There is no shortage of beautifully designed websites out there for you to glance across when starting to come up with ideas of how you would like your website to look and function, however what I find with most of my clients is although there is a bundle of different styles out there to choose from, the one thing that they are short of always is time.
Time is always one thing that all of us find there is never enough of when it comes to planning and designing a website. If you want to get it right first time round you need to factor in some time to work on it. This could be from choosing stock images, deciding on a colour scheme right through to writing your website copy.
With time being the essence here are a few tips that can help you get organised in preparation prior to working with a web design company to get your website up and running in the quickest time.
Do your homework prior to meeting your web designer
When I say homework I am referring to all the different elements that needs to go into the website including, design, layout, number of pages, images and your website sales copy. Firstly if you have a pretty clear idea of what you want your website to look like take a list of the domain URLS with you to show your designer and make a note of what you like and dislike about the sites. It could simply be that you like the navigational layout on one site and the way the images are displayed on another. If you turn up with lots of different ideas then the designer will have something to work with rather than starting from a blank canvas.
Research you competition
It is good to look at what your competition is doing and see how they “sell” themselves. Getting an idea of how your competition has advertised themselves on their website will give you an incline if you want to go down the same route or do something completely different. It might be that they have added a video that you quite or they have a good call to action on the homepage. Even if you find that the competitions websites are ugly and not useful in the slightest, researching your competitor analysis is always useful so worth taking some time to evaluate.
Images make or break a website, for example if you look at a van hire service website that has clearly got a reasonably priced video camera and taken a range of shots themselves compared to one who has used a professional photographer it really makes a difference. Images are really important to get right so think in advance what you are going to do. It doesn’t have to cost the earth to pay a professional photographer to come out and take a number of shots if you just need a handful of pictures for your website, there are a number of stock image websites that start the prices off at $1 per image that you can purchase a range from.
You have decided you want a 12 page website to make your company appeal bigger than what it is which is great – but can you provide the content for each of these pages? Remember 1 short paragraph of text will certainly not be enough to accompany 3 or 4 images on a web page. Be realistic if you can’t write a sufficient amount of words on a product or service it is best to have fewer pages with quality content than lots of pages filled with crap! The more pages you have the more navigation will be required so keeping your website as small as possible will work best in your favour.
Original sales copy
Just because your competitor has written a fantastic description on a product you both sell doesn’t mean you can just copy and paste it and send it off to be added to your website. Your work needs to be original. It is fine to search websites to get inspiration but avoid copying it like for like – you will be in breach of copyright and search engines will also penalise you for duplicate content.
Do you want to appear on the first page of Google – of course you do. Keep in mind that having a website out there is not going to automatically put you on the first page of a search engine you need to earn your spot. There are a number of different ways you can do this including looking down the route of an SEO package or Pay Per Click campaign will certainly help. You need to be clear what you want your website to do and if rankings is of importance to you mention it to your web provider so that they can make recommendations of additional packages or tailor a design and SEO package together for you to meet your exact requirements.
Social Network Sites
Do you have social network accounts for your business on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google +? If not keep it in mind as it is an easy “free” advertising tool to help you gain traffic to your website.
These are just a few things to think about when planning a website and to quicken up time it works great for web designers if you have a clear mind of what you want to achieve from your website in the future. Be realistic on time goals; it’s great to go in all guns blazing but if you need to provide pages worth of content you are going to sit down, think and write this up. Websites do not just appear overnight; there is a lot of time and effort required to design, build and code the site so being as organised and prepared as possible will certainly help and may even save you some precious valuable time in the long run.
Digital Marketing Manager
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)