Web design has come a long way in the last twenty years. I remember building my first site as a teenager, using nothing but HTML coding. It took forever and was very challenging. A spelling error or a comma or missing hyphen would cause errors that you had to hunt down and fix yourself.

These days, just about anyone can build a basic website without any technical / coding knowledge. All you need is a bit of time and patience; even creative flair is optional. And yes, some platforms allow you to do web design in 10 minutes, but that doesn’t mean you should only spend ten minutes on your web site. You need to plan your web design and think carefully about how to implement your web development. Here are some things to consider;

1. Hosting

Hosting is important as it has a direct influence on how well your site runs. Make sure that you choose a well-known and trusted hosting company. The last thing you want is down-time on your site. If a visitor wants to visit and your home page doesn’t open, that prospective client will not be returning. Other things to keep in mind are storage size and whether there are any caps on bandwidth use, visitors per month etc. The cheapest option is not necessarily the best…

2. Website building platform / Content Management System (CMS)

So many choices; WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Weebly, Wix, etc etc. You need to do a bit of homework first to see which platform will satisfy all your needs. Some platforms also have limitations, which are equally important to know. Finally,
you need to study the platform itself so that you know how it works and how to plan and execute your web design.  Some
are very user-friendly and you can literally build a site within ten minutes – it doesn’t mean you should though. A lot of thought should go into your web design as it showcases your business. If it looks slap dash or amateurish, customers will have that same connotation with your business / brand.

3. SSL

Google wants every site to have at least a minimum security certificate to show the https url. This is to guarantee visitor safety when browsing on the web. A valid SSL certificate (or https url), also proves to visitors that your brand / business
is trustworthy. Luckily, with a bit of research, it is possible to get free SSL certificates. However, if you are planning to sell items directly from your website, then you will have to pay for a decent SSL certificate to ensure your customers’ credit card and private information is not compromised. 

4. Images

Original content is best and this includes photographs. Be sure to have your GPS on when you take photographs as this adds geographical relevancy to your images. If you don’t have original images, make sure to get stock photos that give you permission to use them commercially. Never use images that you find on Google Search as you may very well be infringing on someone’s copyrights.

5. Content

Write your own content between 500 and 1000 words per page. Once again original is best, and content plays a big part in the Google Ranking Algorithm. Writing original content shouldn’t be an issue, as you should be passionate about your business and eager to tell people about it. Even if you are not a writer, you surely started your business for a reason, and you should be able to convey this.

Start with the basics:

  • What the business entails: write the details about what your business offers in terms of
    services or products.
  • What makes your business stand out / why people should choose your business.
  • Add personal stories, such as why you started the business, or you community
    involvement.

Once you’ve covered that, you might find it easier to write more content or to expand on what you have written.

6. On-site SEO

It’s important to know the basics of SEO and to include these when building your site. You need to know which keywords you are going to ty and rank for and these keywords have to be incorporated in your site content, using H1 headers, bold fonts and including them at least three times per page (but no more than five times – you don’t want to be penalised because of keyword stuffing). Use the SEMrush or / MOZ guidebooks as your guide to basic SEO.