4 steps to a new website
Just like you update your home to keep it looking fresh and up to date, we need to update our websites. I like to look at it like this: When you’re driving down the street looking for a place to eat (let’s forget about Yelp for now) and you see a place where the sign is faded and it looks tired, do you want to stop and eat? Not really.
When we look at a website we may not be aware of the reasons, but we immediately get a feeling: do I want to come in and look around—or do I want to leave. That decision is made within seconds. Most people are not aware of contemporary website design elements, but they know how they feel and vote with a mouse click.
Our CareMatchPro website was starting to look tired and old to me. It was about 3 years old and it looked very dated. It was narrow and didn’t take up the whole page, like new websites do. It literally jumped out at me that this was an outdated website every time I looked at it.
Step 1. Starting
Starting a new web design project is a big undertaking and can be expensive, as well as time consuming, but it was overdue. In the past I’ve used 99designs.com and found them to be very reasonably priced, along with good results, so I used them again. The whole project cost about $1000 for the design and another $500 to get the sited coded in HTML. $1500 seems very reasonable to me. The old site wasn’t updated for mobile phones which is a big turnoff to so many people. That was a definitely another incentive to upgrade. I used WordPress as the platform, as most sites do. I also bought a theme for easier coding and efficiency. That was under $100.
It was a big job, no question about it. The design was the easiest part really. That was complete within about 3 weeks. 99designs has a feature that allows you to post a vote on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so that your viewers can give you feedback on the designs you’re considering. I found this very helpful and I’m sure I have a better design because of this polling of designs. I’m all for crowdsourcing!
Step 2. Troubleshooting
Going through the site once it was up as a test site and finding the issues I found fixed was a tiring process. This is an iterative process that takes time because I kept finding new things that needed repair. This step took about 2 weeks.
Step 3. Thinking of SEO (search engine optimization)
Thinking of how your new website will impact your Google ranking is critical and should be thought out before you start the project. The first part to this is to use the same page URL’s as you have now or have them properly redirected by your web person. If you don’t follow this step, you’ll lose your Google ranking and you definitely don’t want that.
You will also need to write new page titles and descriptions. These are what Google uses to categorize your site and what people read when they see the search results. This is also easily handled in WordPress. My process for this was to do a Google search for some keywords I knew people searched on. When I got the results at the bottom of the page Google shows you more suggested keywords. Here’s what I found: Nanny agency software; Nanny agency database software; babysitting software; nanny recruitment software and nanny placement agency software. If you’re inclined, try out the Google Keyword Tool. It will tell you the search volume and give you even more suggestions on keywords.
I used these keywords in my title and description tags and made sure they appeared on the pages where I used those terms.
Step 4. Writing your new text and choosing images
Writing the new text and choosing images is another important part of the process. With WordPress you can easily change text at a later time so it doesn’t need to be perfect in order to get the site launched.