Before you build a new website
Whether you’re building a website for the first time or redesigning an existing site the most important question to ask is – What is the purpose of our website?
At Start Digital our experience tells us that there are generally three core requirements from a website:
- provide information to current and potential clients
- promote and market the business
- Provide access to business services (ecommerce, online quotes etc)
In considering this, we decided to take a ‘content first’ approach to web design. That is, to ensure you can properly communicate your business the site is designed around the content, rather than the more traditional approach of attempting to fit the content and business message around the design – a square peg, round hole scenario. Content is information and without information it can be very challenging to build a site.
In order to ensure your site achieves its goal we’ve boiled down some must have items that will help you communicate your goal prior to designing and developing your website.
- Research your competitors. Look at competitor websites and identify a style you like. What elements that work and don’t work? What information are they providing their visitors? How can you compete? We recommend creating some kind of mood board that showcases your likes and dislikes.
- Know your target market. Understanding who you are communicating with will define the look and style of your site. Want to connect with a more youthful audience? You’ll need a cutting edge design that captures the attention. Connecting with families? You’ll need a contemporary site with clear messaging and relevant images.
- Plan your content. What do you want to tell your visitors? What’s going to engage them and keep them on your site? How many pages do you need (Home, About Us, Our Services, Contact). Keep your content concise and to the point – long winded paragraphs don’t keep users attention and too much detail can be off putting. We request that you have some content to provide us with prior to design.
- Consider your images. You may have a pile of photos on your phone or stored away on your computer. Ideally they should be of a reasonable quality and size so they can properly showcase your business. Alternatively stock images may be the more preferred path. We can help you with this.
- How will potential clients find your site? It’s one thing having a website. It’s another thing getting it onto Google and having it rank well. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as it is otherwise known will play a big part in attracting future customers. Website content plays a huge part in SEO and as such should be incorporated wherever possible. What words will a user search for when looking for your business in Perth? Once you’ve established this you should include these words into your site text so that Google knows what your business is about. We can provide more assistance with this so please feel free to contact us with any SEO related questions.
- Consider your other online channels. It’s not essential but if your business has a social media channel this can help drive traffic to your website. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus are all networks that can help you grow your businesses online profile. If you’re building a website for the first time consider the type of information you could include on these networks and start the ball rolling by making a few posts. It’s never too early to start!
In short, you can never know too much prior to building your site. Working with more information will help Start Digital determine the best design and layout for your site.
To help you get the ideas out of your head and onto paper we’ve designed two questionnaires that can be adapted to suit your needs and requirements. Please feel free to download, print out and scribble on as you see fit.
It’s also worth noting that in our quest to provide a clear and transparent web service we have written an article that outlines how much a website costs and the way in which we determine our web design quotes.
For any help or assistance with this, or to simply discuss your website needs further please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!