I need a new website - where do I start?
A web presence is a must for most businesses, but managing the project can be daunting, whether you are confident with your own technical skills or not. There are a range of packages offering you the option to self-build your website and multiple web developers who can do it for you. Whichever route you take to create your website, PR and Marketing Campaigns Manager Giselle Parsons explains there are a number of things you need to consider:
What do you want the website to do?
Primarily, the website strategy needs to be integrated with the wider marketing communications objectives. Is your website a shop front? If ‘yes’, the design needs to incorporate this, and you will need e-commerce functionality. If you are offering services, your website needs to reflect your credentials and provide potential customers with confidence in your abilities and experience. The latter would require a different approach. Be sure what the requirement is before you start.
Who is the website for?
Before you start thinking about the look of your website, you need to consider who you want to attract to it. The demographic and ‘personality’ of your customers and potential customers is an important factor in how the website needs to function. Don’t be led into the trap of choosing a website design based on what you like - you are not the intended audience. The journey for the user should be as logical and user-friendly as possible.
The look needs to be consistent with your business ethos, with media-rich content, including high quality professional photos or illustrations and video.
Write a brief
Even if you plan to self-build your website, write a brief; it will help you to focus. If you are using a developer, a thorough brief is essential to ensure your requirements are understood from the start, and accurate fees are projected.
According to Ofcom, about one third of the adult population do not use a computer to access the internet and one in ten only use a smartphone. Your website needs to be mobile friendly or you will miss out. More than half of the searches on Google are from mobile devices and mobile-friendly sites appear higher in search results.
Keywords and phrases in the website content help people searching to find your site, so keep them relevant. Don’t overdo it – Google doesn’t like this, and it can adversely affect your ranking. Keep the tone natural and consistent with the style of the company’s other marketing material.
Your metadata are what is displayed in a Google search listing. Make them relevant so visitors find what they want, not what you want them to see. Include a ‘call to action’ in the meta description to encourage people to click through to your page.
Recognise your own limitations
You may be an expert, an enthusiastic amateur or a novice when it comes to managing your website. It is important to be aware of how much time you have available to invest in overseeing the build, optimising the content and ongoing management. If you are time and knowledge poor – you might benefit from some professional help.
To find out how The Niblett Whellams Partnership can help you with your online strategy and business development, contact us today.