Category: Demystifying Websites

When is the best time to make your website live?

However much we have planned and however much we like the idea of getting our website live, we all put off the moment of truth with different styles of excuses.

We kid ourselves with questions and answers like:

“Have I uploaded the best possible pictures? A better one might come up next week (or next month) – phew, I can delay again.”

“Is my copy as punchy, detailed, witty, professional as it should be?  If I leave it for a couple of weeks, I might come up with another idea – phew, I can delay again.”

My question to you is, will it ever be perfect or is it good enough now to do the job?

Let’s start by looking at what your website is for.

  • If it is to promote your business, have you defined what your business is?
  • Have you explained why your business will work for your prospective clients?
  • Have you told them how you/your business will help them?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, and you have a some great pictures to make the whole thing more appealing, then it’s time to launch your website.

Bright Website example for website live blog

The following quotations both explain why beautifully:

1. A good plan, ……. executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week. ~~ General George S. Patton, Jr.

2. Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien ~~ Voltaire – (Perfect is the enemy of good).

If you want people to know what you are up to, a website that is “good enough” will do exactly that. One that is still not live and is still seeking the perfection that never, ever arrives, will not.

Be brave – go for it.


Our websites are specifically designed to make it as simple as possible to get your website live. All the basic pages are set up, with the layout ready for you to add your content. Check out an example here. Want some extra hand-holding to get your website ready to go live? Sign up to our Bite Size Website Wisdom, where we send you monthly tips to get you on your journey.

Blog v Website: what is the difference?

Blog v Website graphic for blog

Blog v Websites – confused?

First things first:

All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.

Now let’s dig a bit deeper.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a dynamic website where the blog posts or entries are published in reverse chronological order. When a visitor lands on a Blog, the most recently published content is shown first.

The word “Blog” is shorthand for “Web Log”, which were originally personal journals shared online.  Blog content is now often called “Entries” or “Posts”, so a Blog will consist of a series of regularly published “Posts”. The content is usually broken down into different categories too, so it’s easy to find relevant content.

Because of the more personal, informal nature of a blog, readers can often interract with the content via Comments or Likes.

We love

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of static content displayed as one or more pages. Once published, it will stay in the same arrangement until it is updated.

Every website has a Landing Page, usually called the Home Page. A traditional Website will have a static Home Page, where content is laid out according to the importance of information, not according to the date it was published. Having introductory sections on your Home Page will lead visitors to other parts of the website, such as Contact Page, About Page, Terms and Conditions, etc.

You have control over how information is displayed on every website page, so can guide visitors around your website and encourage them to buy your product or get in touch.

Blog v Website: which is better?

Hmm.  That depends. If you want to share your favourite recipes or engage with like-minded people, a blog is the best starting point. If you want to sell products or services, a static website is best.

But the best option is to have a website which includes a blog. This is because static and dynamic content are treated differently by search engines.

Posts, which are dynamic content, are published differently to pages, which are static content.  When a post is published, it is “pinged”, which means that search engines are immediately aware that there is new content at your domain address. When pages are added or content on pages are edited, there is no notification to search engines that this has been done. Therefore, it is valuable, if you want to rank more highly be search engines, to publish blog content.

Do Blogs and Websites need domain name?

Both Blogs and Websites need domain names.  (Read our blog about Domain Names here.) You can start a blog on a blogging platform such as WordPress.com or Blogging.com for free without having your own domain name – in which case your domain name would be myblog.wordpress.com. However, it is much better to invest in your own domain name right from the start, so you can have myblog.com.

Do I need a separate Website and Blog for my business?

No. It is much better to have a blog as part of your main website.

Can I have a Blog on my Website?

Yes!  In fact, we would thoroughly recommend having one. It is the best way to ensure that your website is regularly updated.  Search engines rate blogs over static information, so a blog from your website is more likely to be ranked more highly than information published on a page.

WordPress.org is our favourite platform for combining the two – you add Pages for the static, evergreen content of your Website, and Posts for the regularly posted content on your Blog.

All our websites are WordPress because we believe it is the best way to add both static and dynamic content.  And because we practise what we preach (most of the time!), we have designed all our websites with a Blog included because we believe it is the best combination for any business. (Check out our packages here.)


Any more questions about Blog v Website? Just ask below, or get in touch – we are happy to help. And if you’d like more Website Wisdom tips straight to your inbox, sign up here.


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Blog v Website - what is the difference, which is best for business, best for small business?

Blog v Website – what is the difference?

Domain Name: answers to FAQs

Notepad and pen for Domain Name FAQ blog
1 What is a Domain name?

A Domain Name is a unique name that people type into a browser to find a particular website. Ours is “newflatwhite.flatwhitedesign.pw.” It it similar to our company name – Flat White Websites – but has to have a top-level domain too.

2 Are Domain Names and Websites separate things?

Yes. Every website needs a domain name, although every domain name doesn’t need a website.

3 Free v paid Domain Names: which is better?

Domain names are often provided by website hosts for free. This is usually one name, and often for a limited time period. It’s a good incentive, but only if the name is registered to you and not the host. That way, you can move your website to another host when your current contract ends.

4 Where can I buy a Domain Name?

You can buy a domain name via an accredited registrar. Nominet is responsible for any domain ending in the .uk Top Level. They have a useful page on their website where you can type in a domain (as long as it has a .uk ending), and they will list all the different registrars that can offer it for sale.

5 How much does it cost to register a Domain Name?

This depends on the Top Level. For example, “websitewisdom.london” is more expensive than “websitewisdom.co.uk”.

Expect to pay between £5 and £10 per year for the first year, and increasing to between £10 and £20 for subsequent years. Buying a domain name for 3-5 years will reduce the annual cost.

It’s worth shopping around as costs vary between different companies.

6 Can I purchase a Domain Name directly from a website host?

Usually, yes. Make sure that the domain is registered in your name, and not in your host’s name. (We do this for any domain name that we provide for our Flat White Websites.)

7 Can I transfer my Domain Name if I change website host?
Yes. Because you have registered your domain, you can point it to any website host you choose.
8 Should I purchase a domain name through a registrar or a website host?

It’s up to you. Some website hosts offer a free domain name for the first year, which is great if you are on a limited budget. But, whether you buy through a registrar or your website host, check what you will pay after the first 12 months.

9 Are domain names with .com always preferable?

Not necessarily. The good thing about .com is that it is known worldwide. The bad thing is that it doesn’t give any clue to your location, and it is usually more expensive. We recommend buying at least two domain names – .com and your country (in our case, .co.uk) – if you can afford it.

10 Should I protect my personal information with private registration?

Not really, unless you have very personal information.

11 Does it matter what the name is for SEO?

It is better for SEO if your name makes sense. Including a keyword that reflects your business is a good idea. For example, B&Q have DIY.com as their domain name as B&Q doesn’t give any information about their business for search engines. However, make sure that your domain name is easy to say and memorable.


Struggling to choose a Domain Name for your business? Download this Infographic for some helpful tips:

Domain Name Infographic Link

How to Choose your Domain Name Infographic


Any more questions about Domain Names?  Get in touch, and we will do our best to answer them.


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Answers to the most common questions about Domain Names

How to use the WordPress Visual Editor

Graphic for WordPress Visual Editor blog

The WordPress Visual Editor is part of every page of your website, and it’s where you can add and edit your content.

WordPress Text Editor

The default setting is “Visual”, and this is suitable for adding a full range of content. If you want to add raw code, you can click on “Text” at the right of the editor box.

WordPress Visual Editor

Below are explanations about the main features, but play around to make the most of the editor.

Full Editor

Sometimes, you might see only one row of icons in the Editor. To show the full range of icons, click on the Toolbar Toggle icon:

Full WordPress Visual Editor

You can also work on a full screen, rather than a box within the page – just click on the icon shown above.

Headings

The default setting for adding text within the Editor is Paragraph. To change this into a heading, click on the arrow alongside the Paragraph/Heading box:

Headings in the WordPress Visual Editor

Headings are used by search engines to rate the understand the relative importance of pieces of content. Heading 1 is already used for the Website name, and Heading 2 is already used for the Page name.  So Heading 3 is a good place to start for your content, with a Heading 4 added as a sub-heading to draw the reader’s eye to any particularly important points. Use Heading 5 – which we are using here for the “Headings”, “Formatting Text”, etc – to highlight a sub list.

Headings are applied to a whole paragraph, not a section of text within a paragraph – just place the curser anywhere within the paragraph you want to change, and the relevant Heading you select will be applied.

Formatting Text

The Editor contains many of the standard formatting options – Bold, Italic, Bullet Points, Alignment. Hover over any of the icons for an explanation, and highlight any text to apply the formatting.

Formatting options in WordPress Visual Editor

Pasting Text

If you are pasting text from another source e.g. Word, click on the “Paste as Text” icon beforehand – this avoids any conflict with formatting.

Plain text in WordPress Visual Editor

Adding a Link

You can add links either to external content e.g. someone else’s blog that you are recommending, or your Facebook page, or to internal content within your website e.g. About Page, or a blog. Highlight the text you want to make into a link, then click the icon shown:

Adding a link via the WordPress Visual Editor

When you have selected the link or added the url, click “Add link” to make sure this is applied to your chosen content.

A useful rule of thumb that we recommend is to tick the “Open link in a new tab” for any external links, but to leave this box unticked for any internal links – that stops people leaving your website unintentionally.

Adding an Email Link

WordPress makes it really easy to make a link go straight to an email. Just write out the email, highlight it, then click on the link button as before:

Adding an email link in WordPress Visual Editor

Make sure you click on the arrow to apply the link.

Saving your Content

Whenever you have added content or edited content, always remember to click “Update” on the right-hand side of your page – otherwise your changes will be lost.


Anything else you would like explained about the WordPress Visual Editor? Get in touch – we are here to help. Or check out our Video Tutorials about all aspects of our Flat White WordPress websites here.


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Introduction to the WordPress Visual Editor
Introduction to the WordPress Visual Editor

Why you need a Coming Soon Page

Coming Soon page on Apple Desktop

A Coming Soon page is the simplest way to get started on a website for your new business.

Any business needs a website – however small. But having all the content ready for a website, when you are just starting a business? That’s hard, and, from talking to lots of people embarking on the daunting journey of setting up their new business, it’s the number one reason why small business owners delay getting their website live.

That’s where a Coming Soon page comes in.

Coming Soon on the To Do list

A Coming Soon Page is a temporary page can alert customers and clients to your new business venture. It can have as little as your contact details on – email address and/or phone number. Already have a website and you are making a new one? Simply add a link to an existing website that you are updating – that way you won’t lose any customers.

Incidentally, Google advises all businesses to use a Coming Soon page until their site is ready. From an SEO point of view, a Coming Soon page needs to be coded correctly to make sure that the bots that search for sites still register the page. That way, when your full website is launched, it is already indexed with search engines. But any good website provider will set up a Coming Soon page with this in mind, so you don’t have to worry about the background details.

As a starting point, a Coming Soon page is a great way to establish your branding. Add your Logo, and use your brand colours, to make a visual impression.

Your Coming Soon page doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. Choose two or three elements from this simple checklist:

1 Contact Details

First things first: always make sure any visitor can get in touch with you as easily as possible. Include an email address, super-short contact form, or a phone number.

2 Great imagery

Choose a photo that tells people what your business is about – remember, a picture tells a thousand words. And, if you haven’t got your own photos ready to go, choose one from the brilliant royalty-free websites out there – read about our favourites on this Green Ginger Design blog here.

3 Strong copy

Make it short and snappy – this isn’t the place to list all your achievements, or every product and service you will be launching, but it is the place to summarise your business in a sentence or two.

4 Prominent social links

if you have social accounts already set up, add links to your Coming Soon page – this is an extra showcase for your work, and an easy way for potential customers to get in touch with you.

5 Enticing signup offers

Encourage your visitors to sign up for an opening offer or great free download.  Then, when your website is live, you can get in touch and tell them.

Coming Soon Page of Flat White Website

Remember: just because your Coming Soon page is temporary, doesn’t mean you can forget about it – it still needs to be updated. If you mention a product or business launch date, make sure that it is not out of date. Equally, add a timescale to the page as soon as you know it.

If you are using a Coming Soon page to announce a particular launch date for your business or product, don’t make the date too far in advance – 1 month is usually plenty for a business launch, and up to 3 months if it is an event. And if the date changes, make sure you update your page!

All our Flat White Websites arrive with a Coming Soon page already set up for you.  But if your website doesn’t come with a Coming Soon page already built in, there are some great WordPress Plugins designed just for this. WP Maintenance Mode has plenty of features to get you started, including fully customisable images and colours, as well as email subscription and social media icons.  If you want to take your Coming Soon page very seriously, it may be worth investing in a paid plug in with plenty of extra features, such as the Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode Plugin by SeedProd.


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Why you need a Coming Soon page

Why you need a Coming Soon page

How to Source Photographs for your Website

Example of Photograph on Flat White Website

Photographs are crucial for your website.

Whether it is a Hero Image on your Home Page that introduces your business to your visitor, or a Background Image that is revealed as you scroll down the page, choose your images carefully. The origin of the phrase “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” is disputed (maybe Tess Flanders in the Syracuse Post Standard in 1911 or Frederick Barnard in Printer’s Ink in 1921). But its relevance is still true a hundred years later, and as true for websites as it was (or is) for newspapers and books.

Think about what sort of images will work best on your website. Is your brand formal or informal? Is the tone of your business friendly or sophisticated? Do you have products to sell, or do you want to promote services? Do you want simple images that add colour and tone, or do you want to tell a story?

Make a list of photos that will enhance your website – start with a short list of, say, 5, and make those 5 count.

Best option: take your own.

Original content is valued by search engines, so original photographs will help your website climb higher up search results. This article on 10 Rules of Photo Composition gives really clear examples, with explanations about why particular photos work.

If you are going to take photos for website, plan them in advance:

  • Where will you use them? Plan out exactly what you will use where. This will affect the proportions of the photos you need – your Hero Image, for example, will need to be landscape format (wider than high).
  • Do you want natural or artificial lighting? Artificial lighting is much harder to achieve without professional equipment.
  • Will you need blank areas within the photo where text will go? Look at Instagram and Pinterest for great examples of photos that work well with text.

Make a list of the photos that you need, and plan exactly how you will take each photo.  If you are using props, gather them all around you before you start your session – that way, you can really focus on the photography.

Glasses on open notebook with pencil

If you need some inspiration, visit Pinterest. Pin images that appeal to you, then use them as models for your own shots, recreating the composition and lighting as closely as you can, without being a slave to the image.

Best paid option: commission a photographer.

This way you still get your original content, but with the help of a trained eye. Katie Vandyck from Excellent Headshots has expert knowledge of website photography, from mood shots to products for ecommerce sites. (Katie has taken some of the photos for our websites, as well as all the photos of us.) Or check out Instagram – photographers are their own best advert, so find a photographer whose photos you love, and work with them.

If you are going to commission photos, it is still important to spend time working out what photos you need, and where you will use them on your website.  The clearer you can be with a brief for your photographer, the more likely the photos will be suit your needs.

Best free option: royalty-free photos.

If you don’t feel confident about taking your own photos yet, make use of the fantastic resources available. There are some amazingly generous and talented photographers out there. They post their photographs online for you to use, for free, as many times as you like, royalty-free.

These are links to three really good sites from which you can download some fantastic royalty-free images. Many resources on the web are given freely. – please make sure that if you use any of them, you credit the owners.

UNSPLASH

PIXABAY

GRATISOGRAPHY

It takes some time and thought to select photographs from these sites as there are so many to choose from, but it can be a rewarding exercise. As they are free, you cannot guarantee that the photograph you want isn’t used by another website, so you don’t score so highly on original content. But they are a great cost-effective starting point, and can transform a website into something with which visitors can really engage.

The same principles apply – make a list of what you need before you start searching for photos.

Now you’ve got your great photographs. Time for a little word of warning.

Photographs increase the time it takes for your website to load, and slow loading is a real turn-off. 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

So choose your photographs wisely – make each one count.

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How to source photos for your website

Where to use photos on your Flat White Website

Yellow and red stripy tulip

What’s the saying – a picture is worth a thousand words?

Well, photos certainly help to create a mood for your brand, even if you don’t need to rely on them to tell your whole story. This blog explains the different places you can add photos to your Flat White Design website.

We have added photos throughout your website to illustrate how they can be used. You can keep these until you have your own.

Hero Image

The starting point for your website is your Hero Image. The term “Hero Image” can sound intimidating. But it is basically a large image that is designed to fill the screen when your visitor first lands on your website – when someone clicks on “Home”, this is what they will see:

This image will probably be the first time the visitor sees your website, so it needs to pack a punch. If you are commissioning photos for your website, make this the most important one. If your business is not naturally photogenic, then it’s fine to use photos from the many fabulous photo resources that are around. Choose one that creates the right mood for your business.  If you are selling food, then that’s easy – choose something that makes your mouth water! And make sure that it’s something that you actually serve – no point showing a fashionable foodie fad if you specialise in burger and chips.

The Hero Image needs to be a good quality image so that it works on even the highest resolution screens – I recommend a minimum width of 2500px.

Whatever sort of image you choose, you also need to think about where text can go on our Hero Image. Make sure that there is a relatively plain area in the middle. Then, when you add your Site Title or Logo, it will show up clearly. You can choose the Site Title colour so that you get the best contrast – as you can see in the image below, the site title in white shows up much more clearly than the site title in grey.

Remember that it is really easy to update your Hero Image too. If you have a new product or service to launch, why not add a new photo here?

Background Images

Each page on your Flat White Website is designed to have a background image.  This Background Image shows up behind the Page Title, which is at the top of the page, and appears again above the Footer at the bottom of the page. When the visitor scrolls down the page, the image stays in place as the content scrolls – hence the name because the photo appears to stay in the background.

Background Images set the mood for the website, rather than selling individual services or products. Choose an image that is appropriate for each page. For example, for the About Page, a photo of you at work will create extra context for a headshot that you might choose to have on the page.

Background Images are also a feature of the Home Page Panels, which you can add on your Home page. These will appear above the relevant panel.

Again, this is an opportunity to provide more context for the services or goods you offer in your business, and help to make a strong impression of what you offer.

Images on pages

You can add photos within the content of any of your website pages, within the WordPress Text Editor. But use carefully. Choose one really strong image, rather than use too many. Apart from making the website load more slowly, one well chosen image will stay in the mind of your visitor far more effectively than a selection of mediocre snaps.

If you have lots of high-quality images that promote your business, you could add a Gallery within a page – or why not add a Gallery Page, which visitors can view via your Menu?

Whatever images you choose, make sure that they represent the qualities of your brand. And remember – updating your website is really important, and adding new images, regularly, is a really easy and really effective way to do this.  Time to get your camera out!


You can find more information about how to upload and edit photos for your website here. And if you want to find great resources for royalty free photos, these are links to three really good sites from which you can download some fantastic royalty-free images. Many resources on the web are given freely. – please make sure that if you use any of them, you credit the owners.

UNSPLASH

PIXABAY

GRATISOGRAPHY

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