One of the first things you will need to think about when having a new website designed is what your website domain name will be. This is the address someone will type to view your website online, for example; danashtonwebsites.co.uk .

It’s easy to get carried away with a domain name, but remember it needs to be short, unique to you, memorable and easy to type. Ideally, it should be the name of your business. But, if your business name is not available as a domain name, too long or hard to type then you may want to consider having a different domain name for the website.

For example; if your business is called ‘Bobs Gardening’ but bobsgardening.co.uk is not available, you should consider registering bobsgardeningservices.co.uk or bobsgardeningpoole.co.uk, (assuming Bob is based in Poole). Try and avoid using dashes and unusual spellings that would make it hard for someone to remember, for example; bobz-gardening.co.uk . Keep it simple!

Also, if you find that the .co.uk isn’t available, but the com is – pick a different domain name. Why? Well Google will usually favour the .co.uk so it will make it hard to optimise your website and get good search results. Also, if someone tries to remember your domain name without actually having it written down – the chances are they will automatically type the .co.uk , which can lead to confusion or even giving your business to someone else. Pick a domain name that is unique to you!

Check that the .co.uk AND .com options for your domain are available and ideally, register BOTH to make sure no-one else can set up a similar named website.

To see if your domain name is available, either let me know when enquiring about having a website designed and I will check for you, or go to any domain name supplier such as https://www.tsohost.com/domain-names

After a domain name, website hosting is the next most important part of your website. Hosting is where your website will be stored on the web so people can access it online. 

A Google search for ‘Website Hosting’ will usually show an almost unlimited number of results. But it pays to be more selective with where you buy your hosting from, as the quality of your hosting will very much effect how well your website performs and also how good any support is when things go wrong.

To start with – I would usually suggest you buy your domain name and hosting from the same company. Firstly, the domain name will then usually be free. But also, you only have one person to pay for renewing your services and for any support.

I recommend TSO Host to my clients. Its a company I have used for a long while and trust with my own websites. They are UK based and offer excellent support and also daily back ups. If you are looking to move a website to new hosting, or have a new website designed – please see this page for further information on buying your hosting from TSO Host.

However, if you want to look around at other hosting options, be sure to check the reviews on independent review sites first. Also check they are UK based, (or based in your own country) and offer hosting that is suited to your website requirements with good support and ideally, frequent back ups.

Good hosting will usually cost anywhere from £5 – £20+ per month. Typically, the more you pay for hosting the more reliable and faster your website will be, with greater space for larger sites and lots of images, content and data etc.

Ofcourse, the design of your website is pretty important too. A poorly designed website can quickly ruin a business.

You may even be tempted to build a website yourself. But this still requires an amount of design flare and technical knowledge to provide a professional looking result. A web page with random sized images, array of font styles, colours and odd backgrounds will not encourage many people to stay on the site and get in touch.

These days, a website needs to look crisp, smart and clutter free with uniformed pages, images and well written content on a mobile compatible layout.

More of us are looking at websites while on the go using our mobile phones. So its important a website has few distractions such us unnecessary effects, links and irrelevant images.  Each page of your website should be fast to load, and instantly show the visitor what’s on offer and how to find out more.

The content on each page of your website should be unique to you, and never copied off another website. Remember to include keywords that you hope to be found for within your text as Google looks for these, and check for correct grammar and spelling.

Good quality images are vital. You don’t even need many; just one or two good photos to represent each page subject will often do. If you don’t have any of your own good quality pictures, you can easily download stock images from websites such as iStock or (free) Pexels.

Remember, images on your website should be optimised for use online. This means the file size will be reduced so they do not slow down your website. Don’t upload hi-res images direct from a camera. If you don’t have the software installed on your computer to re-size or optimise images for web use, you can find free tools online such as http://www.imageoptimizer.net/ or https://resizeimage.net/ .