Website Design

You’re here because you need a website designed for your business, right? There are lots of different types of websites to choose from.

Websites are split into 5 main categories:

1. A static website

This website is like an online brochure and doesn’t change. Usually it can only be edited by the web designer who built it.

2. An editable brochure website

This website is also like an online brochure except you, the website owner, can edit the site yourself without hiring a website designer. These sites require a content management system (CMS), which allows you to edit the site without knowing any coding languages. You probably wouldn’t edit this type of site very often.

3. An editable dynamic website

This website also uses a CMS, but it has more interactive elements like a login area, a blog or a forum, and the content is updated on a regular basis.

4. An ecommerce website (an online shop)

This website also uses a CMS but, like the name implies, it also sells products or downloads. This site will have a payment gateway to accept payments online. In South Africa, we have payment gateways like PayU or PayFast. Outside South Africa, they mostly use PayPal as a payment gateway.

5. A website application

This website is usually purpose-built from scratch and typically performs a specific function. It is usually quite an expensive solution, but you can make it do anything you want (as long as you are prepared to pay for it). Think of websites that are also online services like Dropbox or Canva or Twitter.

Get a Website Quote

We have been designing websites and online shops for nearly ten years. Please fill in your details and we’ll get back to you to arrange a free website quote. We’ll respond within one working day and we won’t add your name to our database.

Who is Trade and Lateral?

Trade and Lateral Development is an email marketing and website design company. We started in May 2000 and have been going more than eighteen years. We have been building websites and online shops for nearly ten years.

Our customers are too busy concentrating on their core business to worry about how to build an incredible website that converts visitors into sales. We help our customers to understand which website is perfect for their business, and then we build it for them. We ask the right questions so there aren’t any surprises, and we show them how to update their websites themselves. If they’re too busy for that, we do it for them!

Designing a website from scratch can be daunting if you’ve never done it before, which is why we are here to walk you through the process. We’ll calm the chaos in your business by managing your email and website for you.

Your business website should serve a purpose.

What do you want your customers to do when they visit your site?

  • Do you want them to buy your products?
  • Do you want them to get a quote for your service?
  • Do you want them to join your membership in exchange for new tools and information?

There are many different things they could do on your site to engage with your company and your brand. Whatever strategy you decide on, remember that your website must be updated regularly with new, exciting content so it entices your customers to come back over and over again.

Websites must be updated regularly!

For websites to attract visitors they should be interesting and engaging, and offer new content on a regular basis.

Static, boring sites get lost in the Internet and no one ever visits them.

What kind of website does your business need?

Here are 15 examples of types of websites: (Plus a sneaky bonus type at the end!)

1. A Business Blog Website

A blog is a great way to create interesting, relevant content for your customers. It gives your customers a good reason to return to your site as they want to see what new articles you have posted. Sharing your articles on your social media sites gives you an opportunity to engage with your followers as they like and comment on your posts. Popular articles can go viral, which could get widespread attention for your business and brand.

2. An Informational Business Website

These websites usually showcase a business’ products or services, tell visitors more about the company and the team who runs it, gives contact details, office hours, maps to business premises, and any other information a customer might need. A lot of businesses choose an informational site to give their companies a home on the Internet.

They include a contact form or a quote request form, so a visitor can communicate with the company and hopefully jumpstart the sales process. Often these websites include a business blog to entice visitors to return to the site.

3. A Business Portfolio Website

A business portfolio website allows you to showcase your work in the form of projects, using elements like galleries, sliders and customer reviews. These websites make it very easy for visitors to browse through your past work and learn more about the quality of service you offer.

4. An Online Shop (eCommerce Website)

An online shop allows you to sell your products, services or time online, and accepts immediate payment using a payment gateway. These websites allow you to manage your inventory, shipping, taxes and users all from the same place. You can link this website to a bulk email service and send marketing emails to past customers, or include special offers in transactional emails to upsell and cross sell your customers.

5. A Membership Website (also called a Subscription Website)

A membership website is a closed off website or section of your existing website that’s only accessible to members who have paid your membership fee. In this private space, you can offer members special content, tools or services that aren’t available to the public. Often membership sites have tiered offerings and pricing, ranging from free information, to very expensive exclusive packages.

6. A Job Board Website

A job board is a website that deals specifically with employment or careers. They are usually designed to allow employers to post job requirements and applicants can respond to fill the position.

7. A Business Directory Website

A business directory is a website that lists businesses within categories. Businesses can be categorised by industry, location, activity, or size. This website type is often combined with the membership website and businesses pay a fee to belong to the site, in the hopes that potential customers will discover their listing and contact them. Bizcommunity is a great example of this type of website.

8. A Question and Answer Website

You can run your own question and answer website like Quora or Stack Exchange. These websites allow users to post question that other users can answer. If you build a question and answer site around a particular topic or industry or niche, it’s an excellent way to build a like-minded and engaged community.

9. An Online Community Website

An online community website is home to a group of people with common interests who communicate with each other in a forum setting, to share ideas and knowledge. These websites often grow around a particular niche or topic, but can eventually encompass anything the users choose to discuss.

10. A Coupon Website

A coupon website is a way for you to earn affiliate commissions from websites around the world. You would source the coupons and add them to your site, so your visitors could use the coupons and rate them to show how useful they were.

11. An Auction Website

If you want to start your own version of eBay, then you need an auction website that allows visitors to bid on unique products and make payments online.

12. A Multilingual Business Website

You could build any website in any language, but you might also need the same website in lots of different languages. If that’s the case, then you need a multilingual business website. Your website could serve up the language applicable to where your visitor is in the world when they visit your site, or you could allow them to switch between different languages at will.

13. A Knowledgebase or Wiki Website

Knowledgebase websites can save your business a huge number of man-hours and a lot of money by making commonly asked questions easily accessible to your customers. This type of website will give your customers another way to find answers, manuals and how-to guides, so they will no longer need to phone your call centre and ask your staff to explain the processes over and over again.

14. A Podcasting Website

A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio or video files that someone can download and listen to. On a podcasting website, you’d usually offer these episodes for a subscription fee. New episodes would be automatically downloaded to the user’s own computer, mobile app, or media player. These websites are great for building communities online, around a central topic.

15. A Photography Website

A photography website focuses on displaying photographs beautifully, primarily to showcase the work of photographers, but could be used for any application where exquisite photographs are the main source of information. Here you would make use of galleries, albums, titles, captions, lightbox pop ups and slideshows.

BONUS: A Lead Generating Landing Page

This is typically either a standalone one page website, or a page on your existing website that doesn’t link to any of the other pages on your site. (This is done so visitors don’t get distracted by links and move off your page.)

Lead generating landing pages are specifically designed to capture the personal information of your prospect such as name, email address, phone number, company size, etc. via a form that the prospect must complete and submit. Often companies encourage visitors to submit their forms (and so pass on their personal information) with an incentive like a free ebook, that’s only available for download once the form has been submitted successfully.

Get a Website Quote

We have been designing websites and online shops for nearly ten years. Please fill in your details and we’ll get back to you to arrange a free website quote. We’ll respond within one working day and we won’t add your name to our database.

How do you build a website?

There are many different types of websites, and lots of different ways to build them. You’ve probably heard people talk about WordPress, Joomla, HTML, PHP, Javascript and more. Do you know what the difference between these tools is?

There are two main ways to build a website:

1. Code a Site from Scratch

This can be tough and if you don’t know how to code, it’s flat out impossible. If you want a site that’s coded from scratch, you will always need a website designer to make the changes for you and that will cost you. However, this option will allow you to build whatever website your heart desires (or whatever website your budget will allow). If you want to build a website application, this is often the way you’ll be forced to go.

2. Use a Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software that allows you to build your own website without learning any code. WordPress and Joomla are both CMS. There are many more like Drupal, Shopify, Magento, Squarespace, PrestaShop and more, but WordPress rules this space and makes it easy to build almost any type of website you want.

The CMS allows you to make pages and blog posts, add images and videos and files that your website visitors can download. It’s the structure that holds all your website content in place, and it allows you to move it around, change it and add to it as you like.

We love WordPress!

And we’re not alone! Here are 40+ BIG NAME BRANDS that are using WordPress.

WordPress is the fastest growing CMS, with roughly 500+ new sites being built daily in the top 10 million websites on the web (compared to Shopify’s and Squarespace’s 60-80). (Source: Code in WP)

Why we Choose WordPress

There are so many reasons to love WordPress…

1. It’s free!

WordPress is free because it’s open source software! You install WordPress on your hosting package and you’re ready to get started.

2. It’s easy for YOU to keep YOUR site updated

Remember that website with good traffic are the websites that are updated regularly with excellent content. WordPress makes it very easy for you to update your own website as often as you like, so you don’t need to pay us every time. It has an easy to use, ‘drag and drop’ backend so you just drag your information where you want it, upload an image with a few clicks, publish and you’re good to go!

3. It’s easy for us to build your site

There are thousands and thousands of plugins available that we can use to add functionality to your website. This means we don’t have to build cool new features from scratch. We can find the right plugin and customise it to your website. This also means you don’t have to pay for hours and hours of development time, so we both win!

4. Your site will look spectacular

There are thousands of incredible themes to choose from, AND we’ll customise the theme so your website is unique. You’ll get a magnificent, professional website for a fraction of what it would cost to design and build it from scratch.

5. Your site will be search engine friendly

Google will love it because WordPress is written using high quality code and it produces semantic mark-up that makes your website very attractive to search engines. We’ll also show you how to optimise your content, so it’ll rank even higher in Google’s search results.

And the best part…

6. It’s VERY customisable

The vast selection of plugins means you can add almost any functionality you like to your website.

How do WordPress websites work?

A WordPress website is practical, versatile, and easy to use.

WordPress websites require the WordPress software, a theme, and plugins.

A WordPress theme controls the look of your website. You can choose a theme that you like the overall look of, and we will customise it with your colours, photos and content. There are many websites that sell themes of every description but here’s a good place to start looking.

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that can be uploaded to your WordPress website to add a new function or feature, like a forum; a support ticket desk; specialised contact forms; specialised image or video galleries; an online shop; security features; etc. There are thousands of both free and paid plugins to choose from. Your choices are endless!

Remember that list of 15 different websites we told you about at the beginning of this article? We can use WordPress to build any one of those websites for you. It’s THAT good!

If WordPress is that cool, why do you need a website designer?

WordPress is easy to use and incredibly versatile but, like anything, building WordPress websites is a skill. Of course, it’s one that you could master given enough time and practice, but do you want to spend the time learning WordPress?

We give our customers value by building the initial site for you. Once your website is published online, you can add blog posts, change text or images, or even add pages, as often as you like. Our customers can change any part of their site they wish – they have paid for it, after all.

However, the initial setup, the customising of the theme, sourcing and customising plugins and optimising the site for speed are all specialised skills that our customers would rather get us to do. We have been doing this for nearly ten years and we’ve learned some tricks along the way!

We also know the right questions to ask upfront, so you don’t get stuck with a site that’s missing something important.

We can show you how to optimise your website so that it’s found by search engines (hello, Google!), and how to optimise your pages so your customers buy what you’re selling.

There are so many details that go into building an amazing website. We will walk you through the process, so you don’t miss a single step.

Get a Website Quote

We have been designing websites and online shops for nearly ten years. Please fill in your details and we’ll get back to you to arrange a free website quote. We’ll respond within one working day and we won’t add your name to our database.

10 Questions to ask BEFORE you build your website:

1. What makes your business special?

Your unique selling point could be just the thing to make your website stand out from the rest in your field.

  • Do you offer a fast turnaround time?
  • Do you offer a special guarantee?
  • Do you work with tools that most other companies don’t know how to use?

Figure out what sets you apart and find a way to showcase it on your website.

2. Who are your customers and what problems do they face in relation to your industry?

Once you know exactly who your customers are and what problems they encounter, you can use your website to solve their problems and make them loyal to you for life. By knowing who they are, you can also figure out WHERE they are, which will enable you to advertise your website to them far more effectively. After all, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your website is if no one can find it.

3. What do you people to do on your website?

When you decide your objectives upfront, you will be able to tell if your website is succeeding or not.

  • Do you want your visitors to buy your products or services immediately?
  • If they’re not ready to buy from you yet, is there something else they can do, like request a specialised quote?
  • Are you aiming to get more leads or phone enquiries?
  • Do you want your new website to increase your market’s awareness of your brand, or educate them about your product or service?
  • Are you trying to actively encourage sales, or do you just want to build an email list, so you can send your audience interesting content or special offers?
  • Do you want to visitors to fill out a form, play a game, or download your app?
  • Should they share information to their social media channels, or engage with you on yours?
  • Should people register for an event or book an appointment?

There are many different ways a website can engage your audience. You need to answer this question thoroughly, upfront, so later you can work out whether your website is meeting your objectives.

Quick Tip: Break your goals down into two parts:

  1. The main goal of your website: If users can only do one thing on your site, what should that thing be?
  2. Mini goals: What should users do on each page of your site? These mini-goals can lead up to the main website goal.

4. What features should your website have?

The features you have on your website are determined by what you want people to do on your site. If you want visitors to buy your products online, you need an online shop with a payment gateway.

  • If you want people to request a quote, you need a quote request form, or an online shop catalogue where they can select your products and send their choices to you, so you can quote.
  • Do you want to showcase your social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
  • Do you want visitors to learn how to use your products via a knowledgebase or blog?

If you know what you want people to do online, you’ll know what functionality you need to include.

5. Do you have a website already?

If you do, why are you rebuilding it? Do you just want a new website design, or must the new site do something different or something more than the existing site does?

What do you love about your existing website and what do you hate about it? Do you have the budget available to make all the changes you’re dreaming of?

Ultimately your budget will determine what you’re able to build online. WordPress will stretch your budget much further than if you coded your website from scratch, but there are still costs associated with plugins and website designer time to put all your website pieces together.

Do you own the domain name? If not, can you purchase it and is it available?

6. Which websites do you like and why?

It’s so important for you to know exactly what you are looking for, and to be able to communicate your preferences to your website designer. It will make the website design process much smoother for everybody.

Do you like minimalistic design, or do you prefer busy pages with lots to see and click? Do you like a full width page or a boxed look? Do you want a dark or light background? Do you have a clear business brand and do your likes and dislikes match your brand? There’s no point in loving a black background with grey writing and dramatic black and white photos, if your brand is turquoise and white with light grey accents.

Choose five websites that you love and would like to draw inspiration from, and then write down what it is about them that you love. The act of writing down the elements you like will force you to see how the website has been constructed and if it will match your business.

7. Who are your competitors?

See what they are doing online. What works and what doesn’t or their websites? Do their sites give you any ideas for what you can offer on your website?

8. What is your budget and timeline?

Know your numbers and know how flexible you are able or willing to be. Unless you have an unlimited budget, your budget and deadlines will determine your online strategy, and not the other way around. If you only have X to spend, there’s no point in planning a website that will cost 5 times X – you will only be setting yourself up for disappointment.

9. How will you track your website’s success?

If you know what you want people to do on your website, you will be able to track if and when they do it. Google Analytics is a brilliant tool to track your visitors and their actions. There are other great tools like Hotjar that tracks your vistor’s mouse movements and can help you to pinpojnt problems on your site that may be confusing your customers.

10. Do you plan to make changes after your website launches?

If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, it’ll be really easy for you to change and update your website whenever you want. Will you need training on how to use the CMS, or would you prefer to Google tutorials and figure it out yourself?

Will you be maintaining the backend software yourself, or would you prefer your website designer to do it for you? There may be a charge for ongoing maintenance so it’s always better to know these costs upfront.

Get a Website Quote

We have been designing websites and online shops for nearly ten years. Please fill in your details and we’ll get back to you to arrange a free website quote. We’ll respond within one working day and we won’t add your name to our database.

What you’ll need to build your website:

First you need to have answered all the questions above. The you need the following:

  1. Your Website Copy – Will you be writing this yourself, or will you hire a copywriter?
  2. Images – Do you have images, or will you hire a photographer to take them? Would you prefer to source stock photography or illustrations?
  3. Hosting – You’ll need a hosting account with a web host such as Integrated IT, Gridhost, Hetzner in South Africa, and there are many more options internationally.
  4. Domain Name – Do you want to register a domain name in your own country, or do you prefer a .com domain? If you’ll be servicing a local audience, stick to your local extension. You can see a list of all the extensions here. If you’re servicing an international audience, rather register a .com domain.

You’re ready to get started on your new website! Designing and building websites is exciting and fulfilling and I know you’re going to love building yours! If you need some help, please contact us.

Domain Registration Tips

Here are some quick tips to remember when registering your domain name:

Keep it short and make it easy to type. Use keywords and target your area if applicable. Make it memorable and avoid numbers and hyphens. Choose the right extension for you and act quickly so that no one else registers it first!

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