So you have a business, and you know that you need a website design, but the big question is, where do you start!?
There are many misconceptions about what goes in to developing a website design. Not least of which is that website design is a simple process. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Sure, a few pictures and some text aren’t that hard to format, but in today’s world of online media, the absolute basics will get lost in the matrix of cyber space.
What you need is a solid business and marketing plan, some killer content, some well composed pictures. With these, you are well on your way to setting up your most valuable marketing asset. Your Website!
Before you approach your favorite Web Developer (shameless plug alert!), you will need to have developed a brief that covers all the elements that are needed to start designing your site.
- Overview of your business
- Website Functionality
- Website design look and feel
- Budget and Timeline
- Maintaining your website
Overview of your business
You are trusting your developer with the online representation of your brand. You need to give him a clear understanding of your business and what you hope to achieve. Consider the following:
- What services/products does your business offer?
- Who is your target market?
- What age group will most likely be interested in you products?
- Will you be targeting a specific gender?
- What geographic areas would you like to cover?
- How do you want people to perceive your business?
- Who are your top competitors?
What is it that you actually want your website to do? This may sound like a duh question, but things that may seem simple sometimes take a lot of thought and planning to execute effectively.
Here are a few functions that your website may need:
- A search box, especially if there will be a lot of content on your site
- Social media integration
- A contact form
- An online quote facility
- Google map
- News letter sign up
- Online shop (E-Commerce)
- A blog
- Services page
Of course there are many other more specific functions that you could include. It all depends on your business needs and goals.
Website design look and feel
When putting together your corporate identity, you would need to think of things like a logo, color scheme, social media, tag lines, office decor etc etc. More importantly, you would need to decide on your company’s values and culture.
All of these things will help your web designer develop a site that reflects your company as accurately as possible. Consider the following:
- Have you got a logo?
- What is your color scheme?
- What kind of feel do you want:
- Traditional or contemporary
- Personal or professional
- Serious and to the point, or fun and bubbly
- Do you have a font preference?
- Identify a few websites and list what you like about them
- Also, what you don’t like about them!
- What kind of graphics or imagery do you like?
Budget and timeline
This part is important! Often a clients expectations are far removed from what can realistically be achieved in the time frame and funds available for the project. In other words, if you want a Lamborghini, you can’t expect to pay what you would for a for a Toyota.
When engaging with your developer, try and be as clear as possible with your expectations. Not only will this speed up the process, it will also allow the developer to give you a clear understanding of what you are in for.
- How much do you have to spend?
- When do you need the site to be complete?
Maintaining your website
Now that you have a shiny new website, you may not have realized that someone needs to maintain it. That Lamborghini will look pretty out the box, but if you don’t wash it and change the oil every now and then, it will start to look a bit sad.
Luckily, there are MANY solutions for this problem. The most popular of which is the use of a Content Management System (CMS). At Rusty Studios, we use WordPress to design your Lamborghini (website). Once we’re done, we hand you the keys (login details) so you can maintain the site yourself. If you need support, most web design companies offer hosting and/or maintenance packages. You would still have full control of where you’re going, but you’ll have a chauffeur to take you where you need to go. (Ok ok. Enough with the car references!)
That’s about it
So… to sum everything up, when you are designing your website, the finished product depends entirely on how much information is available for the developer. A good developer will at least request the time from you. Oblige him and the process will be as easy as drinking milk.
Thank you for reading. Please visit Rusty Studios or like us on Facebook for regular updates.