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Guide to Building a Website
WEBSITE BUILDING – PLANNING PROCESS – 4 SIMPLE STEPS
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF CREATING A GOOD WEB PRESENCE ?
Relationship – Before you get started on your project, the most important thing to consider when engaging someone to create a new website for you is the relationship you have with them. Do you like them? Do they make the process simple and clear, rather than getting all technical and confusing. Do they have a track record? Ideally in your industry. Have you checked with some of their previous clients? Get this right before you commit to anyone. Nothing is more important than getting the right person for you, regardless of cost.
Stage 1 – Preliminary discussion – where we discuss what you want to achieve on the web.
The web agency Project Manager defines the proposed brief with you the Client, the pages and content required, suggested page layout etc. If we can understand your business well and what you want to do online, we can better deliver the results you want. Do you need to do it in stages ? Will budget dictate these stages? What functionality is required now or in the future? Forum, Blog, Shop, Social Media.
We study what your competitors are doing and how we can get you ahead in search and in conversions. We do keyword analysis, discuss logical goal setting and a Digital Marketing Plan or Digital Strategy. What are you going to offer online? Does anybody want what you are offering? How to they search? Have you asked your existing customers what they want, why they deal with you and how a web presence could help them trade with you. Get your customers to tell you what to build, rather than just guess what they might want to see
Stage 2 – Layout & Mockup – how it should look and flow.
We put together your page layout structure or wireframe for your approval and ideally a working prototype, with bells ‘n’ whistles. Then based on that we create Graphic Design Mockup for your approval, then agree the technical requirements, the functionality required, agree the type of solution to be put together. Static or Dynamic website, which platform and why WordPress, Joomla Php or or Drupal, eCommerce or Booking Engine or third party ticketing integration. Agree costs and payments structure.
Stage 3 – Content – This is where you the client has to produce the goodies…
We produce a wireframe for every page to show where the content is to go. Then we collect required original content from you client or your content creator, any text, all prepared sized good quality images, video, etc for every single page. Finalise the design, create a final draft for approval and then make the site live, hidden from general public view, for testing and tweaking. The content part can take a lot of time, more than you might have envisaged. Think about the prospective visitors and create something that is worth viewing, something interesting, useful, educational or informing and entertaining. The website frame is 1170 wide allowing for full width image of 980 wide or in a Gallery images are typically 600 wide each whilst article images are maybe 300 wide. All images should be small files, ideally under 100kb. Your web agency will make all this clear and easy to manage at your end. But you will be expected to have your content ready before the website development starts.
Stage 4 – Measuring – What sort of return on investment are you getting?
Go live and apply measurement metrics such as Google Analytics and CTA recording. Call to Action buttons can record visitor actions. Apply any SEO Search Engine Optimisation elements to ensure you rank where you need to rank in search, for the terms you decided were important, based on keyword planning. Monitor this on an ongoing basis. Review the performance regularly. The website is just a tool., so who will look after your Online or Digital Marketing ? The job is not done when the site goes live, it is just starting and you need to continually work on your website, to increase traffic, and then try to increase conversion, to get a good return on your investment. Imagine it being your shop window, so it needs to be kept interesting and promote whatever you want to sell..
CHOOSING A WEBSITE DESIGNER – some tips on getting the right fit for you
Tip: Communications during and after creating the website need to be clear & regular. The time and money invested means that the website needs to be maintained and built upon continuously. Having forged a relationship, you the Client and the chosen web design agency need to manage it, to produce the agreed return on investment envisaged. It is an ongoing process, a partnership, if you will. Set some realistic targets and review them on a regular basis. Treat it like any business venture. Use a professional Digital Marketing Agency, if you do not have the skill set between you. If you have the time to learn everything about building basic websites, here is a guide to building your own WordPress website from scratch by Dustin Hartzler.
Time: How long does it take your chosen web agency to build a website? The time required to create a business website is usually about 6 to 8 weeks. Any delay is usually down to the client getting content ready or scope creep, as in the client adding more and more functionality or pages to the initial site. Once this web presence is created, then it is time to make it work for you, which takes a lot more time. Getting it populated, found, ranked and then making it do something useful and keep tweaking it all the time. Like any tool there is no point in buying it to leave it idle. The real work starts here.
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN?
Important ingredients for a good website include sharp design, smart navigation including bottom nav or footer links, social media integration, good relevant original content, usability, tracking & analytics. At a glance the website should convey what problem you solve and for whom. If you get that right the website will work as a funnel and your phone will ring.
UX OR UI – WHAT ARE THEY ?
User Experience and User Interface are two terms used in website design that refer to two distinctly different parts of the overall web design.
UX – User experience or user design also referred to as UXD or UED which is all about usability in a website, about the whole process of helping visitors find what they want with ease, navigate easily and follow a simple flow, to help convert a visitor to someone who engages by asking a question or buying a product etc. This is an engineering aspect of the website design.
UI – User interface design is the designed ‘look’ or feel of a website, designed to thrill, to delight visitors, to have them like or want to stay on the website. This part of the design is the aesthetic, the style, the colour or the bit that makes a visitor nod or smile.
Both are important and both are needed in good website design, so make sure that your digital marketer and web developer confer with your graphic designer to get it all right. A good web design agency will manage all this for you, but they may need to outsource parts of the work to specialists or subject matter experts.
60% of searches lead to browsers clicking on a Page 1 result, over 40% click on the very top one, and 20% on the second, with less than 20% going on to view Page 2 at all. Digital engagement is everything you do online, website, social, adwords, forums etc. Digital Marketing is a science, that can be studied or you can use a Professional – we do..
Tip: Developers are like Chefs, they want to show you how to do it and impress you with what you can do with the ‘solution’, so make sure that you get a website that lets you do as much or as little as you like, which allows you outsource as much as you want, rather than getting something brilliant, but complicated and time consuming.
This article by Michael MacGinty was also published at Linkedin and is supported by many more related articles in our Blog here. Get tips on hosting, design, platforms, digital marketing and much more