Things to consider before creating a website
There are quite a lot of things to consider before updating your website or creating a new one. You’re probably aware that you need a website but either maybe don’t really know how it actually affects your business
Unclear goals lead to mixed results. If you throw up a website without a clear objective for what you want from the site then it’s almost certainly not going to deliver any meaningful results.
We will cover some of the questions and why they help in establishing a brief. This is by no means an exhaustive list but will help set the baseline for discovering how to make your web and online presence work for you.
Why do you want a new website, or to have your current site redesigned?
Has there been a change in the business? is your current site not representing the business direction? Is your current site slow, clunky and unfriendly? What are the pain points your current website, what isn’t your website doing for your business? We’d like to know the motivation for getting a new website.
What do you want your website to achieve?
Ideally what would your website do for your business? For example, tell people what your business does and how to get in contact is the minimum is for every website. Your website can do much more i.e. sell products, take bookings, answer frequently asked questions, automate a process in your business e.g. process sales, take enquires, track the progress of jobs that you have, keep an up to date database of customer details. The possibilities are endless, really if you can think of something you’d like your site to do we love discussing creating custom solutions.
Define in simple terms your company and what product(s) or service(s) you offer.
By providing general information about your business such as What your product/service is, how many employees you have, your location, years in business, etc we gain an understanding of how your business works, what your core business is. From here we can identify where we can use digital to assist or automate tedious, repetitive processes, which will save your staff time, save you money, and make your customer experience a pleasurable one.
Why should site visitors do business with you rather than with a competitor?
Face it, on the Internet, the competition is one click away. Which means that your site will probably be compared to a lot of other sites. So, it’s really important to make the site enjoyable, memorable, and useful. Our strategy is to grab the user’s attention, spark interest, influence their decision and get them to take action.
What demographic will be using your site.
It’s important to consider who your target audience is for your website as it will influence a lot from how content is written to how the element are designed. Indicators to consider:
- Technical ability
It’s important to think about how potential customers will be accessing your site. What devices will they be viewing it on? What will their internet connection be like? If they are likely to be experiencing your website from a place with slower internet speed then a media dense website might not be suitable. Through our process we will create user persona’s that will define this to help the design process. If you can have a think about this prior, as you’re the expert on your customers.
Have a look at other websites that you like and think about why are they attractive to you?
Here’s an example. I like Apple’s website, the images are large and beautifully shot, the text is clear, easy to read, they speak in language I can understand. It feels clean and fresh, good spacing, not a lot of text to distract me from the main products.
The more examples of website you like gives us a better understanding of your tastes, usually we can pick out common traits across the websites you show us.
Have you researched your online competition so you have an idea of what you do and don’t want on your site?
Here’s a little secret about competitors: Some of them can be real blabbermouths. Especially on their websites. Others have sites that say little and explain even less. It’s important to decide on the right balance between openness and secrecy – and it’s a tough decision.
Do you have brand guidelines?
Very helpful if you have them. Will help us keep the brand consistent across the website design.
What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, etc.?
There are some things that just don’t belong on a website. (Provocative sentence, that one.) Every company has a different answer to this question. For example, some splash employee pictures all over their sites and others are like the Central Intelligence Agency, which shows no employee photos.
Where is the website content coming from? Who’s responsible for updating it?
Is it ready for use on your website? Content is deceptively difficult to organise and create. If you have content ready to go that’s great if not we can put together a content plan. Provide photography, copy writing, and video content. We can organise content creation so that it fits into the schedule and doesn’t hold up the project. Working together we can turbocharge the content production process, and finish the project faster.
What budget have you set for investing in this website?
If you are working to a budget then it is good to know this ahead of time. Setting a maximum spend and a minimum spend will help just narrow the scope of what we can deliver and maximise your budget.
Who else needs to be involved in the decisions regarding the website?
It’s useful to have them involved from the start so that they can give their input and understand the decisions regarding design, layout and content choices. If there are many people that need to be involved then it’s better to have one person within your team be the point of contact for passing on information.
When do you want the project to start, and when do you want to launch.
Do you have a pressing date that you are working to? If so we can prioritise what features and functionality is critical for your launch date. Bear in mind that if you want a 10,000-page e-commerce site done by next Tuesday if might not be feasible. Good web design takes time and we will be as transparent as we can about how long a given build will take.
Who will look after the website once it launches
How much time will you be able to spend online, responding to inquiries that come in via your website? Once a day? Several hours a day? Ever gone to a big company’s site to ask a question? Somebody has to be on hand to respond and update content such as text and images on the website. Do you have somebody in place to do this or would you like us to update content for you.
Would you like us to maintain your website?
We offer packages for providing security updates and reports on your website so you can regularly check how your website is performing and insure your website is up to date as time passes
What are your web domain details, Where will you be hosting the website.
If you have a web domain i.e. “YOURDOMAINNAME.co.uk” what is it? Who is the registrar? You hosting is the server provide which will provide the server where your website lives. We can suggest places to host your website if you haven’t considered this already.
If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site?
Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third?
Three to five terms give us a good idea of the main areas that are important to your business. If you already have an SEO Strategy or any tools, measures you would like to take to the new site, including terms that you would like to rank under let us know what they are and our SEO specialist can implement them into the website.
Are you planning to sell products online? If so how many items do you want to sell online?
Like with content it’s important to know how you are going to organise and arrange shipping, stock control, returns etc. If we know the size of your operation then we can plan how to effectively organise the process, for your admin team and for the customer.
If you’re planning to sell online, are you set up to accept credit cards?
Applying for a merchant account to accept credit card payments can take time. You may also need to consider what you want you baseline currency is if you plan to sell your product overseas.
On-site or off-site — In some countries, being directed to an external site to input your payment information can be viewed as insecure unless the provider is a trusted one. But in others, this redirect is actually trusted more. Do some research before deciding whether to integrate or redirect.
Trusted names — Continuing that thought, some gateways are well-known (perhaps even preferred), while others aren’t. What are your customers expecting? What will they trust most?
SSL, PCI compliance, and security — If you’ll be integrating your payment gateway, you’ll need to ensure all the data you store on your site is safe and secure. This page on the PCI Security Standards Council website is a good place to start.
What methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website?
There was a time when a website was such a novelty that you could get newspaper stories written about the fact that you had one. (Newspapers – remember them?) These days, you’ll need to do a bit more planning. We can work with you to create a marketing strategy for your website’s launch
Once your website is completed, how long do you think it will be before you begin bringing in significant business from the website?
This question is the younger sibling of the previous question. Once your new website is up, it will take time for the promotional plan to show results.
How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals?
How is a website like a piece of granite? When it sits there and never changes. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep web content fresh – blogs come to mind. Making a website refer-able is a much greater challenge. Best advice I can offer is to make the site into a valuable resource – like this one