So, you have won the ultimate marketing prize and been tasked with the job of creating a brilliant website for your business. Where do you start? Do you go it alone on one of the many ‘do it yourself’ platforms and end up tearing your hair out, ageing a hundred years and wondering when you ever lifted your eyes away from your screen and attended to your business? Come this way and we will show you why a brilliant website is a worthwhile investment. Here’s how…
First of all, gather together everything you need:
- Buy your domain name
If you haven’t already – quickly buy your domain name! You can do this by searching for the domain you want to use (obviously keep it as simple as possible www.yourcompanyname.com/co.uk/.org etc. This will be your URL (posh name is a Uniform Resource Locator – basically your web address).
- Pull together content
Absolutely guaranteed to produce much gnashing of teeth and frenetic burrowing into the dusty archives. Collating content is pulling together everything that you will need for your website and is the most important job to help the smooth creation of your new site. If you are evolving your current site you may already have existing content to which you can add all of your new lovely news and work. If you are starting from scratch, rolling your sleeves up here and gathering all of your content together before you approach your designer and developer is the best thing you will ever do (and they will love you for it I promise – you will instantly become their favourite person and get a big, shiny gold star – well maybe not the star but you get the gist).
- Make a wish list
This should include a list of pages, for eg Home page, About us, Our Services, Blog, Shop (if you sell online), Contact us etc and also anything else you would like your site to have or do.
- Your lovely brand
Your website is your shop window and the shiny centre piece of all of your marketing. Having a good brand and all of the brand assets (logos, fonts, colour palette etc) ready is essential as you prepare to show them off! Making sure everything you do is on brand and with the same tone of voice will ensure that your hard earned, important and invested pennies will work their hardest for you.
- Photography and images
This can be your own, good quality photography (always worth investing in some professional photography of your products, your business and of you) or stock photography from one of the many sites. Try www.pexels.com or industry favourite www.shutterstock.com for free or images with a small fee. Designers will also be able to help you to source great images that represent your business. If you would like illustrations some designers can provide you with bespoke designs in line with your brand.
- Hold the front page – the text! Or copy
Our favourite! Oh yes, there is no challenge like limited space for helping you focus on what you need to say. Less is more, no flannel, slang or waffling, use short sentences and keep to the forefront what your business is, what it does, why it benefits your customer and solves their problems, how they buy (make this easy – what they do next – call to action) and how they can contact you. Quick tip – always use the ‘rule of three’ – this is used for describing and should always be three words, for example, ‘our high quality, user friendly and successful websites have helped many customers….’. This is a writing principle that comes from the Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” – meaning everything that comes in threes is perfect.
- We’re great! Case studies and quotes
Case studies with accompanying images and quotes are a fantastic way to show your customers how they too can achieve great results by buying from you. Keep case studies short and structured (and remember to use our power of three!) – describe what your customers needed, what solutions you gave them and how it’s helped them. We know this is obvious but always asking permission from your customers to use their testimonials and content is really important and always appreciated.
- Do you need an online shop?
If you planning to sell your services online, think about how easy it will be for your customer to access, view your products and decide to buy. Pull together everything you plan to sell in a list that is concise, with short descriptions and any relevant images. Accompany this with a price list and any other information that makes it easy for your customers to buy from you.
- Call to Action (CTA)
So important to know what you want your visitors to do! Decide what your CTA will be and use these liberally, on your home page and after every significant piece of content. In our time starved, noisy world most visitors to your site will only average three clicks before they are off doing something else. Put your contact details in a prominent place on your homepage, accompanied by a call to action, for example ‘buy now’, ‘find out more’ ‘discover more’, ‘join us today’ etc.
- Your best friends – designers and developers
If you work for a company that has a design and development team in house then your task will be so much easier as they will already be familiar with the brand. Hurrah! However, if you are running a business and need to find a fantastic designer and developer, they are worth their weight in gold and worth a ton of research to get it right. Designers will design how your website will look and produce ‘flatlays’ so you can see each page laid out as a flat design. Developers do amazing things that no-one understands and build your creation for you into a live website. The best team for you will be able to guide you through the process, advise you of the best system (platform) to use – off the shelf template or bespoke? Which is the best CMS (content management system for eg WordPress – how your site operates) and what will work best for you for accessing the site to update and make amends going forward.
- Where will it live? Hosting
All websites have a lovely cyber home where they happily reside. There are lots of hosting platforms out there you can access yourself (for eg 123 Reg) but your developer will be able to advise you of the best hosting servers to use, either their own or an independent host where you can get 24/7 online support.
- Keeping it fresh
The internet thrives on fresh content and search engines will trawl fresh content to bring your URL up in searches for all of your customers. Having a news or blog section with regular new stories that you can link across all of your social media platforms with the content or with a link is a great way to keep content nice and fresh.
Lastly…….this is the bit where we can all turn detective and measure how successful your website is. You can track website traffic by using an analytics service, the most popular of which is Google Analytics. Hopefully you will have a brilliant website at the end of all of this and lots of lovely visitors!
So that’s it! Investing in getting this right will be the best bit of marketing you will ever do. If you want to keep your teeth, stay wrinkle free and see your family, give the lovely team at Social Progress a call! We promise to take away the pain and help you produce the website of your dreams (and we have cake).
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office 01484 506336 😊