But with this ease of access comes pitfalls that could turn your dream of a business website into a nightmare.
Thankfully, the problems can be avoided with a bit of planning and knowledge on your part. Here are some things to consider BEFORE you even begin to look for a web developer.
It is important to have your brand developed first, so that your website will complement this. If you don’t have a strong brand, there is a strong likelihood that your website will end up a bit wishy-washy as well, and will need to be started over as your brand develops.
What is the goal of your site? Is it to get people to call your company for a quote, to purchase via a shopping cart, to bring people into your bricks and mortar store or just as an online billboard? Your goal will go a long way to defining your website design and creating your all-important call-to-action.
It pays to check out what your competitors are doing online. While copycat tactics are never OK, you can see what does and doesn’t work, and then borrow as needed. If, for example, everyone in your niche is using the word “luxurious” to describe their body lotion, then maybe that’s because “luxurious” works.
You have about 8-10 seconds to impress a first-time visitor to your site, which means first impressions really do count and your images and design have to do a lot of work. Don’t rely too much on dull stock photos and instead look for ways to differentiate your business from the countless other small business bookkeeping services/wedding planners/plumbers/whatever that are out there.
Unless you want to pay your developer every time you change a word, it’s important to be able to edit your website yourself. There are many, many off-the-shelf content management systems – WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace to name just three – that are easy to edit no matter how much of a techno-idiot you may be. It pays to ask the developer what CMS they use and whether you will be able to make changes once the site is live (Direct Sites Online is a big fan of WordPress for our small business customers). Websites are not something you can build and ignore, they need ongoing adjustments if you want them to work for your business.
Once upon a time, everyone thought Flash was the bees’ knees – all those cool animated graphics and flashing lights. Those times are gone. In most cases, Flash websites need some technical skills to edit (see above), but more importantly, Google and other search engines find it harder to index Flash sites than they do other CMS’s such as Drupal or WordPress.
Ask whether the developer or designer has access to a content writer, or if they expect the client to provide content. Either way, make sure some of the budget is set aside for the all-important copy. Sure, the design might attract the visitor, but the content is what makes them stay and buy.
Let Direct Sites Online make your business website dreams come true. Call us today on 02 9557 7623 or email firstname.lastname@example.org