There are many ways to design and develop a website. When asking a professional website designer and developer for assistance with the development of your website, the following 9 critical considerations should be kept in mind before you proceeding with your website.
Buying a car requires an understanding of what your budget is. You’re either able to afford the Rolls Royce or the more affordable Volkswagen. No disrespect to the Volkswagen since we absolutely love the brand anyway and they offer good quality vehicles, but the lesson here is to know what your budget is. Your budget will determine the scope of your website build and whether all features, functionality and set-up for long-term success is achievable within your budget. No one wants to waste valuable time or money, therefore when approaching your website developer do indicate what your budget is as this will guide them to determine whether your dream website can be achieved within your budget. It would be important that you get comparable quotations to know that you are making the best decision and to consider what additional benefits each website development company offers.
What is the purpose of your website? What would you like to achieve with it? Many businesses start building a website to communicate their brand and offering to their desired target market, however are often left disappointed when their website does not achieve the desired goals. Usually the main purpose of a website is to encourage a prospective customer to take the next step and to make contact with your business; alternatively make a sale. Be specific about the goals that your website must achieve for your business.
Content is the “meat” of your website. It’s the logo file, words, images and/or videos needed for every page of your website. This is often where most clients fall short not having produced the content needed for their website causing considerable delays in the development of their website. Our recommendation is to start with the structure of your website. How many pages will it have, i.e. Home page, About page, Services / Product pages, Contact page and then to determine what information should be displayed on each page. From there develop the words for each section on each page and provide all images, video and other content needed for your website. If you are uncertain about your ability to produce the words needed to sell your business, consider asking a marketing company that specialises in copywriting to help produce the words that sell. Your website designer and developer can also purchase stock images alternatively you can ask a photographer to take images that will be unique to your business.
Ask your website developer what platforms they will build your website on? How important is it for you to maintain and manage your own website and if this is important, you would need a platform that would be user-friendly. Your website developer could also offer training to help you learn how to manage and update your website.
5. Other requirements: Domain, Hosting Services
If you’re building a website for the first time, you’ll need a domain and hosting service. The domain is your website address, i.e. www.websiteaddress.com, the home where your website is found. Your domain name should generally match your brand name as brand consistency helps your customers remember who you are and where to find you later. Hosting services are required in order for your website to be visible / found by your target market. Your website developer will not be able to develop your website without a domain and hosting account. There are many reliable hosting companies, ask your website developer for a recommendation if you do not know of any. Domain and hosting services attract a monthly or annual costs, therefore keep this in mind.
6. Your customers
What are your customer needs and how can your business communicate that it can effectively meet your customers needs? Communicating this crucial aspect successfully on your website is key to growing your business. This will encourage your prospective customers to take the next step to contact your business, taking them that much closer to becoming a paying customer. Ask your website developer if this is a service they offer? Some website developers simply develop the website excluding this crucial aspect that is required that will turn your website into an asset for your business.
7. Your brand
Your brand’s tone of voice, look and feel conveyed consistently on all marketing touch points, including your website. This creates a dependable and positive brand experience for your customer raising their awareness and recognition of your brand and offering. If your website and brand does not resonate with the user, you loose out on the chance to attract, engage and convert this prospective customer.
You need to help Google help your business. Google does not want your prospective user to head off to other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo therefore it aims to return a relevant website to the user’s search that gives the user what they are looking for. If you’re not helping Google, Google can’t help your business.
A few important, but not extensive guidelines offered by Google include a high performance website, ie. a website that downloads quickly; a website that is responsive and looks good on different devices (mobile and tablet) and offers a user the best experience.
9. Marketing your business
Just because your website exists does not mean that it will automatically attract website traffic and converting prospects into customers. Consider what marketing tactics you will be implementing to attract your target market to your website. If your business cannot afford to implement these marketing activities shortly after a website build, make provision for it sooner than later. A few online marketing ideas include:
SEO otherwise known as Search Engine Marketing considers many factors, i.e. technical, on-page and off-page SEO. The goal behind SEO is to increase your website’s visibility within Search Engine’s Results Pages in order to achieve specific goals such as brand awareness and conversions. When your visitor searches for your service, your website is found organically. This is a long-term strategy with results reflecting within as little as 3 months to 12 months depending on the competition within your industry. SEO is a long-term investment as activities performed in month 1 are available and online for many years and attract traffic over the years that your website is active.
SEM also known as Search Engine Marketing considers paid campaigns such as PPC / Google Ads as an example to drive traffic to your website. You can opt for different type of ad campaigns from text campaigns to display campaigns shown across Google’s network of platforms.
There are many different social media strategies that one could implement to market your business. Maintaining a social media presence by keeping your social platforms updated regularly help build trust and credibility for your brand and can become the platform where customer service and brand reputation is managed; alternatively social media advertising can be used to target specific users to achieve a specific outcome for your business. It is important to know how you will use social media and what realistic social media goals you could set.
Generating news stories that influence the perception of your brand in the market place and increases brand awareness and recognition.
Ignite Media is a marketing consultant agency with a heavy focus on digital. Digital design, communications, marketing and technologies – all that work together to help market and grow your business with a full-service solution. Learn more about us here.