This article is assuming you have decided on a web design team and now it is time to get the ball rolling.
For a lot of business owners, the first step towards getting a new (or improved) website is hiring a creative team and putting them to work. But, in a perfect world, there are a few things that would happen before the web design process gets started or at least in the very early stages.
If you are considering launching a new website or making some big improvements to the layout you have, here are a few things you might want to consider getting out of the way first:
#1 Figuring Out Your Business Goals for the Website
It’s surprisingly common for the business owner to come to us because they “need a new website,” even though they can’t explain why. Usually, what they mean is that their old site has become out-of-date, or they are missing a must-have item like mobile functionality.
Still, it’s much easier for us to build a great website if we know what the website’s intention. Try to consider the business goals of your website so your designer can help you achieve them. Then you won’t be relying on luck or chance to improve sales, cut customer service expenses, etc.
#2 Gathering (or Creating) Your Logo and Visuals
No matter how good your web designer is, you’re going to have to supply some visuals for your website. These could include staff photos, product pictures, graphs for case studies, and even high-resolution copies of your logo.
If you don’t have these materials already, or don’t like the ones saved on your hard drive, you should plan on replacing them soon. Creating for finding these graphics and photos might be something your web design team can help with, but it’s best if you mention it early on in the web design process.
#3 Generating Content for Your New Website
You’d be amazed at how many delayed websites are due to a lack of writing needed to fill half a dozen pages. And you’ve probably noticed that many of your competitors’ sites (and perhaps your own) have blogs that haven’t been updated in months or years.
The fact of the matter is, very few people enjoy writing. So, if you’re going to compose the words for your web pages, get an early start and don’t fall for the temptation to procrastinate. If it still seems like a chore, look into hiring a professional writer (or ask your web design team about doing the same). It’s a lot less expensive than you might think, and certainly much more painless than the alternative.
#4 Putting the Pieces of an Online Marketing Plan Together
When you launch your website, it’s the first step in your online marketing journey. Of course, you won’t make it through the next steps if you don’t know what they are.
Although you’ll almost certainly want your web design team to be involved in the creation of your ongoing internet marketing plan, things are going to be easier if you know you need one from the start. So, give some thought to who your customers are, how you might be able to reach them, and the components of your marketing plan.
As we’ve mentioned, each of these can be crossed off the list shortly after you find a web designer, or even while your site is in the design and development process. The reason to think about them now, however, is, so you don’t end up delaying the launch of your new web presence because you don’t have something critical.
You’d be amazed at how many sites can’t go online because they are missing content, because the logo needs to be re-designed in a higher resolution, or because the business owners can’t agree on what the relevant bottom-line goals should be.
Get ahead of these issues by taking the steps we’ve outlined early on in the process. Then you’ll be ready to build a site that will impress your customers and make your competitors feel envious.
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