranking well fast)
Frequently asked questions.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is like your personalised number plate. Once you have it reserved no one can take it away unless you fail to renew, in which case it goes back on the open market. The owner has responsibility for payment and renewal (a reminder is sent by the domain provider) when renewal is due. You can set your payment to auto-renew which is highly recommended. Cost is about $20 a year or less.
How do I get a domain name?
‘Crazy domains’ are as good as any and I am familiar with their website, but if you have another provider that is also fine. When purchasing a name with .com.au you will need to provide an ABN. If you want to generate ideas for domain names based on keywords nameboy.com is quite good.
What is a hosting plan?
Hosting is the place that contains your website data. You are paying for space, integration, plugins, help desk and control panel (cpanel). It costs anywhere from $100-$2,000 a year and requires some basic technical understanding. I can take care of VPS hosting if you don’t have a provider. Under my hosting I also include backups of your site on completion and at the request of the client or after any major updates to the site. Any plug-ins that require urgent updating are flagged on a daily basis and will be updated and backed up as required. This keeps your site running at optimum and secure from known malicious international attacks.
Can I get my own hosting.
The simple answer is yes, but the technical side of understanding your hosting cpanel can take a while and if and when your website goes down, you are relying on a stranger on a chat line to try and get it running again. I do no recommend self hosting unless you have an in-house tech person.
Also, note that hosting plans come in many shapes and sizes, from budget packages to thousands of dollars. Navigating what package to choose can be daunting and it’s tempting to go for the cheapest. But what people don’t know it that the cheapest is shared hosting, which means you are sharing your web space with hundreds or thousands of other sites. This can pose a much bigger risk when it comes to downtime and hacking of multiple sites.
Even with expensive plans, there is room for potential problems if the site and plug-ins are not maintained. These include downtime, hacking, loss of SEO, missed updates, data space issues, unforeseen new technology, new protocols and plugins. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, all of these things can be missed. This is why it pays to have a dedicated person maintaining and managing your hosting plan. Advert ideas can host and maintain your site for $300 per year. $100 covers the server space and $200 covers a few hours of time per year to keep the site well oiled and backed up.
Advert ideas use a premium package across the many sites we manage on a dedicated VPS server. We regularly back up and maintain your site with any major updates to your design. If the site goes down or gets hacked for any reason we have hard copies of the data stored in 2 locations. The cost of the data hosting at this level can cost hundreds of dollars and many man-hours per year, but we pass that onto you for a lot less because we manage a few sites under a premium plan separated into c-panels.
What should I include in my site?
Sites are flexible and easy to edit, but as a starting point, you should consider your title and description carefully, your call to action / contact details and key messages for the home page with relevant headings that tie in with a well thought out google description and title. Other considerations would be menu items, social links, colours etc. Internal and external links give relevance to your site and let the reader navigate easily through your site to the information they need. Google favours sites that are mobile friendly, easy to navigate, informative and relevant.
What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. It’s an umbrella term that means lots of things, but the aim is to have the optimum relevant content for your business and attract as many relevant visitors to your site over the competition. The most important stuff to make your site attract the right type of traffic is considering plenty of engaging and easy to read the content. A title, description and keywords also help you to get found by search engines such as Google. These words and sentences should be relevant to the traffic that would engage with your site. Plugins, content placement and backlinks also have an impact on optimisation. I use a plug in to populate relevant content into the description of your pages that helps direct the relevant searches to those pages. This plugin also gives real-time feedback on how efficiently the SEO is performing. Some companies, mainly overseas will email you to offer a monthly SEO optimisation subscription. This can be costly (200-300 a month) and there are no guarantees. What they are probably going to do is write blogs and send traffic your way through various channels which are not necessarily scrupulous. Pretty much trying to cheat the system and make Google think you are more popular than you are, therefore aiming to rank your site higher on searches. Google is smart and always changing to keep up with these SEO tricks and scams. There are responsible SEO companies which I can recommend but it is very costly and you have to weigh up the cost versus the outcome. To get a real gauge of how your site is performing, statistical information can be generated through google analytics. This is another plugin that can be added to your site. My own site currently sits on the front page of most cities and graphic design searches in Australia. It has about 15,000 national views a month which translates to about 1 new phone call a week. It also has many overseas views but in smaller numbers.
What Advert ideas does to get you started.
- Hosting – We can organise this at below retail cost per year through our shared plan. (currently $300 per year in advance).
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – Defining the Title, description and keywords that are relevant for search engines such as Google. These words and sentences must be relevant to the traffic that will be using your site.
- Title graphic – (this could be an existing logo) or can be created in Photoshop using your business name. Simple is best and websites work well with the logo in landscape…normally fitting along the menu bar.
- Installation of the Elegant DIVI theme – this is the theme I use unless otherwise specified. It is tried and tested and easy to edit for new users. It retails for $70 but is included free of charge with your design.
- Basic design – communicating your business with imagery and words that can be easily seen when the site opens. Less important information is shown via menus or by scrolling. Images can be in the form of animated sliders, a static folio etc
- Contact details and links: email, address, maps will be added as required
- Social media: links will be added as required
- Suggestions on how to get onto Google Maps and other free business listings
Can I edit my own site once its finished?
Yes, you can. If you would like to be added as a user you will log in here. www.yourdomain.com.au/wp-admin We can provide a user name and password to access the site from the back end. As a general rule, you will be added as an ‘Editor’ which gives you all of the required access to make changes to your content without affecting the code or complex features of the theme. Below I have made a video to show how easy basic edits are. Also there is a link to a longer video by DIVI.
What can I change?
You can change almost everything within the site if you have some practice and know-how. The Divi theme is quite intuitive and there are many free tutorials available online if you get stuck. Advert ideas are always available for any advanced training or design tweaks if required. Basic training is part of the handover process.
What is responsive design?
Responsive means that the layout changes when its viewed in different situations like desktop or iPhone. This utilises the best use of screen space and make its more user friendly when viewed on small devices. You can also have some elements appear on one device but not others. On the back end of the site these elements may appear slightly greyed out depending on what preview mode you are on. So on a desktop view your element for iPhone will appear lighter and visa versa. This is a more advanced feature to talk to your designer about.
What is a theme?
This is the code behind the scenes that determines some of the design functionality. Some themes are free but good ones can cost up to $300. The theme I most commonly use is called ‘Divi’ which also has a design builder. I use this because of its flexibility and ease of use. It has been bought and downloaded 200,000 times worldwide. Divi also has many cool widgets to add a wow factor to your site…things like animated counters, animated graphs etc. If Divi doesn’t suit, there are other themes that may work better for your site. A theme normally adds a certain flavour to your page..slick, loose, fun, elegant, corporate etc before the designer gets in and tweaks to suit your needs. Once the site is populated a theme can be switched while still retaining the core copy, data and images. Some tweaking will be needed to make the new theme work at its best, but that is one of the great things about WordPress.
My 5 minute vid to get you started on basic changes to your own site.
Once your site is designed you can have access to change elements. This is what your site looks like while in editing mode or by using the new visual mode you can see changes in real time.
All of my sites are created by Elegant Themes. Here is the promo video for Divi 3.0 – their flagship theme. This is the theme used on this site and all of the latest sites that I’ve built.
Further reading if required.
Registration of a domain name and hosting
The domain name (like a personalised number plate which you own. Note: (com.au domains require an ABN)). The domain company where you register the name will remind you and bill you when this is due to renew – costs about $15 per year. It is best for the client to organise the domain name and registration – the owner has responsibility overpayment and renewal (a reminder is sent by the domain provider). crazydomains.com can take care of domain registration. It’s sometimes difficult to decide on or secure the ideal domain name. nameboy.com is a good free site for generating ideas and confirming availability. Crazy domains will give you availability but not necessarily provide alternative word combinations except for .net, info etc.
Hosting (think of it as registration which runs out after 1-2 years) It normally costs about $100-$150 a year if you look after the control panel yourself and requires some understanding of Cpanel and other technical terms. Hosting cost through Advert Ideas is the server cost plus maintenance of the site through the cpanel. We also run regular checks to make sure plugins are updated when required. Backups of the site are also done after any major changes to the content or technology.
I install WordPress & assign a Theme (This is the coded style sheet that sets the rules and determines some of the design functionality). The theme I most commonly use is called ‘Divi’. I use this because of its flexibility and ease of use. It also has many cool widgets to add a wow factor to your site…things like animated counters, animated graphs etc.
Getting the site started and functional
These are the basic things that are done to make your site functional and ready to edit
- SEO (Search Engine optimisation) – Defining the Title, description and keywords that are relevant for search engines such as Google. These words and sentences must be relevant to the traffic that will be using your site.
- Title graphic – (this could be an existing logo) but can be as simple as a nice font with your business name
- Elegant DIVI theme – this is the theme I use unless otherwise specified. It is tried and tested and easy to edit for new users.
- Basic design – communicating your business with imagery and words that is easy to see on when the site opens. Less important information is shown via menus or by scrolling. Images can be in the form of animated sliders, a static folio etc
- Contact: email, address, maps will be added as required
- Social media: links will be added as required
I assign the purchased domain name to the hosting plan…I require the login details for your domain name to make this happen. These 2 addresses are entered into your name server preferences (ns.inmotionhosting.com and ns2.inmotionhosting.com) Sometimes 24 hours is needed for the website to appear online.
Once the website is live, I upload the default ‘Divi’ theme to your site (this retails for $60 however I waive this fee for my clients)… An example of the ‘Divi’ theme can be seen on my own site and other web sites links on my front page at ‘advertideas.com’. Using the style sheets embedded into the Divi theme I populate a design with the client’s elements, copy, colours, logo etc. Once this basic information is in place the site can be edited from any authorised login. Some training may be required however the process is reasonably intuitive with a bit of practice.
Your login details will be provided by me. The login location address will be www.yourdomain.com.au/wp-admin
Once the site is ready to take over you will need to provide me with the IP address from where you will be editing your site. To obtain this you go to getip.com and that should give you a number to pass on to me (it should look something like this – 167.876.890.74 as shown below). I will then add this to the allocated list of users. I am also able to access the site if required.
Editing your new website
Your log in details will be provided by me. The login location address will be like this example www.advertideas.com.au/wp-admin
Once you’re in you will see the back end of your website. The sidebar is fairly intuitive but if you have trouble I’m a phone call away – 0414 505 393. Otherwise youtube is great for answering basic WordPress questions.
The sort of thing that can easily be changed are copy changes and images. Other things like design and integration may require some additonal training. I can offer this at an hourly rate.