This is our world, but we thought it may be useful to share a few tips to help anyone who is venturing on the potentially daunting task of updating their website, ensuring it is in line with the business needs.
Your Website is your business ‘shop window’ and in our opinion; should be the lynch pin to all your digital marketing activity.
This ‘window’ communicates information about your business, your standards and beliefs to appeal to the aspirations of your target audience.
So, if you’re ready to create or update your website, let’s look at some essential points to help make the whole process efficient and affective. Here are 5 top points we discuss with our clients to help with the development and ease the pain of this complex process.
Take your time and think through what you want to achieve and what you want your website to do for you. This should become the start of your ‘specification document’.
Warning!!! Often this process is missed and inevitably is followed by requests to make changes further down the line, which are both expensive and create a mixed and potentially confusing message for your customer!
It’s always best if you can nominate a project team (ask us about how we handle this process for our clients) Understand what all the ‘stakeholders’ require the website to deliver and keep your business strategy in sight. The ‘sign off’ should be by the ‘senior team’ not an individual; as one person’s expectation may not be the same as another.
Common examples of misunderstandings arise from lack of clarity. E.g. will you require ‘e-commerce sales functions’? Is there something relevant which might change things as you target new clients? etc.
Ensure it is designed for the user – being a ‘responsive’ site, quick to load on multiple devices is somewhat essential, as more and more users access using mobile devices.
With this in mind, ensure you use your site as a ‘hub’ for all other connected platforms such as ‘social media’ and membership organisations etc. The management of this will need to be reflected in your digital marketing strategy.
The content and functionality must be written so it is informative and easily understood, all well supported by good quality images and ‘Video’ as relevant.
Images should clearly show your product or services, but also your ‘team’ and represent ‘the personality’ behind the business. Using video content can be useful for ‘case studies’ or ‘how to’ demonstrations, whatever represents your business in the best way.
The principal point is to communicate and provide a positive user experience.
No one knows your business better than you (the project team). Concentrate on ‘what you want to achieve’ and the developer (website builder) will help you by offering the relevant functionality for your site. Provide a written brief which includes the content as you want it to appear on the site (ask us how we help with this element and guide you to help to avoid future issues). The clearer you can be at the outset, the more cost effective your site build will be. Your developer should also be able to assist with security aspects of your site and techniques to defeat spammers and the unwanted.
This approach along with point three ensures the website is structured to be both communicative and easy to use. Websites that are difficult to use or unclear quickly alienate the ‘user’. If you have decided on any element of ‘e commerce’ then offering secure payment and data security is a must. (This is a specialist area on which we can advise separately to this article).
So, you’ve launched your site, how do you edit or access it to ensure it is maintained and up to date with your ever developing business? Agree at the outset how the website content can be updated to maintain its relevance, as this will affect the structure and cost. (A costly error if it needs to be revisited following launch) It is essential this is understood as the need to maximise the Return on Investment (ROI) must be considered. The access codes must be regularly updated and protected – remember it’s your shop window and you need to be in control of what goes in it!
There are so many more aspects to developing an efficient website, too many points to include in one article, but if you want to know more, please feel free to contact us for an informal discussion.
We guide you through the ‘whole process’ - write the briefs on your behalf or work with your team to do so, communicating progress along the way. We review the content fully with you, creating a ‘visual layout’ to begin the process. Once approved; we create the design and artwork before we action this into a fully operating website.
Our services have only one aim, which is to provide you; our customer, with what you need