Whether you’re engaging a website designer to build your website or you’re building a DIY website, this checklist will help you collate your WEBSITE CONTENT and GET YOUR WEBSITE LIVE.

While your website can be built without the prior purchase of a domain name or website hosting, it can’t be built without specific content.

However I would highly recommend that you register your domain name and your business name as soon as possible before someone else snaffles them and you find they’re already taken! (I’ve put some more tips below).

This guide will help you consider and prepare all the different types of content information that goes into your website and the kind of information your web designer will need from you. 

The more you’re prepared the faster your website can be built.

First, I’ve listed the WEBSITE CONTENT basics below.

Second, I’ve listed what’s required to GET YOUR WEBSITE LIVE.

Throughout, you’ll also find a bunch of my recommendations that will help save you time, headaches and money!

Table Of Contents

  1. Website Content
  2. Getting Your Website Live
  3. Your Website Designer Will Know

Website Content

Logo

A good logo design will come with variations that will fill a number of roles in the digital age of business.

Unfortunately a traditional, single style, logo doesn’t cut it anymore because it has limited use.

There’s also a current trend in logo design to be complex in both detail and shape.

It may look great on your business card but when it comes to being integrated into your website, this style of logo can be difficult to work with and has limited options.

Not only should you have a logo that is website friendly, your logo should be useful in all areas of your branding:

  • profile pics on social media business pages and networking platforms like LinkedIn
  • restricted real estate within invoicing software
  • branded marketing products (like pens)
  • Google Business profile

Below is a great example of a logo with variations.

Primary Logo for:

  • business cards and brochures
  • website

Submark for:

  • social media profile pics

Secondary Logo for:

  • invoicing software
  • letterheads
  • website

Favicon for:

  • website

Another logo variation you should consider is light and dark options. This provides even more website design flexibility when using your logo against different coloured backgrounds. You’ll find that light and dark options will also come in handy with digital advertising; eg a Facebook ad.

Logo variations are essential for your website as there are limited areas within the site that it can be placed. Having variations (like the ones above) will give your website developer more design options.

Favicon

Not only does your website need to display your logo, it also needs a branded favicon, a simplified logo variation that identifies your business in an internet tab.

Fiverr is a great resource to find yourself an affordable logo designer.

Make sure you let your logo designer know what kind of marketing materials your logo will go on.

You’ll need to think about what will be relevant to your own business and decide on specific things like business cards, website, social media, thank you cards, etc.

Once you’ve decided, be specific in your request to your designer. At the very least you need:

  • A primary logo with (at least) one variation (secondary logo or submark)
  • A favicon based on the primary logo
  • Finished high resolution logo files in both .jpg and .png
  • The “hex codes” of your brand (logo) colours 

Provide your web designer with:

  • All variations of your logo
  • A favicon
  • Finished high resolution logo files in both .jpg and transparent .png
  • The “hex codes” of your brand (logo) colours 

Services

What will you “name” the services on your website?

If you have more than one service, you’ll need to make the differences between them obvious for your customers. The best way to do this is for each service to solve a different problem that your customers can relate to.

By naming your services – and using layman’s language in titles and descriptions – you’re creating content that includes words that prospective customers will use to search for a business like yours on the internet. This adds dramatically to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

What are the particulars of each service?

What exactly does your customer get as part of the service? For example a lawn mowing service might include:

  • whipper snipper of edges
  • leaf and grass blowing
  • a monthly weed spray
  • a pre summer sprinkler check

Laying out the specifics of your service gives you the opportunity to showcase the value of your service to a potential customer.

  • Look at it from the perspective of your customer – what would they want to know? 
  • Anything you add that’s of value helps you stand out from your competitors!
  • Use language a customer would understand, words a customer would use in an internet search (which will improve your SEO).

What are the conditions of each service? 

Conditions help your clients have the right level of expectation by laying out the limitations of the service.

By balancing the particulars (value adding) of your service with the conditions (limitations) of your service:

  • your customer knows exactly what they’re getting (no more and no less)
  • you’re able to set boundaries around your service for customers that push for more
  • enables you to meet customer expectations with expertise – and get a favourable testimonial!
  • these conditions are used for your website policies (below)

Conditions could include:

  • Time limits; for example 30 minutes for a free consultation
  • Payment options; eg 50% deposit up front with final payment on delivery
  • Variables; eg a designer might provide a maximum of 4 changes to a logo design
  • Area limits; eg only available in the Perth metro area

For each service, provide your web designer with:

  • A title for your service
  • A short description of your service (one sentence)
  • A long description of your service (2-3 paragraphs)
  • Price of your service
  • Conditions of each of service

Products

How many products do you have?

Some products have variations in size or colour. This would be one product with x, y and z colour/size, etc.

Also letting your web designer know how many products you have, helps them create a quote for the work needed.

Within a website each product has its own page. A simple online shop with a home page and a dozen products will effectively be 13 pages, which actually isn’t small at all. Each product page has images, description, shipping, pricing, payment processing, categorising and more.

For example, product based websites made by Get Online & Grow are limited to 15 products within my pricing conditions, and an extra $100 per 15 products thereafter.

However, if a client hosts their website with Get Online &Grow, I can reduce those costs by:

  • including additional products in the 2 hours of free website updates each month
  • or use the 2 hours of free updates per month to teach a client how to add products themselves

What type of products do you sell? 

The differences in product type will affect the design of your website.

  • Already produced (eg tents)
  • Commission pieces (eg art)
  • One off custom creations (wedding sash with the bride’s name custom embroidered)

How would you categorise your products? 

For example if you sell clothes, they could be categorised into Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s clothing.

Creating general categories helps your website design with:

  • Deciding what the menu items will be
  • Providing easier search functionality for your customers
  • Future sales or specific category marketing 

Note that you may find a particular product may apply to more than one category. This is not only acceptable but increases chances of sales.

Product Descriptions

As with services, the customer expectation of an unseen product can be misguided if you don’t provide a thorough description of your product.

I highly recommend including what your product could be used for.

Here’s an example – A craft business sells personalised insulated, non spill wine cups for Mother’s Day. However this type of gift could also be used for birthdays and Christmas. The extra words “birthday” and “Christmas” increases your SEO by using terms a customer could be searching for.

In your description include anything that’s relevant:

  • size/dimensions
  • type of material the product is made from
  • if it’s handmade, home-made, Australian made, locally sourced
  • any information on it’s sustainability or environmental friendliness – a major selling point these days!

All the words you use in your product description are words a potential customer might use to search online, making your product easier to find and help with your SEO.

Titles For Your Products

Due to the way websites are built, every product title need to be different because it ends up having it’s own dedicated web page.

Neither the software that is used to build your website, nor Google, will accept product titles with the exact same name (in terms of technical function).

When naming your product, consider the kind of words customers will use to search for a product that does what yours does.

If you have a brand name for the product, something that has words customers have never heard of, eg L’Oreal BB Cream, then your product description needs to be well thought out in terms of the the kind of words your customers would search to find it.

Photographing Your Products

High quality photos always sell products better! The more professional they look, the better.

If you decide to take your own product pics, I’ve created a Pinterest board here, that includes tutorials on product photography using a smartphone, as well as inspo pics to showcase your products to their best advantage.

Otherwise google “product photographer Perth” to find a service within your budget.

How will you be sending your products to your customers and how much will you charge for postage?

Options to think about:

  • Courier or Australia Post. More and more courier companies are operating thanks to the Covid ecommerce boom, so take advantage of competitive pricing. 
  • This link will help with Australia Post pricing.
  • This link is for a courier competitor (which I’m not personally recommending as I’ve never used them but it will help you with pricing comparisons. My advice is to compare with similar companies to get the best price for your business).
  • Are your products size and weight of a similar nature that you could offer “flat rate” postage?
  • How much will you charge if your customer orders 3 things instead of one? Will you charge by the product’s individual postage rate (thereby possibly charging your customer 3 x for one order) or will you have a “max postage rate”?

Are there any conditions for your products?

  • Are your products copyrighted
  • Are they non-refundable
  • Are they only available to post to a certain area
  • Do you only offer store credit instead of cash refunds

For each product, provide your web designer with:

  • A title for your product 
  • A description of your product
  • Variations for each product (such as size or colour)
  • Price of your product (and their variations; eg S, M, L might have different prices)
  • Postage for each of your products (and their variations; eg S, M, L might have different postage costs)
  • 2-3 images of your product
  • Locations your products are available to post to (ie are you only selling in Perth? WA? Australia wide? International?)

Images & Photos

High quality professional photos are essential to almost every website design.

However you need legal rights to use ANY photo on your website due to copyright laws.

Photos you DON’T have legal rights to are:

  • Found in a Google search
  • Copied, downloaded or screenshots from other websites
  • Watermarked (to protect their copyright)

Photos you DO have legal rights to are:

  • The ones you’ve taken yourself
  • Purchased from stock libraries
  • Downloaded from copyright free stock libraries

Here are three copyright free stock libraries where you can legally download photos and use them on your website.

Note: When you download from these sites, use the default file size. 

Note: Use the Download button and don’t right click to save the image, as this will reduce the file size. 

Choose multiple photos as some work better than others in terms of free space within the image, how elements are balanced within the image, light and shade and colour tones.

Providing your web designer with multiple photos, gives them the ability to choose what will work best within your website.

Provide your web designer with:

  • Full resolution copies of photos
  • Advise which page or section of your website the photo is for

Contact Details

Aside from the obvious email, phone number and address (if applicable), contact information may also include things like:

  • The ways services are provided such as by phone, face to face or online
  • Different office locations
  • Specific suburbs of trade
  • Hours of trade
  • Google map location (with or without built in Google Maps directions)
  • A contact form 
  • Fax, Skype, WhatsApp details
  • Social media links

Provide your web designer with whichever contact details are relevant for your business.

Policies

Different types of policies help protect your business AND help meet your customers expectations.

Previously I mentioned thinking about specific conditions for individual products and services. Those decisions can be rounded up in a Terms & Conditions Policy that should be listed on your website.

There are a few other types of policies to think about and decide which is relevant for your business:

  • Returns and Refunds
  • Shipping (location restrictions, postage costs, pickup locations, estimated time of delivery, tracking information, what to do if something doesn’t arrive)
  • Privacy Policy (covers information you gather from your customer by doing business with them like email addresses, postal addresses and credit card information)
  • Cookies policy (cookies are bits of tracking code in your website that provides you with market research, like Google Analytics statistics that show when and where your website traffic is coming from) 
  • Terms and Conditions
  • GDPR compliance (if there’s any chance someone in Europe might buy your product; this isn’t relevant to most service based busiensses)

There are many free policy generators online that will give you a template to start from or you can borrow one of these (which I personally prefer because the language is simpler):

However you access a policy template, they should be checked over by your legal representative, after you’ve edited them to make them relevant to your business, as they are NOT necessarily legally binding.

Most people don’t do this due to the cost. I’d recommend applying for Many Rivers business mentoring where you may get a free legal eye over your policies.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) aren’t necessarily policies but can be grouped in with them. A good place to start with FAQ’s is to consider the types of questions you already get from your customers or research your competitors websites.

Provide your website designer with the relevant policies for your business.

Payment System

Generally service based websites invoice their customers using invoicing software like Xero or MYOB. This means the payment processing doesn’t got through your website if you’re a service based business. (For a simple and free invoicing system check out Gimbla.)

However some service based businesses get their customers to pay during the booking process, using a dedicated snippet of software to handle everything for them.

And product based businesses need a payment system that allows your customers to buy directly from your website.

There are two sides to the payment processing system for you to consider. One for your customer and one for your business.

For Your Customers – When you consider your own online purchases you will be used to paying by credit card and Paypal. The same could be said of most Australians – IE they have an expectation to see these types of payment options on your website’s checkout page.

You might even consider adding Afterpay as a payment option.

For Your Business – You will need to choose a payment processing system that directs customer payments into your business bank account. Some of the most popular options are:

Personally I love Square due to it’s versatility. It’s great for inventory management particularly if you makes sales at markets and online; it can run sales reports and provide subscription invoicing as well.

The difference is in the fees (where you should do your due diligence). I’ve linked each of the above to their relevant fees documentation so that you can compare.

The website payment system (Paypal, Square, Stripe, etc) is an intermediary encrypted payment gateway that debits your customer’s account, and credits your bank account. 

Their fees are the commission you will be charged for the payment processing of individual orders made through your website.

And the balance of a customer purchase, less fees, goes into your nominated business bank account.

Signing up for any of the big three are free and once you have an account, your web designer will integrate your account into your website using encryption software.

Depending on which payment processing company you use, your website designer will let you know what they need to set up the payment processing integration on your website.

About

Depending on the type of business you have, an About section may be reduced to a paragraph in a section on your home page, or it may require an entire website page to itself.

The point of your About information is to build trust with your customers. Why should they buy from you?

In some cases (like counsellors, dietitians and lawyers) you should include your own qualifications for proof of legitimacy. But in most cases, your About is not a personal or business resume.

It’s to further impress on prospective customers how your business can help them, showing you understand what’s important to them, that you have similar values, and to build trust.

Some things to consider:

  • Your past (relevant) experience
  • Emphasising your values with a mission statement that other people can relate to; eg “Providing educational resources to every under-privileged child in the south west”
  • How your business idea was inspired, can be very relatable to your customers; eg home-made healthy dog treats inspired by your own dogs, aligns with other dog owners where pets are important members of the family
  • What’s your point of difference? This could be the reason behind the value add of your services. For example Get Online & Grow targets start up businesses because I discovered the DIY website route full of costly traps, and complex tech that was supposed to be “easy”. I keep things simple and help my clients work through their content requirements in bite size actionable steps.
  • Make it easy to read; short sentences, short paragraphs.
  • Don’t get caught up in the technical language of your industry but use everyday terminology that your customers can relate to. Again, use language that your customers would use when searching for your product/service (SEO).
  • Keep it all relevant (to your customer!) and don’t make it too long.

Your About page/section can also include:

  • Your contact information
  • Links to social media 
  • A contact form
  • A list of retailers that sell your products (if applicable) 
  • Different office locations
  • High quality, professional photos of you, your staff, behind the scenes of your business, parts of the production process

Provide your web designer with any of the above information relevant to your business, along with any photos to help promote your business and to help your designer with the layout.

Testimonials

Testimonials are concise personal accounts from happy customers that are effective:

  • As a sales and marketing tool.
  • In highlighting the positive experience someone had with your product or service
  • At building trust

A large majority of consumers read online reviews, and on top of that, more than half of them agree that reading positive customer reviews encourages them to buy from a business.

Whether testimonials are on your home page or your About page, the amount of space used for testimonials is a section of a page, not a whole page for the purpose.  So keep them short and sweet.

Testimonials written by customers can be quite long. However, in terms of your website design, you will want them to be a single sentence or a short paragraph.

If trimming a long testimonial feels awkward (your customer has taken the time to really talk you up!) then consider these approaches to getting shorter ones:

  • Specifically ask your customer to sum up their experience with you in one sentence
  • If you receive an email or text message from your client while doing business with them and they say something like “you’ve nailed it” or “I can’t believe how beautiful it’s turned out” – ask them if you can use that as a testimonial. Chances are they’ll say of course!

Note: Testimonials also need to be relevant to the products or services currently on offer on your website.

Testimonials may include:

  • A photo of your customer
  • The customer name
  • Where the customer is from (company, suburb, city, etc)
  • Rating stars
  • A title

If you have testimonials available, provide your website designer with 1 – 3 recent testimonials. 

A Lot Of Trust and A Little Bit of Creative Licence

There are elements of your website design that will require some “private” information from you to integrate things like:

  • Payment processing
  • Connecting your website (content) to your domain name and your hosting account
  • Adding a Google map to your contact page
  • To name a basic few

Your website designer is required to have a privacy policy of their own that ensures your information remains confidential and safe.

If personal information protection is a big deal for you, your website designer should be able to provide you with instructions that allows them only temporary access to your private information.

Your website designer also knows how colours go together, how to balance design elements, the order of sections, pages and menus and which photos work better than others. 

A good website designer has an excellent understanding of website technology, marketing and the latest industry trends, and can blend this into an impactful website to ensure a great customer experience.

Trust in their expertise.

An ethical website designer will also ensure that you own and have access to all the separate parts and the whole of your website.

Getting Your Website Live

Before you register your business name, check to make sure the domain name is available. You don’t want to register your business name only to find you have to have a slightly different domain name!

At this point it’s also a good idea to make sure your intended business name is also available on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms where you intend to do marketing. While it’s not super important that these are exactly the same, it is better for brand recognition if they are.

It’s more important that your business name and your domain name match.

Domain Name

A domain name (www.yourbusinessname.com) is just a NAME but it works like a street address for your customers to find you on the internet once you’ve built your website.

Domains can be purchased as a stand alone product for 1 year, 2 years, 3, 4 and 5 years, even up to 10 years, with the total cost charged up front.

There are many companies that offer domain names (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc).

My personal recommendation would be VentraIP, mainly because they provide free registration privacy on all their domain purchases. All domain registrations are public information. Privacy hides your direct contact details saving you from a ton of spam phone calls and emails. They’re also an Aussie company so all support is local.

Tips At Checkout When Buying Your Domain Name

All businesses will try to upsell you and domain companies are the best at it! 

There are only two other things you should consider buying at checkout IF they come up.

SSL – stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s the standard technology used to keep an internet connection secure and to safeguard any sensitive data that may pass through your website. The most common sensitive data would be emails, home addresses and credit card details that your website may collect while doing business with a customer.

  • Google has said they will flag all unencrypted websites (those without SSL) as unsafe and although they allow your domain name to open in the customer browser, it will open with a preface warning from Google.
  • Pricing for SSL can be anywhere from $45-$200 depending on which company you purchase through. Domain companies offer different types of SSL and will expect you to know which one to choose (you may want to contact their sales chat and find out which one would be suitable for you).

Note: Get Online & Grow offers free SSL as part of its hosting package. 

ID PROTECTION – All domain registrations are available to the public as part of government regulation, however your personal information does not need to be (under the Privacy Act). 

ID Protection may come free with your purchase (such as with VentraIP) or you may have to purchase it separately at the checkout, when purchasing your domain name from other companies. 

I would highly recommend having ID Protection (aka Privacy at some checkouts) because every website developer from here to Kathmandu will be ringing you on a daily basis selling websites and apps!

DO NOT buy anything else at checkout! They will be upsells worded in a confusing manner to make you think they’re necessary. They’re not!

Hosting

Hosting is like cloud storage (on the world wide web – ie www) for all the folders, files and images that make up your website. 

The two simplest ways to buy hosting:

  • You can buy hosting from a web hosting company who charge annually
  • Get Online & Grow offers hosting on a monthly basis (with no contract) to help keep your overheads as low as possible

If you decide to buy hosting from a web hosting company I would recommend Siteground, however there are many different companies to choose from. Be aware that you get what you pay for. 

Hosting:

  • Is often on sale for a cheaper price so make yourself aware of the full renewal price, often double the original price
  • Is marketed at a monthly price point however the price is paid in full upfront
  • You can purchase anything from 1 to 10 years with bigger discounts for longer terms
  • Hosting with Get Online & Grow is charged monthly

Do NOT pay for anything else at checkout. More upsells that you definitely don’t need now and will possibly never need.

Your Website Designer Will Know

Once you have all the relevant pieces of your website (content, business name, domain name and hosting) your website designer will know how to connect everything up and make your website live.

While I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible, I’m sure much of the information above will seem involved and perhaps overwhelming.

That’s why my job is to lead you in the right direction by navigating the tech, avoiding costly pitfalls, and taking you through the process step by step.

All conversations and questions are free so don’t hesitate to reach out.