Unlike what you may see in ads “create a website with a few clicks,” making a website for your business is hard! Even if you get a designer to do it for you, there is so much to prepare, think about and decide. Luckily, if you are hiring a designer, they will guide you through this process.
However, it is a good idea to have a little think before you hire a web designer, so that you can see if they make the kind of website you would require for your business.
Following these steps will mean you have a much clearer idea of what you need to do and what you want from your web designer.
What to Do Before Making A Business Website
1. Align Your Website With Your Business Goals
What do you want visitors to do when they come to your website?
It's so important, but many people don't think about it at all.
Do you want to collect email subscribers, buy a particular product, get people to contact you or for people to read your latest blog post?
The answer to this question will mean a different design layout for your website.
2. Do Your Research
There are a lot of options for layout, design and function for a business website.
Deciding on what kind of web design will suit your business will affect the budget needed to create your website.
So, it's best to do your homework before you pay for a custom-made, fantastic and extremely expensive website!
Research similar businesses to yours and see what kind of functions and pages they are using. Consider if you need the same kind of thing, or if you can do with less at first.
Also take note of the design of their website.
Does the design and layout work? What doesn't work or look good? What aspects do you like about it?
When researching, choose a couple of website examples to give to your web designer, as well as your notes.
3. Select The Best Website CMS For You
There are different types of CMS, or Content Management Systems you can use to manage your website.
At the most basic level, a CMS lets you upload and manage the content for your website and is essential if you want to be able to upload your own content.
Wordpress is the most popular CMS, however it is most suited to tech-savvy business owners, or businesses that have their own IT Technician to maintain and keep up to date.
WordPress doesn't usually include hosting of your website, so you can buy your web-hosting plan through Bluehost or Hostgator which is around $5-15 per month.
Another popular and simple CMS that we use is Squarespace. Squarespace also doubles for website hosting, and you don't need to maintain it (this is all included in the price!).
Squarespace is great for a simpler experience, perfect for small businesses that want a beautiful and stylish design that just works.
4. Logo & Business Details
Having all your business's details ready in one folder read to give your web designer will speed up the process to no end.
Include in it:
Business name and tagline (if applicable)
Business logo - include different sized logos
All social media accounts
Email for business inquiries
Full business name and ABN
Phone number and business address
Logins to your website and hosting company (only if you already have a website)
If you’re a new business, you might want to look at website startup packages that include a website, logo, branding and marketing. This makes the whole process a lot easier!
5. Prepare Web Copy & Content
The most important thing to prepare before creating a website is the content.
Web copy or content is simply what you write for your website’s blog posts, about page, etc.
Writing content for your website is time-consuming so it’s a good idea to start as soon as possible.
A good place to start is your About page. Get some inspiration from some similar businesses' about page.
Include a little about your business and make it snappy and interesting, maybe even funny.
If you have a team working for your business it can be a nice touch to have a team page or section on your website and a short bio and photo so potential clients know who they will be working with.
You can ask your employees to provide a couple of nice photos of themselves, but if this doesn’t cut it you can always get a photographer in to capture some nice photos of your team.
This can be a good investment in the long run as the photographer can also get some professional photos of your business in action to add to many other sections of your website.
6. Prepare Your Product Information
Whether you have an eCommerce shop, or even just your services, you should have images for that to show people what it is.
Prepare each product description in one document, including cost, postage cost, tax, and photos.
That way when the web designer uploads your products there is no confusion as to which details belong to which product.
The main product photograph should be crystal clear, with a white or plain background so there’s nothing distracting.
It’s best to have a few photographs of the products – close-up, side view, and a styled photograph to show to your customer how it will improve their life! :)
7. Know Your Budget
Before you take the plunge and create a website, you need to know your budget and NOT blow it.
Investing around $1,000-2,000 for a simple website is fairly average for a new small business, but if you need branding and logo design as well, the cost is more like $1,500-3,500.
If you need special functions or eCommerce, you can expect to pay more.
Ready to make your website?
Following these steps will speed up the whole process of getting your website complete on schedule.
It will also give your web designer a better idea of what kind of website you want so the end result is just what you need.