When building an Australian website to address an Australian audience, the most common choice, and, in general best performing for search engines, is a .com.au domain. In order to register a .com.au domain, your domain name of choice must be a copy of, or very similar to, your business name.
Choosing a Business and Domain Name
To best utilise your website, and to give it a good starting point when working out your search engine optimisation strategy, consider carefully your choice of both a business and domain name. Your name needs to express what it is you offer, and be unique to you, but also will benefit by having popular internet search terms in your field included.
So, if you were building a website selling, say, ovens, and your name was Mr Smith, you may choose the business name Smiths Ovens Online, and the domain www.smithsovensonline.com.au. This is unique, in the sense that it contains Mr Smiths name, but also clearly indicates what it is people can expect to purchase from this business, and website. Having the terms "ovens" and "online" in the domain name will also of course help with search positioning when potential customers type these terms into the search engine.
It is best to have several possible business and domain names and variations of these ready, as you will need to choose up to three variations for your business name registration, and it will save time to check that BOTH the business name and domain name of your choice are available to be registered.
You can then apply for your business name at the Department of Fair Trading in your state. A state by state guide to the application process can be found at the registration and licences section of business.gov.au, along with a wealth of information on starting your own small business.
Once you have your business name registered and connected to your ABN, you will be able to register the .com.au domain name of your choosing, if it is available.
Check for availability of domain names via any domain supplier, including via the DIY Website Builder. You can also use the the domain supplier of your choice to purchase available domain names and transfer them over to your DIY Website Builder hosting plan, or simply purchase a .com.au domain directly via the DIY Website Builder system.
With a domain name which matches your business name, you have an easy to remember URL for your returning customers to type in, and a starting point for your search engine optimisation efforts! Read our post on optimisation of page titles to take the next step in your SEO journey!
The goal of search engines, when choosing which pages to display in search results, is to locate the information most relevant to the users search. Page titles are used by search engines as a starting point to determine what your page is about - how will it help the user answer the question, or find the service or product, they are looking for?
When we talk about page titles, in terms of SEO, we do not mean the actual written title on the page, but the title displayed by the browser in the upper left hand corner of the screen. This page title is located in HEAD the section of your webpage, and is indicated by the TITLE tag. When using the website builder, to access the page title, simply access the page list, click on "properties" next to each page, and add your chosen title into the "Page Title" section.
How to Create an SEO Friendly Page Title
Page Title Length
At SiteFresh Web Design, we aim to create page titles not more than 67 characters in length (this includes spaces). This is because titles longer than this can be truncated by search engines (when you see the .... at the end of a longer title) and so do not provide your viewer with any information, and also because the longer the title, the less weight is attributed to each individual word in the title.
As the importance of each individual word is relevant to search engines, we also choose not to use "stop" words - these are words such as "and", "the", "or" and so forth. These words, while perhaps grammatically correct in a sentence format, are not required in a page title, and simply take up space which could be used for adding information relevant to your page.
Your Business Name Adding your business name to each page on your website is not essential - nor is it necessarily a great idea, unless you have a brand which consumers will actually enter into the search engine - like Nike or Apple, for example. It is enough to add your business name in, perhaps, the page title of the Contact Us or About Us pages of your website. Search engines will find your business name from the copyright notice at the bottom of your site, and also, of course, from your domain name, if you have used your full business name. So, a page from your site will display for searches which include your business name without needing to add it into every page title.
Relevancy to Content So, taking these ideas into consideration, then decide what it is your page content is really about - what main keyword phrases are you expressing in your content? Use these phrases as your page title, and seperate any points with - or | for neatness and ease of reading. In example, this blog, on our site, includes information on website design, SEO marketing and on how to best utilise the Website Builder's WYSIWYG editor. So, we created the page title
Website Design Tips | SEO Marketing Tools | WYSIWYG Editing
You'll see this title is 59 characters long - yes, there's room to add more characters, but we had already indicated what the page was about, so chose not to add more. This title contains no stop words, just naturally formed, easy to read phrases which describe what the page is about. This title also does not include the business name.
Page titles using information in this way provide both search engines, and consumers, with a clear idea on the content of yor web page. A good page title can then be enhanced by adding an engaging and interesting page description, further encouraging consumers to click on your web page. Our next SEO blog will cover creating effective meta-descriptions!
For those of you using the DIY website builder, you may notice when copying and pasting text that the formatting (bold, text size, colour etc) sometimes doesn't seem quite right. The following tips will help you design visually appealing pages and stop those pesky glitches!
Using a WYSIWYG editor
The DIY Website Builder uses a WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) allowing you to view your web page exactly as it will appear to your visitors. However, behind the scenes, all websites use code which tells the editor what type of font you want to use, whether you want the text centred or left-aligned, whether you are adding a title, and so forth.
So, when you copy and paste sections of information from, say, another website, or from a Word document, any code contained in that text section will also be pasted into your editor. This is what can cause some issues.
To create content using the WYSIWYG editor, follow these simple rules -
Adding New Content
When typing information directly into the editor, add all your information FIRST, and then add your formatting. So, type out your titles, paragraphs, links, sub-headings etc in your default font and then, once complete, go back over your text and format the areas you want to make titles, bold, centered etc. This is the best way to add content as, if you format text as you are going, occasionally when you press the enter key after, say, creating a title, the editor will bring that title formatting onto the next line.
Copying and Pasting
When you need to copy and paste content, it is best to "clean it up" first - which means, to remove any formatting the text already has so that it pastes neatly into your editor, where you then add your own formatting.
Any content copied from another website will undoubtedly also contain code. To tidy this up, the best practice is to paste it into NotePad first. NotePad is a text editor added as an application (usual in "Accessories" on most PC's. Simply paste your content into NotePad, then copy and paste it from their into your editor for neat and tidy text which can then be formatted to suit your website.
If you don't have NotePad, or are not inclined to use it, the next best thing is to paste the content into a Word document, and then copy from here to paste into your website. You'll notice, when you do this, the editor pops-up to say "You are pasting from Word, would you like to clean it up first" - this is a fantastic help, and just follow the prompts to have the editor clean up the text for you!
Visual design covers many areas, but to ensure your website is aesthetically pleasing wewill work with you to follow a few simple rules -
Planning Your Website
Who is your site for? What message do you wish to relay? Consider carefully the audience, in terms of age, preferences and computer literacy when choosing a layout for your site
Who is the site for - a pensioners club will generally have slightly different requirements to a heavy metal band.
What is the purpose of the site - is it a private ecommerce site for employees, a site to promote products for a retail outlet, or an informational site for a community organisation ...
Who is the target audience - if the target audience is mainly teenagers then the site may have lots of loud colour and animations, if however the main audience are accountants then the site should be very plain and easy to navigate.
Content - what actual content will go on the site
Layout - determine the basic layout and navigation for all pages in the site. Consistency is important.
When designing your website, you have a particular message to deliver, and colour is a very direct tool to stir emotions and direct user behaviour.
Subtractive Colour Wheel
The subtractive colour wheel is composed of a sample of colours that include the three primary colours and a number of secondary, intermediate and tertiary colours. Using this wheel when selecting your main website colours can be helpful in deciding on the use of complementary versus contrasting colours, or a mixture of both.
Using the wheel, colours that are alongside each other are considered to be similar. Those that are opposite each other on the wheel are said to be complementary, and those at least three colours away from another on the colour wheel are said to contrast.
For website display, most sites choose to select a single base colour (in this website, for example, we chose a shade of pale brown) with one secondary colour which is either complementary or contrasting (in this website, we chose pale green), and then additional tones (for borders or subheading, in example) which are similar to both these colours (in this website, that is a darker brown and a darker green).
Culture and Colour
In Western culture, each colour has a particular significance. Red for love, passion and heat; green for peace, nature, fertility; blue for clarity, dignity, truth; yellow for joy, energy; purple for wealth, sophistication; brown for masculinity, stability; black for death, elegance, rebellion; white for purity and cleanliness.
Be aware though of other cultural perceptions. In many Eastern cultures, white represents mourning, and purple, a sign of royalty in Western culture, represents prostitution in the Islamic world. Know your audience before making final colour choices!
Look at each paragraph and element on this page. You will see two basic alignments: centred, which is used for the heading and left-justified which is used for the balance of the page and sub-headings. Most designers would say "choose one alignment and stick to it for the whole page". So, as per this page, main headings are centred then sub-headings, text and images are left aligned. But most designers will also break their own rules from time to time - just to add interest to the page!
So, for example, if you had one single message on your page that you wanted to draw attention to, you could add an image and right-justify it, with some bold text as a heading above it, or, you could add a centred heading within the text of your page to make those words jump out at users. In general, however, when designing your page, use alignment as a tool for consistency, neatness and appeal.
In general, an image, or a heading, which relates to text should be in close proximity to it (near/next to). For example, when discussing the Subtractive Colour Wheel above, the text is immediately to the right of the image. This proximity allows your readers to clearly follow your information, and it is easier to guide customers to products they may need.
Repetition is about repeating certain elements all the way through a site. For example, you'll see that on this page there is a single page heading, then left-justified text with headings throughout. Also, note that every page in this website has a banner, centred at the top, shows the top and left menu, and the page footer. Plus the background is constant on every page.
All of this repetition gives a sense of identity to each page. When you move from this page, the next page will look similar. This gives a sense of reassurance that you haven't left the site and wandered off somewhere else by mistake.
One drawback to repetition, of course, is that the pages all have a certain sameness about them. There are a few tricks you can use to allow repetition, but with some variety. We discuss these in "Contrast"
Contrast draws your eye into the page and makes you want to look at it. With careful design, contrast will lead your eye around the page - a great tool for website designers looking to guide customers to a certain product or point of interest in your website or page.
To use contrast, the first thing you need to do is to create a focal point for the page. Often this will be a graphic or combination or graphic elements. The real focal point of the page is the most important element on the page. If everything on the page is the same size, then everything has the same level of importance. This will never be the case: there is always something on the page that is more important than everything else.
Some of the techniques you can use to create the focal point are to use a large, well-chosen graphic, a headline within your text or an illustration (photograph or drawing) of the main subject.
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