Your website has a very clear objective. That is to improve your business and to communicate with your customers and clients. There will be a wide variety of visits to your website, but you need to be practical and realistic about your audience. Search engines are not your audience. Also, it doesn’t really matter how pretty your website is when it doesn’t have the information or content that your audience is looking for. When I am looking for a car, I want to see pictures of cars and I want to see prices. When I am looking for a product, I want information on the product. These “wants” I have are absolutely required. Follow this website development process and you will put the focus where it needs to be. The aesthetics and ease of use of a website are important, but they are secondary.
Get ready with a plan
First, narrow down exactly what your message is. In business, our goal is to solve problems and to fulfil customer needs. Visitors will want information, products, and/or services. Based on your business, how do you provide value to them? A value proposition is a statement that clearly articulates exactly why your business exists.
Write out your value proposition in one or two sentences.
For example, “Jennifer’s hair salon provides fast and affordable hair cuts in the lower east side.” Another example, “Susan’s hair is all about the upper-class hair salon experience where only the best stylists work.”
Position your product or service clearly in two of these three dimensions.
You can be only two of fast, affordable, or high quality. Anyone who says they are all three is incorrect. For example, a luxury product can be of high quality and fast but it will be expensive. Contrary to that an affordable and fast product cannot be of high quality. This position is in comparison to your competition.
Describe your products and/or services to educate your visitors on what you have to offer and to differentiate yourself.
Be original. If you have attributes that are the same as others in your market, then don’t spend a lot of time on those. Focus your time on the attributes of your products and/or services that make you unique.
With those three guiding concepts, you are ready to begin stage 1 of the web design process.
Website UI/UX Design Mockup
During the first stage of development, all of the focus is on the design and layout of your website. Take the service or product pages along with your value proposition and match the colours of your branding. Choose the right type of buttons for the actions you need and think about how people will browse your site.
Some key things to focus on are:
- Your standard font size (i.e. 1 REM or 16pt) and typefaces. Don’t use too many sizes and keep your fonts simple.
- Your colour scheme should reflect your branding and should also appeal to the intent of your visitors.
- Consistency and versatility should be obvious. Don’t overdo your design. All sections should replicate each other as much as possible to avoid visitor confusion.
- Plan a few different layouts for various screen types. You will have a landscape or widescreen layout for a larger format screen (i.e. a laptop or a television), a portrait version for a large handheld like a tablet or notebook, and a small mobile version for both portrait and landscape mode.
Get your design mockups ready. If you hire Choice to do this for you then sit back and relax, we’ll take care of all the heavy lifting for you. We’ll get you some good options and even help out with some of the value planning. When looking at design mockups, you really only want to place titles and maybe a few of the pictures that you will end up using. You don’t want to spend too much time revising content at this stage. Focus entirely on the visual. Avoid time-sucking scope creep by sticking to a planned process. For example, if you are re-writing titles to make a design look better, you will never finish your project because this is impossible at this point.
Once you’ve got a design that you like, lock it in and move on. You can re-work your design after your site is live and starts getting traffic. Don’t get stuck in a rut trying to make it perfect in your own eyes. The objective must be to get it online quickly and to start getting traffic so you can improve it over time based on real data.
Content Marketing Plan
Put your design to the side and open up a blank word processor. Start laying out your content by writing everything clearly and succinctly. Focus on how your information is organized on the page and don’t think about the design at this point. Avoid using pictures unless they are product pictures and try to see if your approach is logical. Build a sitemap (or table of contents) and keep it flowing from one section to another. Avoid the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.
Have you ever seen a business card so crammed full of stuff that you haven’t a clue what the person does? Many websites are like that. The solution is to maintain a singular focus to enguage a very specific audience on each and every page.P. Jaffray, CD MBA
Also, think about the deeper pages inside your sitemap as entry points into your website. If most of your traffic is landing on your homepage then you are missing something. Each page needs to be able to satisfy a need and provide clear instructions to the visitors who are convinced to purchase your products. The concept of what a call to action is will help guide your writing. Throughout your writing, you are encouraging actions.
During the content stage of a Choice website, you can hire us to put this all together for you. Our professional writing team will create your content plan for you. With a content plan and your design mockups ready to go, it’s time to get started with a website online.
Get it online
Register a domain and make sure it’s in an account you can access
Register your domain name (avoid getting more than you need.) Most people don’t think of their domain as being a seperate thing from their website – but it is. Your domain registration is the single most important part of your website. Although it’s only $20/year it’s your “location” or your address. You can always move your website to another hosting company or worst case, build your website from scratch as long as you have your domain. Lose that, and anyone can take over your address and do what they want with it.
Get web hosting and make sure it’s fast
Get your developers to build the site and put it on the fastest hosting you can afford.
You can definitely use a free website provider or a third party to build your site but pay attention to load times and how much software is put into your app. A very skilled designer should be able to make a site that looks very close (if not identical) to your mockups. They should also be able to do it in a way that does not take more and 2 seconds to load.
Your site speed will be more impacted by how it’s programmed than the hosting that it sits on, but fast and powerful hosting will make your back-end much easier to use make managing your site a lot more convenient.
Integrate your site with all the free tools you can to monitor it and give you insight into performance improvements. Here is a list of great resources to explore:
- Google Tag Manager
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google Analytics
- Search Console
- SEM Rush
- Ahrefs (Paid)
- Screaming Frog
- DNS Viz
What you can expect if you hire Choice to do this all for you?
You can expect to have a complete website setup on the web with a full-fledged content management system. People will be able to see your website and access it from any device. Google Analytics will be functioning and integrated with Google Search Console.
It may take some time for your new website to start generating organic traffic from search results, but you will have everything in place to allow this to happen on its own. Your website will have all the SEO packed into it at launch. In most situations, people will start finding your website by searching your name in a few days, however, sometimes it can take longer depending on your specific name.
The best part is that your project will be professionally managed without taking a lot of your time. Get our web design rates here.
- 10 Day Development
- Three Specialized Professionals
- Finished Product is Well Rounded and Will be Online
This process works
Many projects fall through the cracks. Many other projects run way over budget or for whatever reason end before their time. We look at a website project as the beginning of online marketing. We set you up for success and we hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to visit us in the discussion forums to talk more and ask questions.