Every business should have their own website these days. Even if your company area is still behind the times with regards to tech, you never really know what the future is going to hold – and it is always better to be ahead of the curve rather than behind it. But this doesn’t mean that you should simply build a site as quickly as possible without a clear idea of what you are doing. There are a few things that you need to know before you build your site which will help you out in ensuring that your site does everything that you need it to. Though we can’t pretend to cover everything in this blog post, we can at least talk through some of the basics which are all worth bearing in mind.
Clarify Your Strategy
To start off with, it is worth defining exactly what it is that you want your business website to do. Is it going to be purely informational or are you planning on selling products through it? Who will be using your site and what will they want to take away from a visit to your website? These are just a couple of the main questions which are worth clarifying to help you lay down an overall website strategy. Remember, your website is an online extension of your business, and therefore highly important in giving off the right impression of your company.
Plan the Customer Journey
Now is the time that you will want to start mapping out how you imagine the average user will navigate their way through your website. Equally important – what is the customer journey that you would like them to go on? A clear sitemap will help customers to move from one part of your site to another, while you should also make sure that you are utilizing calls to action to direct users what to do next. People like to be led and for their lives to be made that little bit easier, so don’t shy away from providing this for them.
Once you have thought through the first two points, you can now focus on the content creation for your site. As well as the words on the page, this also means any imagery, video and audio content that you would like your customers to access. Starting off with the copy, you need to make it clear and concise, while also containing plenty of keywords so that it is more likely to rank highly on a search engine. Make sure that all of your imagery and video content is of a professional standard. Everything adds up to creating the lasting impression of your business which will stick in the minds of your customers.
When people talk about websites, they often talk about the design as the primary feature. And while this is important, it is not where you should put all your time and energy. As long as a site is clean and functional, people shouldn’t complain much. After all, they are on your site for a very specific reason and it is probably not to be dazzled by your graphics! You should also consider your design from a branding point of view; everything needs to have a sense of consistency about it so that people can instantly tell that they are on your company website.
Give yourself plenty of lead time after the site is built so that you can test it extensively. You will probably want to make a big deal of your site launch, and things are not going to be quite as impressive if there are some obvious flaws which are holding people back from doing what they want to do. As well as the functionality, you will also want to check all of the smaller details such as grammar and spelling. Everything is going to add up together to create the overall impression of your business. And people can be very ruthless with their time online these days. They could end up summing up what they think of your website and therefore your business in only a matter of seconds.
Having people on your site once is great, but ideally you want them to be coming back time and time again. Therefore, you need to focus on the updateable features which you load onto your site to give them the reason to return. Perhaps you could have a news feed on your homepage, as well as linking through your social media accounts to show that you are creating content all the time. The biggest part of your website in which you will want to update your content on your blog page. So, it is a good idea to have a clear strategy in place for what you will be posting and how often. Ideally, you will want to have this several weeks or even months in advance. Not only is this important in terms of website freshness, it also should make a big difference to search engine optimization.
Leading on from the previous point, your website isn’t going to do you much good if people aren’t able to locate it easily. And you are better off building it in a way that is SEO friendly now rather than trying to do this in the future. Make sure that your web developer has a working knowledge of this field – or do your reading and research details like this list of best hosting services if you are planning on building and developing your site yourself.
As you can see, there is a huge amount to consider before building your website – and these are just some of the main points which are all worth bearing in mind and adding into your website plan. If you launch your site well in the first place, you will be giving yourself a good springboard from which you can achieve all your aims.