8 Things to think about

October 10, 2010

So you are having a new website designed and built eh? It’s going to be fancy and do all the things you wanted it to do isn’t it? The web design guy is going to put together this perfect website for you that sings and dances and does all the things you always dreamed of, right?

Well how does the website guy know what you want?

Here are 8 things you should think about before you have your website built

  1. Company Image – Think about how you want people to see your company? We have all heard the phrase ‘first impressions count’ so you have to make that first impression give the right message. Do you want a ‘corporate’ image to give off the BIG company vibe or a ‘family run’ business image to create a more friendly yet trustworthy appeal? Try to think about, and include, the product you sell. If you specialise in a product with a familiar brand name, thats been around forever, dont try to give off a ‘new and innovative product’ vibe because that’s not going to work. Likewise if your product is a a brand new, state-of-the art widget, a ‘traditional and old-fashioned values’ image is not going to hit the spot.
  2. Logo/Branding – Your website should look like it belongs to your company so try to include company colours and make it recognisable. Tie all your promotional material together, business cards, brochures and your website should look like they are in the same family. If your logo is blue and yellow then a primarily red website wont look the part, and you want to look the part don’t you?
  3. A call to action – What is the purpose of your website? Now this may seem like a ridiculous question, you want a website to sell more stuff, right? But you need ask yourself how your website is going to sell more stuff for you. Is it a brochure site where potential customers can come and see what you have on offer before contacting you for more information? So do you need to try and get some contact details from these people before they get away? Do you want to sell direct from your website whereby customers can buy your widgets online, part with their hard earned cash and receive the product in the post? Whatever your website does for you you need a ‘call to action’, tell people what to do, dont leave it to chance. ‘Fill in the contact form’ or ‘Buy Now’, put the action out there so it is only a click away.
  4. What’s the budget? – How much does a website cost? How long is a piece of string? A website can cost as much or as little as you want it to. The more bells and whistles you have, the more it will cost. Try to balance your budget with what you want the site to do. Dont use up all your website design budget getting the little man to dance across the screen and then not be able to get the shopping cart put in place, remember your websites primary function.
  5. Know your audience – I assume since you are in the business (or starting up in the business) that you know who will buy your product? What age group your customers are or will be? What the background of your customers is or will be? Have your website designed to reflect this. Your stair lift busienss website might not go down so well with your audience when the ‘techno’soundtrack kicks in on the homepage.
  6. Let them know about your website – Okay so lets lay one popular myth to rest straight away. Just because you have a website does not mean people will find you on the internet and start buying things from you. You have to market the website, just like anything else, otherwise how do people know you are there? So how are you going to market the website? Think about your audience and your product. If you sell a digital product you might want to advertise on the internet using Adwords or something similar. A restaurant might be better suited to a local newspaper. Eventually you will build up a brand and people will start to find you on search engines or review sites but this will not happen overnight and will not happen without some marketing.
  7. To CMS or not to CMS – CMS or Content Management Systems are becoming very popular as it allows you to take control of your own website without having to rely on your webmaster or design team. CMS sites allow you to edit the content of your site or add content or take it away. So if you have a website with constantly changing information this maybe the solution for you. The initial website design may cost a little more but if you do update the website information on a regular basis then the long term benefits will outweigh the start up cost. Your web designer will be able to advise you on the right solution for you.
  8. Picture this – I just wanted to finish off with one of my pet hates. You spend time and money getting your website built. It has all the bells and whistles and it looks the business. Everyone looks at your new website and says ‘wow, that looks awesome’. You take control of your new website, you log in and start adding content. And then you commit the ultimate sin, you stick in half rate images of your products. Your product is the most important thing on your site, that’s what people are buying. Your product is the one thing on your site that people are parting with money for, dont’ make it any harder for them. You dont need to spend lots of money getting your product photographed by a professional photographer, just spend a little time on your product images. So many websites have dark or blurred product images which have quickly been taken on a kitchen table with a phone. If you dont have a camera, do you know someone that has who might lend it to you? A picture paints a thousand words, dont let those words be ‘ I cant quite tell what it is’.

There are of course more things to think about than those I have mentioned above and as usual there are exceptions to the rules but before you go and see your web designer just try to be a little prepared as to what you want from them. They are not mind readers so they need infrmation from you. But more importantly you should think about these things so YOU know what you want from your website.

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