Hey everyone, I’m Kelly, and today I’m going to talk you through the six steps you should complete before you start on your website.
If you just start on your website without much thought or preparation, it won’t be successful. Getting specific, essential tasks done first will lay the foundations for a great website, improve your visitors’ experience and save you time and possibly money.
Before you even start planning your website, you need to get clear on its purpose. Think about why you need this website and why visitors should come to it. Is it to inspire or to educate? Is it to sell goods or promote your business? Start with a clear purpose and you’re on your way to a successful website.
2. Define your ideal customer.
I know you just want to get started with building your website, but you must think about your target audience before you do anything, as this is who you’re making the website for. Your branding, your design, the copy, the end-user experience, all need to be tailored to appeal to them. Your website should be totally centred around your ideal customer, communicating and persuading them that your business is the right one for them at every turn.
3. Plan your pages.
Thinking about the pages you need and planning your navigation before you start will ensure your website is concise and keep it logical and straightforward. Usability really matters! Spend some time thinking about the names of your pages too. Choose standard terms and keep to one word, if possible. For example, ‘Portfolio’ instead of ‘Previous work’ or ‘Blog’ instead of something random, like ‘Musings’. On that note, don’t try to be clever or cute when naming your pages, ask yourself whether your visitors would understand what it means. Would a visitor search for this in Google? What about if English wasn’t their first language, would they understand what this word means or is it slang or a colloquialism? The navigation menu is not the place to be creative, there’s just too much at stake, so avoid confusion by using the accepted standard formats.
You should invest in your branding and if you can’t afford to invest money right now, then you can invest your time and your energy. Your visual brand – your colours, your fonts and your imagery, along with your tone of voice for your copy – will tell a visitor who you are and your ideal client they are in the right place. No one knows your brand as you do, and setting the foundations early and doing this work right from the start will help you understand what’s needed and get you started on the right track for your website and for your business.
I’ve separated the logo from the branding, as when we talk about websites, the logo is more than just a logo. Visitors expect a logo and they expect it to link to the homepage, so please don’t disappoint them. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to have any images on it, it can be as simple as your business name in a font that suits your branding, and it’s so easy to change moving forward as your business grows. Please don’t create your website without one.
6. Domain names
It’s essential to have one to make your business look professional. It’s good to have a shorter domain name. So kellysparkes.com, rather than kellysparkeswebdesignlimited.com, and it should be either some version of your business name or your own name. If you can’t find the one you want immediately, you can try different variants. You should also register it as soon as you can, even if you’re not quite ready to launch your website yet, as it’s so important to save that piece of the internet for yourself.
I hope you feel more prepared to start on your website journey now. What was the most helpful tip? I’d love to hear, so please let me know.