Creating a website takes collaboration, time, and resources, even if you’ve hired a web designer. Failure to take the time to plan a site correctly leads to a less desirable outcome and can cost you a lot of money.
Here are seven things you should do in advance of building a website to make your project more successful.
1. Register Your Domain
This may seem fundamental but too many businesses go to build a website only to discover the domain name they want is already reserved. Registering a domain is simple and affordable but it’s best to get an early start on reserving a domain for your business before it’s too late.
A domain name is important for a website. It’s what many people use to find your website and one of the first things people see in connection to your business. You want to ensure that your domain is branded properly.
If you are able to reserve the domain of your choosing, you may want to consider also purchasing different domain extensions such as the .net or .org version to better protect your name and for other business uses.
2. Have a Logo Ready to Use
Helping to define a brand image is a big part of a website. It’s important to have your logo in place for a new website. A logo is a vital aspect of the company that is used and seen in many places and needs to clearly represent your organization. Some companies will create their own logo in-house while others will seek the skills of a logo designer.
If you’re considering a logo redesign, it’s best to do it before starting a Web design project. While they can be done concurrently, it can be helpful to have assets in place before development begins. If you already have a logo you’re happy with in place, you’re one step closer to launching a new site.
3. Use a Placeholder Website For a New Domain
Once you have a domain reserved and you’re ready to develop and market your website, it’s a good idea to create a placeholder website. There are a variety of different free templates in different platforms that are easy add to a domain that provides the company logo, contact information, or launch date to provide visitors basic information or when the new website will be ready. The launcher theme is one example of a placeholder template.
4. Identify Websites You Like
While your website should define your own brand, taking a look at other websites, including your competitors, can be helpful. What do you like or dislike? Incorporating different components, designs, features, or colors into your own site can make the decision making process easier and set the stage for a more successful project.
5. Plan Your Content and Features
A great website needs to have content that people want to absorb. Whether it is graphics, images, videos, calculators, testimonials, case studies, comparisons, FAQs, trust badges, or just plan product or service description, your website should be a valuable resource. A website that doesn’t have the content or features available to enhance the user experience can make achieving search engine rankings more difficult.
6. Create Compelling and Relevant Content
What good is a website if you have valuable information/compelling content to present? Invest time into creating long content pages that provide a strong landing page for your clients with the information they are seeking. The content you create should be original and compelling to provide a better user experience and for more favorable search engine visibility and social media share-ability.
Targeted, useful content is also very valuable from a search engine optimization standpoint. It’s a good idea to discuss content strategy and other on-page SEO factors with a SEO professional when developing a new website.
7. Gather Testimonials and Create Case Studies
In addition to more traditional written content, images, graphics, and video, testimonials, including video testimonials, can take time to request and gather. It’s best to have them in place beforehand as you look to develop a new website.
Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, other websites, or have them email them directly to you. Also look to prepare case studies with customer success stories. Testimonials, badges of accreditation, and case studies are great content that provide useful information and the trust and assurance your prospective customers are seeking.
Wrap Up and Next Steps
By having these seven elements in place in advance, your Web design/development project will be prepped and ready to roll, running a whole lot smoother and more efficiently. It also helps lay the groundwork for better success in your marketing efforts and the bottom line.
See our post on elements of effective websites for factors to consider once your new site is ready for development.