Essentials to Starting the Web Design Process
This is a compilation guest article.
When you’re looking to create a website for your business, it’s important to choose the right design and development team to do it for you. A website is your primary interface with your customers in the online world. Just like any other business asset, your website needs to generate a good return on the investment you put in, in terms of both money and time.
That’s why it’s important for you, as a client, to make the effort to understand what it really takes to create a good website. Understanding this process will help you better evaluate the returns on your investment, and engage better with Just 4resh Dezigns. So let’s get started and walk you through the various phases of a website project.
While some established businesses may have a clear idea of what they want, many clients, especially new or small businesses, do not have a clear definition of what they want at this stage.
Here’s what you should work through in this phase:
Business and Website Goals: Explain your business, your values and your vision to the agency. Clearly define the audience you want to target with your website, and the goals you want to achieve with your site. It’s not enough to merely put a sophisticated-looking website out there. It’s pointless if the site doesn’t engage with your core audience and help you generate revenues, directly or indirectly. Here’s how to set some SMART goals for your website.
Features and Specifications: At this stage you’ll discuss the technical aspects of your requirements — do you need the website optimized for a certain browser or device type? Do you want a static website or do you want a blog, podcast or video series to go with it? Are you planning to create an active community on your website or will you do it via other social media channels? Do you plan to sell a product or service from your site? Do you need commerce integrated?
Content Sourcing: If you already have brand collaterals, you should share those with the Just 4resh Dezigns. Otherwise J4D can create your logo and other matching collaterals as part of a package. Work out what kind of content, company information, images and videos you’ll be providing the agency, versus the content they’ll have to create.
Scope Definition: Some agencies provide only the designs or wireframes, some agencies create only static sites, some will integrate forums or ecommerce for you and some will even run your blog and social media channels. It usually works out better to get the complete package, but if not, clearly spell out the deliverables you want the agency to deliver. Also take the time out to define how you want the handoff to happen after launching the site, and whether you require the agency to take up longer term maintenance. Ensuring clear communication and covering all details at this stage is good for both parties. It also helps the agency make a better estimate of the effort and budget required.
Choosing a domain: A domain name is your site’s unique address – for example, mine is just4resh.com. You’ll need to pick one for your site, which can be done easily through your website builder (you’ll be prompted when you sign up). If you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to whatever platform you want to use, or use existing platform.
- Make it relevant. This sounds obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Make sure the domain matches what visitors see when they visit your site. If your company is Vintage Pantaloons ™, don’t register the domain flipflopsfromthefuture.net
- Keep it short, or at least memorable. If you want people to remember your site don’t pick a domain that’s dozens of characters long. It will look silly and no-one will remember it
- Avoid numbers. It’s generally best to avoid numbers in domain names. It (generally) looks unprofessional and adds another element for people to remember.
- Check the branding doesn’t already exist. There are millions of websites already out there. That means there are millions of domains already taken. Check whether yours will stand out before committing to it
Choose a platform that offers both ease-of-use and no limitations in customization:
If you’re new to website creation, you might be a bit overwhelmed.
My simple recommendation is to choose a platform that offers both versatility and ease-of-use for your needs. For 90% of people the answer is going to be WordPress. Other popular choices is Wix and Squarespace.
Choose a website hosting service:
Website hosting services are basically the plot of internet land that your website storefront sits on. If you have a website, it needs to be on the web, and these hosting services are the landlords that put up your site and keep it running so your customers can access and see it when they type in your URL.
There are different types of hosting services that cater to the varying types of businesses. Some web hosting companies will build your entire website, while others will just give you the plot of land and the shovel and leave you to it. Depending on your business model and size, you’ll choose a hosting company based on the factors explained below. Once you understand the terminology, you can weigh features and select the service that works best for your company’s needs. View the link below for a breakdown and company comparisons.
And this is just a short the overview of preliminaries a client should begin with. There are many other layers and details. Each of these is crucial to ensuring your website brings in the desired results for your business — right from defining the website features and goals, the behind the scenes research and planning to ascertain the right architecture and visual impact of your site; to actually coding the details and making sure it all works well together. Don’t skimp on these. It may take time for you to work through the details, but it’s better to front load the work in order to get the results you want.
Do you want to learn more about Just 4resh Dezigns website process? What other questions do you have about the process?