You want a new website or redesign your old one? Then you should consider these 5 things before you start planning.
Solve the puzzle
Your website consists of different areas that determine its success. One piece won’t function without the other, you have to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
1. What is the website’s purpose?
First of all, you have to find out what you need and what purpose your website should serve. For instance: Are you selling services or products on your website? Is it meant to be an informative platform? Or do you only need a “virtual business card”? Thus the nature of your business is the foundation of your website.
You can’t have it all. Focus on whats most important for your business. If you can’t make up your mind at all, you are probably going through an identity crisis ;) Don’t worry, this “only” means that you haven’t defined your business model precise enough. I recommend you to focus on solving this issue first.
2. Research for better
Research is crucial, in order to be competitive you have to know what’s out there. Not only to be able to keep up and meet the required standards, but also to find your own unique solution to position your business best. Pick out the best things and put them together into something new and different.
Research is needed, copy paste isn’t. If you see something you really like, copying it and coloring it in different isn’t the solution. What works for someone else might not work for you. Being unique is also more impressive than just another …
2. Design & User Experience glued together
Your clients are looking for certain solutions to their problems or needs. Does your website have the information they are looking for in an easy, pleasing way on any device? Will they immediately feel like they are on the right place?
Combine the way it looks (design) and the way it functions (User Experience) in order to create a website with heart and structure.
Does your website represent you and your brand? Make sure your brand is being recognized by including your Corporate Identity in your web design. Not only on your website, be consistent on every channel you use. If you don’t have a Corporate Identity, you should address this issue first.
3. Strong & Social Content
Your clients are looking for more information. Will they find what they are looking for? Do you provide valuable content, quality content or even exclusive content? How is the information structured? Where do you get your content from? Do you use powerful headlines and interesting well written texts? Do you use visually appealing imagery? Is your content connected to other channels? (e.g. Social Media)
If you’re good in Social Media you should consider developing your own strategy to connect your website and social media channel in a logical, powerful way. Let’s say you are on Facebook: After some time you’ll know what your audience is interested in or where there might be more potential. You can use this information to generate leads, get your audience sign up for your newsletter in order to receive exclusive information, build a strong customer relationship … There are many possibilities, find out what works for you.
Less is more and content is king. I know, you have probably heard this a dozen times by now, but these two rules are not as easy to apply as it might sound. You need to put a lot of thought, time and effort into producing and presenting quality content in a precise way. Why is this so important? It takes the viewer only a few seconds to classify something as interesting. I also recommend to have the content prepared before starting the website. If the desired content is not available, the website release date will of course take far longer.
4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – be found
The Web is a big place. Will your clients be able to find you? Which keywords will identify you in the search engine? What happens if they don’t know about you, but are interested in the product or service you offer? Will you show up on their search list?
As SEO is a very big field, you will have to find the tools and strategy that works best for your. The market is big, there are dozen of providers out there, it also depends on the technical solution you’ve chosen for your website… I’d recommend to also plan and decide on this before the website is implemented.
5. Look ahead tomorrow is coming
Change is good and natural, but you have to keep up. Not only technology is changing but also your target audience. Can you quickly adapt to your audience needs? For that you should plan in website maintenance on a regular basis (monthly/weekly). A website is never “done”, there is always room for improvement. Keep testing, analyzing and adapting for a greater outcome. For these purposes I can recommend taking advantage of analytic tools (e.g. Google Analytics). Be aware that analytics is a big space too, make sure you filter the relevant information for your business and don’t get lost in the big data cloud.
I know there are many CMS solutions that sound super attractive as you are being promised a ready made interface where you can easily update content yourself. Yes, you can publish posts and projects this way yourself, but let’s say you need bigger changes (which you will definitely need at some point). For those purposes I highly recommend you to keep in touch with your “web person” ;)
Putting the peaces together is the key. The reality is how much you are willing to invest, as each stage requires time and financial resources. It also depends on the nature of your business, for some a simple website solution might be sufficient, for others, something more complex and challenging may be needed. At the end of the day the spectrum is wide and the choice is yours.
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About the Author:
Sibora Halili, CEO Seabee Design, 26, based in Vienna / Wien. Visual addict.