Are you happy with your website?
It is a very simple question, but the answer will be a lot more complex.
You might be saying;
“Yes, but I know I need to spend more money to make it better”.
“Yes, but it is the new year, and things are a bit slow which is to be expected”.
Regardless of whether your answer is a “no” or a “yes, but…” there are always things you can do better when it comes to your website.
As we approach a new year, and there is no better time to take a step back, and really looking at building a website that will drive success for your business.
Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion search per year, worldwide. Your business is contributing to those searches but the question is; how much?
I want to help you. I want to make sure that you are doing everything you possibly can to start the New Year off on the right foot.
There are two different approaches here.
The first, is based on building a new website from the ground up on your own. The second, is about going to an agency, and having them build a website for you.
Option One; Build Your Own
If you are going to build your own website, here is a simple 3-step plan to get you started.
- Choose A Platform
You might be thinking about starting with a new website because the platform you are currently using is not giving you the functionality you want.
I have found this to be the case with businesses, and if this is true to your business, here are a selection of things you need to consider when choosing a website platform.
- It’s free to use (or is within your budget).
- Beginner-friendly and easy to edit.
- Has great blog functionality.
- Offers a variety of plugins to help you grow your business online.
- Selection of templates that are “responsive” meaning your website will change size based on device.
- Offers hosting functionality.
- Allows for eCommerce functionality
- Domain Name
When choosing a domain name to represent your online identity, it needs to be relevant to your business, and easy for your audience to remember. The domain names that are most memorable, are typically the most successful.
Consider a domain name that is unique so that your audience do not confuse you with another business, the right extension that identifies your business (.com, .co.uk, .org etc) and finally; be memorable. Choose a domain name that is easy for your audience to remember.
- Choose A Template/Theme
Regardless of the platform you use for creating a website, you will need to choose a template.
Do you want your website to be more visual based where you showcase dresses? Or written content based? Are you going to be writing a lot of unique blog content? How many pages will you want on your website and are you going to sell products/services online? All of these questions are important, and will need answering when choosing a template.
Feel confident with the template you choose and make sure you do spend time looking at your competitors, and understanding exactly what you want from your website.
5 Things To Remember When Building Your Website
If you are going down the “option one” route, here are five things that you need to think about at every step of the way.
#1: Have a plan: the same rules apply online, as they do offline. Understand your target audience, USP and website promotion.
#2: Clean homepage: there is so much content online, that when a visitor comes to your website, you need to show real value, and one way to do this is a professional, clean homepage.
#3: Slow servers: it has been reported that a potential prospect will wait for a website to load for just four seconds before “bouncing”.
#4: Contact page: don’t forget about having a contact page with either a contact form, or an email address and telephone number.
#5: Quality visuals: If you are going to use visuals to display your content on your website, make sure they are high quality.
Option Two; Agency Website Build
Option two is all about going to an agency, and having them build a website for you. The costs can vary from £500 to £10,000 depending on who is building and what you’re building.
In my opinion, anything between £3-6k will get you a “good” website fit for purpose that you manage on a day to day basis.
When choosing an agency, consider the following:
#1: It may take some time
Working with an agency is a much longer process, and takes between 3-4 months (or longer), so be as patient as possible.
#2: Do your research
When choosing an agency, make sure you do your research. Find an agency who has worked in the industry, and can create a website with the functionality you are looking for.
#3: Ask lots of questions
My suggestion would be, once you have narrowed down your search to three potential agencies, reach out to some of their already-existing clients and find out how they found the process in working with the agency.
#4: Be prepared
You will be giving a lot of design control to the agency so make sure you create a mood board and wire frames followed by a brand style guide then build (in that order).
Five Top Tips For A Successful Website
#1: Social Proof
Social Proof is an important part of a successful business so make sure you have reviews, and testimonials on the homepage.
#2: Social Media Icons
You want two different types of icons; the first, are social sharing icons, and the second, icons where people can connect with you inside of the social networks you are using.
Having a blog with regular content is important to google, and… it will get your website index 434% more than a website without a blog.
Define your tone of voice from your store and brochures to your website and social media. They must all match, and be brand consistent.
Think about the call to actions on your website. What do you want your website visitors to do? Sign up for your newsletter, come and visit you in person, or give you a call?
Are you ready to build your website?
Originally published here.