While most of our posts are about how to get people to visit us, we wanted to take a moment to step back and think about the actual website that we want people to visit. As you may very well already know there are more choices than ever regarding how and with what to build a website. Do you build a static website using simply html and CSS coding, use a website builder such as weebly or use a Content Management System (CMS)
such as WordPress or Joomla? We\’re going to do a couple of posts in this vein in order to first go through the things you need to know before you choose which type of website you might want to build or have built and then we\’ll dive into the strengths of some of the different types in future posts. For now, here\’s 5 things to consider before deciding on your website.
- Determine exactly what you want out of your online presence. Are looking to actually sell something online and therefore need eCommerce capabilities? Are you looking more to simply allow your catalog of services or products get exposure online and looking to generate calls from that exposure? How about an email list? Are you looking at trying to build a relationship with your customers and clients via content rich sites or looking to social outlets? The choices are vast on the Internet today and this simple decision will dictate so much of both your website structure and your entire online marketing strategy.
- Realize different sites cost different prices. If you want an eCommerce platform for your entire catalog of 15,000 products, that will be a completely different venture than building a website for 10. Are you looking at keeping it simple with a 5 – 10 page layout or do you want to have a lot more content available for your customers? A small website will in general cost much less than a larger website – especially if you are looking for your website designer to do most of the writing and content creation. Keep in mind that a website you build on Weebly may be free, but will lack the customization and control that you may be looking for. You sometimes get what you pay for.
- Barebones. Many a company starting off online will start off with just the basics and look to grow in the future. While this cuts costs for the start-up phase, the problem is that as the company continues to grow and be busy, they never come back to building up the site further, usually in regards to features offered or content shared. The solution? Either start a little bit bigger or make a plan of exactly how you want to continue to grow and add to your website. Make the plan and then add it to the calendar so there is always something being added to the website and your online presence.
- Trust those with \”professional\” experience. If you get your brother\’s uncle\’s cat to build your website, plan on having catnip everywhere. The same goes with hiring an amateur without any real experience. They may dabble with web design or have built even a handful, but until they actually build one for a business, they won\’t really know the things to look for. Things such as the site being search engine optimized (which we\’ll talk about in the next point), a strong Call To Action, an easy user interface, enough content to make a difference and too little content, an offer to get people on your mailing list and so on.
- Building it does not mean they will come. Sadly the Field of Dreams voice is not correct for websites. Even with great content, strong calls to action, and outstanding free promotions, unless you actually \”promote\” your website, you won\’t be able to get in front of new customers. Most of the site is about different methods by which you can get people to visit you, but just remember, it takes effort to do that. Once the website is built, it\’s only the beginning. There\’s more work (or outsourcing) that will need to be done in order to get the site some traffic and get people visiting you!
Take the time and think about the above points before you determine your website setup. For those that already have a website, to a moment and look over the points. See if there\’s any that you may not have fully thought-through in the first round and you may want to think about planning a redesign to be better aligned with your true goals and plans. Take the time!