In today’s digital-focused society, it is expected that every business needs a website, in fact it can often be seen as a negative by potential customers if you don’t have one. Maybe your site needs a refresh or you have changed your business model so much over Covid and lockdowns that your current site is well out of date…
Posted Monday, June 7, 2021
But where do you start?
Let us help, the most important point to mention is that the more time you put in at the start, thinking about and planning the site, the less budget will be needed when it comes to actually building the site.
So first of all….
What is the site actually going to do for you? What do you want the site to achieve? How are you going to measure it?
3 simple questions that actually take a lot of thinking about if you are going to bottom out how the site will hang together and where design emphasis can be applied. For example, is it first and foremost an e-commerce site, sales support (brochure site) or for lead generation (which may mean forms, or phone calls, if your audience prefers to make contact by phone, or your conversion is better by phone).
It may even perform multiple functions in which case you must prioritise and understand how they will mix.
You must understand and be aware of who your target market is. People use and understand the same websites in many different ways and from different devices. You have to realise how your target market will want to use the website you are creating. If you have the time and budget, create personas of the people you expect to be using your site. When you look at different areas or pages, personas can help you understand if the site will be performing for that particular section of your target market.
Have a look at what your competitors are doing and also look at all other websites that you like visiting. Note down what you enjoy about them and why you like going back there. Also, note down websites you don’t like and why. All of this will help your web designers understand the style, look and feel of what you are after.
If you have an existing site you must start with the content you already have. Perform a content audit to understand what content is working well, what needs to be improved, and what can be archived off. If you have a large site this process can take quite some time, but it is vital and will give you invaluable insights as to how people are using your current site and may even throw up some surprises.
Then you need to develop your new content and decide how it will be consumed throughout the website. Will you have blogs, video content, huge galleries, etc. If you have e-commerce how are you going to structure your products?
This is by far the most intense area to sort and the amount of time needed should not be underestimated!
Plan It out
Using wireframes and hierarchy diagrams, plan out how the website will be structured and what important functionality and features will be on the individual pages. Work out what pages will feature n the main navigation and how that navigation will work. Start with how it will look on mobile devices and then work up to desktop. Google place more weight on how well your site performs on mobile now so this is absolutely critical.
This is not an exhaustive list and each of these steps can be gone into even more detail, but before you engage with external agencies or web developers, if you can get through the above it will put you in a great place.
At Astute Media we can of course help you with all of the above stages and even the extra bits and all of the post-launch marketing that is needed.