2 Simple Steps to Jumpstart the Web Design Process
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Don’t miss out on the best ways to improve your website design process the moment you start developing your business online–read on to learn how great website hosting and an incredible domain name are key to brand awareness and search visibility.
Experiencing performance issues with your current website design, and aren’t sure why? It might be because of your web design process. Chances are, you’ve spent more time (and money) thinking about your website’s aesthetics than about how the website will actually increase sales for your business.
That’s why we want to share the first two steps that you must take before starting the web design process to have a major positive impact on your business!
So many business owners today find themselves overwhelmed by the web design process, and with the implementation of their design and development plans.
In fact, we’ve found that businesses and entrepreneurs invest a lot of money in website design without consideration of how to increase search engine traffic and give the best user experience.
Even if you already have a website, these tips are here to show you how to implement a few simple components that will increase website traffic and more importantly, boost online sales.
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2 Simple Steps to Improve the Website Design Process
You know your website is the face of your business online. So why aren’t people coming into your store?
The failure to implement even foundational website design process steps can greatly impact your ability to grow your business. By this we mean to say that if you don’t choose a great domain name, or choose an optimized website hosting company, you are likely shooting yourself in the foot!
Let’s explore how a great domain name and excellent web host can play a huge role in search engine optimization, user experience, and to build credibility and trust with your users.
Step One: Choose a great domain name
What is a domain name?
In basic terms, a domain name is the website name that internet users type in their search bars to access your website. For example, our domain name is: thedigitalnavigator.com.
A domain name allows a browser or search engine to quickly locate the server that stores your website’s resources.
Without a domain name, users would need to remember the specific IP address of your server, which as you can imagine would be difficult.
The domain name is important because it is used for finding your business on Internet. Domain names can include any combination of letters and numbers and can be used in combination with various domain name extensions, such as .com, .net, and more.
HINT: Don’t get your domain name mixed up with your URL. The main difference here is that a URL refers to a full web address used to locate a website. For example, with the URL “https://mydomain.com/hello-world.html”, the domain name is “mydomain.com” while the URL would be the whole web address listed above. In short, your URL includes the domain name.
How does my domain name impact my SEO and brand?
In our experience, business owners usually fall into two categories when it comes to the web design process and choosing a domain name. They’ve either not given it much thought at all or they’ve become completely paralyzed during the website design and development process.
Truth is, your domain name will be a pretty important part of your branding, so you should definitely not choose your domain on a whim, as it will impact your sales in the short and long run!
Why? So you stand out from the crowd.
When choosing a domain name, you not only need to think about your brand and your business, but also the domain’s relevance to the terms someone may use to find you online. As a result, your domain name becomes the front door to your business, so that people online can easily find the front door.
Since most businesses today operate online, and since you’ll be facing fierce competition regardless of industry, it is important to choose a fitting domain name so people remember you, and so website search engines can suggest your business in the results page for new, organic users.
Here, you should start thinking about Including keywords in your domain name. It doesn’t always have to be the same name as your business–especially if your business name doesn’t clearly indicate what you’re all about. Then, you have the opportunity to show what your business is all about with the right domain name.
For example, if XYZ Incorporated sold widgets for your home, they will want to incorporate keywords into their domain name. www.xyz.com may be easy to remember but it doesn’t convey anything about the brand or what they do.
www.xyzhomewidgets.com gives a clearer picture of what the business does. The domain name choice not only indicates who you are to individual internet users, but for search engines as well.
Most small businesses are unable to rely on their company name alone as a domain name. It’s no accident that we named our company TheDigitalNavigator as we are in the digital space. Not everyone can be an Amazon, Walmart, or Target… at least not in the beginning!
What domain name should I choose?
An ideal domain name is one that is relevant, branded, and communicates the purpose and content of the website. Using the right combination of relevant and branded words to create a short, concise, and click-worthy domain name will increase your chances of ranking better in search engines.
There are two ways a good domain name can influence the search engine results to drive sales: branding, and keywords.
Your domain name should be based on your brand because it will help users identify, locate, and remember your business online.
Ideally, you would choose a domain name around the same time you choose a business name during your web design process, as this allows both your business name and domain name to compliment one another.
This will effectively help more people remember your brand, your domain name, and will ultimately increase your website’s credibility.
That’s because in today’s online world, positive reputation and branding help your website gain higher search engine rankings, and often results in additional revenue.
We recommend you choose a domain name that contains specific keywords about your business. For instance, if you are providing photography services, instead of simply choosing photography, you should choose a more specialized name with the service that you provide such as nature photography or wedding photography.
Again, subtle, detailed keywords in your domain name will differentiate your brand from competitors.
However, if you need to choose from multiple relevant keywords it is better to have a domain name that is really easy to remember rather than difficult keywords alone, as you want to make it easy for people searching for your type of services to find you.
Best Practices to Pick an Amazing Domain Name
We’ve already discussed how a good domain name boosts your business in several ways including improved search engine positioning, increased traffic, and building credibility.
So if you’re in the web design process, how do you choose a domain name that’s focused on SEO (search engine optimization) and offers credibility for your brand?
Here are 7 quick tips to keep in mind as you choose an amazing domain name for your business:
- Use your brand name
- Consider keywords that are relevant and brand-related
- Consider your location
- Avoid ambiguity
- Should be easy to remember
- Short and concise
- Avoid using hyphens
When you begin thinking about your URL, you’ll also want to consider readability, keywords, URL length, case sensitivity, and URL title formats. Let’s break each of these down a but further:
- Readability: make sure your URL is readable and easy to understand. Simplicity can serve as a huge advantage for your website. Users try to make sense of website names before accessing them to avoid viruses and spam. If the user can interpret your URL as words they understand, they are more likely to click and browse it. For example, this particular URL – https://thedigitalnavigator.com/digital-resources/ – clearly tells the searcher that they will find digital resources from us when they click the link.
- Use keywords: having keywords in your URL allows users to have better accessibility when they hover on a link on social media, in an email, or on a website, since it allows them to have an idea of what to expect when they click on the link. Moreover, having keywords in the URL helps rank your website higher in search results, which can boost traffic to your website and most likely increase your sales.
- Use Shorter URLs: shorter URLs are easier to read. Remember, a user is likely to copy and paste or embed a website link that allows easy sharing. In addition, it improves usability and user experience as opposed to longer URLs.
- Include descriptive URL titles: matching URLs to titles helps set up expectations for the users, as it allows them to comprehend what to expect with the title. It also helps you navigate through pages easily, and to organize articles and site pages on your back end.
- Consider case sensitivity: everything after your domain name in a URL is case sensitive, so upper and lower case lettering matters to get users to the right page. We recommend avoiding capital letters altogether, since different variations can send users to the wrong page.
We also asked around at The Digital Navigator to see what our team thought about choosing a great domain name. Here’s what they had to say:
“When you’re choosing a domain name, ask whether everyone can understand it, and whether it’s easy to spell and pronounce, since you will often mention your website during conversations. Avoid plurals when possible, but if necessary purchase the redirect to avoid confusion. Ask yourself whether the meaning of your domain makes sense across different target cultures and languages, and keep domain names short and simple where possible. It’s also best if you have a typical domain ending like .com or .io, since novelty designs can reduce the number of people who find your site.”
All in all, a good domain name should reflect your brand image, products and the services you offer. It not only ensures that users and customers remember the website, but also ensures brand loyalty and credibility of your website.
In addition, a good domain name supports a better search engine position, which will not only boost traffic to your website but also give you an edge over your competitors who may be offering similar products or services.
How do I purchase or register domain name?
Early in the web design process, you’ll need to choose your domain name. Then, once it’s been chosen, you reach out to a domain name registrar to purchase it.
A domain registrar is also referred to as a domain name server (DNS), and is a company or entity that sells domain names and handles the business of registering them. A domain name registrar handles the financial transactions with customers, and provides the tools needed to maintain the domain name subscription over time.
When your business registers a domain name, it allows you to have the owner rights of that particular domain. It’s similar to owning the deed to your house. Generally speaking, nobody can take it away from you.
If this feels confusing, we can help! Reach out to us at the button below, and we can provide some direction on how to purchase your domain name–and even offer tips on how to choose one for your business.
Step Two: Pick a reliable host for your website
Once you have picked and purchased your domain name, you should be feeling more confident in your business. Now you are prepared to boost your sales and get higher ranking on search engines–but first you have to pick a reliable host for website.
How? By being as informed as possible about what website hosting is, how to choose a website host, and different features you should be aware of to pick the best host for your business.
What is Hosting?
Website hosting is an online service that enables you to publish your website or web application on the Internet. Website hosting makes the files that comprise a website, such as code, images, and your content available for online viewing.
Basically, when you sign up for a website hosting service, you are renting some space on a physical server where you can store all the files and data necessary for your website to function properly.
If you have ever been to a bookstore, this is similar to how the host provides a space for your “book” on their shelves.
Depending on where your market is located though, you will want to ensure that you choose a host that provides your company’s information (e.g. content, services, etc.) very easily to those searching for your services–no matter where they are in the world.
Just remember: you get what you pay for with website hosting.
Don’t make the mistake of working hard to develop your website/products/services and then scrimp when you purchase an inexpensive hosting service. Often, this will result in you having to spend more money just so users can find you online.
We’ve heard horror stories from clients who have spent $1 a day or less on website hosting, so we recommend spending around $3 a day to ensure you have a great website host–in fact, that’s what we charge our clients to make sure their site is optimized for search engines.
How does website hosting work?
When you start the web design process, you will need to find a website hosting provider that supplies the server space on your behalf.
Basically, a great website host stores all your files, assets, and databases on their server, which makes it accessible to the public.
Whenever someone looks up your domain name in the address bar, the host transfers all the files necessary to service that request. This is why it is so important that you choose a host who has optimized the delivery of your business’s website.
What are the different types of hosting services?
Most web hosting providers offer various types of hosting so that they can cater to a wider range of clients. This could range from those who want to build a simple site (like a personal blog) to those who want to scale their business online.
The following are some hosting options available for businesses:
- Shared hosting
- Dedicated hosting server
- Managed dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Wordpress hosting
Shared hosting allows multiple websites to share a physical web server and its resources among the hosted websites. This type of hosting divides a web server so it may accommodate, serve, and operate more than one website.
This option is chosen most frequently among those who are new to the website design process, as it is the most economical and readily available.
Shared hosting is excellent for small businesses and blogs which have limited traffic and lower security threats, as this offers a cost-effective solution to small businesses.
This type of hosting is relatively inexpensive ($6-$12/month), and is easy to begin as it requires little knowledge about hosting. Note however that choosing a website host with email hosting included won’t help your business thrive. Click here to learn why.
In sum, shared hosting is perfect if a business is just a hobby since it has a user-friendly control panel and pre-configured server options.
The downside is that there is little or no control over server configuration. Just like living in a college dorm, you’re required to share space with everyone else. This means that traffic surges on the other hosted websites can slow down your website, which could impact sales on your site.
Also, if one of your “roommates” gets a virus or is hacked, you are highly susceptible to an attack as well. This is a major issue if your website collects emails or uses e-commerce. You’ve just now put all of your customers (and potential customers) at risk. Yikes!
“One of our new client’s emails were not being delivered since another website on their shared host had been flagged for sending too much spam. As a result, search engines noticed this and prevented their emails from being delivered to their customer list as well! As soon as we moved the new client over to our hosting server, their customers were able to receive emails again.”
Another downside of using a shared server is that it can prohibit scalability. In short, you’re at the mercy of the limitations of that particular server that you are sharing with 100’s of other businesses.
There’s also a risk of breaking your website due to limited backups and the lack of a staging site. A broken website is lost revenue. This is why the hosts are able to just charge $6-$12/month for hosting–remember, you get what you pay for.
Dedicated hosting server
Dedicated servers are sometimes referred to as Virtual Private Servers or VPS for short. With a VPS you are sharing a server with other users but with one major difference.
Unlike shared hosting where everyone is sharing the same space together, the website host allocates a separate partition for you on that server. This means that you will get a dedicated server space and a reserved amount of resources and memory apart from anyone else.
With a dedicated server, you have much more control over your space and it is much more secure because the other websites cannot impact yours.
You’re also going to see consistently faster loading times, which creates a better user experience as well as increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which helps people to find you easier when they search your business name or keyword.
This hosting is perfect for medium-sized businesses with potential for growth in traffic and sales. It is easy to scale and is highly customizable and gives root access to the server.
As well, this option is minimally more expensive than shared hosting options; however, you will need to have some technical experience and server management knowledge to use this type of hosting service.
Managed dedicated hosting
Similar to dedicated hosting, you have your own physical server solely dedicated to your website which allows you to have full control over your website with the added benefit of all monitoring, maintenance, and administration is managed by the vendor.
The flexibility of a managed dedicated host allows you to customize and manage your website the way you want to, and also have the access to configure your server – choosing the operating system and software.
You’re going to find this adds the benefit of more security, reliability, and faster loading times because you are not sharing your server with other businesses.
The good news is you don’t need to be an expert in the website design process as this type of hosting is managed by a team of experts. A managed dedicated server is all about peace of mind for you.
Everything is handled automatically so that your website runs smoothly, efficiently, and reliably. Actually, this is the type of hosting that we provide for our 82+ clients because they all intend to build a reputable business that is optimized for their respective users, and is stable, secure and optimized for search engines. This means our clients can have Peace of Mind knowing that they are all taken care of.
A quality managed server will make continuous operating system updates (such as WordPress themes and various plug-ins) as well as security patches. This helps to keep the performance of your site operational for a more pleasant user experience.
There’s also the added benefit of knowing that your vulnerabilities have been minimized and your information as well as your customer’s data is protected.
With a great website manager, you should benefit from a complimentary, staging site with a dedicated hosting program. This is basically a duplicate of your website behind the scenes. It allows you to essentially create a draft copy of your website, and play with the content, for example…without the risk of your published website going down and losing sales.
That way, if you should make any changes to your site, for example, an update or installing a plug-in, you can make sure that all the applications run smoothly before implementing them live.
Managed dedicated servers are typically $3-$4 a day more, but the benefits will be tenfold for your business. Just from a security and scalability standpoint, it seems to make sense to spend an extra $3-$4/day.
Cloud hosting is another solution that provides you with a collection of servers where your files and resources are replicated on each server.
In this type of hosting, when your cloud server is experiencing problems or many users, the traffic is automatically routed to another server within the cluster. Due to this, your traffic is not disturbed and serves as a benefit for busy websites with high traffic volume.
With cloud hosting, there are no server failures or downtime problems which allows users to browse your website freely without being disturbed. It is more scalable than other website hosting options and allocates resources on demand. In addition, it has a different pricing strategy so you only pay for what you use.
On the contrary, because of the variable pricing, it may be difficult to estimate your final expense and root access may not always be provided, which may limit website performance.
A note from The Digital Navigator:
This Cloud Hosting option allows the clients we serve to just focus on the business while we take care of the rest–thanks in part to the isolated software containers we use to contain all your software resources needed to run your site. No sharing, no privacy concerns: just great website hosting.
We take care of the routine backups so in the event your website should go down, valuable information and time are not lost. We also have measures in place to detect if your site is down or if an area is not functioning properly before visitors are impacted.
Not only are we preventing and detecting errors with your website, but we’re also experts at helping you with the website design process and ultimately managing your site. Our excellent customer service is a real person who is available to assist you with all of your needs.
This type of hosting is a form of shared hosting that comes with pre-installed plugins such as caching and security specifically designed and created for WordPress site owners.
Since this configuration is highly optimized, it allows your website to load faster without facing any problems. Additionally, this hosting plan includes themes and tools to enhance the look of the website and its user experience.
WordPress themes and plugins offer many benefits to the business and its websites. The themes foster originality and uniqueness, security, and shorter website development process times, whereas WordPress plugins optimize your content for search engines, schedule regular backups, and offer customer support to enhance your user experience.
Since this type of hosting is designed and created for WordPress site owners, it can be a problem if you want to host multiple websites on your server. However, it is a beginner-friendly process that is inexpensive as it allows easy installation and comes with pre-installed plugins, tools, and themes.
At the same time, non-technical business owners may need a leg up to use WordPress–which is the site host we recommend most at The Digital Navigator. We always configure sites to ensure they have great themes that reflect your brand awareness, offer high security for you and your users, and include scalable plugins powered by Google Cloud.
How the Right Domain Name and a Great Host is Vital to Your Business Success
Most business owners in the early stages of the web design process don’t consider the impact of a website, other than functionality and appearance. Yet there’s so much more that goes into the website design and development process that will have a huge impact on your business’s bottom line.
Here are just a few ways that good domains and hosting options will jumpstart your website design process:
First of all, the right domain name should reflect your business, its products, and its services. Choosing a name that represents your brand identity as well as a keyword ensures that your website will get ranked higher in search engine results, which derives more traffic, engagement, and ultimately more sales.
Similarly, hosting plays an important role in the website design process, as your website’s performance depends on the hosting you choose. For instance, if you are at the mercy of a shared host that experiences slow speeds and is vulnerable to attacks, your website will lose traffic and risk ruining your good brand reputation.
A web hosting service that under delivers will cause images and media files to either load slowly or not at all. Your checkout system may continually stall out just when someone is ready to make a purchase. You may be solely responsible for updating valuable plug-ins and security features, which requires more work on your end when you should be focused on your business.
Whether you are in the midst of your website design process, are just starting out, or if you have an existing website, we think it’s important to remember the following tactics as you continue to build out your business website online.
- Define your website’s goals: brainstorm ideas that outline the website’s end goal such as target users, get leads, and make sales. Determine your objective, if your website can accomplish that. Look for strengths and weaknesses.
- Planning strategy: prioritize next steps. What are the items that would make your work easier? Look for a solution that takes things off of your plate rather than more work for you.
- Integration: every element of your website should work together seamlessly. From lead generators to final sale, everything should be up-to-date and user-friendly. Creating a pleasant user experience should not be at the sacrifice of your time and mental capacity.
- Design and development: does your website look like you? Work with a web designer to make sure color schemes, logos, and other design elements are cohesive and represent your brand.
- Testing: different tests are conducted to check the website’s functionality, usability, interface, and performance which ultimately reflects the brand image and makes for a more pleasant user experience. This eliminates bounce rates and enhances SEO ratings.
- Launch and maintenance: once your website is launched and traffic starts to increase, you’ll need regular feedback and maintenance to ensure that the user experience is smooth and is running without any hindrances.
Unfortunately, many business owners are unaware of just how important choosing a domain name and selecting the right hosting service is to their business. It really is the first two things you should consider, as it becomes the foundation on which all other decisions are made.
On the other hand, if you have an established website but are disappointed in the results you’ve been given, it’s still not too late. We are always ready to jump in to help you get even the most imperfect website back on its feet, and make it ready to scale.
That’s why we pride ourselves on being a full-service digital sales agency that can turn your website into a fully automated and integrated sales system.
In short, wherever you are in your design and development journey, we’re confident you’re ready to use our tips to create the best domain name and select the right hosting service for your needs. With this article as a jumping off point, your website will be easily searchable, functional, and ready to handle all the traffic headed its way.
Want more help with your website design process? Use the button below to access our FREE digital resource catalog.