One of the most common questions asked by potential clients is “I need a website but where do I start?” Given that there are a lot of things to consider when having a website built it’s not surprising that people get confused and put off having a new one developed. It can be a daunting task but there are some simple questions that you can ask yourself to get started…
What is the purpose of your new website?
To begin with, it’s useful to think about the purpose of your website and to write a list of all the goals that you would like to achieve. Here are some useful answers to this question:
My website will…
- Explain my products and services
- Bring in new clients to my business
- Provide my customers with information on a certain subject
- Deliver news or a calendar of events
- Create a blog that addresses specific topics or interests
- Sell a product or products online
- Provide support for current clients
What action(s) should the user perform when visiting your website?
In order to help decide which features and what functionality your website will need, it’s helpful to brainstorm the actions visitors to your website could take and how they will interact with your website. Visitors to your website may…
- Call you
- Complete a contact form
- Complete a quote form
- Sign up to your mailing list
- Search for information
- Make a booking
- Purchase a product(s)
If someone were searching for your product/service, what types of search terms (single words or phrases) might they use?
As you know your clients/customers the best, you will be able to help with the initial Search Engine Optimisation research by listing all the possible search terms they are likely to use to find your company/business.
What are the design considerations for my website?
Consider how you would like people to react when they visit your website for the first time. How do you want them to feel about your company/business?
The answers to the factfinding questions are a good guide to shape the design of your new website. For example, if your website will sell products, there will obviously be a large focus on search and navigation of the products.
Your branding will play a big part in your visitors’ first impressions of your business so you should provide your web designer with any existing branding guidelines and assets that you have, such as logos, colour schemes and fonts. These can then be incorporated into your website template or theme.
Photographs have an extremely important part to play in any web design. You should create a library of your best photographs and, if you don’t have any yet, try and get some taken. Alternatively, stock photography can be used. For example, Shutterstock is a great source of quality photographs and illustrations. There are also photography websites, such as Pixabay, which provide images and illustrations for free although their photo libraries are more limited. Another design consideration is whether you will need to showcase your business with a photo gallery or slideshow. Videos also have a large role to play in communicating your core messages and are a very useful tool to help promote your business on your website.
Any website design should always display prominent ‘call to actions’ to direct visitors to the ultimate goal of your website, whether that is selling products or simply directing visitors to a contact form.
What is a responsive website?
The word ‘responsive’ refers to the way a website can adapt to different screen sizes on different devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. For example, the website navigation is often hidden on small screens and a ‘hamburger’ icon is used to reveal this.
The layout of a website can also adapt to varying screen sizes. Modern websites are built using grid systems which can be programmed to adjust the number of columns and move content around accordingly to fit the available screen width. For example, on mobile phones, there may be only one column which is 100% the width of the screen.
What is a mobile-friendly website?
A mobile-friendly website will be responsive and should display the same content and, if possible, have the same functionality as a website displayed on desktop computers and laptops. Content should not extend beyond the browser’s viewport: the area of the window in which web content can be seen. No zooming should be needed for viewing content and text should be easily readable. Users are far more likely to abandon your website if they have a frustrating experience because your website is not mobile-friendly.
Where do I start with website hosting?
At Imagine, we provide web hosting within your overall package, so you don’t have to worry.
Which domain name should I choose?
Your domain name is usually your company/business name but, if possible, you should keep it short or try to shorten it if you have a long business name. Hyphens should be avoided.
If you don’t have a business name yet, you can consider your domain name in tandem with your business name. In this scenario, you can follow the criteria above but also think about making it memorable and easy to type.
You should also choose an appropriate domain name extension. For example, for UK companies and businesses, .co.uk or .uk are good choices, or, for organisations and charities, choose .org.uk.
Imagine Digital Marketing can purchase your domain name on your behalf, so you don’t have to be concerned about organising this. Or you can choose to purchase the domain name yourself with our guidance. In any case, you will be listed as the owner of your domain name.
How do I set up email accounts with my domain name?
It’s important that you use your domain name for your email accounts rather than Gmail or another provider. For example, email@example.com is much more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org. A web designer or IT company can set up your email accounts for you with your domain name and Imagine can handle this for you. If you have purchased the domain name yourself, you will need to provide login details so that the necessary changes can be made.
What does a CMS mean? I’ve been told my website should have one.
CMS stands for Content Management System and is software, such as WordPress, which is designed to help create and manage a website allowing quick and easy changes to website content. A CMS is especially useful if you require dynamic content with frequent changes, for example, if you plan to add a blog to your website.
Get started with your web design project today
We hope that the information in this post has eased your concerns about the web design process. If you wish to find out more and discuss your new web design project, please call Imagine on 01636 922 747 or complete our online contact form and we’ll be in touch very soon.
Experienced Web/Graphic Designer. Since working at Imagine, I’ve refined and expanded on my skills, focusing my work on helping to deliver successful digital marketing solutions.