10 key Things To Consider Before Building A New Website
So, you’ve decided that you want to develop a new website or re-design your existing one – great! Now, where do you start? If you want to build a website that best represents your brand and engages your target market there are several factors you need to consider from the outset.
Your website is your most important lead generation tool. Without a clear plan in place you risk missing the vital elements for success. You don’t want to complete your website build only to realize certain features were forgotten or pages aren’t optimized. Backtracking costs time and money, make sure to consider the following steps before you begin.
1. What are your goals?
What do you want to achieve by developing a new website or re-designing your current one? Do you want to increase online awareness? Do you want to boost lead generation? Or, do you want to drive revenue? Without a specific goal in mind, the task of developing an optimized website becomes hazy. It’s important that your sales, marketing and web team agree on measurable and achievable goals from the outset to ensure everyone is aligned in striving towards the same objective.
2. Who is your target market?
Who is your ideal buyer? Have you taken them into consideration before delving into website development? Each part of your website should be designed with your target audience in mind; their preferences, pain–points and solutions. Buyer personas are a great way to gain an in-depth understanding of your consumer’s habits, behaviors, attitudes and concerns; all of which determine how they will interact with your website.
Branding is the promotion of a company and/or product by creating a name, symbol, and distinctive design. This should represent your company’s ethos and mission statement. Your design should be easily identifiable and distinguished from other services available. A professional and memorable brand should start by creating a logo. You should then choose some colors that you are going to use consistently across your website and marketing materials. If you don’t feel that you have a natural affinity for design, consider working with a branding consultant.
Whilst a website designer can build you a great website, you will need to provide them with the content you want included on there. This should include information on your business, your unique selling points (USPs), your team, and how to contact you. You should also write engaging descriptions for the services you offer. A good website will also have plenty of pictures. Where you can, use high quality original pictures of your products, team, and your work. You can also use stock images where needed but make sure you have the rights to use these. Also consider including a mission statement, client testimonials, videos, and links to your social media and partners.
5. Choosing the right platform
One of the first decisions you have when planning a website is whether to use a DIY website builder or a professional web developer. If you do use a website designer you will also need to decide whether you want your website to be built on a CMS Platform (content management system), as well as whether you want to use a professional template, or have the entire site built from scratch. All of these decisions have an impact on the end result, including the ability to upgrade the website in the long term, plus the upfront and ongoing costs of your website.
6. Website structure and navigation
A clear, well-structured website allows visitors to easily find the information and content they’re looking for. A transparent navigation system acts as a roadmap to direct visitors to various pages and information on your site. It is fundamental in encouraging visitors to stay, peruse your content and have a positive user experience, which subsequently leads to more sales and brand loyalty for your business. Focusing on your visitor’s website journey will encourage better engagement and higher conversions.
7. Mobile friendly
Mobile traffic now accounts for around 50% of all internet searches worldwide. With so many potential customers now relying on their phone to find businesses likes yours, you need to make sure your website looks as good on a mobile phone as it does on their desktop computer. Most of us have experienced that moment where we land on a non-mobile friendly website on our phone and struggle to read any of the content or navigate the site. Make sure your customers don’t get that feeling when they visit your website, insist that your web designer uses a responsive design that will adapt to all types of devices.
8. Web hosting
You need web hosting for your website to be available across the Internet. Web hosting services vary considerably in price and performance. At the other end of the scale, large corporates will spend millions on hosting for their websites and online services. The reliability and speed of your hosting service provider will affect the performance of your website which in turn impacts your users experience. Google also uses website load speed as one of its ranking factors. You don’t need to spend thousands on hosting for your small business website, however, don’t just opt for the cheapest option; look for premium web hosting and read reviews to ensure you are getting good value for money.
If you are going to invest money on building a beautiful website, you want to make sure new customers can find you through search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility on search engines to improve the quantity and quality of traffic. On-page SEO concentrates on improving factors on your website; this includes both the content visible on your web pages and the performance of the website behind the scenes. It is helpful to start thinking about SEO from the moment you start planning your website as it will help you to plan your structure, write high quality content, and focus on delivering excellent user experience. This will make any further SEO work you do later more effective, as your website is already built on a solid foundation.
If you want customers to trust your website, then you need to keep it secure. Hackers may try to use your site for malware and phishing schemes. Google blacklists thousands of websites every week because of such schemes and this could affect your SEO rankings and put customers off returning to your site. Make sure your web designer adds an SSL certificate to your website to improve security; this is a digital certificate that creates a secure link between a website and visitors’ browser which is essential if you wish to accept payments through your website. Having an SSL certificate will also improve your SEO as Google recognizes their importance. You should also make sure you use secure log in details for your website and ask your web designer what else they can do to make your website secure.
All these factors assist you in developing the website with generating leads and increasing traffic. The simple and sophisticated design with CTA, intuitive navigation, and informative content inspire the customer to visit your site again and again.