If you’re new in business, surely you are excited about getting your online presence up and running but just as you took calculated steps to ensure that you have all legal requirements in order; business bank account, registering your DBA and/or filing for a tax ID number, planning your website launch needs just as much careful consideration. A website redesign is also a great time to re-evaluate if your online presence is aligned with your brand identity.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. Who is my audience?
Is your company a B2B operation or are you offering your products and services to consumers? Defining who your target audience is will help shape the direction of your design layout but more importantly guides the direction of your marketing approach in your web copy.
2. What is the purpose of my website?
Closely aligned with #1, once you’ve determined who you are marketing to define exactly what you are presenting. Is the goal of your website to be educational, generate sales, e-commerce, or to position your company as subject matter experts in your field?
3. What image do you want your website to convey?
Properly connecting with your core value message will help you construct your brand identity. Your online presence should mirror your brand aesthetic so that you can build your reputation and trust with your target audience.
4. Who are your competitors? What website design elements are attractive to you or prospective clients?
Whereas it is important to design your website to mirror your brand identity, it’s most important to remember that your website exists to service your clients. Make sure it works to their best interest and is easy to navigate.
Refer to #3. Once you’ve determined the image and voice of your brand you’ll need to employ a top-notch copywriter to best convey your mission and purpose effectively and succinctly in your website copy.
6. Who will manage and maintain your website?
Will content management be handled by in-house marketing staff or a consulting firm? Who will update and manage your site files, test for security vulnerabilities, and provide IT support? Your brand manager should be intimately familiar with your business and your brand identity to manage your website content.
7. Growth factor.
This is especially important for sites on a budget. Make sure your site is built with growth in mind. Your design layout should allow for additional pages and functionality as needed. Think with the end in mind – where will your business be in 2-5 years?
8. Your database.
If you plan to publish a lot of articles, allow clients to register for seminars, or post a lot of dynamic content on your site, an adequately sized database is necessary. What options do you have with your hosting provider? Have you registered your domain with a hosting company that can adequately supply your website with unlimited data storage?
9. Social media.
In today’s market your business must have a social media presence and one of the best ways to help build your social media audience is to ensure your website is integrated with popular social media networks. If you are choosing a CMS program (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) to design your website, there are quite a few social media plug-ins available to simplify the process.
One of the many benefits of using WordPress to build your website is that WordPress is already pretty SEO friendly; however the best way to build good SEO is by sharing quality content on your website. Thanks to Google’s new search algorithm, now more than ever, Content is King but Quality Content Rules. Use your blog to share more than company news, make sure to offer engaging and useful content to your audience as well. The more they read and share, the better your search ranking will get.
This is only a partial list of all the things you should consider when building or redesigning your business website. Next we’ll get into the nitty-gritty aspects of your website design: use of color, text and font, photography and functionality.
What challenges are you having in developing your website? I’m here to help, let’s chat.
Jaszy McAllister is a freelance writer and media consultant. She offers assistance with creating brand identity, marketing, multi-media production, social media management, and web design. Additionally, Jaszy is an actress and avid Latin dancer. When not working, which is rare, she enjoys fresh sushi, good pizza, live music and sci-fi movies. Get social with her on facebook and twitter @MsJaszy.
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