The Daily Express's Laura Jackson interviews, Jed Wylie for their "Crash Course" series. Check out the full interview below:
Daily Express: What should I think about first?
Jed Wylie: First of all, think about who your visitor is, what they want and why they should visit your site. Whatever you’re selling make sure you're giving your visitor as much useful and helpful information as possible so choosing to buy from you becomes a ‘no-brainer’ – and always keep your contact details as visible as possible on every page. Daily Express: How do I get a domain name? How much will this cost?
Jed Wylie: Getting a domain name is really easy and there are lots of companies out they who’ll do it all for you. (A couple are; 123-Reg and GoDaddy.) Simply enter your domain name and they’ll tell you if it’s available. Domain names cost from about £6.99 for a .co.uk domain to £11.99 for a .com. Daily Express: What if the name is already taken (ie I want to call my site amazon.co.uk)?
Jed Wylie: If someone’s already taken your domain name then; put dashes (“-“) between the words, try variations of spelling, rearrange the words or use a different ending (known as a “top-level domain”). For example, try “.co.uk” instead of “.com” or “.net” instead of “.co.uk”. If someone already owns your business’s domain name (known as cyber-squatting) then you should immediately seek legal advice. Daily Express: What is hosting and how much will it cost?
Jed Wylie: When you’ve had your website built it gets put on a computer, called a server, which has access to the Internet and ‘serves’ your web pages out to your visitor’s computers. This service costs from about £4.99 a month upwards – the cost goes up as you attract more visitors to your website. Daily Express: How many pages should I have on my site?
Jed Wylie: Honestly, the more pages the better. Google loves content which is why websites like the Daily Express and the BBC do so well because they’re packed full of great content that visitors love. So, write as much as you can about your topic or business as doing so will give your visitor lots of reasons to stay on your website. Start with a minimum of 20 pages. Daily Express: Do I need to get somebody to professionally design the site?
Jed Wylie: Unless you are a closet web designer I recommend going to a professional because there’s more to your website’s design than making it look pretty. Good web design makes your eye flow across the page so you see the most important things first – getting that right is an art and can be the difference between a website which turns lots of visitors into customers and one which looks nice but doesn’t earn you any money. Daily Express: What on earth is coding and what is it used for? Should I try and do it myself? Is this Java?
Jed Wylie: Building a website is the same as writing a piece of software for your computer: it’s a technical and complex process and is best left to a professional. Trying to do it yourself means you’ll spend your life learning how to programme instead of running your business. Essentially you have two options; either hire a freelance web designer or a web design company. Freelancers are often less expensive but web design businesses typically offer more services (like Digital Marketing and ongoing maintenance contracts). In the end, let your needs and budget decide for you.
Websites can be written using different systems called “languages”. Some of the better-known languages are HTML, PHP, ASP and JAVA. Don’t worry about these too much though as only your web developer will need to understand them. Daily Express: What are the advantages of using Mr Site and are there any disadvantages to using an 'all in the box' package?
Jed Wylie: If you need a website fast you may want to consider an ‘out of the box’ package like Mr Site, Wix or 1&1 My Website. These are great if you need to start in a hurry and they offer some excellent standard features. However, if you need something a little more personal or bespoke to your business then I’d recommend getting in touch with your local web design company. Daily Express: If I want to sell stuff online, how do I go about setting up a shop and taking card payments?
Jed Wylie: Nothing is more satisfying than having money suddenly appear in your bank account in the middle of the night because your website has been hard at work for you. However, that means you’ll need some means of taking card payments. The quickest way of doing this is to use PayPal – it’s easy to set up, simple to administer and, most importantly, your visitors will feel confident using it to pay you. If you want a payment solution that is a bit more flexible and reflects the design of your site take a look at SagePay or WorldPay. Daily Express: How can I ensure that my website is top of the list when you do a Google search and how do I get my site noticed and get lots of visitors?
Jed Wylie: Visitors will be the lifeblood of your website and the key to online success. There are lots of ways you can get people to notice you online, here are a few; Pay-per-Click advertising (Google’s AdWords or Bing’s AdCenter), social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest), set-up and commenting on industry blogs or forums, speak to your local media about running an article, get a company to help you with Search Engine Optimisation (the art/science of getting your website to the top on Google). There are lots of ways to get noticed but the trick is to find where your customers are (e.g. Facebook, Google, the real world) and market your website to them in that space.
Google has a very clever programme called the Googlebot which visits every website on the internet (all 1 billion of them). It ranks each page of your website according to how popular it is. So, if you want to get to the top on Google the easiest way to get noticed is by using the approaches above but be patient, it can take quite a few months before you start to see the results of your efforts.