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So if you are starting a website or refreshing an existing site, there are a few principles and best practices professional website developers and designers follow. Following these steps create great websites that are engaging, effective and get found by Google searchers. For the most part, the steps can be placed into three distinct categories including groundwork, website building and essential services. 

Ground Work

It may seem to obvious to start building the foundation before you build the house metaphorically but many new designers and do it yourselfers skip this essential step. So what is required for this type of preparation? It starts with doing some products and competitor research to make sure your project is well founded. Once this stage is done and before you start signing up for your website hosting, setting up your identifying benefits, creating your brand and designing your logo needs to be in place before you can begin planning and developing your website look and feel. Along with these moments, It’s a good time to start writing your content keeping in mind your keywords for better SEO results.

Website Building

This is the stage where many start, but actually this should be the stage where you can pull from your homework. Working more methodologically helps during this phase of setting up your hosting to upload your platform or using your drag and drop editor carefully outlining and blocking the areas where your content is to be placed. Adding content for text and media seems simple, but photos and video usually require some formating for a fast loading page. The content stage requires some integration such as icons connecting social media pages, outside pages as well as outside links to relevant material. Further integration for the more advanced folks would include calendars, chat widgets, databases and Google Analytics and blogs. Going deeper into more advanced features, ecommerce and shopping carts can take a bit of skill and are usually time consuming with payment gateways, shipping, taxes and accounting integrations.  

Ongoing Services

Usually hosting and domains need to be set up to build a website, but these are also annual ongoing costs that are mandatory to keep your website live. I suggest using a domain email to build trust and provide a more secure platform. Good hosting today also will need to be upgraded to include malware scanning, daily backups and auto updates for platforms, themes and additional plugins. A website without being found is simply “web waste”. Therefore onsite and offsite search engine optimization known best as SEO settings need to be applied to get found by search engines. Websites need to be updated, so managing your content on a regular basis should include changing text and photos. Blogging and social media posting should be considered as an ongoing effort to improve your SEO ratings and your online presence.    

So do a little research or have a professional make sure you do your homework before starting your website, then build a quality website with required integration.  Finally, make sure ongoing efforts are applied for fresh content and to get found by searchers.   

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