The Ultimate Guide For Building & Optimizing a
New Website

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Part 1: The Fundamentals. Things You Must Do Before Design & Building. 

Part 2: Creating and Optimizing Your New Website

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PART 1

The Fundamentals. Things You Must Do Before Designing & Building

BUY A DOMAIN (YOUR WEBSITE URL)

By now you likely already have purchased a domain. On the chance that you have not, or something to keep in mind when you buy another domain, We recommend that you buy your domain from a different company where you host your websites.

This separation just provides a layer of security if you ever give someone access to your website (e.g. a team member or website builder).

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SELECT WEB HOSTING

What is hosting?

Next step in our How To Build A Website guide is hosting. The easiest way to think of hosting is that it’s a storage and access system for your website. On a computer your files are stored locally in folders.

On the internet, your website will be stored on a server, provided by your hosting provider.

How does hosting work?

A website is a collection of different files being pulled together and rendered by a browser. For example, a typical website is composed of HTML, CSS, Javascript & PHP files.

These files are stored on your hosting package, and when someone visits your domain, they are downloaded and rendered by whichever browser is being used.

Alongside storage and access for your website, a good hosting provider will provide you with a suite of tools for managing and maintaining your website, generally through a CPanel.

When choosing a hosting provider, we would highly recommend you opt for one that is powered by CPanel, this is something your web developer will need access to, to help you maintain and grow your website.

Registrars (the company you buy your domain from) that we recommend and have good customer support include:

NameSilo

HostMate (for Australian domains)

Stay away from:

NameCheap – they have a ‘dodgy and sneaky’ renewal policy and will charge you  a month in advance of your renewal date. And there is absolutely no chance they will refund you even if you ask before your actual renewal date. 

Where do I get hosting?

There are a lot of hosting providers on the market, however I would recommend that you choose either GoDaddy or Siteground.

GoDaddy is the best all-around option for simple small business websites. If you don’t have a technical background, or a technical person on your team, they are your best bet. They offer affordable, flexible hosting plans that grow with your business and good 24/7 support.

What to look for in a hosting provider

With so many hosting providers on the market, and almost everyone having an opinion about their preferred hosting provider, how do you figure out which provider is truly right for your business?

Here are some things to look out for:

  • 24/7 support. It would be nice if your website only went down during business hours, but chances are if it does happen, it will be at an inconvenient time. As such, you’ll need to make sure your hosting provider offers 24/7 support, so you can contact them if your website goes down out of hours.
  • Are they affordable? If you’re just getting started with your business, you’ll want to keep your costs low. This doesn’t mean you should search for the lowest price hosting, but it does mean you should compare the market and get an idea of where price meets quality.
  • Do they come recommended? Does the company have positive reviews on trusted review platforms? Are you aware of business owners personally who have used them and had a positive experience?

DOMAIN > HOST

Connect Your Domain To Your Web Host

 

This part can get confusing, but it does not have to be. Quite simply you need to do the following:

  • Ask your web host for their Nameservers. Generally it will be a set of 2 to 3 number sequences. 
  • You will now paste these Nameservers into the DNS records of your domain with your registrar. So you will need to log into your registrar, navigate to the domain you bough and you will be looking for a section where it says to update DNS records.  Is you run into any issues the Registrar support will tell you exactly what to do.

 

 

WHICH PLATFORM SHOULD YOU BUILD YOUR WEBSITE ON?

For the vast majority of business owners the choice of going to comes down to one of two choices:

  1. Building on WordPress
  2. Building on a WYSIWYG Builder (What YOu See Is What You Get)

In the following section we are going to go into some details about each of these options and provide our recommendation. 

WORDPRESS

The Low-Down on WordPress

WordPress powers 30% of all websites on the internet, and powers 60% of all websites that use a CMS (Content Management System).

WordPress gives tremendous and design and functionality options.

And quite honestly with the ease of use of WordPress builders these days,  building a website on WordPress can be learned by anyone with just a few hours of dedication. 

Of course you will get better the more you build and design, but these builders remove the need to know any coding knowledge. 

Builder’s that we recommend include:

– Divi

– Beaver Builder

– Elementor

All of these options have excellent training materials and great support when you get stuck. 

Why we recommend WordPress

We wrote quite a lengthy comparison of the three CMS platforms in a post over on Medium, Why WordPress Is The BEST Platform For Your Small Business or Startup, so if you’re interested in the details and how they scale, take a look through that post.

The cliff notes are:

  • WordPress is free to install on any website.
  • It’s the easiest to use CMS (check out this post from a Joomla community expert for example on it being difficult).
  • It’s the most cost effective CMS, because it has the most developers.
  • It has the largest plugin library of free and paid plugins for growing your website.
  • WordPress is the best option for scaling a website (for details see my article above on Medium).
  • Tools like Visual Composer and other page builders make it easy to wireframe new websites or designs quickly.
  • There is a huge amount of free content and tutorials for WordPress out there, so you won’t get stuck on the simplest tasks and have to pay someone else.
  • WordPress has the largest number of themes and frameworks on the market, so the options for building your website are unlimited.
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WYSIWYG WEBSITE BUILDERS

What are website builders?

Next in How To Build A Website – The Ultimate Guide, we have website builders.

Website builders are marketed as cheap, ‘do it yourself’ solutions for building your own website. Unfortunately, generally their marketing is superior to their offering.

Why you should avoid website builders

Here are some reasons you should avoid using a DIY builder for your website.

  • Their marketing is generally a lot better than their offering.
  • They are bad for SEO.
  • They provide limited functionality that cannot be customized outside the confines of the platform.
  • They look cheap. First impressions count, if you look cheap, this is how you will be perceived by your customers.
  • You will spend more time trying to build your website using a DIY builder, than you would learning the basics of WordPress.

In most cases, they own your website and you are unable to move or replicate your website from their platform. Take a look at Wix’s heavy terms and conditions, for example.

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What If You Need Ecommerce?

 

Ecommerce refers to online stores, or selling online. This section in our how to build a website guide will show you how to sell online. You can sell products, services, downloads, online courses – just about anything you can think of – online through a website today. Online stores typically work in a few ways:

  • Your online store is platform based like, Shopify stores.
  • Your online store uses a CMS and ecommerce integration combination (like WordPress with Woocommerce).

If you’re serious about succeeding with ecommerce, we would recommend you build your store using WordPress & Woocommerce.

Typically a customer will visit your website, decide what to purchase, then pay online via your website’s chosen payment processor (like Stripe, for example).

 

Woocommerce is the best option on the market for ecommerce right now. Woocommerce is an ecommerce framework that can be bolted onto your WordPress website in the form of a free plugin. Your developer can then use the Woocommerce framework to build and customise an online store that suits your requirements.

Because Wocommerce plugs into WordPress (which is open source), you are not limited at all in terms of what you can build and design.

Woocommerce offers a huge degree of customisation and flexibility for your business including:

  • The ability to create simple, grouped or variable products
  • The option to setup complex shipping classes
  • The ability to setup optional weight based shipping
  • Automated order processing, email receipts and payment notifications
  • Woocommerce is compatible with Stripe, American Express, Visa, Debit Cards and Paypal
  • One page checkout

Want Us To Build Your Site & Rank It?

We design, build & rank beautiful websites for local businesses and contractors.

We build websites with 1 primary focus -
revenue generation for your business. 

TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD…

Should You Build, or Hire Someone To Build Your Website?

Like any decision there are pros and cons of each. However, if your time is worth more than about $10 per hour, and you have more important things that need your focus, we suggest you hire someone to build your website. Sites like Fiverr.com, Onlinejobs.ph are good marketplaces to find talented web builders for whatever platform you decide to build with.

Having said all that, you will be able to manage your staff and make quick updates without relying on someone if you learn how to use your chosen platform.  So we recommend developing basic website building skills and a knowledge of the WordPress user interface. 

 

WEBSITE ESSENTIALS

The same things that makes WordPress sites so versatile and a great option for creating websites that look great and rank well, the fact they are open sourced, is also a bit of a double edged sword. They are also more vulnerable to attacks and viruses. But taking a few precautionary steps (all free) can make sure your website stays protected. 

And when it comes to optimizing your website you have a lot more choice than you do with a WYSIWYG builder.  We suggest you install the following FREE plugins before you start building your first webpage.

Security Plugin: Wordfence

S.E.O. Plugin in: Rankmath

Website Backup Plugin: UpDraftsPlus

Site Speed up Plugin: Nitropack

Contact form Plugin: Contact Form 7

And finally make sure you have your host or registrar issue you with an SSL certificate so google knows your website is safe and will show it in search engines. 

 

 

 

PART 2

Creating and Optimizing Your New Website

MAP OUT YOUR SITE CONTENT (CREATING A SITEMAP)

 

Save yourself a lot of time and headache: before you dive into building your new website, think through a high-level website plan.

This planning process doesn’t need to be complicated or time intensive. It’s more or less about taking the time to answer some important questions that will help ensure you build your website with the right foundation to accomplish your goals.

For example, creating a website to sell products is very different than creating a website for your personal brand. Thinking through what you’ll need to accomplish one or the other is essential to building a successful website. (If you don’t make the right choices now, you may have to tear down everything you’ve built and start over from square one.)

 

In fact, this planning process is as much about deciding what you do not need for your website, as it is to figure out what you do need. Less is definitely more here.

Don’t fall into the trap of adding a bunch of stuff to your website just because it seems like something you should or because it’s what other websites do. We recommend using a mind-mapping tool to drive this process.

 

10 Critical Marketing Concepts Every Local Business Owner Must Know

PAGE STRUCTURE

Before you begin writing, think about the content in terms of the following:

  •  The Page heading (the overarching topic of the page)
  • Section Headers (that relate to or underpinned your overarching theme)
  • Section. Sub-headers. These are the key parts within each section that gives the section its own structure and logical flow.  

If you have ever written a PowerPoint slide, you can see how the above sections are how you might lay out as a slide.  

It’s no different really with a web page. 

Now, to tell the search engine bots about the structure you have come up with, your logical layout of the content, we need to apply something called header tags to the sections. 

If your using a WordPress-like builder, such as Divi or any of the others, is really simply to assign these header tags. Each builder does it a little differently. 

 

We strongly recommend you download a Chrome Browser extension called SEO Meta in 1 Click. Using this extension you can really easily see the page structure items we are. going to go over in this section.  

Look at the bottom of the image below, you can see how many header tags have been applied to the page the extension has been launched on.

Best practice is 1 x Header 1 (or H1) and then as many H2, H3 that you need to logically lay out your page content. 

You don’t have to assign every numbered header tag. Just focus on a logical layout of your content.  

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Above: SEO Meta in 1 Click 

ON-PAGE SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (S.E.O.)

Target Keywords You Want Your Audience To Find You By

 Is your content focused on a target keyword?

Google wants to know which page on the internet is most relevant to a searchers’ query. The more focused a page, the more relevant.

When optimizing content, ensure each page targets a specific keyword. You’ll still rank for variants of the keyword (i.e. long-tail keywords) and related keywords (i.e. semantic keywords). But attempting to cover too much, too broadly, in a single page will likely hurt, not help.

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Search intent 

Does that page satisfy the searcher’s intent?

Search engines keep getting smarter and smarter. 

Thanks to machine learning, natural language processing, and AI, Google can now understand the meaning (intent) of every query. Which means ranking atop search starts by creating content that satisfies the user’s intent. 

First, what is the searcher looking to accomplish? 

Informational: Looking to learn something. E.g. “What is polished concrete”

Commercial: Looking to investigate a purchase. E.g. “best polished concrete contractor” 

Navigational: Looking to find a specific page on a website. E.g. “Ultra Polished Concrete Address” 

Transactional: Looking to purchase or take action now. E.g. “Free quote Ultra Polished Concrete”

    Optimize page title & meta Description

     

    Similar to how header tags tell search engine bots about your contents structure, Page titles and meta descriptions make it clear what your page is about and what keywords and phrases you want the page to be ranked and found for.

    If you are using a builder or Rankmath plugin, you can easily use either of these to set the page titles and meta description for each page. 

    These two elements are what you typically see in search results, so make them concise, ensure they clearly explain what the page is about and entice people to click on the link.

     

    Page Title

    This will include the primary keyword you are targeting with this page and will be a short description of what the page. is about, use about 150 characters only.  

    Meta description

    Meta descriptions are the short, relevant page summaries that appear within the SERP results, just under your title tag. Think of meta descriptions like mini advertisements for your page: Though they don’t directly contribute to rankings, they can entice readers to click on your page over someone else’s.

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      Content Creation – Best Practices For S.E.O. 

      Do you explore the topic thoroughly enough?

      There’s no hard and fast rule for page length. 

      Though page one search results contain, on average, between 2,000 – 2,500 words.  But this is highly dependent on factors like industry, city and country. 

       Always remember that Google wants to great the best possible experience for its users (your prospective customers). And oftentimes the best experience means thorough, well written and well structured content that explains a subject matter clearly and gives searchers the answers they are seeking.

      As you can see from the image below, more content does correlate with more backlinks. Backlinks are links from another website to yours and they can help. rank your website higher. We will do separate training on backlinks. 

       

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      Maintaining The Security & Performance of Your Site

      When using WordPress its important you take a few simple steps to protect the long term health of your website.

      Be sure to to the following:

      > Keep all plugins updated.  You can set them to auto update, but just make sure you check your website regularly to make sure everything looks normal.  Sometimes when plugins are updating simultaneously things can break.  Typically these things are a quick fix, but you want to make sure you know when things like this happen. 

      > Keep all themes updated.  As per above. 

      > Run regular scans, at least 1 x. per month using your security plugin

      > Make sure you have back-ups of your website being saved as regularly as you like. 

       

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      Maintaining The Security & Performance of Your Site

      When using WordPress its important you take a few simple steps to protect the long term health of your website.

      Be sure to to the following:

      > Keep all plugins updated.  You can set them to auto update, but just make sure you check your website regularly to make sure everything looks normal.  Sometimes when plugins are updating simultaneously things can break.  Typically these things are a quick fix, but you want to make sure you know when things like this happen. 

      > Keep all themes updated.  As per above. 

      > Run regular scans, at least 1 x. per month using your security plugin

      > Make sure you have back-ups of your website being saved as regularly as you like. 

       

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      Want Us To Build Your Site & Rank It?

      We design, build & rank beautiful websites for local businesses and contractors.

      We build websites with 1 primary focus -
      revenue generation for your business. 

      Sources:

      https://klientboost.com/seo/on-page-seo/

      https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/how-to-make-a-website#Pick_the_Right_Platform_CMS_vs_Website_Builder

      https://squareinternet.co/how-to-build-a-website-ultimate-guide/