A business website is always something on every owner’s mind (or it should be). But when you are a new business or considering a new website design, there is a lot to think about. Some business owner’s come to us prepared and other’s just don’t know where to start which is ok too. Whether you deal with Creative Atmosphere, another website designer or you use a website builder on your own, these are 10 things you should think about no matter which route you go. Even before you commit to a website builder or designer too.
Get Clear On Your Brand Message & Why You’re In Business
This is the core foundation for your business and will basically define who you are and what you do. Although everyone in business will say this is obvious, there’s a lot of brands that don’t do this core work which doesn’t will not yield the results or return you are looking for. This step would also include creating the visual part of your brand – logo, colours, fonts etc.
Get Clear On Your Service & Process Delivery
You know your business the best. This means that your know exactly how your business makes money and how you take your clients will buy your services or products. By knowing what you offer, how people can buy from you and what you do after they buy from you is something that will make the design process run very smoothly. Draw it out the follow on a piece of paper – this will also help your website designer best to construct your pages. If you are still stumped, consult your business plan or marketing plan for a reminder of how your clients will travel through the revenue pipeline.
Plugins, Systems & Functionality
If you need something special or special functionality, make sure you highlight this at the beginning. This will make it easier for your designer to know exactly what you want. Start surfing the web for systems that will fit your business and tell your designer by giving him/her that list. Some special functions could include a booking calendar if you take appointments, Woo Commerce if you want to have an online store, what payments gateways you want (Paypal, Stripe, Square etc).
Buy The Domain & Hosting For Your Site
Although not mandatory to have it purchased at the time the website starts, knowing what domain you would like to use and where you would like to host it is important – especially if your web designer doesn’t provide hosting services. Make sure you ask your designer, if they do hosting and what their suggestion is for a reliable host if they don’t.
Take Inventory Of Your Photos
Images are important and generally do a little more talking than words themselves. So when putting together a collection of photos that could be used, make sure they perfectly represent your business. If they don’t, you might need to hire a photographer first. Yes before you even think about hiring a designer, you need to make sure you have your photos ready to publish or at least have a session booked. Make sure your photographer gives you at least 10 photos that are high quality but also go with the branding elements you’ve selected. Yes, there are stock photo website available for something in a pinch but remember they aren’t you.
Search For 3 Websites That WOW You!
This part requires a little research. Now, don’t get hung up in the comparison trap here. No, no, no my friend. Just search the web and look for the layout and style that stands out to you. Don’t look at pictures words or colors. Just layout and style of the site. This will give your designer a look at how you want your style and layout to be. It also doesn’t mean that your designer will end up creating a website just like those you like. But they’ll get a glimpse of your taste.
Map Our Your Website
Grab good ole paper and pen to map out how your website will flow. Think of your menu at the top of the page and link any other main pages, sub pages etc. from there basically walking their client through the sales process with all the information they need to make the buying decision. Not only will this help your designer with the structure of your website but also to narrow down a better quote price based on the number of pages you need.
Create Content For Your Pages… Example:
A. Home Page
B. Service Page
C. About Me Page
Testimonials can be gold and a great addition to your website. If you have worked with clients in the past make sure you have their testimonial saved up. The more testimonials you have the better. If you’re just starting out, then don’t worry just start working with people even if it’s for free to get some social proof coming your way. You can always add and subtract as your get further into your business.
Write Some Value-Added Content
If you have included a content marketing strategy into your plan, a website is a great place to store what should be valuable content for your client. If you’re website includes a blog, have some content ready to go for that section as well. This can be how-to’s, information about products – just about anything that will add value to your client’s experience. This will help your clients find you faster, you’ll start establishing trust with them and you’ll have something to share on social media right away if that applies to your business.