So you’ve decided to build your website – you’ve made a great choice. Now you’re at the point where you need to figure out the things that you need to put into place to actually get it done. I will go over the list of things you need to get this done as well as make some recommendations. The list is not very long but the amount of time for each item may vary depending on your industry and objectives for the website. For the time being we will assume that the site you are going to build is an “informational website”. By this I mean one that isn’t an eCommerce website with products available for sale on the website. If that is something you’re interested in, it will require the things I list below as well as information about the products, prices, shipping details, etc.
The list of main items you will need goes as follows:
- Pages on the site (sitemap)
- Content/Text for each page
- Images/Videos for the website
- Special Features
To begin you need to decide what pages are going to comprise your website. Typically an informational website for a business includes a few basic pages, almost without exception. They include: Home, About Us, Services, Testimonials, Portfolio, News/Blog, and Contact Us. Most small businesses don’t stray too far from this basic sitemap until they are ready to really show off the special services or products they provide with their own pages. Remember – It is always better to have something over nothing. Don’t worry if you don’t have many pages to start with, but do remember that the more pages and content you have, the better you can rank on Google and other search engines. If you want to explain the unique services that you provide, on their own pages, this is the time to decide that.
For all of these pages you will need to decide the content and text that go on the page. In most circumstances, especially on a smaller site like the one I’ve described, the content is put together by you or the company you’re representing. If you have trouble creating the content for the pages or would like a professional to copy write for you, and to save time, we have highly recommended experts that can do this. Make sure to remember that in the eyes of Google and the other search engines – content is king. The more unique content that you have on your website pages the more likely you are to rank for a search for a given topic or keyword. Even after the initial launch it is always advisable to continue to add new pages and content as often as possible.
A picture is worth a thousand words. The images that you choose to use on the website always will make a big impact on the look and visual feel of the website as well as convey to your customer the types of products/services that you provide. Ideally you would have a professional photographer take photos of your business, and the jobs that you have successfully completed, to show off on the website. If you can get a video made that is done by a person or drone this can be even better. In most cases this is something that comes later when the business has matured somewhat and can afford such media. Keep in mind that stock photos are available in the mean time and during the initial build of the website. There are multiple stock photo websites out there, for a modest fee, that can supply you with these. I will stress, as a precaution, to not just “take photos off of Google images” as many of these are copyrighted and can get you in trouble if you display them even with proper credit given. Purchasing royalty-free stock photos is the best method to have a great looking website without the need for a professional photographer, and to not land yourself in hot water with the copyright holders.
A logo is critical for any business or brand. If you already have had a logo commissioned (or made by yourself) make sure to have the highest resolution image you can get as well as having the logo on a transparent background. This will insure that you or any other web designers can use the logo across the website no matter the background color or size requirements. If you need help with logo design (as well as with graphic design such as postcards, flyers, newsletters, etc) we are able to help. As far as colors go typically the website will try to match the colors of your logo and brand. Most of the time there will be one primary color and one or two secondary colors for accents (buttons, calls to action. etc).
In this step it is great to look at other websites that you like. These websites might not even be in the same industry that you are in. For example, maybe you like the way a video is displayed prominently on the top of the home page or you like the way the menu looks. This step usually comes down to personal preference but as a recommendation I would say to look at the top people in your field as an influence. These companies might not even be in the same geographic location as you (for example, if you’re in South Florida make sure to look at bigger companies in LA or NYC). If you like certain things about the website try to emulate them on your own site or show them to your web designer – they will make sure to incorporate them into your final design.
Are there any special features that you need on your website besides the pages and features I’ve listed above? There might be things that you could benefit from. Perhaps, you would like an appointment booking tool, or special contact form where customers can upload PDFs or other documents. Maybe you would like to be able to generate quotes and estimates right on the website automatically. It is hard to list out all of the possibilities there may be. Again, look at other competitor websites, or websites you like, to get inspiration.
What do I do next?
In conclusion, you can see that there aren’t many steps and requirements involved in an informational website. The amount of time and effort you spend on each step is all up to you. When dealing with a web designer or third party it is important to keep in mind that the more help that you give them, the more that they can help you.
If you have all of these items checked off of your list (or need some help) and are ready to start, please reach out to us. We are a company based out of Fort Lauderdale, with dozens of satisfied customers and great reviews, and are happy to help you get your business and brand online.