So how exactly do you go about deciding what your website should look like? How will it work and who is it aimed at? We have produce a beginners guide to websites to help you make those first vital decisions.
If you do not have the sites aim strongly in mind then how will your clients know what it is all about. This is especially true for your first site when you may not have the experience needed to create a site that will work for you from day one.
This is why I have written this brief guide to websites and what you need to think about before building the site.
The first thing you need to do is to decide what type of site you need. I often liken a website to a car and if we take this analogy, you can buy a car for £8k to £30 or even over £200k. All will transport you down a motorway at 70mph, they will all seat 5 people, have a radio etc. etc. but all will be very different in build, quality, speed etc. Websites are no different.
Functionality is key and probably one of the first decisions to make.
Next think about what you want the site to do. A brochure site is great for passing on information but if you want to sell you product then an online store is what you need.
DIY or Web Developer
This decision is likely to be based on cost and also your own ability. Some people like to be very hands on but others would rather get on worth their own job and leave an expert to do the hard work.
Small business may only need a small site, but even so the site must be well thought out and designed.
Type of site
There are (broadly speaking) 3 types of websites.
- Template based – v. cheap
- Template based with your branding
- Personalised design – more expensive
Always pay as much as you can as your website is often the first place people get to see you brand and a poor website will imply a poor product.
Remember that your website is your shop window and you need to attract people inside.
Our beginners guide to websites would not be complete without discussing how do you envisage the site will look? Have a look at other sites, competitors as well as all other sites and try to visualise their style on your site. This can be much easier than trying to sketch out your ideas and then convert them to a design.
Vital to the whole look and feel will be what will your “Brand” looks like online. You will no doubt have thought about how do you want the world to see your brand. Remember that you must always deliver on your brand values.
You must also be very aware of what the competition doing? I am not saying follow them for style but you need to ensure you stand out from them all.
When implementing the build, always think about scalability which will be vital to a growing business. Personally I would always recommend using an open source CMS – WordPress is my favourite and I do not think you can go wrong by basing your site on this.
You must have control of the site and not be beholden to a third party and WordPress offers a great Content Managmenet System to keep control firmly in your hands.
Furthermore you will need to ensure your site is as future proof as possible which WordPress and its thousands of plugins will ensure is the case.
A slow site is far from ideal and will cripple even the smartest of sites so always choose a fast and secure server. There are many different servers from cheap and cheerful to shared servers and ultimately a dedicated server. Each is very different and each has its use.
Spend as much as you can on a good site, it will pay dividends. Also make sure that what you go for will grow with your business, the last thing you want is a growth spurt where the website cannot keep up.
We are always happy to chat through projects on a no obligation basis so go ahead and pick our brains before you finalise your plans.
We hope our beginners guide to websites has been useful, please contact us if you want to know more.