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9 questions to ask yourself before starting a website project
Do I have a good domain name?
Your domain name is what people will be typing in to their address bar to be able to get on to your website. It is important that your domain is similar to your businesses name, or as close to it as possible. The web is huge, so the chances that someone has already registered a domain with your business name is pretty high which is where you need to get creative. If you are a UK business, it is recommended to use a .co.uk domain extension as Google and other search engines are more likely to serve local content when people are searching. You should also get .com if it is available.
What is it I want the website to do?
Knowing what you want your website to do is vital to its success. If you’re looking to sell products or services to other businesses or customers, having an store online will boost your sales.
Different types of businesses have different objectives, some businesses may desire to grow their leads through investing in new business, charities may wish to drive donations, brands that are selling in business to customer markets may want to drive online saves through ecommerce.
Finding out what you want your website to do before you start is essential.
Who are my target audience?
Going back to the paragraph above, knowing what it is you want the website to do will also dictate your target audience.
Where is your target audience located? What kind of device will they most likely be using your website on? Are they able to pay online or are they more likely to want to pay in person?
All these different questions need to be asked for your website to perform to its best for your target audience. For example; If your target audience are mostly teenagers, it’ll be important that your website performs well on mobile.
Knowing who your target audience is also ties in with the visual aesthetic of the website. It’ll need to appeal to them. If you are a luxury hotel in the countryside, you’re not going to want the website to be bright yellows and oranges, you’ll want the colours to be soft and luxurious.
What are my competitors doing?
Your competition will have the edge on you if they already have a website. So understanding what they’re doing and doing it better than them is where you now have the advantage. Chances are they’ll already have someone doing their search engine optimisation, so you’ll have a good idea on where to start when it comes to planning out your website.
If your competitors have something in common such as colours, content or features such as instagram feeds. It might be a good idea to do something similar although again, look at what they’re doing and do it better.
You can also check to see what they are doing to get people to convert such as offering free shipping or making their buy now button more prominent than other buttons.
Do I have my written content ready?
Your website is all about your content, without it, there really isn’t much point.
Knowing what you want to write on your website, such as company history, who works there, your products and services, any news relating to your business that might be relevant to customers are all things you should have before starting a website build. You can’t start a good web build without knowing what content will be going on there.
The first thing to consider would be your sitemap, which is how your website is going to be laid out. And then what is going to be on those pages.
- Home page
- About us page
- Company history
- Meet the team
- Shop page
- 50+ products (images, content, prices, related products)
- Careers page
- Jobs available within your business
- Contact page
- Contact form
- Phone number
- Email address
- Map to help people find your company
It is recommend that the content on each of your website’s pages should be at least 400 words, as studies have shown that having less than that will slow your websites growth and social shares.
We personally recommend between 2000 and 2500 words, basically the more quality content you have, the better.
What about my visual content?
Your visual content is just as important as your written content.
If you have products to sell, you’ll need to hire a professional product photography as people will need to be able to see a good, clean image of what you are selling. If you go on to your favourite online store and look at their product shots, they’re all clean and consistent. If you have services to offer, such as being a hotel, you’ll want to have shots of your rooms and function suites available for any potential customers looking to stay at your hotel. It is important to remember that people buy with their eyes.
For more information on product photography, see our services page on Product Photography
What are my short-term and long-term plans for the website?
Do you know what you want your website to do for you over the next 6 months compared to the next 5 years?
Short term you might want to think about getting the website established within your industry or community. Using your website as a tool for getting content out onto social media or news websites.
Long term, once your website is established, you might want to think about what other things you can offer your visitors. This could be an ecommerce store, free tools for them to use, adapting your website for your future business goals. So it’ll be important to know what you’re doing to allow for future predicted development of the website.
How do I future-proof my website?
This ties in with what your long term plan is.
Knowing what you want from your website long term will allow you to develop a solid plan that’ll translate into a well built base framework for the future when it comes the development of it. Once you have a good base structure, when it comes to adding any additional elements to the website in the future, such as an online store or any other significant functionality changes, you’ll be able to save time and money, enabling you to get the ball rolling quicker.
Have I considered how people will find my website?
Once a website is up and running, very few become overnight successes. It can take a website around 6 to 12 months before Google and other search engines will start to rank a website higher on the rankings.
Which is why you need to have a think about other avenues to get your website out there as well.
Digital marketing is one of the best ways to get your website visible in front of as many eyes as possible. It won’t be free although the awareness this will bring to your brand and website is priceless.
For more information on social media, see our services page on Social Media Marketing
Another way would be to do a Pay Per Click campaign, where you can target specific search terms to guide customers exactly where you want them to go. This results in high conversion rates as you’re giving your customer exactly what they’re looking for, so they’re more likely to get in touch or buy.
For more information on pay per click, see our services page on Pay-Per-Click
You can have the best website in your field or industry, although if people aren’t able to find it, it’s essentially useless.
Wrapping it up
There is a lot of things to consider before you start your web project. Your content is king and your visual elements just as equally.
Understanding who will be using your website will allow you to design and develop the website around them. Understanding the goal of the website and what you want the user to do, once they find you, will allow you to create a user journey designed to make the user convert into a sale.
All of which takes time, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Talk to our web & digital marketing specialists about how we can help create and grow your businesses website.