If you are thinking of creating a new website or overhauling your old one, these are some items you need to consider:
Domain names, or website URLs, are fairly inexpensive, usually costing about $12/year for a .com.au address. It's important to think about whether you need a .com or .com.au address. It makes sense for an Australian business to have a .com.au address. However if your business services clients worldwide, then a .com address may be more important to you. You can always buy both and forward one to the other. If you're a non-profit then a .org.au may be more appropriate.
Squarespace (the website editing tool that I recommend) allows you to purchase many top level domains, including .com addresses, which can simplify your accounts by having all of your subscriptions in the one place. Unfortunately they do not yet offer .au addresses, so you will need to purchase any addresses ending in .au separately.
There are many other top level domain options if your desired name is already taken. However, be aware that if you have a similar name to another business who already owns the .com or .com.au address then your clients may have trouble finding your site.
You can search for the availability of names at many sites, including NetVirtue, an Australian hosting provider.
Hosting & editing
While a domain name gives you an address for your business, you also need hosting for your site, a place to hold all the content. Usually your Domain name registrar will also offer hosting packages, which can be a good start for a holding page with basic contact information.
I recommend using Squarespace for both hosting and editing. Squarespace is an all-in-one website building package, allowing you to easily create sites, blogs and online stores, in a very easy to use interface. You can create a Squarespace site yourself, or that's where I can come in - to do all the setup for you and teach you how to maintain the site yourself. Once your Squarespace site is set up you don't need to know anything technical to keep it updated well into the future. Squarespace rolls out fixes and upgrades to technology to all users, and also automatically redesigns your site for all users, desktop or mobile.
Good images are a necessity for creating a beautiful website. Videos are becoming increasingly common on websites, but in some rural locations our internet is still slow enough for that to be a negative to some of your clients.
Contact me if you'd like some photographer recommendations from the Granite Belt area.
Image editing tools are also handy for creating graphics for your site & social media. You might already use Photoshop or similar products. I recommend using Canva for simple images and graphics.
Sometimes you need stock images for a particular purpose. You can purchase images within Canva for $1 each (charged at download, so you can experiment with several in your design). You can also search Flickr for Creative Commons images that allow re-use (usually with attribution, which is good practice anyway). Unsplash also has great fee-free images (attribution nice, but not necessary).
You don't necessarily need a logo when you are starting out with a website, but it does help with establishing your branding & colours. Your website design can be inspired by the colours and style of your logo. Great local graphic designers are Emma Fraguas from Sketch Creative and Amanda Beale from AA Graphics.
I can create simple logos, like the ones I did for the Border District Eisteddfod and Libby Blomfield.
What do you want on your site?
Think about what pages you need on your site. Most sites have several common pages such as: Home, About, Contact. Other pages you might like include: a blog, store, social media integration, booking information, classes, menus, etc.
You should consider the need to keep your website up to date - don't put information up that changes all the time if you aren't going to remember to update it. Editing your site is easy with Squarespace, so make it part of your routine. However, if you know you will fall behind in updates, keep your website simple. For example, if you know you'll update your menu on Facebook, add a link to your Facebook page and point visitors there.
One of the best ways to ensure a quick turnaround to making your website go live is having content already drafted by the time I start working on your site.
Squarespace offers different transaction fees depending on your subscription level, with basic websites fees ranging from 2-3% (at time of writing this) and no transaction fees with the commerce level plans.
Squarespace has lots of tips for increasing your site's visibility to search engines. I will set up your site with best-practice Search Engine Optimisation techniques.
Social Media & Marketing
I can help you set up your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. I can create a mailing list and templates for you in Mailchimp, and I offer ongoing support packages.
If you're ready to take the next step, contact me to get you on the path to a beautiful website!