You know that a website is a critical marketing tool. It is a fantastic avenue for creating brand awareness. So, you spend days and nights working on a custom web design. But, it may all be for naught, want to know why? It is because you skipped a very critical part.
There are some things that you need to check before building your website. That is right. Think about it much like putting up a new building. You will look at the geographic location.
Taking the time to understand different construction restrictions will be critical. It helps to have a plan of action before you start.
Please go through our checklist of things you need to have clarity on, before building a website.
1. Start With a Strategy
According to a web design NYC expert, the most significant challenge is building a website without a sound strategy. In consulting with clients, one of the first questions a professional web designer will ask is, what do you want to achieve with the website?
The experts need to understand the purpose of the site because it defines everything else that follows. What do you want the public to know about you and your business?
Do you have core values that should be the main takeaway for any website visitor? What kind of messaging and content will you have up on the site? Will you use it as an online portfolio or for website marketing?
Remember, having a website for the sake of it makes no sense. You should also not put up one because your competitors have theirs. Each business is unique in its positioning.
Take the example of photography websites. Such are specific to that niche. The design elements will, therefore, align with the profession. Such include a gallery or portfolio to showcase work. You may not find the same on, say, an insurance company site.
Clarity of thought is critical when developing your strategy. So, start with the goals depending on your business needs. These include awareness creation, product push, leads generation, and so on.
2. Hire a Web Design and Development Company
Let’s go back to the analogy of building a house for a minute. Before you start the construction process you need to look for the right contractors.
Yes, go ahead and build the website on your own if you have the knowledge. You can also patiently follow the prompts on the free website builders. But, consider it a good business move to bring the experts on board at some point.
The website is the first perception people have of your company. Remember, modern customers search the internet first before transacting. If the impression they have is negative, depending on how your website looks, you could lose customers.
3. Decide On the Host and Domain
The web host provider you choose when determining the performance and functionality of the website. They should give you sufficient bandwidth to handle any amount of traffic. Also, check on the security features they offer.
Do note, poor-performing pages have low rankings on the search engines. Are good rankings important? We will let the statistics do the talking.
A staggering 75% of online visitors will not go past the first results page. 25% will make it to the second page, and the number gets less the more you proceed. That means, if you land on the 10th result page, the probability of people knowing about you reduces quite significantly.
Your domain also matters. The name should be memorable, search engine optimized, short, and simple to spell.
The trick is to make it easy for people to find you by avoiding complicated domain names.
4. Choose the Right Content Management Software (CMS)
CMS software plays a significant role in back-end operations. Think about it like a car engine. It doesn’t matter how much pimping happens to the interior and exterior. If the engine does not perform, you will never enjoy the ride.
We will keep saying that you should seek advice from web design firms. They have the knowledge to recommend the best platforms.
The CMS gives you access to templates that you can use to design the website. It will also help with SEO, content editing, and organization, to name a few.
5. Develop Sitemaps and Frames
A sitemap is a kind of blueprint that shows you what the website will look like in the end. What kind of journey do you want to take the audience on? Bring out your trusty pen and paper, and start sketching.
Think of the flow like you would in the building. How many pages do you want? Now comes the wireframes. How will each page connect to the other to make it easy for audiences to navigate the site? If there is confusion, you can be sure no one will stick around for long.
6. Consider Mobile Responsiveness
If the web design firm does not suggest mobile responsiveness, know you are dealing with quacks. Sounds harsh right? But, mobile optimization is a critical ranking factor on search engines.
Google for instance uses mobile-first indexing. It ranks depending on how your site performs on mobile devices.
And, that’s not all. Over 54.8% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. You know how you reach for your phone, anytime you want to browse the internet? Well, half the population that owns smartphones do the same.
So, any website that does not offer a good user experience on mobile is losing out. Even if you are using the free website builders, look for those that have mobile-responsive templates.
Carry out relevant tests to ensure the design and layout look good on mobile. But most importantly it should perform well on the small screens.
There is a lot that goes into setting up and launching a website. You don’t want to get to the end of the process and realize you left out some critical areas.
Our article provides a guide on some of the things you need to check out before building a website. Do take the time to do a little bit more research. It helps to have the right foundation from the very beginning.
Remember, the UX determines whether people stay on your site or not. And, the site engines take note of high bounce rates. Building brand awareness with low rankings will be very hard.
That is why we can’t say this enough. Allocate some money in your budget to hire a web design and development company. You get the benefit of their expertise, resulting in a high-performing and functional website.