December 2, 2017

Checklist: 10 things to consider when getting a new website…

An awesome website will benefit virtually any business. It may be a no-brainer, but before you go chasing quotes, it pays to consider a few things first. After all, the more information you can provide now, the less chance of scope creep or an unsatisfied result at the end.

1. Why do you need a website? What’s your goal?

Generating leads… Selling something… Providing information… What’s your end goal? It may seem obvious, but predetermining goals now will help you measure success in the future.

2. Who is your audience?

Who, when and why are they online? What do they have and what do they want? An in depth knowledge of your audience helps you connect with them authentically. Once the site is live, analytics will give you a clearer picture of who is actually visiting.

3. How will they find you?

With so many websites out there, unfortunately ‘build it and they will come’ doesn’t always apply. Will they find you through Google, social media or other marketing? In what mindset are they in when they arrive?

4. What will they do once they’re there?

Successful websites are intuitive. Visualise walking a user through your website. Should they watch introduction videos before they subscribe? How will you provide content users are looking for and make it easy for them to find?

5. What impression is left behind?

An edgy hair salon’s website will look very different to that of a traditional financial institution. Layout and design speaks to users. Similarly, if a website is hard to navigate or doesn’t function properly, it’s a negative reflection on your business. Work out what you want to say and make sure their experience is a good one!

6. What about content? Who will provide it?

Function and aesthetics matter but ultimately tailored and considered content is the key to success. What sets you apart and how is this communicated? Is content SEO optimised? Many ‘low cost’ developers expect you to supply all content, or worse, insert generic filler. Do you have the resources to write web copy and organise photography or do you need help?

7. What features are a must have?

Development costs vary considerably based on website functions. What is a ‘must have’ and what can you do without? Do you need online payment options, a login area, a store finder or infographics? Will there be multiple versions of the site? Do you want the ability to update content yourself? These details will help determine how your website will be built and its cost.

8. Do you have a domain name and hosting?

Often forgotten, they can delay projects. Think about your domain name and any subdomain structures which might be required. If you’re organising hosting, have all of your login details ready, including FTP details, cPanel details, domain account logins and emails logins. If your developer will provide hosting, ensure your plan will handle the required traffic, has uptime guarantees and includes ongoing support.

9. Have you added analytics?

These days device responsiveness and browser compatibility should be included by default, like airbags in a new car… but it doesn’t hurt to confirm. Analytical tracking is sometimes an oversight, so make sure it’s added to your site from the get-go.

10. What’s your budget and time frame?

Great websites take time and usually cost more than you think. In saying that, there are some clever shortcuts to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. For example, the number of pages may not dictate a job’s cost… but numerous unique page layouts certainly will. Ask how you can reduce costs.

Bonus tip!

Start by writing a list of websites you like (or don’t like), even if they’re in a completely different industry. Try to add reasons for adding them to your list. It will really help designers and developers get a sense of what you’re after!

A great website might be a much bigger commitment than you initially expected, however if you put in the man hours and trust the experts, the rewards are always worth the extra effort!