This is a common question that I get asked – “what do I need before we begin?”
It’s all very well to decide, ‘YES’, I want a website lets get started, guns a blazing etc.. however there is some leg work that clients need to undertake in order to ensure a smooth website building process.
I guarantee that if you come to me with all this information upfront – I would drop whatever website I was working on (sorry clients -you know who you are) and build yours and have it up, running and launched before you have the chance to blink!
1. Define your website goals
What do you need your website to do for you?
What do you want users to do or learn from you when they visit? Do you want them to buy a product? read your blog? subscribe to your mailing list? call you? etc…
Whatever the goal (or goals! there can be more than one), it’s important that you work this out and share it with your web designer upfront so they can keep it in mind throughout the whole web building process.
2. Have a Marketing Plan
Now it could be my marketing background that thinks this is major pitfall that many new websites encounter….I’ve seen a lot of business fall down after the launch of a website because they don’t have a clear marketing plan.
Your new website should be seen as a marketing tool, not a magical solution that will solve all of your problems.
Having a website is great and I believe essential for everyday business today -regardless of what industry you are in. However a website, whilst it can do a lot for your business, it is not a magic bullet and it CANNOT and more importantly WILL NOT work on its own.
Everyone who launches a website needs to have a plan in place post-launch to drive traffic to your new website (and NO this is not the task of the web designer). Your plan can be as simple as using social media to promote and attract an audience or focusing on a paid ad campaign to promote within search engines, perhaps it is to post a weekly blog. Whatever it is – you need to have a PLAN!
Regardless of how well your new website has been optimised, your new website WILL NOT appear on the front page of google for your chosen keywords as soon as it is launched. These things take time. The only way to guarantee a place in the shiny number one spot is to pay.
I highly recommend launching a website whilst running a google adwords campaign to begin.
Almost all businesses have some sort of logo, but not all of them have a solid branding strategy behind it. A logo is a graphic, while branding is the company values and personality behind that graphic.
How do you want your business to be perceived -are you professional, fun, vibrant, reliable, value for money – knowing this will determine the look and feel for the website. So think about it.
4. Have a Site Plan
The menu structure should NOT be complicated. It should tell your visitors exactly what they are going to get at a glance. Most websites only need a few pages to be effective: Homepage, About, Services/Products, and a contact page.
Having a rough idea of pages and site structure, can help with the development of content. Your web designer should have ideas with regards to additional pages that may be needed depending on your websites functionality and purpose.
Gathering content can take time, however don’t let that put you off -there are lots of resources out there that can help.
You can choose to write it on your own or you can hire a professional copywriter.
It is the content on your website that will grab the attention of your visitors and make them take action.
Website copy is also a large part of search engine optimisation (SEO). The content on your website impacts how google and other search engines understand it and rank it. Having clearly-written, well-organised and accurate content can help increase your website’s visibility on search engines.
6. Domain Name
www.mynewsite.com.au – Have you thought about a domain name? Is it available?
Good idea to check your options…. https://www.melbourneit.com.au/domain-names/australian/
So to summererise
Website Goals + Marketing Plan + Branding + Site Plan + Content + Domain Name