There are a few things you need to do correctly when building a website. First of all, you have to determine: what is the purpose of the site?
- selling a product
- offering a service
- blogging to communicate or educate
- driving traffic to a physical location
- collecting customer data in order to sell them something by phone
The second most important element is to build your design around the message you want to convey. Designers build a site with the proper message through strong communication between the client and an Internet Marketing specialist. The specialist’s role is critical in identifying all the important information about the client’s business and goals. It is suggested to use a list of questions that ask several important things about the client’s business.
Some important questions to ask:
- What is your target demographic?
- How many pages does your site need?
- Do you have a site map or an outline of the tabs/pages needed?
- What’s the flow of the site? (rate the content from the most to least important)
- Do you have logos, photos or videos we can use?
- What colors do you like and work well with your industry?
- What specific requests do you have? (ie. Do not use green. I like red, white and blue. Add a picture with a lady and dog)
- The more specific you are the better chance you have of building a great site.
These details will help the client and the designer get the design and functionality of the site correct. Another helpful technique is to search the web and look for different websites that appeal to you. Provide at least three different website addresses (URL) that show the design and functionality you like and need. It is also helpful to look at what your competition has online, so you do not duplicate colors and/or content. Your website should be a unique representation of both your business and industry.
There are several items that are “must haves” on your home page.
- The business name, phone number, address and company logo
- Social logos to the sites you interact with (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are some examples)
- A way to contact the business: usually through a contact form
- Also included on some sites: RSS feeds, blog link
It is suggested to keep all graphics and contact information consistent across all platforms to build your brand.
Your website’s content and design will have a tremendous impact on how your potential customers will perceive your business.
If you’re planning on making changes to the content, (adding photos or articles) you will need to consider what platform to build your website on. Joomla and WordPress are two of the more popular CMS (content management systems), although some web companies can also create a custom CMS. These platforms are very user friendly and make it easy for the site owner to make their own changes without contacting a web designer.
The other option is HTML or another web programming language (php). These platforms allow for very custom and dynamic sites, but all changes need to be done by a professional web designer. This is usually an additional monthly maintenance fee.
One word of caution: the business owner should always purchase the domain name and then allow the web company to make necessary changes for hosting. You should not allow anyone else to purchase the domain name for you because they can unintentionally (or even intentionally) register the Domain Name under their web company’s name. If this happens, the domain name is not your property and the web company may try to charge you an additional fee for transfer of ownership.
The last and most important aspect of building a successful website is known as On-Page Optimization. Make sure you have a solid meta description and title tags on each page. This allows all major search engines to crawl your site. If you want your potential customers to find you online it’s very important to include your targeted keywords on all the pages within your site.
Don’t forget to do your research. Building a website doesn’t need to be a hassle. Follow these simple principles and success is just a click away!