You’re ready to create a website for your business—congratulations! That’s a big step—one that’s important for the growth of your company. However, before building your website there are few things you’ll need to consider.
Any company website must be well-designed, user-friendly, and pleasing to the eye—all while delivering quality information to visitors. A lot goes into designing and developing a website for today’s savvy Internet audience.
1). Define Your Website’s Purpose & Identify Your Target Audience
The very first thing you’ll have to do, before developing and designing your new site, is to sit down and figure out what your site will do. What’s the purpose of your website? Will it be used as an advertisement, for prospect generation, direct online sales, B2B sales, education, or customer support? Will your site offer a mix of these purposes? Figure out the purpose of your site—before you do anything else. Your site’s purpose is directly tied into the next consideration.
Once you’ve determined the site’s purpose, you’ll need to consider the target audience. Who are you creating the site for? The following questions can help you narrow down the target audience:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What do you have to offer?
- What is your audience’s pain points (problems)?
- What does your audience need/want?
- What is the general age range of your audience?
- Are you reaching out to a local/regional market or a global market?
- What language does your target market speak?
These are some of the questions that will assist with developing your target market. Use this information to determine the content, services/products, etc. that you’ll offer on the site. Another tip is to create a target audience statement. Think of this as a brand statement and incorporate the information you used to narrow down your target audience. The statement should be appealing to them and meet their needs/expectations.
2). Create a Mobile-Friendly Responsive Site
Next, your site will need to be designed to meet today’s mobile Internet user’s needs. Many people are more frequently using their mobile devices to search for information online. With this in mind, your site will need to look good and be usable on both a desktop and mobile devices. One of the best things to do is to choose a responsive design for your site.
A responsive design allows a website’s layout to adapt to the size of the screen used to view it. This provides site visitors with an optimized viewing experience across a wide range of devices. And don’t forget that Google ranks your site on its mobile friendliness. In other words, you’ll need a responsive site in order to show up well in Google’s search results.
When you begin working with a web developer/designer, make sure to include this functionality into your site. You’ll have a user-friendly site that looks good on any device.
3). Check Out Competitors’ Sites
When it comes to inspiration, checking out your competitors’ web sites can give you some great ideas. Now, we’re not advocating any type of copying; we’re suggesting you see what other companies are doing with their site in order to gain some ideas on how to develop and design your own site.
What colors are other companies in your niche using? What types of fonts and headlines jump out at you? What is most attractive when you visit these sites? Where is the navigation feature most often located? Take your time and make a list of what you like and don’t like, what seems to work and what doesn’t on your competitors’ sites. Use this research as a guide on how to set up your site and make it even better than the competition’s.
4). Take Your Time
Building and designing a website isn’t something that happens overnight. You’ll need to take your time to get this done right from the very start. View this as an investment in your company and its future. Take the time needed to do proper research on your site’s purpose, who is your targeted audience, and what designs, layouts, features will work best for your audience.
Once you have the basics figured out, you’ll need to consider the type of content, how many pages and how will they be used, functionality, and more.
Developing and designing a website can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months or even longer. Don’t hurry the process—take your time with each step and you’ll have a beautiful site that attracts your target audience.
5). Create a Timeline & Deadlines
Along with taking your time to create the site, it’s necessary to have a timeline and deadlines to keep your project moving forward. Without a timeline/deadlines, a project can easily stall and it becomes difficult to move forward.
Here’s a basic timeline to get you started:
- Research and planning: 2-10 weeks
- Design: 4 weeks to 3 months
- Content creation: 5 weeks to 4 months
This is a rough guide to help you start working on a timeline. The specific time needed to develop your site will vary, depending on the site’s purpose, complexity, etc. Just be sure to set realistic, fair deadlines within your timeline. This way, you’ll keep things moving forward and will meet the deadline for having your site live online.
6). Be Creative
Once you’ve done all the research, don’t hesitate to get creative with your site. The site doesn’t have to be patterned exactly as the competition’s. You also want to avoid exactly copying another company’s website. Instead, work to stand out from the crowd.
To have a creative, appealing site you’ll want to look for a web developer/designer who has a creative reputation. Another option is to use a web design agency. Either way, be sure to review their past projects. Note their use of style, colors, fonts, etc. Are the sites both appealing and user-friendly? Look for a web designer who creates beautiful sites that make you want to stay for a while.
7). Stay Flexible
When you’re creating your site, don’t forget to build in flexibility. The Internet and technology are constantly changing. You want to make sure your site can adapt to future changes. Not only that, but your business will also grow and change over time, so your site will grow with the company—if it is built with flexibility and adaptability in mind.
Now you’re ready to really get to work on developing your site! Don’t forget to do your research, ask the right questions to find your site’s purpose and target market, etc. Then set a timeline and realistic deadlines to build your site, and soon you’ll have a beautiful, user-friendly site that’s ready for your visitors!