Looking at starting a website for your business but not sure where to start? I get it. Designing a website can be overwhelming, confusing and scary and we are only thinking about starting one at this stage.
When you set up your business, you would have started with a business plan and organised what you would like your business to be and what you want to sell. Designing a website is exactly the same. Planning and organisation is key. If you don’t plan and organise your website you are more likely to face issues during the design phase.
Here is a list of things you should organise before starting a website.
1. Website’s Goal
Your business goals would have been one of the first things that you started with when you set up your business. It is equally important for you to have website goals. Your website goals will outline what you want your website to do for your business.
Some ideas of what you want to know before starting a website include;
- Let your visitors know that your business exists
- Showcase what you do whether that is sell a product or a service
- Encourage visitors to contact you
- Sell your products and/or services
- Display your creativity and portfolio.
- Promote your brand
- Get visitors to sign up to a mailing list or other CTA’s (Call to Actions)
Having clear goals for your website will also help you design your website. By knowing your website goals you will be able to plan what features you need on your website. If you are hiring a web designer it will also give them a clear understanding of what you want. This will also allow your website visitors to navigate your website with ease.
2. About your Business
Do you know Who you are? Your passion/ strengths? What do you do (business Mission statement), your Ideal Client/ Niche/ Target Market? Also how do you solve your ideal client’s pain point (What stresses your ideal target out?)- Why people will choose your business? and what your tagline/ business message is? Knowing these will help plan your content out and attract clients.
3. Targeted Market
In business we are always told that you need to identify your target market. This is also important with web design. By identifying who your ideal customer or market is will allow you to create your website to best suit the needs of your customer.
You will need to think about who your customer is as this will have an impact on your overall design of your website.
If your target market is women you may want to have a femine feel on your website. However if your audience is male then you may want a masculine feel. And if your website is not gender specific then pick a neutral type design.
As you can see, knowing who your target market is will help you with the overall design and feel of your website.
4. Website Elements
The next step is to have a look at what program, elements and features you want for your website. Your goals and target market will determine a lot of these website elements.
What website program do you want your website built with? WordPress, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Showit etc. All of the website programs have pros and cons to them. We recommend self-managed WordPress as it may be a bit more technical to start your website with but it has more flexability, freedom, and cost-effective than other website platforms.
The Elements that relate when starting a website include;
- Content – this is the information that your website visitors and potential customers will read on your page, and also the visual images that you add. See number 5 for more information about content.
- Theme – The theme is the overall design and layout of your website. There are many themes available. If you are not sure what theme to use have a look at websites you like and map out what features they have. We can usually figure out what theme they are using and use the same theme or suggest a theme to match.
- User Experience – Think about your visitors and their experiences as they navigate around your website.
- Search engine rankings – You want to make sure your website will rank in the search engines and come up when people search for you. There are many elements that will help you achieve this. For more information on SEO click here
The features are things like a contact form, direction map, quote form, photo gallery, shopping cart, or other website features to starting a website.
In the kitchen when you are creating a new meal you will usually follow a recipe so you don’t forget any steps. A mindmap is kind of like your recipe. It is a list of pages on a website that your visitors will want to click on. These then linked to a menu, footer or within the content of the website.
Your mindmap will be created as you are designing and developing your website, therefore it is a good idea to have a rough idea of the type of pages you would like on your website. This will give you or your web designer a clear outline of the architecture of your site.
Some ideas of the type of pages you might look at adding to your website are;
- Homepage – This is where most of your visitors will land when they find you. It should give a clear understanding of what you and show them where to find more info.
- About – Allows your visitors to find out more about you and how they can relate to you.
- Services – If you are a service based business this will give your potential customer an overview of what you do.
- Shop – If you will be selling a product you will need a shop page.
- Portfolio – This allows you to highlight your past work and gives your potential customers and idea of what you can do.
- Blog – A blog could be really helpful to share content with your audience.
- FAQs – This is a good place to have a list of frequently asked questions.
- Contact – This allows your customers to get in touch with you.
Having a well planned out idea of the pages and content you require before starting a website will improve the navigation for your visitors and it also helps you rank on search engines. Remember search engines love content so having multiple pages that all link is essential for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and how you rank on search engines.
6. Create your content.
Once you have a clear idea of the elements and pages that you would like to feature on your website you need to create the content. Your content will be the written words and the visual images that your visitor will read and see. It is recommended that you have this ready to go before you start your design process.
When planning your content you want to make sure you are being consistent. Consistency is important as it makes your website look more professional, it helps your visitors navigate your website and allows your visitors to understand your intentions.
If you are using a web designer they may offer copywriting or stock images they can include or offer alongside your website package.
7. Technical Aspects
There are a number of technical aspects that you also need to organise before you can start building your website.
- Domain name – Click on our Domain name blog post for more info.
- Hosting – Click on our Hosting blog post for more information.
- Security website lock– Known as an SSL certificate, this is the lock on your website providing security of sensitive details such as client contact details, login details, and credit card information between a web browser and a server, this is essential for all websites. Does your hosting allow a free one with your website hosting or do you need to pay for this? Also, would you rather pay for this and have a warranty?
- Set up the business email address. You can create these as part of your website hosting or you can purchase these separately. See the above blog posts for how to do this.
- Logo designed– Get a logo ready that you would like displayed on your website. Check out other websites for ideas.
- Website branding – Have an idea of your colour scheme and pick your Hex codes. Also choose up to 2 -3 fonts that you would like to use.
Once you have these steps set up and ready to go it is time to build your website. This next step can be the most overwhelming process and there are a number of options you can do when starting a website.
Option 1 – DIY – Jump in and have a go.
Use a web builder type theme such as Divi or a number of free WordPress websites or even Wix or Squarespace.
If you would like to have a go a create your own website I will be cheering you on from the sidelines. For an easy how to guide on setting up a WordPress Website feel free to sign up to my free 7 day DIY guide to help you navigate through starting a website.
Option 2 – Hire a web designer to create your perfect website.
If you feel that you need to leave it to the experts then please reach out and I can work with you to design your perfect website. Head on over to my services page to find out more. Once you agree to the quote, I start by sending you a list of things we need for starting a website.
I’m Jacinta Thomas, also known as your humble wordpress web design tech whiz and online marketing consultant.
I’m a reserved yet highly motivated and adaptable digital marketing expert ready to use my online marketing knowledge to help your business be seen online and ramp up your sales. I love horses, dogs, cats, country music, chocolate and most of all helping people.
I help family focused entrepreneurs build top ranking, self-managed websites, help work through any wordpress tech issues and get set up with hosting, blogging, SEO and social media, so they can earn more money and live their dream life.
If you’re ready to get your business online, and seen on social media and all search engines then check out my blog, biz resources, jump into my free Facebook group and of course contact me at any time.