How to get a website
There are three main steps to this. First, make a cup of tea. Second, take a few minutes to relax and read this page. Third, get in touch with us. Or if you really want to, you can skip the first two and just get in touch with us!
It starts with a domain name
The first step is to secure your domain name, which is the address by which people will find you on the web. For example, this site's domain is darkhousemultimedia.com. If you haven’t already got your domain, then by all means get in touch with us first. We can advise you on the best approach to choosing your domain name with your business name and sector and with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind, and we can register domains for you. See our domains page for more or stick with this guide for now...
Getting a web hosting account
Although not needed right away, we’ll need to point your domain to the place that your website will live, and that place is a web hosting account. We can provide web hosting on our fast, secure SSD servers and we can set everything up for you, including email accounts, SSL and so on. If you host with us, you don’t need to configure anything. You just pay the hosting fee and we'll do the rest. See more on our web hosting packages or keep reading...
Designing your website
So we know the business name, we have the domain sorted, and we can now design the site. If you’re starting from scratch we can do a separate company branding project for you first, so we have a logo, colour palette and house style that your web site will be based upon. See our design services for more on that.
Assuming that’s done, we then work with you to develop a brief for the site, working out the scope and structure, the features and functions, and a budget. Then it’s a collaborative process of visual design, approvals, coding and building, testing, getting you up to speed with managing the site if there’s an admin aspect, and eventually we launch the site. Woohoo Day!OK, LET'S ROCK
Wait, what about other stuff like search engine optimisation?
Ah, a keen student. OK. First, let's get something clear; people talk a lot of nonsense about Search Engine Optimisation or SEO and there are still plenty of dubious entities out there churning out spam at anyone who registers a new domain, offering all kinds of things you don't want to get involved with at all.
These days, most of what you need to do right for search engines comes down to building your site really well in the first place. It needs to be coded cleanly, and to standards, and it needs to be structured and perform in a search engine friendly way. Which is to say, in a user-friendly way, since Google are very aligned to what users want from your site: speed, clarity, focus, ease of use.
You will need to be prepared to take our advice on organising and possibly rewriting or tweaking your content so that it makes it clear to search engines what each page of your site is really about. There's plenty more that goes on behind the scenes, but we'll take care of it for you. If you're having a Content Management System (CMS) and updating the site yourself ongoing, then we'll give you a steer about making new content SEO-friendly, and it will pay you to learn a bit more about the basics at least.
We'll help you set up Google Analytics if you want and then you can also track the performance of your site and use Google's tools to analyse what's working and what needs improvement over time.
It is important to realise that if you have a new site that has a lot of competition in the same field of business, there is no guarantee you will appear at the top of search engine listings without a significant amount of time and effort and possibly money for paid adverts. You may need to plan a separate and ongoing budget for marketing if rankings are important to you. However, the sites we build perform consistently well for their target keywords and we typically achieve page one placements in natural search without paid ads.
So yes, the key is to have a site built really well in the first place by people who know what they're doing and you'll have a lot of your SEO needs covered before you launch.
And what about updates and further development of the site?
No problem at all. If it's clear at the outset that you're going to want to update your site yourself, then we'll plan out a Content Management System with you so that you have control over the parts of the site that you want to update. We provide a password-protected admin area with simple tools that will allow you to update the site.
If you don't need a CMS at the start but you need to add this capability later, or you just want us to take care of updating the site or expanding it for you, then that's all fine too. We can do ad hoc updates on an hourly rate or we can plan the next phase of development with you and cost that out. We have long-term relationships with all our clients and we'll be happy to work with you on your site as your business grows.OK, LET'S TALK