Things to do before building a website.4 steps to creating a great site.
Building a website is one of those things people have a hard time assessing.
Compare sites on the web to vehicles on the road:
There are a variety of choices out there that all accomplish a similar task - Getting from A to B.
However, you and I both know that an electric scooter is not the same thing as an exotic or high end luxury vehicle.
We both know that a Toyota Corolla has no chance of hauling 14,000lbs across the country in a single trip, but a tractor trailer can do that with ease.
As with these, so with those: Sites come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, with different engines and levels of craftsmanship, for different purposes and with different levels of focus on luxurious features and lofty appearances.
So what should I do before building a website?
#1 Clearly outline your site's purpose.
The first thing you should do is clearly outline your site's purpose.
What should your site DO?
Your site's purpose should be simple and clean, usually no more than a single sentence. If you have more than that, you may need to consider moving that information to a more appropriate area (outlined ahead in this guide).
What your purpose might look like:
- Purpose: Serve as a virtual storefront and sell goods on the web.
- Purpose: Train new employees and test competency.
- Purpose: Provide information in real-time to millions of subscribers.
#2 Determine reasonable goals.
With a clear purpose, the next thing to do is determine reasonable goals.
If your site's purpose is to "Serve as a virtual storefront and sell goods on the web", Increase our customer base by 300% in 18 months.
your goal may be something as simple as
Increase our customer base by 300% in 18 months.
This isn't entirely unreasonable for companies that are just getting started or have the capital to expand into new markets.
You may have multiple goals you need your site to accomplish:
If your site's purpose is to Train new employees and test competency,
- Teach company protocols, rules, and guidelines to potential employees.
- Ensure compatibility with company values and worker preferences.
Just keep in mind, with each new goal there is additional cost to accomplish them.
It's a good idea to keep your goals as simple and realistic as possible (at least in the beginning). Less is definitely more here: by condensing it down to just the essential goal(s), you are reducing the time, money, and headaches it will take to actually reach them. You can always do more later!
#3 Determine your budget.
Labor isn't free.
Doing it yourself will take a lot of your time, and the results simply will not be as good as an actual professional would do.
If you're just starting out and on a very limited budget, doing it yourself is certainly an appealing option.
The problem is, even if you go with a 100% FREE website through any popular option like SquareSpace, 1and1, or WordPress, nothing is ever really free when it comes to websites. Servers cost money, software costs money, sites cost money. Your time is valuable. Do you really want to spend it struggling to create anything less than stellar for your site's purpose and goals?
Determine your budget and find out if it will be enough to fulfill your site's purpose and reach the goals you have set by following this final step:
#4 Do your homework.
You don't have to be a professional web developer to have a great site (but it helps to have one you can trust).
You do need to at least have a basic idea of the work that is involved. It wouldn't hurt to know about a few existing solutions, and about how much everything will cost when it's all said and done.
Below are some resources you can use to make the best decision on how to build your website and create something that's going to work well for you.
- How much does a website cost?
- What goes into building a website?
You don't have to choose me. There are plenty of fine developers out there. Unfortunately, you may have a hard time telling the difference.
A site that looks great could run like a lemon, needing to be taken into the shop every week for repairs and upkeep. (You'd be surprised how many people botch jobs in the name of job security.)
A developer that doesn't know their stuff - that only knows how to make sites that look good - can cost you more time and money than if you'd paid an entire team of elite developers!(Choose poorly and it may never be right: you'll be throwing good money after bad from the very start).
Developers are like mechanics. We keep the thing running. Designers get most of the glory because the outside is all most people ever see. You need both (or someone that has done both) to get the best of both worlds.
In the end, your site is a tool.
It needs to accomplish everything you've set out for it to do.
I want to help you make that happen.
Get in touch with me before you start!