Most small business owners would agree on the critical importance of an effective website. However, many business owners remain hands-off in the initial stages of the creation and design of their business website, rather than collaborating with their web designer. This is short-sighted, as apart from perhaps the technical aspects of the design of their website, the business owner is the person best-placed to have the most input on crucial website elements such as included content, information navigation, and the customer sales path.
Whether embarking on the web design process for the first time ever, or undertaking a redesign of your current website, here are five key considerations that must be taken into account. These factors will aid in the creation of a clear brief for the web designer, or will keep you focused if you are doing the design of the website yourself.
1. The Point of Your Website
If you are making a business website just because you think you ought to, but do not have a clear idea of the website’s potential value to your business, then you need to contemplate what it is you wish your website to achieve.
Is the website to be a contact point for potential new customers? Should the website generate enquiries? Will the website act as an online showcase for your business’ products? Your website may be a digital space in which you can assert your authority in your industry. Could the website save employee hours by automating business tasks such as sales, transactions, and communications with customers? The website may even garner income from advertisements or referrals by affiliates. Be certain of the purpose your website is to serve, not only for you, but also for your customers.
2. Custom Web Design Versus DIY Template
When initiating a new website for your website, you can choose to make use of a template or a theme that can be installed easily and updated by you and your team. Alternatively, you could get your website custom-designed and created to meet the individual needs of your business.
Using an off-the-shelf template is an option that is affordable, and is a common and popular choice for start-ups and small businesses with limited budgets. It can be adequate for businesses needing a basic site, and is a flexible point to start for business owners who have some technical skills. However, these sites most often come with limited functionality and can be time- consuming and difficult to make modifications to if you do not have a vast technical knowledge.
On the other hand, having your website custom-designed has the advantage of permitting you to specify almost every aspect, both in terms of visual design and technical performance. The disadvantage is an increased cost and a longer timeframe, not only for the initial build, but also for any later modifications or upgrades.
3. Creation of Website Content
Your website will need well-crafted content for each product or service offered by your business. You know your business better than anyone else, and while it may not always be practicable for you to create each and every piece of content for your website, you do need to set aside time to provide detailed information to a copywriter. Make sure that the copywriter creates copy that correctly provides key information and that properly presents the overall ethos of your business.
4. Organisation of Content
Whether your website is a platform for ecommerce on which multiple products are sold, or it is a showcase of your business’ services, it is critical to organise your content into logical sections or categories that mean visitors can easily locate what they are searching for.
Clear navigation should be used in a number of locations, for example, along the top and also down the left-hand-side of your website. Browsing should be intuitive and simple for your website visitors to make a purchase or undertake another action that is desirable.
As with all website design factors, look to your competitors’ websites for tips on what content works well, or to find areas you could do better than they do.
5. Website Maintenance
Building a website involves a lot of work, from the design to the technical elements to the creation of content. After the initial build of the website, there will also be required maintenance in terms of updates to these three aspects.
Websites evolve, and search engines and website visitors desire new and updated content. You should plan to maintain your website in the long-term by allocating who will be in charge of editing, contributing to, and maintaining your website. It could be yourself, a staff member, a freelancer, or a web designer. Possibly, it may be that a number of people will have responsibility for different parts of your website. The key is to ensure that you have a plan so that no aspect gets overlooked, so that your website remains fresh.
Setting aside time to consider these matters means you will have a clear plan, not only for the initial website build, but also for the maintenance of the website in the long term.
This article was contributed by Magicdust, a web designer Sydney and Australian businesses choose to partner with to create their WordPress and eCommerce websites.