Definitive Guide to getting a great website?
Website Design Introduction
When setting out on any business venture you want to give yourself every chance of success. Whether you are a start up or an established business looking at new opportunities many things will go against you that you can’t control. The key to success is to at least do well the things you can. And that starts with your website.
Make no mistake it’s your Website
Make no mistake no matter what anyone tells you in 99% of cases your website is still your most important digital tool. I hear some people say Facebook pages are but this is complete rubbish. Your website is your shop window to the world and where people find you. It’s a fact that 80% of people now check a business’s website before doing business with them. So not having a good one is not an option.
The first step in building a website is take responsibility for it. Say to yourself it’s nobody’s fault but my own if it doesn’t end up well. This way you are accepting it could not go well while at the same time making the effort to make sure it does. And making the effort is doing your homework and planning.
The reality is many website developers are not marketers nor are they running your business for you. This is where the problem lies. Many times the business owner thinks the website is the developers problem and the web developer doesn’t care as long as the client signs off and writes the cheque. Also, the developer while being adept at building pages does not have the experience or knowhow to plan marketing and communication strategy which should be at the heart of web design.
So who’s to blame for bad web development?
Despite the fact I’ve asked business owners to take responsibility for getting their own functional website for me blame lies with the web developer or designer. They are the ones who make a living out of building websites for businesses and they should ensure they know how to do it properly and guide the client. As with any service we buy we have a certain amount of credence that the person doing the job has the required knowledge.
Web Sites are marketing and communication tools
Web developers have to see websites as digital marketing tools and not collages you have to put together with some words in the middle. A website is a crucial business tool and needs to be facilitate the objectives of that business.
Here are some top tips to ask your web designers before they start designing your website.
1. Website Objectives: Have clear objectives been agreed as to what your business wants to achieve from the website? Your designer should go through this with you.
2. Pre-Design Research: Has pre-design research been done to identify the content and structure needed to be search engine friendly. Have you looked at best industry practice at the way to deliver your service on line?
3. Digital Marketing Strategy: Before you start your website you should think about how you are going to market it after. This can have a huge effect on the features and structure of your site. This should always be agreed with your designer pre design so your website can execute your plans after. It is always preferable your designer understands the marketing environment as they can contribute and guide you through this crucial process.
4. Website Content & Communication: Have you been instructed on how to write and structure the content of your website by the design agency to achieve your objectives? At the center of this also is your communication strategy which is crucial to how people interact with your site. This should be clearly defined pre design and be consistent with your objectives.
5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): While content and structure is key to SEO performance have you been informed of the ongoing process necessary to improve performance. This needs to be established pre design so the site is equipment to process a SEO strategy.
6. Social Media Integration: What role will social media play with your website and is your website set up to engage it effectively?
7. Other Digital Platforms: Is the site being integrated with other digital platforms like email marketing or blogging in line with your digital strategy.
8. Is the Website Mobile Friendly? More people are browsing the internet on mobile than desktop now. So can visitors navigate your site easily on a phone or tablet?
9. Is your site Content Manageable? Is it easy for you to edit content and add pages like blogs etc without having to contact the website designer every time. This allows your site to freely evolve to your customers needs and for you to feel more in control of your own website.
Follow this simple process and your chances of getting a great website have just increased greatly. If your developer is not cooperating with the process just get another as your obviously heading down the wrong road.
Alan Brogan BComm MBS
MD The Digital Department