How To Start A Website
What It Takes To Build A Website
By Choosing The Right Web Design Agency
75% of customers judge a business based on their website design. So you can understand why getting it right is such a big deal.
With each year there’s more eyes on screens, more information being consumed, and more digital transactions taking place than ever before. If you’re new in business, or this is your first time ever getting a website designed, how to start a website (and the RIGHT website) can seem overwhelming right now.
We’ve put together the ultimate guide to web design preparation for business owners. By guiding you through what you need to know and decide before getting started on the project (or discussing with web design agencies), you’re bound to feel more confident about achieving the goals behind your business’s website.
And don’t worry, you won’t find any complex technical jargon here. Everything is explained in layman’s terms, so you can get started with confidence – and actually be excited about getting your website designed, built and published online.
This is what you need to do to prepare for the web design project, and we’ll walk you through each one:
- 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
With a solid foundation of understanding around what’s required to build your website, you’ll feel more comfortable working with a web design agency to maximise online results for your business.
Let’s get started.
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.
We’ve broken down the top 3 reasons why it might be time for a website redesign.
1. Our website is outdated (and embarrassing!)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Here’s a few reasons why having an outdated site is not just embarrassing for you, but detrimental to your business: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!
2. 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.
3. 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 the way to:
- Amplify new messaging
- Kickstart online marketing campaigns
- Attract waves of new customers
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, and neglecting the customer persona exercise poses a significant risk to your online success.
Before diving into those consequences, we’ll walk you through some of the basic concepts of customer persona-driven marketing and why it’s so critical for your website.
People like to feel understood
That’s what it all boils down to – 90% of customers prefer personalisation in advertising. 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.
So as you approach the first phase of designing your website, orient your strategy around what your target customers are looking for – not what you think looks good and seems effective.
What starts as an exercise becomes the foundation of your marketing
The process of discerning your customer persona is very straightforward, and your web design agency should be able to help you with this. The deeper you go into these profiles, the more specific, targeted, and effective your website will be to exactly the kind of people your business exists for.
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
As you proceed with the exercise, you’ll probably find you have a couple more customer personas to work with.
For more detailed insights around 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
In order to set specific goals for your business’s website, it’s important to have an awareness of the latest web design best practices – and any specific requirements for your industry.
Your web design agency should walk you through the latest web design trends, and which online best practices apply to 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.
The Web-Sta team proudly designed these websites. If you think they look great, we might be the Brisbane web design agency you’re looking for?! Get in touch to find out more about how our web design and development services can boost your digital web presence and business.
Work within a budget
Let’s cut to the chase. How much is this process going to cost?
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 $50 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.
What’s the purpose of your website?
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.
Let’s Break These 5 Pages Down
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 standout from the rest.
2. About / Profile
When personalisation is becoming more and more important to customers, knowing why you exist and the values of your business is key to make a connection with potential buyers. This is where storytelling is important, and a quality web design agency will help you with this.
3. Services / Products 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.
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.
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.
Following this straightforward framework, you should be prepared to spend around $5000-$7000 AUD INCLUDING COPYWRITING for web design for a website primarily functioning to inform and advertise your business’s services. Images, professionally written content, and solid foundational SEO would typically be included for a website in this price range.
Ecommerce sites requiring more pages and ‘shopping cart’ functionality will cost more, you’re looking at over $8,000 for website design and development.
What are your business goals?
A powerful website can help you achieve your business goals. The more powerful and strategic you want your website to be, the more you should expect to pay for a top quality web design agency.
Let’s look at 3 common goals, and how investing in a decent website can drive them:
1. Increase brand awareness
Flawless and strategic website design and development will put your brand front and center, bringing together the page layout, colour schemes, images and content that will build brand awareness and make your business memorable.
2. Become an industry leader
The best web designers can build a website that presents your business as the local expert. Top-quality web design is an immediate demonstrator that your business is successful and that you know what you’re talking about. Your web designer can also create a blog page for your website, and give you pointers on how to share informative content that will further cement your expertise.
3. Attract and convert customers
Top-quality web design actually converts customers. And the experienced web design companies will have concrete evidence that their work has driven results. It’s about incorporating the SEO strategies and UX/UI best practices that don’t just keep visitors on the page, but inspire them to make contact and purchase your services
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.
Considering there’s a few thousand web design agencies in Australia, you’ll probably find there’s plenty in your area promising similar things. So how can you tell which web design agency is worth their salt and which one is right for your business’s needs? Here’s 5 things to look for.
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 their successful projects, you know that they have a lot of happy customers. See if there’s 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’s 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
You’ve got to engage with a web design agency to really see if they’re a match for your business, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email enquiry. 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.
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.
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.
Conclusion: 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!
Use this guide to explore the basic principles of website design and development and understand how they apply to your business. Now that you’ve done some research and set some intentions around your online presence, it’s time to get the ball rolling and engage with a web design partner that can take your business further.
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 12 years in the industry, we’ve built an impressive portfolio demonstrating our expertise and commitment to our clients’ success.