- Posted by Donna Amos
- On January 9, 2016
- website development
Ready to launch a new remarkably effective website? There are so many decisions to make, and key steps that you shouldn’t overlook if you want to really define yourself and draw in traffic.
Do you have a logo? If not, that’s the first place to start. It is a critical piece of your brand image. If you build a site first and develop your logo, you will likely have to double back and make design edits. So start by hiring a graphic designer and figure out what kind of logo works for your business. But if you have developed a logo, good job! Let’s move on.
What platform will you build your site on? More importantly, are you going to build it yourself? Unless you are a designer or have the coding know-how, I recommend you have someone do the work for you. Once it’s built, you need to decide whether to continue managing it yourself. And if so, factor in your technical skills when choosing your platform.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to look seriously at the numbers and how much you can invest in this site.
If you have a significant budget you might want to look at Hubspot. Hubspot provides comprehensive services, but does have a monthly fee attached to it — the basic plan is $200 per month. SquareSpace is an option if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person with a lower budget. The service offers templates to choose from and cost anywhere from $18-$26 per month. I recommend a WordPress site. You’ll most likely need a professional to help with the design, but after that, you can manage the site on your own. WordPress is scalable and very versatile. Your monthly cost should be somewhere around $10-$20 per month for hosting, but there will be upfront costs for development. A nice customized site should run you somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500, unless you need an eCommerce site, which will run a little more.
Your other option is to build a custom site, which could end up being more expensive. Then you’ll have to factor in the cost of having a developer to maintain the site.
If you are determined to handle the maintenance yourself, then hire a designer to handle the layout and visual elements. Set up hosting and install WordPress. (Note: Many hosting companies now can install it for you.) Once that’s done, it’s all a matter of implementing the design. Upwork, Guru, and even Fiverr are great places to find freelancers who can bring your site to life.
If you choose to hire a website developer, know exactly what you want, so you can articulate your brand image. Look for sites that you love, and don’t focus on your industry necessarily for inspiration. Go outside of your niche and look for elements you would like to have included in your site. Know the colors, fonts, and other visual elements you want to incorporate (hint: they’ll probably tie in with your logo). The more prepared you are going into the meeting, the easier the entire process will be, helping to ensure a successful launch of your website.
Whichever route you choose for creating it, your website needs to be beautiful.
Typography and imagery are also important elements to consider when designing your new site. Modern web design uses large responsive images with text, which first grabs attention and then encourages the reader to scroll down and read. Simple navigation is important, because you want your visitors to easily find what they are looking for (otherwise, they’ll leave).
Then, you can add the content yourself. WordPress has a bit of a learning curve if you’re unfamiliar with the platform, but there are excellent videos on YouTube to learn how to add content and much more. There are also paid training programs to show you the ins and outs of WordPress website management. http://47679shavmb8tn-l-ztdpt5v0v.hop.clickbank.net (affiliate link) John Chow’s training program, WPBlogVideos, is geared toward beginning bloggers; however any business owner who is ready to build a website will find this training invaluable.
Content is about the words, images, and other media elements. An important issue is your calls to action on each page. They should be obvious as to what you want your visitors to do, whether it’s scheduling an appointment, subscribing for more information, or calling you directly.
One of the most-visited pages on any website is the About Page. So make sure it’s easy to find, and tell your story well. Let visitors know who you are and what you can do for them. Don’t bore them with a long page of copy — keep it simple and lively!
Videos about your products and services can assist greatly in conversions, so give some thought to creating them (and set aside a budget, too!). Inc. Magazine reports that 92% of B2B customers watch online videos, and 43% of B2B customers watch online video when researching products and services for their business.
In addition to the design and mechanics, make certain you don’t overlook the simple things — like a way for your visitors to subscribe to your email list, which is critical to growing your business. The contact page, with information about how to reach out to you, is also important. Make it easy for people to get a hold of you by providing an email address, a phone number, or even a contact form directly on the page. Add Google Analytics so you can make educated decisions about your traffic and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Launching a website, whether it’s your first or even just a redesign of an old site, takes time. With so many decisions to make, you have to accept that there are always tradeoffs — cost vs. convenience, for example. Know your budget, and know your technical limitations. Do some research and be sure you have an idea of what you need. Once the basics are handled, you can turn your attention to the little details and finishing touches to ensure you Launch a Remarkably Effective Website.