1. Firstly, do your research
- Who is your target audience? Do you understand their needs? Your website should be written with this target audience in mind. Put yourself in their shoes – what would you want to find out from your website if you were a customer?
- How much are people prepared to pay for your product/service? Do they expect to be able to buy it online?
- Which social platforms are your customers and potential customers using?
- Who are your competitors? What are their websites like? What works well and not so well?
- What is your unique selling point?
2. Have a plan
Ideally you should have a business plan, marketing plan and digital marketing plan. At the very least you need to plan what you want from your website and what your customers need.
3. Choose your company name/domain name
When you are choosing the name of your company, you need to check if a corresponding domain name is available. When you find a good one, even if you are not ready to set up your website straightaway, buy it. Make sure that your domain name reflects your brand. More and more domain name extensions are being made available this year which will give you more flexibility to choose a domain name which is more relevant to your brand eg .photography, .boutique…
4. Design your logo and overall branding
It is important to use a consistent image across all media. Inconsistent branding is confusing and looks unprofessional.
5. Choosing your website designer
Ask the following questions to help you pick the right company for you:
- What do you want from your website? Is it just a shop window or do you need an e-commerce site?
- Do you want to write your own content or leave it to the website company? Website copywriting needs to be concise and contain relevant keywords.
- Do you have good quality images for your website? If you sell products, professional images make all the difference. A poor quality photo is likely to put people off no matter how good your product is.
- How much involvement do you want in the design of your website?
- Do you want to update everything on the website yourself or would you prefer future support from the website company in terms of updating content as well as search engine optimisation?
- Are you planning to write blogs? Blogs are an ideal way to keep your website updated with fresh, useful content which will inform your customers and also help with search engine optimisation.
- Do you want your blogs to post automatically to your other social media platforms?
- Double check that your website will be a responsive design to achieve optimal viewing on mobile phones and tablets as well as desktop monitors.
6. Don’t forget about it!
Once your website has been set up, don’t forget about it! You need to update the site regularly to keep customers interested and also to make sure that you are found by the search engines.