So you have a business to grow and you’re thinking about a website. Where do you start?
First thing’s first – are you clear on what your business is about? Do you know which products or services you are offering? You need to have a plan before you start your website.
If you’re selling products online, a good thing to do to prepare is to create a spreadsheet with all of your products. You should include the basics like the product name, description of what it is, and the price. Additionally, you can include the brand (if you’re stocking from other businesses), the category it fits into (e.g. t-shirt or bag), or the SKU code if you have those! You can even include a link to each product’s photo/s.
If your business is service based, start out by listing your services and describe each one. You may like to prepare pricing information as well. A great thing to include, if you have any, is testimonials. Testimonials (or reviews) speak for your services in way that builds trust with potential customers or clients.
Got your ideas in order? Great! Another step of the process that is vital to complete before you build a website is your branding.
Branding includes your:
- visual identity (logo, colours)
- collateral design (business cards, stationery letterheads, email signatures etc.)
- tone of voice
- business values
It’s important to invest in your branding from the start because it will be with you throughout your entire journey (plus it can be much more costly to rebrand later down the track! Picture replacing all your flyers, uniforms, business cards, and updating all of your online platforms 2 years in… not so great).
If you have a well planned brand, it makes business life easier for you – all the messages you convey to your clients or customers will be consistent. Be it an email newsletter, a how-to video, or a phone call – it is instantly recognisable and feels like YOUR brand.
There’s another step I recommend taking before building your website. Make sure you have high-quality photographs of your products, services in action, your space, or anything else to showcase online. You may also want to include artwork or graphics if that’s another way your brand portrays itself. Have your imagery ready to go before you start development to speed things along.
I can’t stress enough how important it is that your imagery is high-resolution. Photographs and graphics of a high standard show that you are professional and trustworthy. Low-resolution or pixellated images show the opposite.
In a website sense, content is all of your written information. To prepare this for your website, you may like to write it yourself or work with a content writer. Think about your brand voice and mission when writing. To begin, it is likely that you’ll want to write for your home page, about page, contact page, and your products or services pages. Those are pretty standard pages to include, but you may have more or less depending on your business and preferences.
Once you have a plan, brand, imagery and content, you’re ready to get started with your website.
Basically, you have two options:
1. Build it yourself
Building your own website is ideal if you have skills in web development. For a business that offers web services (like Glow!) this is the indisputable choice. By building your own website, you are showcasing your web skills to your visitors. The downside is that if you lack in web experience, it can negatively affect your user experience.
2. Hire a web designer/developer
If web development isn’t your thing, hiring a designer/developer is the way to go. Ideally, you want someone who can both design and build for you. But you can hire a separate designer and developer if you have people in mind. At Glow Creative, I design and build a solution for you based on your business requirements (what you sell, features you need, your brand etc).
Getting started can be daunting when you’re unsure of what to do. Being aware of the process can certainly help. If you have any questions drop a comment below or reach out here.