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Building Your Own Website: A Guide for the Trade Industry

Building your own website can feel like a daunting task, especially when you are running a business.

It may be tough trying to create a well-designed and functional website but rest assured that all your efforts will be rewarded in the end.

Before you approach building your website, the first thing you should ask yourself is why you need a site. Are you looking to increases sales, generate more leads or build brand awareness?

Whatever your goal is, there are a few key things you should keep in mind when designing your website.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

In order to build your own website you need a platform for your content to go on to. This is what is called the ‘Backend’ of the website; the part that you can edit and manage.

A Content Management System or Content Management Platform is a web application that uses a database to create, edit and store HTML content. The content that you upload and make visible will then be displayed to visitors on the actual site, otherwise known as the 'Frontend'.

WordPress

WordPress is a popular CMS for individuals and businesses alike. It is a pretty simple system to use because of its selection of themes and designs to choose from. You can create a professional looking website by installing plugins that do things like embed videos, create call to action buttons, and add social media icons.

A standard free version of WordPress will give you a URL that includes the WordPress name. For a more professional looking URL however, it is a good idea to get WordPress hosting.

In order to do this, you will need a domain name registered and a web hosting plan. On the web hosting plan your domain name will get set up, enabling you to have a WordPress website installed and built on that web space.

Drupal & Wix

Other options for Content Management Systems include Drupal and Wix. Drupal is a good choice due to its offering of thousands of free modules that allow you to create nearly any kind of website you can think of. You can also fully customise it with off-the-shelf or your own skins.

Wix is a great option for small businesses as it can be set up in the matter of a few hours. It provides basic functionality and has plugins for things like user login areas, social media sharing and forums.

Do a bit of research into which platform would best suit your needs as a business to make sure you’re on the right track to website building success!

Once you have chosen your CMS, you are going to need to start filling up your website. That’s where the next part comes in…

Website Content

Web Pages

A basic company website will include a contact page, ‘about us’ information, and a page dedicated to explaining your services. It is important that the copy that goes on to your website is clear and reads well. Get all your content together before you build your website as this will save you more time further down the line.

Calls to action

Your website visitors need to be engaged with your content if you want any chance of turning them into customers. Use buttons or sentences within your copy, such as ‘contact us now for a tailored quote’, that link to your contact page so visitors can get there quicker and find the right number to call. Your number can also appear on more than one page to make it more visible to your customers.

If you have a presence on social media, also include links to your profiles on one or more page. This transparency about who you are and what you’re about will build trust with your audience. Your social platforms will also give potential customers another channel in which to contact you.

Media

A website with just text can look a little bland so why not make it stand out better with attractive, relevant images? You could even include videos or anything else you can think of to give your audience a better user experience.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Implementing a few basic SEO practices will help you drive more visitor traffic to your site. Researching industry keywords and including them in your content, as well as updating your website regularly with a blog or testimonial page are all examples of SEO best practices.

There are lots of ways you can help improve your search engine rankings so either consult an SEO expert or take a look at online resources such as the Search Engine Land website.

Planning your Design

Deciding how you want your website to look is very important as you want it to be on brand with your business and appealing to look at. Your logo should go in either the centre of the header or in the top left corner. This is typical amongst most good websites as it represents the brand clearly and professionally.

You’ll want to make sure that your website is easy to navigate also. The page tabs need to stand out and be titled clearly. You can make your page titles catchier by re-naming an ‘Our Services’ page to ‘What we do’ for example.

Laying out your content clearly is also important for engaging visitors. Try not to overcrowd the pages with too much text by including plenty of white space or gaps between text. Also use font in different sizes to make your headings stand out on the page. Include H1, H2 and H3 headers on your web pages to help your keywords appear in search engine results.

We wish you the best of luck in building your website! Let us know if you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share by commenting in the box below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or Google +

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