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Website DesignThere is more to building a great website than what your site actually looks like, website design will play a big part in how your website works for your visitors you can have a great looking website but if the structure of the site and placement of some crucial elements are not correct your sites visitors will get confused or bored and will most likely leave your site and not return again.

Further more your website design needs to attract the right visitors that are looking for the content that you are displaying on the site, the content of your website will dictate what type of visitors that you will attract.

The Basics

Getting the basics right is the first step to good website design, first you need to decide what pages will represent your website, the home page is an introduction to what your website is all about and should contain information on products or the content of your website. 

Important information like your business details and contact information needs to be placed in a location that is easily seen from every page of your website, usually this information should be placed in the top right hand side of your website and again in the footer so when visitors scroll down the page they will see your details before moving on.

As well as the contact page you should also add an about page that describes who you are and what your main purpose is with the website some background information on your experience is also a good idea.

Researching other websites related to your websites content will give you some idea of what is expected with the layout, style and design needed for your own website, but do not copy any content from other websites this can cause you trouble later on with copyright infringements and affect your ranking with Google.

Visual Appeal

Website design needs to be simple and clean, a complected website layout will cause your websites visitors to leave and seek out others, and the design and looks of all the content pages should be consistent through out the website.

Choose a clean font for your website and use the same font through out the website for tittles and content and select a size that is easy to read, oversized or undersized font will discourage visitors from reading your content.

Every website needs images to capture the visitors attention, copying other websites images is not a good idea find images through free image websites that are not copyrighted and use these on your website, choose an image that matches the content of the page you are displaying the image 

There is nothing more rewarding than building your own website from start to finish it brings tremendous satisfaction when you see your own work go live online, but for many new webmasters the process can seam daunting at first.

Where do i start and how do i put a website together there are usually alot of questions to answer and we will run you through the basics of how to build your first website and the different methods you can take to get there.

The very first step is to work out the theme of your website this is what the website will be designed around, are you starting an online blog on one of your favorite subjects, starting your first online shop and selling goods to customers, or want to start your own online community or forum all these website themes will be built in a different way to achive the end result that you are looking for.

Domain Name

One of the most important steps is to purchase your domain name and find a suitable hosting provider, your domain name is a bit like a phone number this is how people will find your own website out of thousands of others, you need to think about your domain name as this is important it should contain keywords for your websites theme.

Your domain name name needs to contain keywords if possible relating to your business or services and keep the domain as short as possible you need a domain that is easy to remember and is clear with out any dashes or other symbols, if you are targeting customers or visitors from your own country use a country specific domain which for New Zealand is or .nz if you are targeting overseas then a .com is what you need you can get a new domain name when signing up for a Siteground shared hosting account. 

Choose Your Websites Platform

The best part of all is to start the process of actually building your website and there are numerous ways to go about this process and depending on your adaptability there are difficult ways and easy ways to achieve the end result, one of the easiest ways to build your first website is to use an online page builder, for personal and blog websites we recommend Weebly site builder and for the simplicity of building an online shop we recommend Shopify both these page builders provide an easy and convenient way to build a website with drag and drop website builders and while you cannot build a complex website with this method it is easier to understand the process of website design.

Content Management Systems

The second method to building a website is to use a content management system, the two most popular are Joomla and Wordpress both these systems are open source so you can down load them and update for free, with a content management system you have more control over the process of building your website and a more complex design can be used to achive the end result that you need, Wordpress is the easier CMS to manage for beginners and can be used to build personal, online community and eCommerce websites but the learning process can be slow to master.

Website Templates And Themes

With content management systems like Wordpress and Joomla changing the look and design of your website with out changing all the content within the website is as easy as installing a new Template For a Joomla based website or installing a new Theme for a Wordpress website, content management systems also use modules to display content and plugins and components to control where the content is placed and managed, with this method you can achive more complex websites than with an online page builder.

Adding Content To Your Website

A website is all about the content that is contained within the pages of the site for personal websites and blogs you need to write articles to fill your website with the content that your viewers want to read, this content needs to be relative to your website theme and most importantly the content needs to be origional any duplicate content on your website will have negitive affects on getting a good ranking.

For business websites you need to display and inform customers what you are selling or what services you are supplying and also why you are better than your competitors, online shops need reviews on there products as this type of content is what will captivate visitors and make them purchase from your website.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is one of the most important steps that needs to be taken for any website, for a small personal website you can optimize your self, for large businesses and online shops this needs to be left to SEO experts, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing content, images, urls and creating backlinks to achive a better ranking on search engines like Google, content needs to contain keywords and phrases that visitors or customers are searching for when they type into the browser.

Search engines like Google send out robots or tiny programs that search out every website on the internet, these robots then scan and collect information about your websites content and usefulness of the information contained in your website.

If these robots deem your content is more relevant or useful to visitors on your website than a competitors website you will receive a greater ranking and there for your website will be more visible to people searching for the content that they are looking for and this process of optimization is an on going concern as Google changes the algorithm regularly to keep up with changes.

Responsive Design

The one most crucial aspect of any website design these days is to build a responsive site, by responsive we mean the website needs to adapt to any screen size that your website visitors are using, they maybe viewing your website on a smart phone, a tablet or on a desk top computer.

With the amount of people using smart phones to browse the internet increasing all the time this is an important design consideration, most templates that are available these days are built to be responsive right out of the box, a great place to shop for for templates and themes is Template Monster they stock thousands of designs for all types of websites.

Website Blog
Modern websites need a blog and particularly business websites that are selling goods online or in a retail shop, your blog content needs to be about the type of goods or products that you are selling, you can write articles on these products explaining how they work, how they are made and why they are better than your competitors products then place an internal link to the product in question, this is great for Search engine optimization and Google rankings.

Website Security
All websites need security and this is one of the most important features your website needs, if visitors and customers are trusting you with there personal information like credit card numbers, postal address and phone numbers etc you do not want this information falling into the wrong hands.

You need to purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting provider this will place the little green padlock on the visitors browser indicating that your website is secure for transactions like credit cards and personal information online, webhosting providers like Siteground provide free ssl certificates with there shared hosting plans.

Social Media Linking

With social media playing such a big part is every day life these days providing social media links in your website is a great way for visitors to spread the content of your website around the major social media websites.

Place the links on any relevant articles and also on the home page, for online stores placing social media links on product pages is a good idea as linking your products to social media websites is a great marking strategy. 

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