Planning a new website?
So, you’re thinking of having a new website designed and developed? Maybe you’re a start-up and it’s your first website or perhaps you’re re-branding your business and want a second or third generation website. Whatever the reasons you should first do a little forward thinking about the aims for your website. To help you, here are what we believe are the top 5 things to think about…
1. What is the purpose of the website?
Is it to present your business in a good light online? Did you know a high percentage of people you come across in business will look you up on line within the first 24 hours of your introduction? So it’s important that you clearly present your products and services on the website, you show some reviews/testimonials and your contact details are consistent with your business card.
Is the primary purpose of the website to generate leads? Driving relevant traffic to your website is a complete subject in its own right but assuming visitors come then you want to make it very clear that the products and services you sell will solve their problem and then clearly direct them to the different ways to get in touch with you, i.e. phone, e-mail, sign-up form etc. It’s important in this regard to map your audience, so that your home page talks to them in their language.
Is your website’s aim to help you retain customers? Here the design emphasis should be on providing regular information to the customer base. Regular home page news, sign-up forms for newsletters, blog roles, newsfeeds and social media feeds, etc. In this instance, social media will be an important marketing channel so show the icons prominently on every page of the website and not hidden at the bottom of the Contact Us page!
2. Help search engines find your website
It’s always important to know what keywords you would like to be found for on search engines prior to setting off on a new website project. Researching keywords can give you an insight into the volume of search for each variation of phrase, in your geographic region and search trends over the year indicating any seasonality. These keywords should be included in the content of your pages, in the page address and its meta titles and descriptions.
3. What devices will be used to view your website?
Nowadays, any new website should be designed to be responsive, meaning it automatically reformats itself to be easily viewable on all forms of device whether that is a large computer screen, laptop, tablet or smartphone. If you anticipate that smartphone viewers will be a critical potential customer to your business – perhaps you are a local restaurant – then you will want to be sure the website displays extra clearly and any telephone numbers are enabled so that they can be clicked to call. This might mean you have to specify a particular look and feel specifically for the smartphone.
4. How are you going to market your website into the future?
Even by taking our advice and having a wonderfully designed responsive website that has good content and is search engine friendly it’s highly unlikely that a new website will rank anywhere near the first page of Google in the weeks after it’s launched. So you should be setting some of your precious budget aside to develop a digital marketing strategy that reflects the primary purpose of the website (see 1 point above) and a plan to deliver a measured return on your investment.
5. How will you be branded?
Your website is your ‘shop window’ so it needs to look inviting and stand out from the competition. Do have an existing logo and strong brand style already, or do you need to consider embarking on a re-branding exercise to ensure you have maximum impact when the website launches. You can find out more about the branding process here.
There are obviously many more factors to consider when planning a new website, what do you think of our suggestions? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience with new websites.