Whether yours is a relatively new start up business or you’ve been in business for years, setting up your website and getting it right can be the difference between customers or potential clients being able to find you or not. And it can make a huge impact on whether they do business with you or not.
When you think about what you want on your website and how you want it to look and behave, think about it like building a house.
Deciding what to build
It can be a very exciting time building out your website, just like it can be exciting to build a house. But if you don’t know what you want, then you will rarely end up with something you love that works and functions as you would like. Thankfully a website isn’t quite the financial investment that a house can be and renovations can be relatively straightforward with no council approval required.
None the less, whether you are in start-up mode or business expansion mode you want to make sure you get the best return on your website investment and re-work is costly no matter when or where it takes place.
Doing your research and considering how you want your site to function will go a long way towards getting a website which serves your business 24/7/365. Make sure you choose a web designer/developer that will listen to your needs and ask the questions that help you to define what you want and not just deliver something which is the same as every other site on the internet.
The foundations are the core messages and philosophy you want your website to portray. Do you want your business to be known as innovative, unique and state of the art? Is your business about caring for other people or providing services to other businesses? What is the core ethos of your business? Are you just in it to make cash or is yours a heart-driven business?
Explaining these business drivers to your web designer will help them to develop a website for you that really reflects your unique business proposition. No two businesses are exactly the same so being able to express your point of difference will help your website, and therefore your business, stand out from the crowd.
The framework of the house or your website is created by the pages and links that are utilised to promote your business on your website. Starting out you might have a few obvious pages like your Home Page, Our Products/Services , About Us, Contact Us.
You might want to add testimonials to those pages from happy clients if you have them. If you’re a start-up business this can be a bit challenging, but as you build your business and start to accumulate happy customers (hopefully!), you can add testimonials to your site.
Walls and Roof
Next comes the walls and the roof – this defines what your house, or in this case, your website will look like. Do you have a logo which will dictate the branding colours of your site? Little things like link colours, heading fonts and text styles can reflect or complement your existing logo. Or they can be completely at odds with your branding and this can create a disjointed experience for customers.
After the walls and roof are on, in come the first fix electricians and plumbers – these things really make your house work. Similarly when building out your website, your web designer will want to talk to you about target markets and key words – you’ll define these things long before you see the effect of them on your website, just like you need to sign off your electrical plan well before the sparkie arrives on site to run cable.
Knowing what you are trying to achieve dictates where the cables go in a house and how the plumbing will work, just as it dictates what your keywords and SEO strategy will be for your website.
Once the ‘workings’ of your house, or your website are defined, it’s time to think about the finishing touches – how you will experience a house when you live in it. You choose the kitchen colours, paint finishes and floor coverings.
When you’re having a website built you will talk to your web developer about how your customers will experience your website, where they will land, how you want them to view your site, where you want them to end up – perhaps on the contact page or on the shopping cart page ready to check out.
Next time you’re on someone else’s website, take time to consider how it looks, feels and behaves. What is the key message the website owner is trying to convey? Are they doing that with images and/or words? Do the colours appeal to you? What types of fonts have they used? How does that tie back to their logo?
Just like building a house, there may have to be compromises along the way and you will have to consider how much your budget will deliver. Letting your designer know up front what your budget is, will help them develop a solution that is right for you. There is no point expecting a project home build-time if you want a custom site with all the bells and whistles.
You can download my guide to choosing the right web designer for you here and book in for a free one-to-one Clarity Session to talk in real time to a web designer who will listen and seek to understand your business.
Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.