Because a lot of people use search engines to look for products and services, it’s a must for businesses to have a website and build their online presence. While traditional marketing is still used these days, we can’t deny that internet marketing is also becoming more essential as technology is increasingly integrated in our lives.
If you want to take advantage of internet marketing for your brand or business, this is for you—a step-by-step guide on how you can create a website that will standout online.
This guide is not something that you often see in other websites or blogs. I suggest that you bookmark this page, so that you can refer to this each time you need to.
1. Choosing a Domain NameDomain name plays an important role for your business, because this is an essential element for your brand identity to stand out.
Generic terms for your domain like “mybusiness.com” are not enough to make your brand standout. That’s why you should put careful thought on choosing a domain name.
Unique but relevant to your businessDon’t compromise on relevance just so you can have a unique brand name.
For instance, don’t use “A Touch of Heaven” if your business is a restaurant. But if you own a spa, then go for it. If you own a bistro or a food house, you can use “Foodiefied” because it clearly states and signifies that your restaurant is the perfect spot for foodies.
Go for a domain with a strong recallWhile it’s important to choose a unique domain name, don’t overdo it. Don’t make it long, hard to pronounce, and difficult to remember. Let’s say you’re leaning into “A Touch of Heaven”, a previous example I mentioned. Instead of that, why not use “Heaven’s Touch” to make it easier for people to recall.
Make sure that the domain you choose is not similar with an existing one.Choose at least 10 domain names to make sure that you can pick at least one, because it’s most likely that not all domain choices you listed are available.
First, search them one by one in Google and remove domain names that are already taken or are similar to an existing website. Of course, you wouldn’t want another website to land on the first page of the search engine page results when someone searches for the domain you chose.
Go to domain name registrars like GoDaddy and check with them if your sorted choices are still available.
If you’re left with no choice and it becomes challenging to think of a domain name, you can get ideas from websites that offer brand names like brandlance.com, youbrand.com, and Shopify’s business name generator.
Here’s an example.
When I searched “Foodified” on Google, I found that there’s no one using the domain name. However, when I checked with GoDaddy, foodified.com is already purchased, so I would think that I don’t have a choice but to choose one from the suggestions.
But what if none of the suggestions appeal to me? I would just resort to use ‘thefoodified.com’ because it’s available on GoDaddy (as of August 17, 2016), and it still doesn’t appear on the first page of Google search results. It would be of great advantage for me if I use this domain for my food business.
Remember, domain names expire and have to be renewed every year. That’s why it’s advisable to auto-charge the renewal fee on your credit card or debit card for convenience.
2. Installing WordPressIf this is your first time to launch a website, it would be likely that you’ll get confused with the next step that you’re about to take. That’s why, I decided to provide a simple analogy of the three elements you need: the domain name, hosting account, and content manager system (CMS), which is WordPress.
- The domain name is like a folder on your computer. You need to name it properly so that you can easily identify its contents.
- Web hosting is like your computer’s storage. This is the space where you put your files.
- WordPress is like your computer that you can use to modify the files in your folders. With this, you can add content, change file names, and remove elements that you no longer need.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how these elements work, let’s go into WordPress so that you can start on designing your website and adding content in it.
There are times when GoDaddy offers web hosting services along with a free domain name. Just do a search in Google to determine if they have an on-going promo for this. As far as I know, they have an affordable economy package.
If you already bought web hosting and domain, go to this page to learn how to install WordPress in your hosting account: https://ph.godaddy.com/help/install-wordpress-834
Once done, log in to your WordPress dashboard panel. Just follow the instructions provided. Make sure that search engines are blocked from indexing your website. Click “Reading Settings” under “Settings” and tick “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box.
Just un-check the box once your website is 100% ready for launching.
Please take note that web hosting is paid on a monthly basis. To make things more convenient, you can have it auto-charged to your account.
3. Structuring Your Website
It’s important to know what pages will make up your website. There’s a page for your business profile, services, contact details, and other information that you think are essential for potential clients to know.
Prioritize your About page. This is where you will put your business profile, which is essential in building the credibility of your brand. Make sure that what you put in this page will not just talk about what your business is about, but also make you remarkable to potential clients.
The next things you should focus on are your landing pages. Design them to be persuasive and compelling so that visitors will be converted to leads.
List down the services you offer and assign words or phrases for each of them. Choose terms that you think your target audience use when they search on Google. Let’s say you’re a photographer in Manila and one of the services you offer is wedding photography. What do you think people use when they search for wedding photographers online? It could be “wedding photographer in Manila” or “wedding photographer in the Philippines”.
To know the actual keywords or key phrases your target audience use, you can check with Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Here’s how.
When you identify the pages for your website along with their keywords, it’s time to create a hierarchy.
Here are factors you need to consider:
- Organize them in such a way that you and users can easily understand. For instance, put “Wedding Photography” as a sub-category under “Photography Services” instead of making the latter as an independent page.
- Include categories and subcategories as necessary. Don’t create two or more pages for one service.
|Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual pages|
4. Creating Content
Writing a few sentences on a landing page will not cut it. It’s advisable to put at least 500 words in a page. This way, you can increase the recurrence of your target keywords or key phrases as well as synonymous terms within the body of your content. This is essential in increasing your chances of ranking on the first page of search engines for relevant queries. Don’t forget to put the primary target keyword or phrase in the title.
If you’re serving a local area, I suggest you mention your target area several times in your content. (e.g. photographer in Manila)
In the first paragraph of your content, readers should be able to grasp what they can expect from that page. This way, they can easily find what they’re looking for. It’s important to communicate with them right away what’s in it for them and why they should choose to do business with you. What sets you apart? Is it your affordable rates or flexible packages? What is it that they can gain from choosing you?
You can elaborate your points in the following paragraphs and add other relevant information such as FAQs and Testimonials. This will help boost your conversion rate.
In addition, you can also increase the readability of your content by keeping paragraphs just one to two sentences long as much as possible.
Focus on 100% quality because it will be difficult for you to rank on search engines for relevant search terms if your target audience will not find value in your content.
5. Adding Pages
On your WordPress dashboard panel, click “Add New” under the “Pages” Tab.
If you need help with setting up your pages, you can go to this link: https://codex.wordpress.org/Pages
6. Designing Your Website
There are free and premium themes available for WordPress. Just go to the “Themes” section under the “Appearance” tab and click “Add New” which is on the upper left corner of the Themes page. From there, you can choose a theme to use.
When choosing a theme for your website, here’s what you need to remember:
- Make sure that it’s easy for users to navigate.
- Make it compatible to mobile and tablet devices (responsive)
- See to it that there will be no error on the website once the theme was installed.
- Ensure that it will load fast both on desktop and mobile.
- Most importantly, make sure the design is appropriate to the nature and your business and brand identity.
7. Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines
While quality content is an important ranking factor, it’s not enough to get you to the top spot. You can further ensure that your website will appear for relevant search terms keyed in on search engines like Google and Bing when you do the following.
URL StructureYou should create URLs in a manner that human users can understand.
Instead of using long ID numbers, you should use readable words.
You should also consider using hyphens to separate words.
Let’s say you are running a website about photography. A URL like www.johnphotography.com/services/family-shoots is better than www. johnphotography.com/family-shoots or www. johnphotography.com/services/?p=1.
Learn more on this topic here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Pages#Changing_the_URL_of_Your_Pages
Navigation LabelsIf a page has a long title, you can use a shorter navigation label.
Learn how you can use the built-in menu editor on WordPress: https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Menu_User_Guide
HeadingsThere are six heading elements – H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. You can use these tags to represent different sections of a webpage.
In WordPress, the title of the page automatically becomes the H1 tag.
If your content is long and exceeds 500 words, consider breaking the body into different sub-topics to make it more readable and easier to skim. Blocks of text typically turn readers off and are considered as eyesores.
Use H2 for the subheadings of the H1, H3 for the subheadings of the H2, H4 for the subheadings of the H3, and so on.
ImagesSearch engines can’t detect images. That’s why it’s important to put alt text on the pictures you use on your website. Make sure that it’s relevant and descriptive.
Click here to learn how to insert images in a page. https://codex.wordpress.org/Inserting_Images_into_Posts_and_Pages
Bonus Tip: Don’t let an image take up the top portion of your page, so that visitors do not need to scroll down just to get to your content.
Call-to-actionA link or button that instructs users to perform an action is called a call-to-action (CTA). Some examples are:
Call Now to Schedule an Appointment
Fill Out This Form to Get a Quick Quote
Download this to View Our Portfolio
Place your CTAs in an area that’s easily noticeable to users like the upper portion of the sidebar.
FormsYou don’t need to be a coding expert just to put forms in your website. There are plug-ins available to help you do so.
You can try the “Fast Secure Contact Form”. You can install it using the detailed instructions provided.
READ: How to Set Up a Thank You Page in WordPress
Internal and External LinksYou can link some of the words in the body of content going to other pages in your website. Keep this in mind when linking internally:
- 1 to 3 links per page is okay.
- This is done in order to provide additional information to users, so make sure that all hyperlinked words and phrases are relevant to the page you’re linking to.
- You can link to another website if needed. Let’s say you use a jargon or a technical term in your content, you can link that word to Wikipedia or a webpage that explains its meaning further. Just make sure that you’re not leading people to a competitor’s website. Also, set these links to open in a new tab so that users will not be directed out of your website when they click on the links.
Meta Title and DescriptionYou can modify the snippets that will appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your website. There are plug-ins available that you can use for this, but I personally recommend “SEO Yoast” because it has a lot of useful features.
Once you installed and activated that plug-in, you can see the meta title and description editor under the content editor. Meta titles have a character limit of 50-60 characters including spaces, while descriptions should only be 150-160 characters long.
When you make a meta title and description, keep in mind the following:
- Meta titles and descriptions serve as a short overview about your website pages that will appear in the search results. That’s why, make sure that every set of meta title and description is relevant to their corresponding pages.
- You can take this chance to put target keywords or key phrases in your meta title and description. However, don’t overdo it because Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing.
- Make them compelling so that you can urge users to click and see the rest of your content and other pages in your website.
XML SitemapThis includes links going to the pages of your website. You can use this so that search engines can index your content and to alert them each time you modify or add new content to your website.
This feature is included in SEO Yoast, which means that you don’t need to get another plug-in for an XML sitemap.
Here’s a short but detailed set of instructions on how to use SEO Yoast. https://kb.yoast.com/kb/enable-xml-sitemaps-in-the-wordpress-seo-plugin/
Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics provide insights about the visitors of your website as well as the things you need to do to improve user experience.
Here are some guides I’ve written to help you navigate Google Analytics.
- How to Create Google Analytics Account for Your Website
- How to Setup Destination and Event Goals in Google Analytics
- Step-by-step Guide on Removing Fake Visits from Your Google Analytics
Page SpeedIf your website loads slowly, there’s a high likelihood that the number of users immediately leaving your website will increase (otherwise referred to as bounce rate).
This is something that you would need to avoid because a high bounce rate can affect your business greatly and your chances of gaining potential customers.
Check if your website will load on different devices through phone and tablet emulators. You can try mobiletest.me.
See if your pages appear properly, especially your CTAs.
BlogIf you want to succeed in blogging, you need to be customer-centric. This means that you don’t blog just to promote your business, but also to provide information that’s helpful to your target audience.
If you are a photographer, blog about the benefits of hiring a professional photographer and what are the things that people need to know before they hire a professional to take their pictures on a special event. This way, you aren’t just helping your target audience, but you are also encouraging them to use your services.
When you have topics, conduct keyword research so that you can ensure that you content will generate organic traffic to your website.
Again, focus on 100% quality. Make sure that every blog post is well-written and formatted properly. Use headings if necessary and avoid huge blocks of text. Also, add one image per post so that your message will be communicated better and to encourage readers to share it in social media. You can also link to other pages as you see fit.
If you’re ready to write a post, just click on “Add New” under the “Post” tab on the upper left side of the admin panel. Don’t forget to optimize the meta title and description of your target keyword or phrase before you publish.
To learn more about writing a post in Wordpress, go to: https://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts
8. Allowing Search Engines to Index Your WebsiteIf you’re website is ready for launching, you can now make it visible to search engines through “Reading Settings”.
Also submit your XML sitemap to Google and Bing using these tools:
- Google Search Console
Here’s how to do it: https://support.google.com/sites/answer/100283?hl=en
Since you already inputted the Google Analytics code on your website, verify it via Google Analytics.
- Bing Webmaster Tools
Here are guidelines on using Bing Webmaster Tools: https://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/getting-started-checklist-66a806de
Congratulations on launching your search-engine optimized website.
While the steps in this guide already entailed a process, maintaining a website doesn’t end here. You also need to promote it so that it can gain exposure.
If you want access to FREE eBooks and online courses that you can use for the promotion of your website, just fill out THIS FORM so that I can e-mail them to you.