Designing a business website is far from simple at times. The message may be clear to you but translating this to the screen can be infuriatingly difficult and time consuming. The easiest way to avoid this frustration is to make five key decisions before you begin the building or re-design process, thusly:
What’s the Point?
Every website needs a purpose – whether it is the more salubrious end of the internet or niche-specific online marketplace. If you’re an artist interested in selling online, knowing where to start can pose quite a predicament. So, ask yourself, what’s the point of your website? Are you looking to increase awareness of your business? Perhaps you’re hoping to offer more information to your customers?
Just ask yourself, what’s the point?
No one puts a website up because they have to; many businesses thrive in the current climate without a website because they simply don’t need one. If there is no point then there is no purpose then there is no need for a website until there is a point and a purpose. Clear?
Template or Custom?
When you have decided the point of your website, you will need to decide if it is best to use a DIY template via a Website Builder to construct your vision or approach a designer to create something custom and unique to your business.
Naturally, there are obvious differences. It takes no time at all to find a website designed using a template as they generally all look the same: Helvetica font, colours that don’t quite contrast correctly and images strewn all over the page that were probably taken on a mobile phone. Template websites are an excellent starting point as they are cost effective and the Website Builders take care of a lot of the trickier elements such as hosting etc but they aren’t for life.
Custom designed websites can be incredibly expensive if you ask for too much but they too can look just as generic as templates if you aren’t certain of your design needs. If you have the money to spend and a very clear image in mind; go for the custom design every time – there is something more professional about them.
How to Organise?
Now you know what your website is for and how it will be made – now for what you intend to put on it; your content. You will want to have a vision of where things are going to be located on the site and you will need to discuss it with colleagues or other third parties to ensure it follows the important characteristics of a user friendly site. You can become blinded by your own ‘brilliance’ and fresh eyes will help work out an appropriate formula.
Who will Create your Content?
Nearly there; you know where the content will be going but how do you intend to acquire it? You could create content yourself but a lack of understanding when writing website content can leave a user cold and uninterested. The same goes for photographs and images – if they are poor quality images or fail to convey the business’s interests, users will disengage and look elsewhere.
Professional web content designers and photographers are the way to go whether you are building from a template or using a custom designer – professionalism all the way.
Who will Maintain your Site?
It is a common misconception that a website will look after itself once it is published. Computers are clever but not quite that intelligent yet; they still need programming to function. You could maintain the site yourself to save costs but are you well versed in SEO, analytics and suchlike? If you are then by all means take the reins.
If not, approach a webmaster to moderate and maintain your website. That keyword professionalism is very important – shoddy looking, unmaintained websites not all fall down the search engine results but they also suggest the business itself is shoddy looking and poorly maintained – even if you aren’t!