What are the goals of your new website
The main goal of most business’s websites is to generate leads. Other goals maybe to retain readership, so people visit regularly, or perhaps to be a hub of information or resources for your target audience. Whatever your goals may be, they will dictate everything about your site, from the design to the navigation, from the page layout to the features on it. It is important to list your goals for your website and make sure you always make them a priority during the development process.
Content Management Systems Explained
A Content Management System, or ‘CMS’, is an online interface that enables you to edit your website with ease, without the need for specialist knowledge. While this seems like the best solution, it is more expensive. Even if the CMS you choose happens to be Open Source (and therefore free), you still need to employ a web design team to integrate this with your website. The key is to work out whether you really need a CMS or not. Chances are, if you’re not looking to update your website more than a few times a year, then you’re better off with out one. However, if you need to update your website more regularly, then it will put you in control.
Great design sells, fact. In a study conducted by the design council, two thirds of companies who ignore design have to compete mainly on price. Where does that leave you if your competitors decide to cut their prices? Your website is your shop window to the world, never underestimate the impact of it on your potential clients. Some questions you might want to ask yourself when thinking about design are:
- What are your competitors sites like, what do you think works/doesn’t work?
- What other websites do you like? These don’t have to be in the same business as you! Make a list and you will get a better understanding as to why you like them.
- Who is your target audience? How will your website be attractive to them?
- Do you have any brand identity guidelines you would like to stick to? It is important to bear this in mind, websites are a brilliant way to promote your brand identity, don’t let it be diluted!
- What are your ultimate goals for the site?
- What do you like/don’t like about your current website?
It’s not always easy to give your own opinions, it’s never a bad idea to do some research, speak to your clients, colleagues and friends and see how they feel about your website. You are likely be surprised by the results!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When building a new website you have the opportunity to assess your SEO capability. How your website is built accounts for around 20% of Google’s opinion of the site and what it should rank for in the search results. Ensuring the onsite SEO is comprehensive and ticks all the right boxes will save you a lot of time and money in the long run and give you a great starting position in the search engines.
Who should build it?
Your requirements and budget will dictate who builds your website. Building a website yourself is, on the surface, the cheapest option. If, however, you have no previous experience it could be very time consuming. If you are running a business you may find that you will be continuously updating the site and in all likelihood will not end up with a product that meets your goals. There are packages available to help you create websites from scratch but effectively you are buying a screwdriver without the electrician (or the plumber, or builder)!
Web design is a specialist field and like all other specialists fields it takes a lot of time, effort and experience to become good at it. If you are looking for a professional solution you should use an established web design company. Using a professional web designer to build your website is the most effective way of creating your online marketing tool. There are companies that provide solutions for all budgets but you need to make sure however that the designer you choose meets your expectations.