How to create a strong web presence from scratch

If you have a brand new business or one that has never had an online presence before, here are some of the key things you will need to create a strong web presence from scratch.

A website is not magic. It takes a lot of work to get people visiting your site and interacting with you.

Following is a top-level overview of the things you need to work on to get started with a strong web presence.


You should have most of your branding created before you embark on building your web presence. As soon as you start online, your image and reputation will begin to be established and it should be consistent with your offline presence. You will need scalable versions of your logo and branding images designed for the web.

Domain names

You will need at least one domain name that is meaningful and relevant to your website. Choose a name that is memorable. Avoid abbreviations.  Choose the right top-level domains – there are many extensions other than .com which may be appropriate.


You will need a server for your email and website. Purchase a hosting package suitable for your needs with room for growth.


Email is still the number one method for internet communication. Choose appropriate email addresses. Create email signatures.


This will be the hub of your online presence. Here you will create and organize your key content.

Website Structure

Use a content management system (CMS) to easily manage your website. A good CMS will separate the content from the design and logic so you can grow and expand your website. There are usually many CMS extensions or plugins for adding new features. Often these are open source so you can also create your own customizations if required.

A CMS will help display repeating information such as your consistent branding and website navigation around your unique content on each “page” of the website.

Website Pages

Each page of your website should focus on a single idea. The content you provide should be easily read by your visitors, so try to create it from their perspective. What information are they looking for? If you are using jargon, is it understood? Each page should have a call-to-action that prompts your visitor to do something.

Photos and Videos

Use genuine photographs of your products and people. Show people using your products. Can you use video to explain your products and services?  Attach descriptions and alternative text to describe your media.

Collect Info

Create forms on your website to allow people to contact you. Collect their information with permission and use it to keep in touch with a mailing list. Don’t spam.

Make sure you get a security certificate for your website if you are collecting personal information.

Install visitor tracking so you can collect statistics about the traffic on your website. Analyze where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. Use this information to optimize your site.

Get known

Search engines will index your website content so you should optimize it for both human visitors and search engine robots.

You may also need to purchase advertising to get traffic to your website.

Promote your website on your offline marketing material.

Social Media

Create appropriate profiles on relevant social media sites. Connect with people and share relevant information. Don’t spam. Re-use the articles and content on your website and link back to it. Show genuine interest when you interact and be helpful. When people are frequently asking the same question, create content to answer that question on your website and direct people there for the answer.


You will need to revisit many of these processes as you get feedback from your web presence. As new technologies are developed you will need to upgrade your website to cope. You will also need to keep your website and social media content fresh for your visitors.

Get help

If you don’t have the expertise in some of these areas, get help. We have years of experience in helping people get their web presence started, so contact us for help.

Before/After TYPO3 Upgrade Case Study

A long term customer, Cumhuriyet Anaokulu, a German/Turkish preschool in Izmir had been promoting their school using one of our EkspressWeb TYPO3 starter websites. As technology improved and with more people using mobile devices to view websites, they needed an upgraded design to reach these people as well as an upgraded version of the TYPO3 CMS framework.


TYPO3 is continuously developed and while EkspressWeb was built on version 4.5, the current version at the time of the upgrade was 8.7. Work is currently being done on TYPO3 version 10 with an expected LTS release in April 2020. See the TYPO3 roadmap for more information.

As we do with most live websites, we duplicated the original website to a development subdomain and applied the TYPO3 core updates (4.5 to 6.2 to 7.6 to 8.7). In addition to the core updates, many of the extensions were also updated to their latest versions.


TYPO3 is good at separating content from design and so with the exception of some custom content elements for layout, the customer was able to reuse all of their existing content.


The original design templates made navigating and reading the content on mobile devices difficult. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool was helpful in highlighting the major problems with the original design. Most of these were solved with the TYPO3 Bootstrap package extension and customizations of this to maintain the style of the original site with a fresh look.


Original site, based on EkspressWeb starter package

More views of the old website can be found on the Wayback Machine.


Upgraded site with fresh design, based on Bootstrap package
Mobile navigation was almost impossible on the original site. Now there is a dynamic menu with access to all pages.
The site is now easily readable on tablet devices.


The website uses standard TYPO3 extensions for delivering the content and no custom software development was required for this project.


You can view the current Cumhuriyet Anaokulu website at

For help on upgrading your TYPO3 website, please contact us.

Social Media Manipulation

Destin Sandlin from the Smarter Every Day YouTube channel has a series of videos which discuss the challenging battle Social Media platforms have with dealing with organized manipulation of their communities.

Manipulating the YouTube Algorithm
Twitter Platform Manipulation
People are Manipulating You on Facebook

Goodbye Google+

Online communities come and go.

Recently Google retired Google+, their fourth attempt at social media networking.

Like I’ve posted before, websites still have a place alongside a social media presence.

The best practice is to have a website where (as long as you keep the domain and hosting) you own the location and can direct traffic from your social media presence to your content. While Google does allow you to “Take Out” and download your content and contacts, you now need to find an alternative location for your interaction with that audience.

The users of Google+ have been moving away for a while, where did your Google+ audience move to?

Moving your website, don’t forget to redirect

It is a new year and so perhaps you have created a new website to promote your business or organization online. [If you haven’t and you should or have made a new year’s resolution to improve your online presence, please contact Vista Interactive for help.]

When you are replacing existing content, then it is a good idea to redirect website traffic from that old content to the new location. Links stay around for ages – in people’s contact lists, in their old emails, social media posts, forums and on websites.

We recently had a former client create a new version of their website on a URL. As standard practice, we redirected all traffic from their old website’s URL using a 301 (permanent) redirect. for the whole site. This would ensure that any old links would take website visitors at least to the new site to the right content if the new site had the same structure.

A Google search for the former customer’s main keywords gave their new site in the top two results and their old site in the next two, so the top four results were going to their new site. Of course, the Google results for the old site still had the old descriptions and old links but these were redirecting to the new site. This should be acceptable but the former customer wanted to remove the old descriptions and asked us to remove the old site completely from Google’s index and park the old domain. We did this and so now a search for their main keywords lists only the new site, but they have lost a couple of top search engine results and potential traffic from people who still have the old links.

Keeping your old domains might be a useful strategy. We changed our name and branding in 2004 from BilgiLink to Vista Interactive, but we still use the old domain for some internal stuff as well as redirecting visitors from this old domain to our current Vista Interactive site.