After determining the website’s purpose concerning message, branding, and content, there are still a few outstanding elements that need to be considered when building or re-launching a website.
First, you’ll need to investigate audience reach, search engine optimization, traffic patterns, customer engagement, and a whole plethora of finely tuned details that will come together to make your online presence a success. Your first step should be contracting a web design and internet marketing company to get the biggest bang for your development buck.
Make a list of goals you would like to achieve, content you would like to share, and information you would like to include so that when development begins, everyone is working toward a clearly defined and shared goal.
Get Everyone On the Same Page
No matter how large your web development team is, make sure everyone has their clearly defined job and then get together and review what the goals are for the project. Start with an audit of the current website if there is on and an overview of what the marketing strategy is. Then look for what is missing, what could be added, and what general brainstorming around the aesthetic.
If possible, bring up the site on an overhead projector and use it as a customer would, noting what is working well, what isn’t, and what you would like to see. Reviewing these elements early on will bring everyone on board with a common vision for your web design project.
Have a Firm Number for Your Web Design Budget
Knowing how much you wish to spend is a great way to keep a project in control. You will need to determine how much will be spent on graphics, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, creative content licensing, and a whole host of other incidentals. You may also want to determine how much can be done in-house, and how much your web design and marketing contractor will need to accomplish.
It’s always best to go with a professional when in doubt. Often times you will find yourself spending twice the money when you try and get a good deal with a “cheap freelancer”. In the world of web design and web development, you truly get what you pay for, so make sure you find a web design company with a promising track record.
Identify Your Customer Base
Current analytic information for your current website can be essential here, as you may not be reaching the audience you initially designed your project around. Also, you can take the time to determine why certain demographics aren’t being reached – examples of this would be a youth orientated site that requires credit card verifications. If your audience doesn’t have a credit card for age verification, then how can they interact with your message?
It’s best to have someone either in-house or on contract who can modify and easily add new content to your website, so that when any adjustments are needed in order to better communicate with your audience, they can be made.
Be Prepared to Adjust Your Initial Plans
As your web design project takes shape, it may become necessary to insert new elements, change functionality, add additional content, remove elements or a number of other situations in order to have the project ‘flow’ more smoothly. Your initial brainstorming sessions will prove invaluable, but nothing should ever be set in stone. Be ready to compromise in the best interest of the web design project.
However, the more preparation you do before production starts, the less likely project detours will be. The more precise you make your planning in the beginning, the easier it will be to identify potential flaws and issues, allowing them to be addressed during conceptualizing, as opposed to on the fly during project production. This will save you time, money, and lots of headache in your project.
Know What the Next Step Is
Once your site goes live, you will want to be ready for the follow up tasks, such as marketing, branding, and gaining traffic. Knowing how these elements will be accomplished. It’s always best to start right away with your search engine optimization efforts, but depending on the size of your site and marketing budget for your web design project you may not be able to dive right into a PPC campaign. There are a number of more inexpensive methods including social marketing, social content marketing, content marketing, video marketing, content creation and more, that can help you develop an audience. Once you have a large enough audience, you can make more educated decisions on your advertising buy’s, allowing you to proceed with more confidence.