Building a website is a process but many don’t know where to start. Here is a list of things that will help you communicate your needs to your developer.
Start Here to build a great website!
Who are your Potential Clients?
The first step in any marketing effort is to determine the audience you want to speak to. Are they male? female? business owners? home owners? music enthusiasts? car enthusiasts? or something else? Once you have decided on who, you need to determine what keywords or phrases they would likely look up to find you. This step is very important since it will help the designer to research terms that are most often searched and weave them into the design and content of your site. A proficient web designer can use tools to find and implement the best terms for your website.
Choosing a Domain Name
There are a few things to think about when choosing a domain name. Do you want to use your company name (or personal name) or a name that contains the keywords most searched to help in SEO? If you are a well established entity then you may choose your entity’s name. If not then you may want to choose a name that describes your products or services. It’s also possible to have more than one domain name which points to your site. You can then do a search on domain registrars (See ICANN list) to determine if the name is available. Most registrars will give you alternatives to choose from. This is an important step so you may want to consult your web designer. You can see what domain names are available by using the widget below.
Colors and Logo
If you need a logo or corporate identity, we can help. If you already have one then we’ll need to get a copy, preferably in an electronic format such as AI (Illustrator file) or EPS (vector art). We can also use bitmap files such as PSD (Photoshop), JPG or GIF. Your website’s design should complement your logo or identity. You can choose colors that appeal to you or let your designer choose them for you.
Content is ultimately the responsibility of the client. You’re the expert for your business. A web designer does not know your business or your customers the way you do and therefore cannot hope to inform your viewers as well as you. Although they may have editing capabilities to make your content sound fresh and inviting, they’ll need the raw data or information to get started. Think of what you commonly tell your potential customers. What questions come up most? What makes you different from the competition? What experience do you have? How long have you been in business? If you are serious about your content you may want to hire a copywriter to produce the best flavor. Once the content is decided on, you’ll want to find the best hosting and online backup sites to store and protect the data and content.
Make sure you provide as much contact info as possible. If viewers can’t contact you conveniently they may not contact you at all. Your web designer can and should place contact info where it is easily accessible.
Photos and Graphics
Photos and graphics catch your viewers attention and invite them to read your content. They are an important element to your website and its appeal. Although stock photos can be provided, it’s better to have actual photos of your storefront, employees, products or performances. This will make your viewer more comfortable with you and your business. Loafin’ Tree provides graphics and photography services so contact us if you need assistance in these areas.
Provide documents for the “meat” of your content. They can be integrated into the web design or linked to as standalone pages to be printed or downloaded, great for newsletters. Some good formats for integrated documents include PDF, DOC, XLS, JPG and GIF.
Testimonials are a great way to show your potential customers how happy they’ll be if they do business with you. They provide a comfort level that promotes sales. Ask your past customers if they would mind providing a testimonial.
Products – E-commerce
If you have products you will want to provide photos and complete descriptions. You may want to incorporate a shopping cart into your website to provide viewers the opportunity to buy your products from the comfort of their home. E-commerce will be a larger investment with larger rewards. Loafin’ Tree has investigated and incorporated many e-commerce systems. Contact us to find out our recommendations. You can also find more information on how e-commerce works here: http://processing-guide.com/ecommerce/
Videos can also provide an inviting landscape and informative avenue for your viewers to connect with you and your products or services. Sites such as YouTube will give you more exposure and allow you to embed your videos into your own website.
Another important aspect of building a website is keeping information fresh and up to date. Blogs are a good way to attract and keep viewers. If you provide beneficial information then they will be more likely to return to your site for more and view you as a trusted authority worthy of doing business with. There are many options to include a blog in your site or as an added page to link to your site. Loafin’ Tree has installed many including popular applications like WordPress, Blogger and Joomla.
Google is by far the most used search engine today and google Places is a great way to get local business and a link to your website. It’s free and easy to setup. Go to www.google.com/places to get started!
Be Prepared and Be Educated
The best thing you can do for success is to know yourself, your competition, your products and services and the best methods for marketing them. We want you to succeed! You don’t need to know everything about web design but knowing something will help your web designer make the best decisions and create the best website for you and your customers. We are glad to help out in any way we can. See our glossary of web terms or