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Beginner's Guide to Building a Professional Website



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To build a successful website means you have to take a lot of things into consideration and not rush into it, building a business website is not only about talking about your company and services. Building a successful website requires a lot of analysis before the task and in this article, I will show you some of those things that you might want to look at first before starting your project.

Market, Topic, and Keyword Research
The first place to start is always research, don’t start things only based on your gut. Researching the topic and keywords is when you search for something online to see there is a demand and competition for that item, topic, or service. I mainly use google trends and similar web to see the trends of the topic I’m planning to explore and if there is a need or gap in the marketplace, I go for it else, I might find myself fighting a losing battle with no immediate results.

DOMAIN NAME

After identifying the market, topic, and keywords, next is the domain name registration. Please keep it simple and short and not longer than 10 characters, 8 is the magic number for me like (www.abcstore.co.za) I know this is very difficult but, give it your best shot.

If your name is already taken, try to register another domain extension. If .com or .co.za is not available for ABC Store then try to register a .net, .africa .io (if you are in software) or, if you operate locally within a specific region like Gauteng then register abcstore.joburg or a www.abc.store (.store). There are a lot of options available.

When choosing a name avoid special characters and complex numbers, for example www.abc-store735.co.za and ensure that your domain name is easy to remember, type, and pronounce.

Don’t use a name similar to that of a big company, in the short term you can benefit from the traffic spillage but, in the long run, you will end up losing especially if you are doing the same thing as they are.

However, if you feel you can beat them with your marketing and SEO then go ahead and compete.

Hosting

When you register your domain name on websites like domain.co.za, Afrihost or GoDaddy you will find hosting options. Hosting is the storage place for our website data and emails. In simple think of a domain name as your home address and hosting as the actual house.

Hosting is not that expensive, usually between R50 to R300 per month for a small business while, domain registration is between R30 to R500 per annum.

Corporate Identity

This is a critical step, a make-it-or-break for your business, if you don’t have a professional-looking brand, you risk not being able to build and instil trust with your potential clients. People generally don’t trust bad-looking brands or websites.

A successful website needs a professional and creative identity, and this starts with the basics, a great logo. Your logo establishes the tone to your branding so, get a unique and creative logo.

Next, do research and notice the difference between what is a professional or tacky website so that when you do build your website you can notice the difference and fairly judge yours correctly.

Platform

Next, is which web development platform should your website be using? We have lots of different development platforms for websites but to get you started these are the basics.

HTML

Free CMS (Content Management System)

Proprietary Software

The Website Design

After researching, choosing your domain name, a hosting solution, and a web development platform, you now need to start building your website. For me, the best place to start is with theme marketplaces such as Theme Forest, or Template Monster where you find thousands of website templates to use. You can search and filter according to your industry until you find the perfect one for you. Wix and Shopify also have their themes so, take your time and choose the right one.

To install a theme on WordPress is simple but not so easy when you’re a first-timer. All you need to do is import the theme and most supply you with step-by-step instructions on how to install and activate.

During this process make YouTube your friend and things will be faster and smoother. This is also a period in your life when you get your advanced self-taught googling “search” skills.

Content and Structure
Your theme will generally provide you with a structure to follow but, you need to know the basics of a great website structure to maximise the impact of your content.

A good content placement structure is made out of two things, how the user and how the search engine reads it.
Category
Web design
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