Your Start Up Web Planning Guide
Whether you’re planning to create a 3 to 5 page start up website or a 50 plus page mega website you need to define a starting point from a planning perspective. This web design resource is provided to inform you of the initial considerations required before you even look at engaging the services of a specialist web designer.
- Define your website’s main objectives:
Why are you considering a website? Is your objective to generate leads for your existing business? Maybe an information source to your customers? Looking to start a brand new business? Are you looking to sell products and services online? Whatever your reason you should know that defining your objective for your website is most important as it will help shape the type of design, functionality, optimisation and internet marketing needs.
- Define your target audience:
Will you be selling products to the public, providing business-to-business (b2b) services or offering your expertise to other professionals? Who might view or use your website? Competitors, suppliers or the general public? You should always design your website from the perspective of your audience not your company or organisation. Remember to take note of any scenarios in which different types of visitors come to your website and try to think about how you would address each of their needs.
- Pinpoint a unique concept and selling proposition:
What gives your company a competitive edge over your opposition? How does your organisation differ to other competitors websites? Do you plan to compete on price, quality or service or the uniqueness of your products, services or ideas? Will you do a better job of marketing than your competition? Can you bring to the table special products, knowledge, contacts, sources? Think about this and plan your website with that in mind.
- You should research similar websites:
Spend some time on the web and see what’s out there. Look at similar organisations or businesses, websites dealing with similar services, products or even your supplier’s websites. Make lists of content, features, and design elements that you like and don’t like. This information is crucial as it helps your website designer to price your project and provides inspiration for where the website should be heading.
- Consider website features and functionality:
This could include special contact or feedback forms, a shopping cart, a content management system, special graphic elements, slideshow or image gallery, customer login area, blog, directory or even a ratings and review feature. These features should be based on your business and customer needs and should not be based on what your competitors are doing with their website.
- Outline a budget for your website:
A website should be integrated into your existing and long-term business goals and not considered a one-time marketing expense. Budget for the initial cost of website design and development, but also keep in mind that you’ll want to update your website just like you make changes and updates to your business direction. A website that isn’t maintained and updated doesn’t do much for your image.
- You need to consider your marketing strategy:
Will you be using print advertising to advertise your website, sending targeted emails or newsletters to your customers or just relying on traffic from search engines and directories? A website without any marketing strategy is doomed to fail before the project begins. If you are on a tight budget possibly consider publishing your website and then investing in some form of online marketing 6 -12 months down the track.
- Decide on and register your preferred domain name:
You’ll need to find a domain name that is available and pay the annual fee (around $25 a year.) Questions to keep in mind are: is it easy to spell? Does it fit with your company product, service or name? If it’s a long name, will it show up well when used in printed advertising? You may also want to consider buying 2 or 3 domains for later use. If you are not sure, please consult with your website designer.
- Get all of your website content together:
Gather the content you already have in printed brochures, flyers or newsletters. Collect graphics or photos you have for logos, signs, posters, products, staff or personnel. Get your product database or other materials that you want on your website. If you don’t have this content your website designer will help you. Website copy is a specialist service so it will usually come at an extra cost.
- Set a timeframe and an expected launch date:
Set up a schedule of when you plan to review, write or provide your website content. You will need to meet with your website designer to make these decisions and schedule a target date of when you want your website up and running. Setting a target date helps your website designer to plan ahead and develop within the required time-frames. Keep in mind that writing your content and gathering the right pictures to convey your image may take considerable time.
Once you feel that you are ready to take the next step have a read of our article called Your Web Design Checklist and that should provide you with an indication of what needs to come next. Please contact us at Dinkum Web Design Gold Coast on 1300 767 433 if you require any further assistance or additional information. We can also go over web design plans, prices and packages with you. We solemnly promise we will not ‘break the bank’ although we may smash your money-box.