Ok you have a business and you want to utilize what is arguably the most powerful marketing tool available in the world today …. The Internet! It's easy to assume that all you need is an impressive design and a URL (website address) but, there are many more important decisions to make when planning your website.
The key word here is planning and I have outlined below a basic and helpful process to help you create a functional website that is interesting to your clients:
1. Plan you site with good old fashioned pen and paper work – it helps most people to brainstorm a new sites requirements this way and you will see that more ideas appear using this method.
2. What are your objectives for your new website? – Is your website purely information source for new and existing customers or are you looking to generate new leads and sales online?
All of this will affect the way your Web Design agency creates your website. For instance a site that needs to generate leads and sales will need to be created in a way that search engines such as GOOGLE and MSN can read. This process is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. Do you need to sell products online? If so then you require a full Ecommerce Website Solution. Now you have your goals be realistic about timescales. Take into consideration that success on your website will take time even after your website is complete as search engines where most of your clients will find you are very slow at finding and updating websites.
3. How often will you need to change the content of your website or add new products? – It is possible that your website design agency can create you a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is basically another website that you can use to control your customer facing site. Imagine you sell mobile phones online and frequently get new models coming into stock, with a CMS you can add these products instantly and (providing that your web design agency has created a good CMS) you need no web design or development experience. Often a content management system will use familiar buttons such as those seen in Microsoft Word.
4. How do I want the website to look? – match your site content to the look and feel of your design. That may sound vague but think of it like this: if you sell slippers online why would you use a design that incorporates cars and motorbikes into the design? It just does not work! You need to think about where your most important information should be on the website and how the users of your site will find their way around. A beautiful looking site that is difficult to navigate around is not useful to your clients and as such they will not use it. A search on your site may be helpful to your websites users especially if you have a large site and or lots of products. Where should this be on the site and on how many pages?
5. Once you have answered these questions write up a design specification document including all of this information and give this to your Website Design Agency. They will be able to give you an accurate idea of what is involved, supply you with a quote that should not change and more importantly create a site that is exactly what you asked for.