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Tips, Tricks & Information From a Professional Web Designer

So you’ve decided it’s time for a website and you’re ready to tackle your new web development project. We’re here to help and to make sure your website works hard for you 24/7/365.

Make sure the design of your website reflects who you are. Think about what makes you different. What are some things that make you stand out? Your website should be the “face” of your company. It should reflect who you are, what you offer and most importantly… it should express why people should buy from you instead of your competitors. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what those differences are. Figuring that out is part of the process.

💥 Your website is often the first thing (and sometimes the only thing) a potential customer sees when learning about your business. And you know what they say – You never get a second chance at a first impression.

Web Design and Development – Our Specialty

Before writing any code or designing anything on paper, take some time to understand exactly why you’re building a website. What are your expectations? How did your business get started? Who have you served up until now and who will your customers be in the future? These variables should play a huge part in shaping the DNA of your website.

Your website should be an extension of your business, reflecting your values and philosophy. It should be able to convey what you do, how you do it, why you do it and what makes you stand out from the crowd.

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We love developing websites. Tap into our years of experience and get a website that suits your business perfectly and makes you look amazing online. When you want proven website results, you want Team 218 Web Services. We are Website Problem Solvers! Let’s solve yours!

Take a Look At Our 8 Keys To Great Web Design 

Our keys to building a website apply to any kind of website project. It’s usually a confusing period when you decide it’s time to get a new website.

You have some important decisions to make. Don’t rush into this stage. We’re here to help you through the web development process and make it as easy as possible for you to get a website.

Web Design & Development - Responsive design screenshots

Tip #1 – Research

What are your expectations from a website?

Before you even think about the design of your website or any of the bells and whistles you want – STOP.

Back up a bit and put some serious thought into why you want a website. What do you expect from your website. Think about what your goals are for your site and how you will measure your success? How are you currently marketing your business? How successful is your current campaign? Who is your audience? Who will take care of the website once it’s up and running?

These are the kinds of questions we ask during our discovery phase of a website project. You need to know the answers to questions like these to know what the focus of your website will be.

Tip #2 – Domain (Get a Great One)

Once you have a game plan for your website it’s time to do some research. Let’s find a great domain name for your site. Think of a domain as your digital street address. It’s where people can find you online.

We like Namecheck.com as a tool to search for domain names. Namecheck will also show you the status of social media names. Put some thought into choosing a domain name. Once you are online it’s difficult to change your domain name so choose wisely. Try to find a domain name that reflects your business name or industry. Shorter domain names are becoming harder to find, especially in the .com TLD arena. In certain situations it might be worthwhile to explore the expired domain market. It’s possible to acquire a domain that has expired and already has SEO ranking power. You might find your perfect domain name has already been taken. Time to get creative and try some new naming combinations.

Shorter is better but… there’s nothing wrong with longer domain names as long as they’re easy to remember. Remember;  at some point you will need to be able to tell someone the URL of your site. The longer it is, the more likely you’ll have to spell it out. Let’s face it – telling someone your website is www.mysite.com is a lot easier than www.myown-great-website.com.

Once you find the perfect domain name you’ll need to register (buy) it. We recommend initially registering your new domain for 5 years. The length will help a bit in your SEO efforts. Every little bit helps, especially with a brand new website.

Team 218 Web Services has some Premium Domains available for purchase. Refer to our Premium Domains page if you’re interested in purchasing one of our Premium Domains.

Who we use: Namecheck.com, Porkbun.com

Tip #3 – Hosting (Don’t Skimp Here)

Website hosting plays an important role in the success of your website. This is not the place to skimp to save a few bucks. Regardless of how much optimizing you do on your website, being saddled with slow hosting will kill your page load speeds. TTFB (Time To First Byte) is a crucial measurement and you want it under 200 milliseconds. So how do you measure that? We rely on WebPageTest.org for detailed statistics and measurements.

Try to match your hosting to your anticipated needs. Don’t buy dedicated hosting for a small blog type website. Don’t go with the cheapest shared hosting for an e-commerce website.

Be realistic in evaluating your expected traffic when selecting hosting. You want your site to load fast. You want a reliable host with customer service you can count on. Trust me, you will need it.

All the major web hosting vendors have several hosting plans to choose from. They will help you choose and the good ones will set things up for you.

Who we use: NameHero.com

Tip #4 – Responsive Web Design Techniques

Responsive technology is a requirement for any website built these days. This approach ensures your website will display nicely regardless of what device its’ viewed with.

Over 65% of the traffic on our own website (team218.com) is from people on their phones. We expect this number to increase and your site needs to be ready to handle the traffic from mobile devices. Read more about Responsive Design.

There are utility programs available to simulate various digital devices on a desktop but there’s no substitute for viewing a site on actual devices. We test responsiveness on actual phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Learn how we go about Testing Responsive Web Design during our web development process.

Who we use: Ami.Responsivedesign.is

Tip #5 – Search Engine Optimization

The Foundation of Any Great Website

Organic SEO is meta data, textual content, images, and semantic markup contained on your website pages. Remember when you did all that research and self-discovery? Now is the time to use that research to create some keyword-rich content for your web pages. Not all web designers make the most of technical on-page SEO tactics. Make sure to clarify this with your developer.

Write content that incorporates terms that tie into your business and industry. Use those terms in your titles and headings. Use relevant terms in your SEO meta data to aid in the digital marketing aspects of your site. Write content that weaves those terms and phrases into your text in a natural manner. Try to style your text to match your target audience.

Woman by PhotocopierDon’t copy someone else’s content

Review and edit your content with a fine tooth comb. You must make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. Nothing will turn your website visitors off faster that misspellings or poor grammar.

You’ll want photos too. Whether you provide your own or use stock photography, the images need to be crisp and clear and have the proper resolution. The photos need to be sized for the intended space on the web page. Large images have a negative effect on the size of your page and increase load time. That’s bad for SEO as well as user experience. Nobody wants to wait for a slow loading page. Every image needs to have Alt text and Title text. The Alt text is an attribute that describes the content of the image and is a ranking factor for your SEO. All of these things help with your digital marketing efforts.

It takes time for Organic SEO to produce results. We’ve seen new sites that take up to 6 months to start showing results on Google. Patience and persistence are key for Organic SEO.

It’s not unusual for new website owners to use PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising to bolster their Organic SEO efforts in the early stages of a website.

For additional information on SEO, please visit our Search Engine Optimization page.

Tip #6 – Get Social

Don’t discount social media when it comes to driving traffic to your website.

If you’re not using some form of social media, you should be. You should be posting regularly and attracting & interacting with your followers.

Your social media accounts need to connect to your website. Try to create accounts on social media with names that match your domain name.

Once you have all the connections working, be careful what you post. Jokes or innocent comments can backfire and damage your reputation. Be professional. Remember, Good taste is never out of style. Stay classy!

Tip #7 – Website Management

Launching your website is a big deal!

All the research and hard work has paid off. Your web development efforts has yielded a great looking website. Take time to celebrate, but not too long.

As exciting as the launch is, the work has only begun. Websites need some TLC to stay in peak condition. Backups, updates, monitoring and adjusting content for search results are all part of maintaining your site.

WordPress releases regular updates. Usually a WordPress update causes several plugin and theme updates. It’s important to keep your website up to date. It’s also important to apply the updates at the right time and in the correct order (Plugins, Themes, WordPress). We always perform updates on our own test site prior to rolling out any updates to production sites.

We monitor our sites on a daily basis and get alerts 24/7 should a problem arise. We want to be proactive when it comes to our maintenance services. 99% of the time we fix issues before you even know there was a problem.

For some tips on keeping your website safe from all the mischievous people out there, take a look at a blog post we wrote about Website Protection.

Who we use: InfiniteWP.com, ahrefs.com

Tip #8 – Get a Great Website Designer

Web designers are all different. Make sure yours is a good fit for you.

Take the time to do a little research, check references and look at their body of work.

Why Should You Choose Team 218 Web Services To Build Your Website?

Two words – customer service.

Remember when businesses used to actually provide service? They didn’t act like they were doing you a favor by having you shop with them. Nobody assumed you wanted to bag your own groceries or check yourself out.

Businesses provided Customer Service – remember?

It wasn’t only a courtesy to their customers. They knew their customers were essential to their survival. They also thought of customers as a part of their extended family. A trust and a bond developed between a business and its’ customers.

We still operate that way. That type of service is the cornerstone of our business.

Our goal is to never let a customer do something with their website that is not in their best interest.

Make sure your web developer is a good fit and uses proven techniques. We have many years of experience with websites and have completed a wide variety of web design projects. We are customer focused and driven to provide the kind of customer service that is unrivaled. We include everything you need to make sure you get the best results possible from our web development process. We’re your single point of contact for all your website needs – whatever the issue, just call us and we’ll handle it. If you ever have a problem, let us know and we’ll take care of it. Problem solved! It’s that simple. People come to us because we solve website problems and we’re honest and ethical in everything we do.

We would love to talk to you about any website needs you may have. We love what we do and you will too!

If you have a problem with your website, we encourage you to use our Website Support page to get help right away!

DO It Yourself Options For Web Designers

If you’re the kind of person who would rather skip the web designers and go the DIY route, here is some information of building your own website using some of the popular DIY website builders. You’ll need some basic computer skills and be able to use the tools provided by these DIY tools. Remember that the above web development tips and processes still apply.

Building a WIX Website

Interested in building a website using Wix? Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.

  1. Sign up for a Wix account. Go to the Wix website (https://www.wix.com/) and click on the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner. Follow the prompts to create a new account.
  2. Choose a template. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be asked to choose a template for your website. Wix offers a wide range of templates for different types of websites, such as business, online store, and personal. Browse through the options and choose the one that best fits your needs.
  3. Customize your template. Once you’ve chosen a template, you’ll be taken to the Wix editor, where you can customize the look and feel of your website. You can change the layout, add or remove pages, and add elements like text, images, and videos.
  4. Add content to your website. Use the Wix editor to add content to your website. You can use the built-in text and image tools to add content to your pages, or you can use the “Add” menu to add more advanced elements like forms, galleries, and social media widgets.
  5. Preview and publish your website. Once you’re happy with your website, you can preview it to see how it will look on different devices. When you’re ready to make your website live, click the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the editor.

That’s it! You now have a fully functional website built with Wix. If you have any questions or need more guidance, the Wix support team is always available to help. Good luck!

Here are some pros and cons of using Wix for your website:

Pros:

  1. Easy to use: Wix is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for users with little to no technical expertise to create a professional-looking website.
  2. Wide range of templates: Wix offers a wide range of templates for various types of websites, including personal, business, and e-commerce. This allows users to quickly find a template that fits their needs and style.
  3. Customization options: Wix provides a variety of customization options, including the ability to add custom fonts, color schemes, and graphics. This allows users to create a website that is unique and reflects their brand.

Cons:

  1. Limited flexibility: While Wix offers a wide range of templates and customization options, it can be difficult to make significant changes to the underlying structure of the website. This can be a limitation for users who want more control over their website’s design and functionality.
  2. Limited scalability: As your website grows and attracts more traffic, it may become necessary to upgrade to a more powerful hosting plan. Wix offers several hosting options, but they may not be sufficient for websites with a large number of visitors or complex functionality.
  3. Cost: While Wix offers a free option, many of the more advanced features and templates are only available with a paid subscription. This can be a cost consideration for users on a budget.

Overall, Wix is a good option for users who want an easy-to-use website builder with a wide range of templates and customization options. However, it may not be the best choice for users who need more advanced features or greater flexibility and scalability.

How to Build a Squarespace Website

Here are the steps you can follow to build a Squarespace website:

  1. Sign up for a Squarespace account: Go to the Squarespace website and click on the “Sign Up” button. Follow the prompts to create a new account.
  2. Choose a template: Squarespace offers a variety of templates that you can use to build your website. Each template is designed for a specific type of website, such as a portfolio, online store, or blog. Browse through the templates and choose one that fits the type of website you want to create.
  3. Customize your template: Once you have chosen a template, you can customize it to suit your needs. You can change the layout, color scheme, and font, as well as add or remove elements like images, text, and buttons.
  4. Add content: Now it’s time to start adding content to your website. This can include text, images, videos, and other media. You can use the drag-and-drop editor to easily add and arrange your content on the page.
  5. Preview and publish: Before you publish your website, you’ll want to preview it to make sure everything looks the way you want it to. When you’re ready, click the “Publish” button to make your website live.

That’s it! These are the basic steps for building a Squarespace website. With some time and effort, you can create a professional-looking website that represents your business or personal brand.

Here are some pros and cons of using Squarespace for your website:

Pros:

  1. Professional design: Squarespace offers a wide range of templates that are designed to look professional and modern. This can be a great option for users who want a high-quality website without the need for custom design.
  2. Customization options: Squarespace provides a variety of customization options, including the ability to add custom fonts, color schemes, and graphics. This allows users to create a website that is unique and reflects their brand.
  3. E-commerce capabilities: Squarespace offers a range of features and integrations for users who want to sell products or services on their website. This includes options for processing payments, managing inventory, and tracking orders.

Cons:

  1. Limited flexibility: While Squarespace offers a wide range of templates and customization options, it can be difficult to make significant changes to the underlying structure of the website. This can be a limitation for users who want more control over their website’s design and functionality.
  2. Cost: Squarespace’s pricing plans are generally more expensive than those of some other website builders. This can be a cost consideration for users on a budget.
  3. Learning curve: Squarespace’s interface and design tools can be more complex than those of some other website builders. This can make it more difficult for users with little to no technical expertise to get started.

Overall, Squarespace is a good option for users who want a professional-looking website with a wide range of templates and customization options, as well as advanced e-commerce capabilities. However, it may not be the best choice for users who need more advanced features or greater flexibility, or for those on a tight budget.

How to Build a Website on WordPress.com

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build a website with WordPress.com:

  1. Go to WordPress.com and click on the “Get Started” button.
  2. Choose a plan that fits your needs. WordPress.com offers a variety of plans, including a free plan, a personal plan, and a business plan.
  3. Create an account by entering your email address, username, and password.
  4. Choose a domain name for your website. You can either use a domain that you already own or purchase a new one through WordPress.com.
  5. Select a theme for your website. WordPress.com offers a wide variety of free and premium themes that you can use to customize the look and feel of your website.
  6. Customize your website by adding pages, posts, and media. You can do this by using the WordPress editor, which allows you to add text, images, and other media to your website.
  7. Set up your website’s navigation menu by going to the “Appearance” section of the WordPress dashboard and clicking on the “Menus” tab.
  8. Configure your website’s settings by going to the “Settings” section of the WordPress dashboard. Here, you can change your website’s title, description, and other important settings.
  9. Publish your website by clicking the “Publish” button in the WordPress editor.

That’s it! With these steps, you should be able to create a fully functional website using WordPress.com. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to ask.

Here are some pros and cons of using WordPress.com for your website:

Pros:

  1. Wide range of templates: WordPress.com offers a wide range of templates for various types of websites, including personal, business, and e-commerce. This allows users to quickly find a template that fits their needs and style.
  2. Customization options: WordPress.com provides a variety of customization options, including the ability to add custom fonts, color schemes, and graphics. This allows users to create a website that is unique and reflects their brand.
  3. Scalability: WordPress.com offers a range of hosting options, including dedicated hosting for larger websites with a lot of traffic. This allows users to easily scale their website as their needs change.

Cons:

  1. Limited flexibility: While WordPress.com offers a wide range of templates and customization options, it can be difficult to make significant changes to the underlying structure of the website. This can be a limitation for users who want more control over their website’s design and functionality.
  2. Cost: WordPress.com’s pricing plans are generally more expensive than those of some other website builders. This can be a cost consideration for users on a budget.
  3. Learning curve: WordPress.com’s interface and design tools can be more complex than those of some other website builders. This can make it more difficult for users with little to no technical expertise to get started.

Overall, WordPress.com is a good option for users who want a wide range of templates and customization options, as well as the ability to scale their website as their needs change. However, it may not be the best choice for users who need more advanced features or greater flexibility, or for those on a tight budget.

Questions? Want To Know More?

If you have questions on any of the topics we covered above, get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them.

You can also find additional information in our Knowledge Base.

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About The Author

Team 218 Web ServicesHi, I'm Chuck Hersey. I'm a partner at Team 218 Web Services and I created this content. I've been building websites and working with SEO projects for over 20 years. I started Team 218 in 2014 with a goal of offering quality, affordable websites to Iowa small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I wanted to provide a complete website package solution to make getting a website easy and fun.

You can contact me by email (puhpx@grnz218.pbz), through our Contact Form or by text or phone at 319-333-0815.

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