How To Start A Website With Ease
75% of customers judge a business based on its website design. So you can understand why getting it right is such a big deal. If you’re new in business, or this is your first time getting a website designed, it can all seem a little overwhelming.
But, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, armed with a bit of guidance, it can be pretty easy.
We’ve got you! Here’s my Web Design Preparation Guide For Business Owners.
This is what you need to do to prepare for the web design project;
- Understand why you need a new website
- Explore the standard of web design in your industry
- Work within a budget
- Choose a web design agency
- Use the right platform
- Select a strategic colour scheme
Understand why you need it in the first place
Before you dive head-first into a full-scale design project, let’s evaluate WHY you need a new website. This is a useful exercise to set intentions around the purpose of your site, but also recognise the things that make a website such a powerful tool for your business.
Our website is outdated (and embarrassing!)
It’s a common scenario. You set up a basic site when you started your business, always meaning to go back and invest the time and effort further down the line “once things are going smoothly”. But the years go by, you’ve been so busy with the day-to-day challenges of running a business – and your site has deteriorated beyond belief.
Here’s a few reasons why having an outdated site is not just embarrassing for you, but detrimental to your business:
- It takes users 50 milliseconds to judge your website – then decide to leave or browse.
- Over 50% of online traffic is through mobile devices.
- Google’s algorithms penalise slow loading speeds and mobile incompatibility.
An outdated site isn’t something you can chip away at over time and hope to improve. It’s time to tackle the problem head-on with expert guidance and a solid strategy!
Our competitors are ranking better!
There’s nothing like a bit of competitive spirit to kick-start your website revamp, but understand why SEO is important before replicating what the guy down the road is up to.
SEO or ‘search engine optimisation’ is the strategic integration of on-page keywords and phrases and off-page backlinks to your website, altogether making it more appealing to search engine algorithms.
Google is scanning for the most relevant and valuable content to match search queries, so a decent SEO consultant will research what your customers are searching for – and then optimise your website content to match those queries.
There’s a lot more to it than that, and the world of SEO is a minefield of false ‘gurus’ and snake oil strategies. A web design agency worth their salt will tell you that they can implement SEO into your new site, but it pays to listen to exactly how they plan on doing this – and don’t be afraid to ask for proof of how their process has been successful in the past.
We’ve rebranded/updated the business and it’s time to put ourselves out there!
You’ve recently spruced up your brand or made significant updates to your business’s services – and this has probably energised you to find the perfect web design agency and revamp your site. A website redesign is a way to amplify new messaging, kickstart online marketing campaigns and attract waves of new customers.
Pro Tip: Know Your Customer Personas
‘Know your customer’ is probably the biggest marketing cliché ever. But, so many businesses still get it wrong – or don’t give it any time at all. A powerful website is backed by an in-depth understanding of the target audience.
- People like to feel understood | Knowledge of exactly WHO you’re selling to, exactly WHY they want your service, and exactly HOW they like to be spoken to, is at the core of any successful marketing strategy.
- What starts as an exercise becomes the foundation of your marketing | Map out your customer personas with other team members in your business. Start by breaking down your most common and reliable customer type. Here’s some identifiers to consider:
- Marital status & children
- Salary & job title
- Interests & hobbies
- Likes & dislikes
- Social media use
- Everyday problems
- Long-term goals
Orient your strategy around what your target customers are looking for – not what you think looks good and seems effective.
For more detailed insights into your customer personas, conduct your own research by asking customers for feedback and sending out surveys via email or social media.
Explore the standard of web design in your industry
Before you start your own web design project, conducting your own competitor analysis will help you ascertain what the best in the biz are doing on their website. The data you gather will show you what should feature on your own website, but also how you can stand out from the crowd.
Work within a budget
Every web design company in the world will give you the same answer: it depends. It’s the same as asking “how much is a phone?”. Well, if you only have $100 to spend and only need to make a few phone calls then a basic one will work just fine. And… that’s probably not the case.
There’s a substantial cost difference between a standard 5-page website for a local plumber and a 20+ page e-commerce website with fully automated online store functionality.
The ‘standard 5-page website’ gets built on a foundational framework that many businesses kick-start their online presence from. 5 pages isn’t a lot, and you’ll probably add more pages over time, but it’s a great place to start if the primary purpose of your website is to showcase your brand and advertise your services.
Home | Your landing page is usually the first page visitors come to, and it needs to be impressive. In the first few seconds, visitors need to know who you are, what you do, where you’re located, how to get in touch with you, and come with a hint of why you stand out from the rest.
- About Us or Profile | When personalisation is becoming more and more important to customers, knowing why you exist and the values of your business are key to making a connection with potential buyers. This is where storytelling is important, and a quality web design agency will help you with this.
- Services or Product List | You’ll likely have more than one Service / Product so this section can expand as your business does. Here, we explain what you do, why it’s of value, what problem/s you solve, and potentially how much it costs.
- Blog | Organic blog content establishes your business as a thought leader and a reliable resource for people who want to learn more about your industry and services. Also, from a ranking perspective, Google also LOVES websites with Blogs.
- Contact | People have to know where to find you. A good web designer will create an inviting contact page with multiple ways for people to enquire about your business. Ideally your phone, email address and an enquiry form. This page can also include links to social media.
One thing to remember about cost is that web design is just part of the overall cost of building and maintaining a website. Domain hosting, website security, and maintenance costs, as well as future additions and improvements over time, are all important factors to consider.
A quality and experienced website design and development agency will support you to make the right decisions about future maintenance, with many offering suitable maintenance packages to suit a variety of needs. Gone are the days of “Build it and they will come” or “Set and forget”, websites need regular edits and constant monitoring to keep up with today’s rapidly changing business environment, software updates, and security requirements.
Choose a website design and development agency
When faced with the prospect of building a new website, you might be thinking ‘can I do this myself for a fraction of the price’? The short answer is, no.
Once you understand the benefits of hiring a web designer to build your business’s website, you’ve got to choose the perfect one for you. You have to work with the right people – those who are interested and invested in encouraging and supporting you to reach your business goals.
Here are 5 things to look for when choosing a web design company;
1. Good first impression
Google search for local web designers or ask on a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn for recommendations. Browse through the pages that come up. Pay close attention to the judgments you’re making from the Home page. Do you like the website design? Do they use their own images? Is the written content personable and engaging? Do they seem to know what they’re talking about?
2. Strong portfolio
If a web design agency boasts a diverse range of case studies showcasing its successful projects, you know that they have a lot of happy customers. See if there are any projects in their portfolio that are closely related to what you might be looking for, and read through the details to get a sense of the web design agency’s method – as well as any feedback or testimonials they’ve received from past clients.
3. Experienced staff
A great resource to ascertain expertise is the Blog page. By skimming through the blog content on a web design agency’s website, you can get a sense as to whether they’re staying on top of industry trends and the latest technology.
4. Quality content
Imagine coming across a web design agency website, only to find there are grammatical errors in the content – or it sounds as though it’s been written by a robot. Expert web design agencies understand that web content is just as important as website design. If the content on their website is engaging and informative, you can have peace of mind that they’ve got expert SEO copywriters at hand to work on your website project as well.
5. Industry knowledge and customer service
Pay close attention to how well a web design agency LISTENS to your needs, then tailors their web design expertise to advise you on a strategic solution that works within your budget. A web design agency should take the time to talk to you and get to know both your business and your website goals before providing a free quote for their services.
Be mindful of the following red flags when searching for a web design agency:
- Deceptive cost packages
Web design agencies that advertise website packages might seem cost-effective, but are likely to be cookie-cutter websites that lack personalisation and aren’t tailored to your needs.
- Outdated content
Be wary of web design agencies whose websites seem outdated, especially if they haven’t posted blog content in a while. This suggests that they’re not dedicating much time on their own development.
- Poor communication
If a web design agency takes a long time to respond, or their customer service isn’t on point, drop them.
Use the right platform: Wordpress vs. Others
You might have heard of Wordpress. It’s the most popular Content Management System (CMS), hosting over 20% of all websites on the internet. WordPress is arguably the best web design software to use, both as a DIY option and through a web developer.
A CMS is different from a drag-and-drop website builder like Squarespace or Wix, which work okay for VERY basic (and functionally limited) DIY websites but do little to facilitate future expansion and are still owned by the platform itself, meaning, you’re stuck with the same provider forever or have to pay for your website to be rebuilt from scratch should you grow out of their offering.
A website built on a CMS platform like WordPress is your own digital asset. That means, even when you hire a web developer or web design agency to build and maintain your website, it is owned by you. A CMS like WordPress can cater to web design newbies and expert web developers, with incomparable simplicity and infinite potential to expand as your business grows. And, it’s Google friendly.
We’re WordPress experts.
If you have any questions about WordPress
or need help deciding which platform to use,
reach out to us!
Get strategic with colour schemes
Choosing the colour scheme for your website is just as important as choosing the domain name, building the platform, and creating the content. Remember what we said about people making a judgement in 50 milliseconds? Colour is the first and most powerful way to make an impact.
Monochrome sites with a splash of one colour can look impressive for professional services, while soft tones can evoke peace and tranquillity for businesses in the wellness sector. Strong, contrasting colours like orange and purple are strong and useful for trades, while electric blues are used widely in the tech sector.
Browse through some websites you like and take note of the colours they’re using. How do they make you feel? What colours best represent your business? Your web design agency will help you find the colour scheme that aligns with your website goals.
ready to get the ball rolling for your online success?
Tackling the world of web design as a business owner can be overwhelming, to say the least. By understanding some of the basics, you can prepare for this project yourself and feel confident when consulting with the experts!
As your local web design agency in Brisbane, Web-Sta makes sure your business has a powerful digital presence to maximise online results. With over 16 years in the industry, we’ve built an impressive portfolio demonstrating our expertise and commitment to our clients’ success.