The Strategy to Spice Up Your Brand

Discover the essentials you’ll need
before you begin building your website

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how does a website work exactly?

Many business owners are unsure about how the technical side of their website works, why they need certain elements, and what they should expect to pay for. Some questions I’ve heard frequently include:

  1. “is a domain and website the same thing?”

  2. “why do I need a web host?”

  3. “what is a website platform or builder?”

  4. “what is SEO? Won’t Google automatically find my website once it’s built?”

If these questions sound familiar, don’t worry -
keep reading to get those questions answered.

1. Your domain is the “www.{insert business name here}.com” name of your website that you will need to register, for a fee, with a website registrar. You can never actually “own” your domain name. (even big companies like Facebook and Amazon have to pay to register their domain name.)

2. For a fee your web host provides the server space to upload your website pages, documents, images, videos, etc, and then makes those elements available at your domain. (this is why speed and “up-time” are crucial elements to consider when picking your web host)
You can think of your website, domain, and hosting company like this: if your website were a house, your domain name would be the address and your web host would be the leased land your house is built on.

3. Your websites platform or builder usually offers you the option to register your domain, purchase your web hosting, and build your website all at one time for a single monthly subscription price. This ensures that nothing is missing when you decide to launch your website and gives you the ability to design your website online. My personal favorite platform is Squarespace, but more on that later…

4. SEO or “search engine optimization” is something that needs to be carefully considered and discussed at the beginning of your website build. A lot of platforms have some built-in SEO optimization tools (like squarespace), but if your website designer does not know how to optimize your website, where to put keywords, or how to find the best keywords for your business, you may find it difficult to rank in searches.

The technical side of your website or “back-end” as developers call it, isn’t too scary when you understand how all the pieces work together. That brings me to the platform that I think has the best back-end for business owners: Squarespace.

 
Website Building Guide by Tarragon Studios, LLC
 

Content is key
in website design

 
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 What website platform do you recommend?

It seems like there is an endless supply of website builders and platforms out there. Some include the domain name but will require you to purchase a separate web hosting package, while some offer the full package: domain, design, and hosting. Some advertise a “WYSIWYG” (“what you see is what you get” also called “drag-and-drop”) website builder interface and some will lock you into a template and only allow minimal customization.

You can also design your website offline and then upload it to a hosting company or your own server - this is the “wordpress.org” system. It’s great because you “own” your website and it offers the greatest level of customization, because you’re building it from scratch. In my opinion though - this is much more than most small to medium sized businesses need. (and it requires the most time and technical skill to set-up)

Of all the platforms I have tried (and I’ve tried SO many), my favorite by a landslide is Squarespace. As a designer and business owner, Squarespace strikes the right balance of customization, usability, and price for me and my clients. There are so many reasons to use Squarespace but for now I’ll limit myself to 5.

Here’s my top 5 reasons
for choosing Squarespace:

1. Inclusive Plans, Excellent Performance, & Intuitive Structure.

Squarespace makes it so easy to get your domain, hosting, and website builder all in one place. It’s as easy as selecting the monthly plan that is right for you! It has an exceptional up-time record and runs smoothly. Personally I have never experienced a time when my website was down. Not only that, but where I had to go searching for information in other builders, Squarespace keeps everything on the back-end structured and clearly labeled with easy to follow menus.

2. Great for SEO.

I love the built-in integrations with google search and the intuitive analytics dashboard that Squarespace offers. Squarespace also includes an SEO tab for each page, so that you can preview how your page will appear in search results and make changes as needed. No need for plugins or extras; it just works!

3. Flexible, Adaptable, Mobile-Friendly.

As a designer Squarespace gives me the ability to customize the look of a website for tablets, phones, and desktops seamlessly. I’ve tried other site builders and I’ve just never seen such a smooth and intuitive method to customize a website to meet today’s flexibility demands.

4. Beautiful Modern Websites.

Squarespace’s fresh, open templates are constructed on a grid system, which makes it nearly impossible to create an ugly or overwhelming website or to accidentally move text off the side of the page (I’ve seen it all, folks). Their templates are modern, gorgeous, and can easily be customized through their simple wysiwyg interface and/or some CSS. (as a designer, I LOVE how customize-able the templates are and how I can change almost anything I need to with a little code.)
As an added bonus: you can switch templates without having to completely re-build your site!

5. Reasonable Pricing.

I won’t lie to you, when compared to some other popular builders out there, Squarespace may seem pricey at first glance, but it is so cleverly designed, so all-inclusive, and so brilliantly intuitive that I have found the cost to be perfectly reasonably. For just $12-$18 a month you can get your domain and hosting set-up, start a blog, create a gorgeous, flexible website that won’t crash, and be primed to expand or even to add an e-shop. Not only that but when you consider that Squarespace is even the preferred platform for companies like Pixar - It’s got the clientele and track record that speaks for itself.

Once you’ve got all the elements
for your website, building it becomes a breeze 

 
Download the Website Building Guide & Questionnaire
 
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What should you put on your website?

That’s a good question and usually the first one business owners ask, but before you can decide what to put on your website, it’s important to set some goals and determine what you want your website to do for your business. Thinking strategically about your website now will ensure that it will be a powerful asset in the future.

You can use your website to help you achieve a number of different goals:

 
  • Spread awareness about your business

  • Attract a broader audience

  • Capture leads

  • Grow your email list

  • Build influence

  • Grow consumer confidence

  • Communicate with your audience

  • Distribute news about your products

  • Provide information about your business (brochure)

  • Make Sales

  • And more

 

Once you set some goals for your website, you can start creating the pages and sections you’ll need to achieve those goals. It’s also perfectly fine to have several goals for your website, just be sure that you’re clear on what you want each page to accomplish.

Now, with your website goals in mind, there are a few pages that all websites should have and some specific information that you can include on each page.

Homepage. This is the main landing page and where you should establish your brand message and present users with an action, whether it’s to sign-up for your newsletter or contact you for a consultation give users a clear “call-to-action.” The homepage is also unique in that you’ll want to use it to direct users in all stages of your sales funnel to the next logical step. Whether they’re at the very beginning and looking for information, they know about you and need some persuading, or they’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll need to have a clearly marked path for them to travel down to get the answers they need to keep moving down your sales funnel.

Contact page. This is pretty standard on every website. You’ll want to include your email, phone number, location (a map is always nice), and a contact form for specific questions. Be sure to also explain what will happen after they contact you.

About page. This is an opportunity to humanize your brand, relate to your customer, and build consumer confidence in your product or service. It’s your chance to relate to your customers pain and show that you uniquely understand their problem - and that’s why you started your business. This is not the place for industry jargon or a resume. This is the place to tell a story that your audience can relate to.

Team page. If you’re not a solopreneur this is the page to highlight your team members. Include their qualifications, why they got into the business, what unique skill or perspective they bring to your business. Again, this is a place to relate to your audience. Tell the story of why they do the work that they do.

Product or Services page. This should be a persuasive page, not just a page to list features. You’ll want to use this page to guide users through your sales funnel. Address the pain points that your product/service solves and demonstrate how you’re the best solution to that problem. This is also great page to include those positive reviews and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Someone desperately needs what you’re selling and this is the page to demonstrate how much better their life will be after working with you.

Portfolio or Projects page. This is the page to demonstrate your excellent work and build confidence. Describe the problem each client had and how your product/service solved it. Include reviews, images, and a call to action to encourage users to get these same results.

Privacy Policy page. This is a legal document that your attorney can draw-up for you. It is there to keep your website compliant with the numerous laws around the world that dictate that if you collect personal information from users on your website then you must have a Privacy Policy. Tarragon Studios is please to offer an attorney drafted Privacy Policy template with all our website design packages. (check out this website for more information about Privacy Policies)

Terms & Conditions of Use page. This is another legal document that your attorney can draw-up for you. This document seeks to establish guidelines for how the information on your website can be used, as well as limit the liability of the website owner. Although not a legal requirement it is still a good idea to have a terms and conditions page. Tarragon Studios is please to also offer an attorney drafted Terms & Conditions of Use template with all of our website design packages.

Your website will probably need additional pages, a blog, or a shop, but these are the essential pages that most websites will always need. The most important thing to remember when writing your web pages is to keep your customer in mind and always consider what part of your sales funnel they are in, so that you can provide the right information at the right time.


Now that you have all the essentials down,
you can start building your website with purpose and a plan!


 
Website Essentials You Need to Know Before You Start Building - How does a Website Work? What Platform Should you use? What should you put on your website? Discover what you need to know about starting a website for your business! >> #website #squarespace #smallbusiness
 
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