As a business you need a web presence – even a simple single scroll site is way better than nothing at all. With web size does count when you’re talking SEO optimisation. It’s simply a case of the more pages your website has the more we can add tags, cross links and the more presence you create online. But let’s not go down that rabbit hole just now.
If you’re a SME needing a basic website, or a team within a corporate that needs to create a bit more of a complex website for employees to access secure information, the first steps to get your website off the ground are the same. It all starts with planning.
A lot of the planning you need to do before you ask an agency to quote for the design and build. Here’s what you should prepare:
Step 1: Determine the purpose of your website:
– If you just need to provide information on who you are and what you do, you need a basic website.
– If you need to sell your products online then you need a basic website with an eCommerce section which means you also need a payment and shipping system.
– If employees need secure access to documents, a blog and an online integrated chat system this is a more complex custom build.
Step 2: Drill down deeper into the functionality you require.
We touched on it above briefly. List all the actions users would need to take when using your website such as:
– Read articles on your blog
– Contact you via an online form
– See your location via a Google Maps map
– View videos
– Click on an image in a rotating carousel that links to another page or opens a document
– Access or store documents
– Chat or discussion board
– Upload a photo with a comment and have a like feature (you’d be surprised the number of mini Facebook sites we’ve created for teams over the last 12 years)
– Purchase products online – remember the shipping and payment factors involved.
– For sites with confidential information you need users to first log in with a secure username and password. If the employees leave the business how do you ensure they no longer have access to the secure site? This could require integration with a database or system such as SAP that tracks employee records.
Step 3: Content is king in the website building process.
Think about how you want to group/organise your content. This becomes the site navigation. For a simple site this would include:
– A Home page with a feature banner for a call to action (special offers; new products, promotions, call to action), introduction to who you are and what you offer, perhaps the most recent blog post linking to your full blog where all articles can be seen, social media feeds.
– About page
– Products/services page
– Contact Us
– A Home page with a feature banner for a call to action (special offers; new products, promotions, call to action), introduction to who you are and what you offer, perhaps
Now that you’ve determined the purpose, functionality and grouping of content for your site, consider the look you want: contemporary, simple and sleek (minimalist), fun and funky, or does it need to be aligned to your corporate identity.
Find examples of sites you like both from an aesthetic and functionality point of view. Make a list of the URLs and add them to your brief with comments e.g. I love the movement and interactivity of site xyz. Or the graphics on xyz site really grab me. I want something like this.
Providing the above information to an agency at the start of your website build will streamline the process of quoting, design and build.
Remember that a lot of time and planning needs to take place by the agency before they start the design – the pretty bit. At Blue Juice we create the user experience flow first, then the user interface (the design), and once those are signed off we start the build – the coding of the site which, depending on the requirements could be anything from a simple WordPress site using a theme to a fully custom PHP coded site.
See some of our business websites: