Tips for success in creating a website
There is a good chance that only a few of the hundreds of web designers in your area will meet your needs. That said, it pays off big time if before you make any calls to web design firms you first arm yourself with as much useful info as possible.
It won’t take days of research or even hours to build up a solid foundation of knowledge enabling you to quickly navigate your way successfully through the maze of local web site designers.
Below is a brief overview detailing many aspects of creating a web site. In under 30 minutes you can gain the confidence needed to successfully interview the design firms and have your web site produce a strong ROI.
Clean Layout Design: A clean layout using a lot of white space enhances a site’s looks. Keep the focus on your content. Use fonts that will be available on all computers so your site will look like it was designed.
Neat and Easy Navigation: Navigation of links on your site plays a big role in determining the stickiness of your site (how long your visitor stays and explores your site). Ask yourself this, What do visitors do as soon as they open my site? They would probably look for cues to help them understand what your site is all about and if you offer the information they are seeking
1. Gather Your Information
- Write down your thoughts about what you want from a web site and what you think it will do for your organization. This is an invaluable exercise that will serve as a guide post for both you and your web developer.
- Put a folder in a prominent place where everyone in the organization can put ideas for the site. Put everything in the folder, pictures, brochures, articles about the organization. Anything that even remotely concerns the organization. This folder will serve your organization well; ideas you can’t use now will come in handy down the road.
- Come up with a navigation map for the site. What sections do you want highlighted when someone first sees the site. Include sections that tell your viewers about you, contact info, links to similar sites etc.
- Take an hour or two to surf the web looking at organizations that are similar to yours. What are they doing that you like or dislike? What seems to work in their presentation? Put these impressions into your folder.
- Think about types of organizations you want your site to link to and sites you might want to link to you. This will help make your site a resource in its field. In turn that will bring more people to your home on the World Wide Web. If you have friends who have websites ask them to link to you, if you know people in the same field as your business and they do not directly compete with you ask them.
- Updating and adding new content to your website is a must. Unless you have no competition in the search engine listing all businesses need to schedule time or money to have fresh content added to the website. These is no getting around this, the days of static websites ranking well in search listing are over.
- If you do not have a large staff ask your web developer about maintaining the site and ask if any tutoring is included for your staff in the site price.
Transparency: Now there is a loaded word if there ever was one. There may be as many definitions of what it means as there are web designers. My definitions is simple.
1. All charges and fees are written out before any work is done.
2. All info and content to be created by the buyer and the designer are listed in printed document which both parties have agreed to.
3. Both parties agree to a written time frame that has benchmarks of progress about when content will be produced.
Simple as: I will do A,B and C and you will do D,E and F and we will each do what we say we will do by such and such a date.
Please have your web designer put on paper what he/she will do and when, and you need to put on paper what information you will deliver to the designer and when. Once it is on paper and agreed to then you have a working understanding and reasonable expectations are laid out.
If for any reason your chosen web design firm does not want to do this then find another person to do the work. Follow this plan even if you are hiring a friend or relative to build your site.