Website design is a crucial element to ensure your business is represented accurately, professionally and beautifully. The following ten items are just some of the essentials needed before we work on your website so start gathering!
1. Content: Pages & Copy
Think about how many pages you would like to have designed, what you want them to be called, along with the copy that will be on those pages. If you are uncertain about how many pages you need, browse a few other websites and decide what feels comfortable to you. Too many pages and your viewers will feel overwhelmed; too few, and they will feel there isn't enough information. Be sure the number of pages you select can include all of the necessary and pertinent information needed.
2. Domain Name
If you have not already purchased a domain name, it is important to check what is available. If the name you have selected is not available, consider possible alternatives that are not too long, too difficult to spell or too confusing.
3. Website Hosting
While your domain is your online address, the hosting company is where that address is located. When someone types in your domain name, it will need to be pulled up from a specific location.
4. Professional Images
When you view websites you feel are well done, it is likely they will all have one thing in common - high quality, professional images. It is difficult for a website to be well done with images taken from a cell phone.
5. Consistent Messaging
While many businesses believe they utilize consistent messaging, it is not uncommon to find inconsistencies in things like verbiage used to describe products, the tenses and adjectives used and the overall "voice" of the writing. If more than one person will have input when writing your copy, it will be essential that there is one person who is able to pull it all together so it has a good flow.
6. Contact Information/Email Addresses
Certainly this will sound like a no-brainer, but having an email address that matches your domain name is important for several reasons: ease of contact; consistency; and professionalism. Visitors may question the validity of your business if your name is "Sally's Sweet Treats" but your email address is sallysmith@gmail.
Again, this one may feel painfully obvious, but consumers expect a visual representation of your business that is professional looking, clear and represents your products or services well. If you do not already have a logo, it is highly recommended that you have one designed.
8. Web Building Software
There are several choices available when selecting a website building software. While websites can be created from scratch using code, there are many website builders like Squarespace, Wix, Webb. Bluehost etc. all which offer customizable templates. While some may be easier to manage then others its smart to find one that suits your needs, and will make editing and updating easier on you.
9. Overall Vision for Look/Feel
Put together a list of words that help describe how you want your website to look and feel. Descriptors like "bright," "modern," "simple," and "image heavy" help to determine a design plan from the beginning. This is another area where it would be helpful to jot down a few websites you really like along with what it is specifically that you find visually appealing on those sites.
10. Google Analytics
It is important to have your Google Analytics page set up from the very beginning in order to track how much traffic you receive, which pages are the most popular and where your consumers are spending most of their time when visiting your site. These insights will be helpful as you update and evolve your online presence to ensure it is user friendly and informative.
With these ten things, you are well on your way to a website you will love!